A Groundwater Emergency – From Michigan to the Nation – Catalyst Event Coverage

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Interview with Michigan Senator Gary Peters on PFAS

In an interview with Circle of Blue Senior Reporter, Brett Walton, Senator Peters outlines Congress’s role in responding to the nation’s PFAS crisis.

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Q & A with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and J. Carl Ganter

Due to Flint, there has been a ripple-effect that people are now questioning the safety of their water. And through testing, people are finding contaminates, be it lead or be it PFAS. They no longer believing that their water is safe.

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PFAS – What You Need To Know

Chemical contaminants called PFAS, toxic to humans at minuscule doses, are the tip of the spear for threats to groundwater in Michigan and nationally. Nitrates, industrial chemicals, and pathogens have been swept underground for decades.

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Speakers

Gary Peters

Elected in 2014, Senator Gary Peters represents the State of Michigan in the U.S. Senate. Senator Peters serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Joint Economic Committee.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a physician, scientist, and activist who has been called to testify twice before the United States Congress, awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America, and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

She’s also the founder and director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a model program to mitigate the impact of the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Christopher Higgins

Christopher P. Higgins is an environmental chemist examining the fate of environmental contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial systems. His research focuses on the movement of contaminants in the environment. In particular, he studies chemical fate and transport in natural and engineered systems as well as bioaccumulation in plants and animals. Contaminants under study in his laboratory include poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances used in stain-repellent fabrics and fire-fighting foams, nanoparticles, wastewater-derived pharmaceuticals and personal care products, trace organic chemicals in urban stormwater, and trace metals.

Dave Dempsey

Dave Dempsey has 35 years experience in environmental policy. He served as environmental advisor to former Michigan Governor James Blanchard and as policy advisor on the staff of the International Joint Commission.  He has also provided policy support to the Michigan Environmental Council and Clean Water Action.  He has authored several books on the Great Lakes and water protection.

Lisa Widawsky Hallowell

Lisa has worked to reduce pollution from coal ash disposal sites in Pennsylvania and nationally since she joined The Environmental Integrity Project in January 2009. She graduated cum laude with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Garret Ellison

Michigan environment and Great Lakes reporter with the Grand Rapids Press since 2008. Ellison was announced as the 2017 Richard Milliman Michigan Journalist of the Year in recognition of his work on environmental issues ranging from a bottled water company’s plan to increase its withdrawal of groundwater to the hazards posed by an aging underwater oil pipeline.

Mary Ellen Geist

Mary Ellen Geist is an award-winning broadcast journalist and author who was born and raised in the Detroit area.  She began her career as a broadcast journalist in Northern Michigan where one of her first investigative reports involved the discovery of trichloroethylene in the ground water of a small town. She later won several awards for her investigative reporting on the spraying of the pesticide Malathion in Los Angeles.

Jim Malewitz

Jim Malewitz reports on the environment for Bridge. Based in Lansing, but with plans to scour both peninsulas, he is looking for stories about how public policy, climate change and other phenomena affect the state’s trove of natural resources – all while leaders tout the “Pure Michigan” brand.

Brett Walton

Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States for Circle of Blue. Brett also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States (2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014).

Host

J. Carl Ganter

J. Carl Ganter is co-founder and director of Circle of Blue, the internationally recognized center for original frontline reporting, research, and analysis on resource issues with a focus on the intersection between water, food, and energy. Carl — an award-winning photojournalist, reporter, and broadcaster — is recognized for developing the keen skills that helped to shape the multimedia journalism era. He received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial Innovation Award (2012).

Exclusive Event Reporting

Gov. Snyder signs Michigan lame-duck bills opposed by environmentalists

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New legislation may impact Michigan's response to PFAS contamination. 

Michigan waited years to heed warnings on PFAS dangers, expert says

By Jim Malewitz, Bridge Magazine

Minnesota has fought PFAS for years. Here’s how its plan can help Michigan

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FLINT — Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan is the nation’s…

Infographic: Household Wells in the United States

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Thirteen percent of Americans, some 42 million people, use a household well for their water supply.

In Senate PFAS Hearing, Government Officials Say Regulatory Response Will Take Years

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Officials from multiple federal agencies testified at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.

Michigan's Groundwater Emergency

Groundwater in Michigan is “compromised and deteriorated.”

Groundwater: The Sixth Great Lake

Despite its abundance, is groundwater a second-class citizen?

Additional Coverage by our Partners

Stacks of free bottled water sit at Parchment High School. Residents have been advised not to drink the tap water after tests showed it contained PFAS, a group of chemicals used in many products and as a flame retardant. Photo © Jim Malewitz/ Bridge

Monitoring wells stand as silent sentinels on the grounds of a field used as a fire training site at Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Photo © Brett Walton / Circle of Blue

Sticky foam rings a public beach near on Van Etten Lake near the shuttered Wurtsmith Air Force base. State environmental officials said it resembled foam that has tested positive for high levels of toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Photo © Jim Malewit/Bridge

A truck similar to this one will be used to suck up toxic PFAS foam around parts of Oscoda, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said. (Photo courtesy of MDEQ)

Confirmed PFAS threats to Michigan water – by Jim Malewitz, Bridge

Michigan’s list of contaminated sites is likely to grow as the state continues to test all public water systems and schools that tap well water.

Map by Bridge – Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Additional Coverage by Circle of Blue

Congress Passes Defense Spending Bill That Includes Perfluorinated Chemicals Health Study

CDC will guide first-ever national evaluation of drinking water…

New Jersey Sets First Binding State Limits for Perfluorinated Chemicals in Drinking Water

Regulators adopt strictest standards in the nation.

EPA Investigates Chemical Contamination of North Carolina River

Nonstick chemical was found downstream of Chemours’ Fayetteville…

Nonstick Chemicals Slipped Into Water, Causing Health, Environmental, Regulatory Mess

PFASs -- used in clothing, carpets, cookware, and more -- contaminate wells across the United States.

Drinking Water Warning Issued for Nonstick Chemical

Flint lead scandal a factor in stirring action for other contaminants. By…