The Stream, June 12, 2020: U.S. Great Lakes Break May Records; Lakes Michigan-Huron Could Reach All-Time High This Summer

The Global Rundown

Three of the U.S. Great Lakes, along with Lake St. Clair, set record high water levels for the month of May. New research warns that extreme waves will become more common, and cause more coastal damage, as the climate warms. Severe flooding in south and central China leaves dozens dead or missing. In the U.S., water utilities are among the most vocal opponents of PFAS regulations, an analysis shows. Uganda urges citizens to move out of flood prone areas, and says it will begin forcible evictions in some areas this month. 

“Homes have been destroyed. My friends are now on the streets.” –Silus Musasizi, a resident of Entebbe, Uganda, a small town on the shores of Lake Victoria that recently flooded. The Ugandan government has been urging people to relocate from flood prone areas like Entebbe, but most have nowhere else to go. The Ugandan government announced plans to start evicting people without compensation at some point this month. Reuters 

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By The Numbers

110 Rivers in southern and central China that have reached “dangerously high water levels” due to recent storms, according to local media. Flooding in the region, which began at the beginning of June, continues to take a toll, with several dozen people dead or missing and direct economic losses of 4 billion yuan ($550 million). The Guardian

10 percent Amount that extreme waves could increase in regularity and size as the climate warms, according to a new study led by Australia’s University of Melbourne. The large waves could cause extensive coastal damage, researchers warn, and named New Zealand’s west coast, Tasmania, the southern tip of South America, and parts of the Canadian coastline as the most at-risk areas. BNN Bloomberg

Science, Studies, and Reports

U.S. Great Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie, along with Lake St. Clair, set record high water levels for the month of May this year. Currently, Lakes Michigan and Huron, which connect at the Straits of Mackinac, are on track to possibly reach their highest level ever recorded since record-keeping began in 1918. MLive

On the Radar

The United States government is beginning to take action against water contamination from PFAS chemicals, but water utilities are emerging as an opponent to the stricter regulations. An analysis by Bloomberg Law found that water utilities had lobbied more against cleaning up PFAS than any other groups, including the travel industry, cities, and chemical companies. Opposition to concerns over stricter regulations are tied to legal uncertainty over who is responsible for PFAS contamination, and the high cost of cleaning up and preventing the spread of the chemicals. Bloomberg Law 

In context:
Who Pays? PFAS Lawsuits, Legislation Raise Question of Pollution Liability

As PFAS Lawsuits Proliferate, Legal Tactics Emerge

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