The Canadian government is abandoning its promise to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. As the GLRC’s Karen Kelly reports, environmental groups are not happy:
The Canadian government is abandoning its promise to cut
greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. As the GLRC’s Karen Kelly
reports, environmental groups unhappy:
Canadian Environment minister Rona Ambrose says it’s impossible for
Canada to meet the 2012 deadline for cutting emissions. Canada was
supposed to cut pollution by six percent below its 1990 levels.
Instead, it increased emissions by 25-percent.
John Bennett is with the Sierra Club of Canada. He admits the
previous government wasn’t doing enough, but he worries that the new
Conservative leadership is giving up completely.
“The government is setting up a self fulfilling prophecy. It’s saying
we can’t make the targets so it’s not even going to try. That’s a
tragedy. We have to reduce emissions.”
But Environment Minister Rona Ambrose says short-term targets are
unrealistic. She says Canada needs a plan that spans 50 years instead
There’s no shortage of veterinarians for small animals like cats and dogs. But there is a shortage of large animal veterinarians.
There’s also a shortage of vets who study diseases that could infect humans, such as mad cow or West Nile virus. Some vet schools hold open houses to teach the public about their profession, and to encourage kids’ interest in the field. The GLRC’s Melissa Ingells reports:
There’s no shortage of veterinarians for small animals like cats and
dogs. But there is a shortage of large animal veterinarians. There’s
also a shortage of vets who study diseases that could infect humans,
such as mad cow or West Nile virus. Some vet schools hold open houses
to teach the public about their profession, and to encourage kids’
interest in the field. The GLRC’s Melissa Ingells reports:
It seems like too much fun to be science education. Kids are getting
a chance to milk cows, pet ferrets, and listen to the heartbeats of
sheep. This event is a way for vet students to share their love of
veterinary medicine. Kids and parents crowd around the exhibits at
the Michigan State University Vet-A-Visit to see the critters. For
one of the animal stars, the crowds were just a little too much.
“My name is Sarah, and this is a Merlin falcon that is fairly used to
people being around and they’re used for education so crowds don’t
bother them for short periods of time, but they take breaks every now
and then. It gets a little agitated sometimes – it’s one of the more
Mostly, though, the animal participants show considerable patience
with being on display. Especially the cow, who is being milked by
lots of inexperienced hands.
Sam is a grade schooler, and he’s serious about learning how to do it
right. A vet student shows him how.
“I’ll show you. So you’re going to…make a…have your hand like
that…make a fist…squeeze…oh, good job! There you go! Yay! Whoa! Did
you see it come out? Yeah! Good job! Cool!”
While getting handled by amateur milkers all day might seem a little
intrusive, it’s not nearly as personal as people sticking their hands
into your stomach. Another nearby cow has a porthole in her ribcage.
Kids are actually putting their hands inside to feel the digestive
process. That’s what Erica just did, after putting on a very long
“What I just did, I put my hand in the um, cow’s like stomach and
everything and I felt hay and everything. It’s all slimy and
everything, it’s all warm too. It’s like all broken down. It’s kind
of funny and everything…and gross.”
While many of the Vet-a-Visit exhibits are live animals, there are
plenty of skulls and bones. One vet student is showing something that
most kids have never seen—a preserved stillborn lamb, cut down the
center to show the insides.
“My name is Daniella. So, this is our lamb here, and he’s been
preserved with silicone so that we can teach students and future
students from him, and that way they can see the actual anatomy
inside. So they can see the lungs, and they can see the stomach and
his intestines. Some of the kids are kind of grossed out, but most of
them are really interested and you can see their love of medicine just
growing, and it’s really cool to see their eyes light up and they come
over and they want to touch him and it’s a lot of fun.”
Judging from the laughter and carnival atmosphere, apparently kids are
having fun everywhere,. The vet students also seem to be having fun,
like the goat-keeper at the petting zoo.
“I’m Molly and I’m a first year vet student at Michigan State, and
this is a little Alpine goat. He’s a male, he’s about a year old, and
he’s been eating people’s sleeves all day long. It definitely reminds
you why you’re doing all this when you’re sitting in class all day
long, so it’s nice.”
Some of the kids are just here for the fun of it, and it’s hard to say
how many might actually end up as veterinarians. Some are apparently on the
right track, as we found out from one little girl, Grace, after she
visited some household pets.
“The cats… the little cats and the big cats and the doggies.”
“What were they doing?”
“The were um… they loved me.”
“You think you might want to be a vet someday?”
“I am. I listened to the heartbeat. I just listened in my ears.”
Of course, it might be a few years before Grace is licensed… but who
In the next six years, the amount of ethanol production is expected to double. With more corn ethanol plants coming online, the distillers are looking for ways to sell one of the by-products.
The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports ethanol distillers are selling the corn mash left over from turning corn into ethanol:
In the next six years, the amount of ethanol production is expected to
double. With more corn ethanol plants coming online, the distillers
are looking for ways to sell one of the by-products. The GLRC’s
Lester Graham reports ethanol distillers are selling the corn mash
left over from turning corn into ethanol:
The mash, called distillers grain, is a good livestock feed. It’s
higher in protein than the same amount of corn. Since most of the
ethanol plants are being built in the corn-belt, the distillers are
trying to get nearby livestock operations to buy the distillers grain.
Jim Hilker is an agriculture marketing expert at Michigan State
University. He says that works… up to a point…
“It depends on whether the livestock is near. It appears, as many
plants are going up, that we’re going to saturate some areas. They’ll
have to be shipped somewhere.”
That means drying the distillers grain… and shipping it… both adding
to the cost. The trick is to keep the price the same or cheaper than
corn… to keep it competitive. With 97 plants operating and another 34
under construction to meet the government’s call to produce a lot more
ethanol… there could soon be a glut of distillers grain.
Ethanol plants are being built all over the corn belt. 97 plants are
operating and another 34 new plants or expansions are underway, according
to the Renewable Fuels Association. A by-product of the process is corn
mash, or distillers grain. The distillers are hoping to sell it all to
nearby livestock farms. (Photo by Lester Graham)
The federal government has called for more renewable fuels for cars and trucks over the next few years. Ethanol from corn is expected to meet much of that demand. As ethanol production increases, the distillers are looking for ways to make money on some of the by-products of the process. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports on how the ethanol distillers might market what’s left over after turning corn into ethanol:
The federal government has called for more renewable fuels for cars
and trucks over the next few years. Ethanol from corn is expected
to meet much of that demand. As ethanol production increases, the
distillers are looking for ways to make money on some of the by-
products of the process. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports on
how the ethanol distillers might market what’s left over after
turning corn into ethanol:
(Sound of construction)
New ethanol plants are being built every year. 97 plants are in
operation today and the Renewable Fuels Association indicates 34 new or
expanded plants are under construction. The ethanol refinery
industry is gearing up for the expansion that the government wants.
Ethanol plants are basically giant corn alcohol stills. They produce
huge batches of – well – moonshine, but like moonshiner stills,
there’s a corn mash left over. It’s called distillers grain, and with
all the new plants coming online, there’s going to be a lot more of the
by-product in the future. Distillers grain can be used as livestock feed.
So, the agricultural industry is trying to get more cattle farmers and
others to buy it.
Tracy Jones is a farmer in northern Illinois. He says the agriculture
industry and the ethanol plants that want to get rid of the distillers
grain cheaply, have been encouraging farmers to expand their
“And I know some producers that are maybe expanding. It’s a
good deal, but it’s not that good of a deal, and there’s a lot of other
issues that go into the cattle feeding business besides just getting
Jones has been feeding wet distillers grain from Wisconsin to his
cattle for about a year. Jones says the distillers grain makes sense
as long as the price doesn’t get too high.
“We need to buy it cheaply. We’re basically using it as a corn
replacer. So, when we have cheap corn, you still need to buy the
by-products cheaply also.”
Jones says his cattle are gaining weight at about five-cents a pound
cheaper using distillers grain as part of the mix of feed. Part of the
reason is the price is lower, but distillers grain has another
advantage… it’s higher in protein than plain corn. It’s got about the
same protein content as soybean meal.
That makes Jason Anderson think this stuff might be good to
export overseas as a food for people. Anderson is the Economic
Development Director for the city of Rochelle, Illinois. An ethanol
plant is being built in his city. With a couple of major railways and
a cargo container transfer station in his town, exporting dried distillers
grain would be easy. Because of the nation’s trade deficit, about
half the cargo containers go back to their original country empty.
Anderson says the by-product could be dried to a sort of high-
protein corn meal and shipped.
“Dried distillers grain could be put into intermodal containers,
which are sealed containers, put on a train and sent to the west
coast. They could also be shipped over the Pacific Ocean to starving
countries on the other side of the world.”
Corn tofu, anyone?
Exporting dried distillers grain as human food overseas hasn’t been
discussed much, but shipping it to cattle feedlots in Texas and
other cattle country has been discussed. Agriculture experts think
the ethanol plants located in the corn-belt won’t find enough
livestock in the immediate area to buy the product.
“At this point, where the livestock are and where the plants are
there’ll be a lot of them that has to be shipped.”
Jim Hilker is an agriculture marketing expert at Michigan State
University. He says he’s not sure the ethanol plants will make
much money on distillers grain, especially if they have to ship it to
cattle feedlots out west. That’s because they’ll have to dry the
product… and that adds to the cost.
“The first ones, I think, are making some money before we get
saturated on this, and I think if we put a system for handling it and
stuff in place, they’ll probably. But, if they can more than cover
the cost – remember, otherwise there’s disposal fees too. So, a
break-even here is a pretty good deal.”
So if the distillers just recover the drying and shipping costs, it
would be better than paying to dump the distillers grain in a
But farmer Tracy Jones says he thinks the ethanol manufacturers
have already figured out the by-product will be abundant… and
they’re still counting on making some money on it.
“When they do their financials for their ethanol plant, they don’t
plan on giving this product away. So, they need to get something
Jones says he’s noticed the ethanol producers don’t call distillers
grain a by-product of the process. They call it a co-product. He
thinks that’s a little marketing ploy that indicates the ethanol
plants definitely plan to demand a good price for the livestock feed,
regardless of the glut on the market.
Some members of Congress are trying again to get more money and protections for the Great Lakes. The GLRC’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Some members of Congress are trying again to get more money and
protections for the Great Lakes. The GLRC’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The sponsors of the bill are calling it the Great Lakes Collaboration
Implementation Act. It aims to pay for recommendations from a
coalition put together by the White House two years ago. The measure
would target problems like invasive species, contaminated sediment and
A bi-partisan group of lawmakers has introduced the bill…and
environmental groups are giving their thumbs-up.
Jennifer Nalbone of Great Lakes United says the rapid increase in non-
native species is a particular concern.
“The most recent research shows that a new invader is discovered in the
Great Lakes every 28 weeks. This is the highest rate recorded for a
But some lawmakers from outside the Great Lakes region say there’s
little in the way of new money available for cleaning up the Lakes. The
Collaboration bill calls for billions more in additional spending.
New research indicates that polluted run-off might be causing reproduction problems for ocean fish by making more males than females. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports:
New research indicates that polluted run-off might be causing
reproduction problems for ocean fish by making more males than
females. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports:
Rivers dump much of the pollution and agricultural runoff they carry into
the oceans. That often causes a dead zone… an area where the oxygen is
depleted. New research being published in the journal, Environmental
Science & Technology, indicates low levels of oxygen can cause sex
changes in embryonic fish. That’s leading to an overabundance of
The lead researcher, Rudolf Wu at the City University of Hong Kong
finds since there are a lot more males… it’s less likely the males fish will
find females to reproduce. That means there might not be enough new
fish to maintain sustainable populations.
Some dead zones develop naturally, but scientific evidence suggests that
often dead zones are caused by fertilizers used on farmland crops
running off into rivers and finally into the oceans.
In some parts of the country, developers who damage or destroy wetlands are mitigating that by buying credits for wetlands that have been created somewhere else. It’s called “wetland banking” and it’s similar to banking programs for air pollution. Wetland banking resulted from state and federal efforts to stop the loss of wetlands nationwide. The GLRC’s Erin Toner reports:
In some parts of the country, developers who damage or destroy
wetlands are making up for it by buying credits for wetlands that have
been created somewhere else. It’s called “wetland banking” and it’s
similar to banking programs for air pollution. Wetland banking resulted
from state and federal efforts to stop the loss of wetlands nationwide.
The GLRC’s Erin Toner reports:
J.B Ruhl is a professor of property at Florida State University. He
compiled a list of all wetland banking transactions in Florida. Ruhl
found a clear shift of wetlands from urban areas to rural areas, taking
environmental services away from cities.
Ruhl says wetlands provide flood and storm surge control, capture
pollution and recharge groundwater.
“If you take that wetland out, you’ve lost some value that you have to
either replace by building cement storm water ponds and all the other
things that could kind of replicate the wetland. Or, you just don’t replace
them, and either way you’re either spending money to replace the
wetland or you’re spending money to deal with the problems that arise
when the wetland is gone.”
Ruhl says the federal government should keep better track of where
wetlands are being lost and where they’re being replaced – and of the
environmental costs and benefits of those transactions.
Health experts say the medical records of cats and dogs could serve as an early warning system for diseases such as avian flu. The GLRC’s Rebecca Williams has more:
Health experts say the medical records of cats and dogs could serve as an
early warning system for diseases such as avian flu. The GLRC’s
Rebecca Williams has more:
The health records of thousands of dogs and cats throughout the country
are tracked by the National Companion Animal Surveillance Program.
Larry Glickman helped design the system. He’s an epidemiologist at
Purdue University. He says it was originally designed to track anthrax or
plague outbreaks in pets. Glickman says now, the system could be used
to monitor pets for avian flu symptoms.
“What we’re concerned with in the U.S is for example, a pet animal like a
cat will come in contact with a bird that is sick or even died of avian
influenza, then the cat will pick up that virus and will become infected,
and the very same day it might climb in bed with people and transmit
that virus to people.”
Glickman says the system can pinpoint areas where quarantines are
needed… to slow the spread of disease in both pets and people.
When you think of diesel engines, you might think of big, noisy, stinky trucks. But that’s changing. And a domestic automaker has plans to bring a cleaner, higher performing diesel engine to passenger cars. The company insists: it’s not your father’s diesel. The GLRC’s Julie Halpert has the story:
When you think diesel engines, you might think of big, noisy, stinky
trucks, but that’s changing and a domestic automaker has plans to bring a
cleaner, higher performing diesel engine to passenger cars. The
company insists: it’s not your father’s diesel. The GLRC’s Julie Halpert
has the story:
In Europe… people have been hearing this catchy little tune on a
(Sound of commercial)
If you hate something, improve it. That’s the message of this Honda UK
commercial that highlights the historically loud, smelly diesel engines.
It’s intended to promote Honda’s new, cleaner diesel, something it’s
launching in Europe.
Diesels have always been more popular in Europe than the U.S. That’s
because there diesel fuel is roughly 20 to 30 percent cheaper than
gasoline there, and diesels get great fuel economy… 30 percent better
than in gasoline engines.
Here in the U.S., diesels haven’t sold well. In the 1970s, when diesel
fuel was cheaper than gas, diesels gained in popularity briefly, but people
didn’t like the stench of the smoky fumes and the clunky sounds of diesel
engines. Those lingering attitudes have scared Honda off from bringing
its new diesels here.
But Daimler/Chrysler is trying to change all that. The company is
drawing on its European expertise to bring advanced technology diesels
to more U.S. passenger cars, and now, they think Americans will buy
Jim Widenbak is a manager of small diesel systems for Daimler/Chrysler.
“We think that there’s a niche for diesels in the North American market,
and We’re not sure exactly how big, but I would characterize us as kind
of bullish on diesels. We really think there’s a place for them and
that customers will ultimately be very happy with diesel products.”
Daimler/Chrysler currently offers a diesel engine on its newer models of
the Jeep Liberty and the Mercedes E-320. Sales of these vehicles were
more than double what the company expected – 10,000 for the diesel
Jeep Liberty and 5,000 for the E-320.
Widenback says that electronic controls have improved over the past 30
years, making diesels better performing, more fuel efficient and cleaner
The company is in negotiations with the Environmental Protection
Agency to use a new technology, currently in use in Europe, that cuts
pollution further – just in time for tough new federal emission controls
that take effect by 2008. The process uses a material called urea that’s
injected into the exhaust before the exhaust hits the pollution control
device. This ultimately removes troublesome emissions of nitrogen
There is one problem with the pollution control system, though.
Anthony Pratt directs power train forecasting for J.D. Power Automotive
Systems. He says the car periodically will run out of its supply of urea.
“So, in other words, you’re not getting the injection of urea in the
exhaust, the vehicles will continue to perform normally as if the urea
tanks were full but they will not meet the more strict emission
If the company finds a way to ensure the tanks stay full, Pratt thinks it
will work. Pratt projects diesel engine sales will grow from 3 percent of
the market in 2005 to seven and a half percent in 2012, overtaking sales
of hybrid vehicles, which are only projected to be 4% of the market.
“I think the vehicle manufacturers will be successful in ultimately
educating the consumer in that the new diesel technology is not the dirty,
clanky, loud and sluggish technology they may be familiar with from the
late 70s and early 80s.”
(Sound of car dealership)
That message – that diesels are worth buying – is falling on deaf ears for
the customers of Schultz Motors. Tyler Shultz, the general manager, doesn’t
think it will fly, based on what he’s seen.
“As diesel prices went up in the last six months to a year, we virtually
have lost interest. Again, it’s not that the consumer doesn’t want it, but
when they see fuel prices go above gasoline prices, it was almost like
somebody flipped a switch.”
Shultz says it’s too expensive to buy and maintain a diesel and customers
won’t recoup the cost savings from better fuel economy unless they own
their car for several years. He, and some other dealers in the area don’t
think diesels will ever become popular.
Daimler/Chrysler’s Widenbak disagrees. He expects those fuel prices to come
down, and as they do, he says people will start buying diesel vehicles.
“We’re confident that our vehicles, diesel vehicles in general and our vehicles
specifically, can appeal to people.”
Daimler/Chrysler is so confident, it expects to roll out diesel engines in
more of its passenger cars over the next few years.
Coyotes have started to lose their wildlife habitat, and now they are adapting to cities and suburbs. (Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
Justin Brown is one of the researchers tracking coyotes in the suburbs. His research is exploring the predator's impact on Canada geese.
Coyotes have even found their way into downtowns of major cities.
A coyote was recently found in New York City's Central Park. Coyotes frequent Chicago's downtown Lincoln Park, in search of food such as young geese and other waterfowl.
In recent years, coyotes have been increasing in numbers in many cities and suburbs. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports there might be more of the predators because there are more Canada geese:
In recent years, coyotes have been increasing in numbers in many cities
and suburbs. The GLRC’s Lester Graham reports there might be more of
the predators because there are more Canada geese:
Coyotes are sneaky, so people don’t see them often, but researchers have
caught a few and put radio collars on them to track their movements.
Justin Brown is part of an Ohio State University study following coyotes
in suburban Chicago. He says the research indicates coyotes might be
keeping a nuisance in check. It seems coyotes like to eat young Canada
“Coyotes are actually showing to be very important predators of them
and we’re actually even finding some adult kills, which is pretty amazing
that they can catch adult geese. They’re very wary. They’re always
watching. Even when they’re sitting on the nest, the geese do not sleep.
So, I mean, it’s just amazing seeing how good coyotes are at what they
Brown says it looks as though coyotes are also taking young deer, which
ultimately might reduce the number of car – deer accidents in the