Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met with representatives of the City of Ishpeming and the D-E-Q this morning for a special announcement. The EPA has awarded a $6,000,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the city. The funding is to be used to prevent mercury-contaminated water from reaching a so-called “area of concern” for Deer Lake that reaches to Lake Superior via the Carp River. The grant is being used to redirect the flow of Partridge Creek which runs through mercury-contaminated mine shafts under Ishpeming and then into Deer Lake. After the project is completed, officials say the stream will not flow through the abandoned mine and will eliminate the source of the mercury that is contaminating the lake. The project is currently in phase two after being started in 2010 with an original $2,000,000 EPA grant. The EPA is providing $4,800,000 for the project this year and $1,200,000 next year.
Detectives with the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team and Ishpeming Police report the arrest of an Ishpeming man on meth charges. The man was arrested yesterday evening at his residence on High Street for possession of methamphetamines. Detectives also located components used in the manufacture of meth at the residence at the time of the arrest. The UPSET Meth Recovery Team will clean up the location and the case has been forwarded to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office for review and charges. No name has been released as the investigation is continuing. UPSET and Ishpeming Police were assisted by State Police from the Negaunee Post.
Concurrent resolutions urging the President to declare a major disaster or emergency for areas impacted by the Duck Lake wildfire were adopted by the State Senate and House yesterday. The Duck Lake fire in Luce County began May 24th, following a lightning strike and grew into the state’s third largest wildfire in history. The resolutions, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba, and in the House by Representative Matt Huuki of Atlantic Mine, call on the President to use federal funds to supplement the state and local resources. The resolutions will now be transmitted to the President, the regional administrator of FEMA, the members of the Michigan congressional delegation and Governor Snyder.
A measure clearing up confusing and restrictive state regulations that limit shoreline owners’ ability to groom their beaches, authored by State Senator Tom Casperson, passed the House yesterday and now goes on to the Governor for his signature. The measure proposes to get rid of restrictions implemented by the D-E-Q on how beach maintenance can be done. Under the legislation, property owners would no longer need to get a D-E-Q permit for simple beach grooming activities. Certain non-beach-grooming activities like construction projects, digging of channels, or dredging below what is called the regulatory watermark in the legislation will still be subject to a permit from the D-E-Q and some restrictions will still be imposed by federal regulations.