Fisheries officials in the U.S. and Canada are drastically cuttingthe number of walleye they’ll allow to be caught in Lake Erie. TheGreat Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… the populationof the game fish has dropped to a quarter of what it was just ten yearsago:
Fisheries officials in the U.S. and Canada are drastically cutting the
number of walleye they’ll allow to be caught in Lake Erie. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Lester Graham reports. The population of the game fish has
dropped to a quarter of what it was just ten years ago.
In 1990 there was an estimated 100-million walleye in Lake Erie. Scientists
believe now there are fewer than 26-million. Weather seems to be the chief
culprit in the population drop. There’s been the wrong kind of weather for
successful spawning for the last several years. So regulators are cutting
the catch commercial and sport fishers are allowed. Roger Knight is a
research biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He says
that might give the walleye a chance to recover.
“So, if we can increase, for example, the number of eggs that are
out there every year, potentially, if there’s good weather conditions, we
could see a real banner hatch. And, if the weather conditions are poor, at
least we’ve done something to try to increase the reproductive capability.”
The researchers estimate that the reductions should save at least
one-million walleye each year.
The federal government is adding dioxin to its list of chemicals thatare known to cause cancer. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s JonathanAhl reports:
The Federal Government is adding dioxin to its list of chemicals that are known to
cause cancer. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
Dioxin is a chemical produced as a by-product when paper is bleached and certain kinds
of trash are burned. The National Institute of Environmental Health is adding the
contaminant to its list of known carcinogens. Dr. Bill Jamesion is the coordinator of the
report. He says local and state governmental bodies will now know the chemical poses a
threat to people.
“These state and local agencies look to the report on carcinogens as
an indicator that something has been identified as a carcinogen, and perhaps they need to
take another look and do their own risk benefit analysis and perhaps regulate it more
Jamieson says the listing doesn’t set levels of how much of any contaminant is
dangerous. But he says laboratory tests in animals and studies of humans exposed to
dioxin show a direct link to increased risks of cancer. For the Great Lakes Radio
Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.
Hybrid gas vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight nowprovide car buyers with an environmentally responsible alternative. Theseunique gas-electric hybrids couple the benefits of an electric motorwith the freedom of a gas engine. They don’t have to be plugged inand they run on regular gasoline. Despite the benefits, Great LakesRadio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston says she’s isn’t readyto buy quite yet:
Hybrid gas vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight now
provide car buyers an environmentally responsible alternative. These
unique gas-electric hybrids couple the benefits of an electric motor
with the freedom of a gas engine. They don’t have to be plugged in
and they run on regular gasoline. Despite the benefits, Great Lakes
Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston says, she’s isn’t ready
to buy quite yet.
I want to buy a car. Not just any car – but an environmentally
responsible vehicle – one that preferably runs on nothing but good
will and sunshine. It also has to be big enough to sit two large
teenage boys, a seven-year old girl, 15 Barbie dolls, my husband –
from time to time – and a dog. A large dog.
My old station wagon should’ve been replaced years ago, but there
wasn’t anything out there that I wanted to replace it with. Sure,
there were minivans, but after test driving General Motors
experimental EV1 electric car a few years ago, everything else seemed
environmentally obsolete. The EV1 was perfect. It ran on nothing but
electricity and looked and handled like a sports car. It even had a
great stereo. Unfortunately, it only had two seats. And even if I
could have traded my kids in on one, it was only available in
So ever since that first taste of automotive nirvana, I’ve been
waiting for something to help resolve my ecological conscience. When
Toyota and Honda announced their hybrid gas vehicles late last year,
I was cautiously optimistic. Both vehicles are combination gas and
electric, although their designs are very different. After subsidies,
they both sell for around twenty thousand dollars. I figure that’s a
reasonable price to pay to resolve a little environmental guilt.
The Honda Insight is the most fuel efficient of the two. It’s rated
at 68 miles to the gallon on the highway. Not exactly a zero
emissions vehicle, but a great start. Unfortunately, it’s only a
two-seater. Toyota’s Prius gets about 15 miles less to the gallon,
but it is a family sedan and it does have five seats. And while the
front ones are roomy enough, the back seats would hardly provide a
comfortable place for my two teenage boys. Their large gangly limbs
extend into the front seat and beyond when they so much as sneeze. I
could probably squeeze them into the back seat of the Prius for short
trips to the mall, but that doesn’t resolve the dog problem. Our
pup’s such an autohound that she lies down in front of my car in the
driveway so we can’t leave home without her.
I thought about trading one of the boys in on a Prius. I figured that
this would solve the problem of space and financing in one fell
swoop. But apparently teenage boys consume even more fuel than my old
station wagon. The dealer said no way.
Now some people would say that having a large dog and three kids
isn’t the most environmentally responsible thing to do in the first
place. And there are days when I agree. But I’m stuck with them for
now, so in the end it looks like we’re going to have to buy a van –
the most fuel efficient floating living room type-van you can buy.
At least the dog will be happy, and next time, I promise, I’ll buy a
The Commerce Department has begun an investigation into whether foreignsteel makers are dumping cheap steel into the U.S. market. Domesticproducers say they are, and that the practice is hurting U.S.companies. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson reports:
The Commerce Department has begun an investigation into whether foreign steel makers
are dumping cheap steel into the U.S. market. Domestic producers say they are, and that
the practice is hurting U.S. companies. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike
One of the last acts of the Clinton Administration was to order the
investigation. Lake carriers association president George Ryan
says the study is coming too late for some steel mines in Minnesota
and Michigan, which may have to be shut down. And he expects the
effect of those shutdowns to be felt throughout the Great Lakes because
of the major role steel plays in the shipping industry.
“Threatens to reduce the amount of cargo shipped on Great Lakes
ships this coming year to steel companies that are adjusting their
inventory to meet this illegal dumping situation.”
About one-third of steel used in the United States last year was
imported, an unusually high amount. If the commerce department
report finds the steel was sold below cost, thenit could attach
tariffs or ban the imports all together.
U.S. steelmakers have finally gotten what they have been demanding – aninvestigation into what they say is the illegal dumping of cheap steelinto the American market. The Commerce Department has recently begunlooking into the allegations. But some businessmen around the GreatLakes say the investigation may be coming too late to save some jobs. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson reports:
U.S. steelmakers have finally gotten what they have been demanding – an investigation
into what they say is the illegal dumping of cheap steel into the American market. The
Commerce Department has recently begun looking into the allegations. But some businessmen
around the Great Lakes say the investigation may be coming too late to save some jobs. The
Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson reports.
Since the first of the year, one iron ore mine on Minnesota’s Iron
Range has closed, another has threatened to close, and a third mine
is shutting down for a few weeks. That means some 2-thousand jobs
will be either permanently or temporarily lost. The problem is,
there’s too much steel right now on the U.S. market. And Duluth
Seaway Port official Ray Skelton says once steel companies have
too much inventory, the effect ripples across the Great Lakes.
“That means that everything starts shutting down straight
through the system. The mines themselves or specific mines start
having lay-offs, the rail companies that transfer the ore to the docks
start getting cutback and laid off. Dock workers themselves start
being impacted, the vessels start being laid up, some of the vessels a
ship or two or 3”
So Skelton is afraid there will be a slow start to the 2001 shipping
season. Lake Carriers Association president George Ryan in
Cleveland says he’s distressed by what he’s convinced is illegal
steel dumping from countries selling below cost. Ryan says that
could mean lost jobs for American workers.
“Threatens to reduce the amount of cargo shipped on Great Lakes
ships this coming year to steel companies that are adjusting their
inventory to meet this illegal dumping situation.”
Ryan is glad the Clinton adminsitration ordered the commerce
department investigation, but he thinks much of the damage has
been done. One-third of the steel used last year in the United States
was imported. That’s an unusually high amount according to iron
ore industry expert Peter Kakala. Kakala is a professor at
Michigan State University in East Lansing. He charts the ups and
downs of taconite mining. He says it’ll be hard to prove nations like
China and Russia are selling steel below cost to the United States.
But even so, Kakala is confident this slow period will soon pass.
“The first six months is going to be kind of the duration of
this slow down period and then towards mid to late summer I think
we’re going to see a pick up again, and then finishing the year fairly
Kakala says American steel companies and mines are competitive
with foreigh markets, and he thinks the economy is strong engough
to continue to demand more iron ore. If the commerce department
does rule that dumping is taking place, new imports may be banned
or tariffs could be used to off-set illegal foreign subsidies. In
either case, it would mean a rebound for Great Lakes mining and
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mike Simonson.
For at least the past 50 years, the Great Lakes states have been losingcongressional seats after every major census. As the Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Lester Graham reports… some environmentalists arepredicting that the latest losses could be especially bad for theenvironment:
For at least the past 50 years, the Great Lakes states have been losing
congressional seats after every major census. As the Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… some environmentalists are predicting
that the latest losses could be especially bad for the environment.
The eight states in the Great Lakes region will lose a total of nine seats
in the House of Representatives in the 2002 elections. The loss of
political clout could mean the region will lose federal money. One leading
environmentalist says the long-term damage could be even worse than that.
Keith Schneider is with the michigan land use institute. He says the votes
the Great Lakes region is losing will go to other areas.
“You know, it tranfers to the fast growing regions of the
country, particularly the southwest and the south and those areas tend to be
very conservative republicans and conservative republicans have been really,
really bad on the environment over the last 20 years.”
Although the population is growing in this region, the transfer of nine
seats in the house from the Great Lakes states to the sun-belt is the result
of even faster population growth in the south and southwest.
The Great Lakes region is losing political power in Washington. Despite showing some population growth in the last census, other regionshave grown much faster. So, most Great Lakes states will be losingeither one or two seats in the House of Representatives in the 2002elections. That means the region could have a harder time gettingfederal funds. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reportson what that might mean for the state of the environment:
THE GREAT LAKES IS LOSING POLITICAL POWER IN WASHINGTON. DESPITE SHOWING
SOME POPULATION GROWTH IN THE LAST CENSUS, OTHER REGIONS HAVE GROWN MUCH
FASTER. SO, MOST GREAT LAKES STATES WILL BE LOSING EITHER ONE OR TWO SEATS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE 2002 ELECTIONS. AND THAT MEANS THE
REGION COULD HAVE A HARDER TIME GETTING FEDERAL FUNDS. THE GREAT LAKES RADIO
CONSORTIUM’S LESTER GRAHAM REPORTS
ON WHAT THAT MIGHT MEAN FOR THE STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT.
(Illinois loses one seat; Indiana loses one seat; Michigan loses one seat;
Minnesota remains the same; New York loses two seats; Ohio loses one seat;
Pennsylvania loses two seats; Wisconsin loses one seat.)
FOR 50 YEARS OR MORE THE GREAT LAKES STATES HAVE BEEN LOSING SEATS IN
CONGRESS. IN THE LATEST CENSUS TAKEN LAST YEAR, THE SUN-BELT STATEES WRE
THE MAJOR WINNERS, GAINING 12 SEATS OVERALL. NINE OF THOSE ARE COMING AT
THE EXPENSE OF THE GREAT LAKES STATES.
THAT FACT HAS A LOT OF PEOPLE CONCERNED: POLITICIANS. BUSINESS LEADERS.
AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS AMONG OTHERS. THAT’S BECAUSE LESS REPRESENTATION IN
CONGRESS GENERALLY MEANS LESS POLITICAL CLOUT. AND MORE THAN LIKELY LESS
FEDERAL MONEY TO DO THE THINGS EACH INTEREST GROUP WANTS.
GEORGE KUPER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF GREAT LAKES INDUSTRIES. HE
SAYS ALREADY THE GREAT LAKES REGION DOESN’T CARRY THE KIND OF WEIGHT ON
CAPTIOL HILL IT SHOULD. AND LOSING NINE MORE VOTES IN THE HOUSE MEANS THE
SITUATION WILL ONLY GET WORSE.
“We’ve not been good in the past in terms of getting the federal
government to spend in our region commensurate with what we’ve sent to the
government as resources to spend. In other words, other parts of the
country are better at attracting federal government buying, if you’ll accept
that way of looking at the equation. And, uh, we’ve really been quite
concerned about that.”
A PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ECHOES KUPER’S ASSESSMENT. BARRY
RABE IS INTERIM DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
“And even before reapportionment, even before this takes place in
the next election, the Great Lakes states are consistently among those
states in the U-S tend –in dollars in / dollars out terms– to be net
losers in the federal grants and aid game.”
AND. RABE SAYS THE AREA THAT WILL PERHAPS BE HIT THE HARDEST WILL BE THE
ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN-UP AND PROTECTION OF THE GREAT LAKES.
“Environment and natural resource spending have never been huge
ticket items out of the entire federal budget anyway, but if you begin to
tighten down even further and then play the reallocation game, that probably
does mean some futher moving of funding and grant activity out of the Great
BUT RABE SAYS SUCH PROBLEMS COULD BE SHORT-LIVED. IF THE GREAT LAKES STATES
DO GET LESS MONEY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. AND IF THE REPUBLICAN HELD
CONGRESS AND THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT CUT ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS
RABE BELIEVES THERE MIGHT BE A BACKLASH FROM VOTERS. HE SAYS OFTEN THE
MID-TERM ELECTION, WHICH THIS TIME COINCIDES WITH REAPPORTIONMENT, CHANGES
THE BALANCE OF POWER IN CONGRESS TO THE PARTY OUT OF POWER. IN THIS CASE,
THE DEMOCRATS. AND HE SAYS THEY ARE SOMETIMES MORE SENSITIVE TO
BUT SOME BELIEVE THE GREAT LAKES REGION LOSING NINE SEATS IN CONGRESS MIGHT
ONLY BE THE START OF THE REGION’S PROBLEMS. KEITH SCHNEIDER IS A FORMER
JOURNALIST WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF THE
LAND USE INSTITUTE. SCHNEIDER SAYS THE SEATS LOST IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION
ARE BEING TRANSFERRED TO THE SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST. WHERE MORE OFTEN THAN
CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS ARE ELECTED TO CONGRESS.
“We have the potential to replace moderate Republicans and good
Democrats who have been good on the environment in the Great Lakes region
with very, very conservative Republicans –who have been terrible on the
environment– in other regions who don’t have Great Lakes interests at
heart. So, I’d love to say it’s a more sanguine picture, but it’s not.”
SO THE GREAT LAKES CONGRESSIONAL SEATS AREN’T JUST LOST. THEY’RE
TO OTHER REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY VOTE AGAINST GREAT
STILL. SOME OF THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE GREAT LAKES SAY THERE’S A LOT OF
POLITICAL CLOUT LEFT IN THE REGION. THEY POINT OUT THAT THE EIGHT GREAT
LAKES STATES HAVE 16 SENATORS. AND WILL STILL HAVE 125 OF THE 435 VOTES IN
THE HOUSE. AND. REGARDLESS OF THE MAKEUP OF THOSE 125 VOTES. THEY BELIEVE
THEY’LL REPRESENT GREAT LAKES ISSUES WELL. MICHAEL DONAHUE IS WITH THE
GREAT LAKES COMMISSION WHICH ACTS AS AN ADVOCATE FOR THE EIGHT GREAT
“Well, in all honesty, after all the years I’ve been working in
this field, I really must say that it really doesn’t make a great deal of
difference who’s in power in Washington or back in the states because there
is such a spirit of bi-partisanship involved. You know, we’ve seen
Republicans that are great on Great Lakes issues and those that aren’t and
it’s been the same story with the Democrats.”
AND SOME ENVIRONMENTALISTS HAVE ALSO FOUND THAT TO BE TRUE. MARGARET
WOOSTER IS WITH GREAT LAKES UNITED. A BI-NATIONAL COALITION OF
“They may have slightly different focuses, but the overall
interest –and they’re hearing from their constituencies is that Great
Lakes water quality, Great Lakes habitats do need to be protected.”
AND THE WAY TO DO THAT, EVERYONE SEEMS TO AGREE, IS FOR THE DIFFERENT
INTEREST GROUPS TO JOIN TOGETHER TO BACK JUST A HANDFUL OF MAJOR ISSUES. AND
ASK THE ENTIRE GROUP OF REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT THOSE FEW INITIATIVES.
THAT WAY THE GREAT LAKES DELEGATION IS NOT SPLINTERED AND IT CAN SPEAK FOR
THE REGION WITH ONE VOICE.
Big ships will soon have to comply with clean air regulations. TheGreat Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… until now theships have gone unregulated:
Big ships will soon have to comply with clean air regulations. The Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… until now the ships have
Some of the big ships that tie up in Great Lakes ports burn some of the
dirtiest fuel on the globe. It’s high in sulfur and soot. A group called
the Bluewater Network sued the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the
EPA should enforce the nation’s clean air laws on ships that dock in the
U.S. The EPA agreed that U.S. flag ships need to comply. But it’s
struggling with whether it can enforce restrictions on ships flying foreign
flags in U.S. waters. Russel Long is the executive director of Bluewater
“Ultimately I think they’re going to have to reduce pollutions from
every single vessel that’s plying the great lakes waterways as well as all
the coastal areas in addition.”
The EPA estimates large ships in U.S. waters belch 273-thousand tons of
pollutants each year.
For the GLRC, this is Lester Graham.
A research team at the University of Rochester has found that acombination of two commonly-used pesticides produces symptoms ofParkinson’s disease in mice. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s BudLowell has more:
A research team at the University of Rochester has found that a
combination of two commonly-used pesticides produces symptoms of
Parkinson’s disease in mice. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bud Lowell has more.
Maneb is a fungicide and Paraquat a herbicide — both widely used in
agriculture. A federally-funded research project at the University of Rochester
Medical School has found that exposure to both chemicals together may have
Dr. Deborah Cory-Slechta has found that mice exposed to both
Paraquat and Maneb have something in common with humans suffering from
“They have motor deficits — deficits in their motor behavior. And they
basically have damage — selective damage, even — to the same
neurotransmitter systems, the dopamine systems — that are damaged in
Cory-Slechta says it’s too big a jump to say Paraquat and Maneb cause
Parkinson’s disease in humans. She says there are probably a range of
factors, some of them genetic.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Bud Lowell.
Despite warmer temperatures during the past week, ice in the GreatLakes region is worse than usual this year. The Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports:
Ice in the Great Lakes Region is worse than usual this year. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards are putting in overtime to break up ice and clear
shipping routes across the Great Lakes. Chief Petty Officer Paul Calvey is with the Coast
Guard’s Cleveland Office. He says the ice levels in some parts of the Great Lakes are the
thickest they’ve been in twenty-five years.
“And this is basically attributed to the colder conditions. We’ve had a much
more severe and much more colder winter so far already and before it even became
winter. And that’s why we are seeing so much ice already.”
Calvey says ice cutting ships have been able to keep most shipping routes clear, but it has
taken a lot of extra effort. He says the conditions are the worst on the St. Mary’s River,
the Detroit River, and in Buffalo Harbor. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m