Environmental News This Week: Steps in the Right Direction

The Dow Chemical Company, headquartered in Midland, has made a big stride toward sustainability for a company with a streaky environmental record. A partnership between Dow and The Nature Conservancy will allow $10 Million to be used to help the company become more sustainable. Dow is responsible for 96 U.S. Superfund sites and is still in the process of cleaning up dioxin in the Tittabawassee River area. The new collaboration is, according to the CEO, not connected to the dioxin issue. The partnership could be an influential example of a large company making decisions with environmental consequences in mind. It could show skeptics that businesses can run and profits can be made without sacrificing environmental responsibility. Dow will focus the partnership on creating an example that can be followed by other businesses.

Muskegon County is hoping to transform an 11,000 acre plot of land, part of the wastewater treatment plant facility, into a wind farm with up to 75 commercial sized turbines. The land is owned completely by the county and is located in a rural area. It is 15 miles from the Lake Michigan shoreline and wind productivity has been tested there for several years. Many of the problems that wind farms usually face—residential complaints of shadow flicker and noise, land use disputes, aesthetic complaints—will hopefully be avoided due to the convenient location and potential benefits.

Howard Christensen Nature Center still has a chance to stay open. An anonymous donor has offered a grant that will give funds, providing they are matched by raised funds. No funds have yet been raised and the Kent Conservation District is unsure if the grant would be able to fund the center’s annual budget of $45,000, but many are hopeful for the fate of the nature center.

The Michigan Supreme Court has heard arguments on a case concerning the use of some Lake Michigan shoreline. The land is part of Jean Klock Park near Benton Harbor. Two residents are hoping to keep the Jack Nicklaus golf course from using part of the land for three of its holes. The decision will most likely not be made until the end of July.

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