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Planet Detroit

Planet Detroit helps you get smarter about the environment in Detroit and Michigan. Planet Detroit’s stories and weekly newsletter focus on explanatory, solutions-based and investigative reporting, and a deep commitment to community engagement around local environmental issues. Planet Detroit’s mission is to raise awareness about Metro Detroit’s environmental and public health issues, hold powerful entities accountable and help our audience connect with their local environment and take action to protect the health of their communities.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise when two dams in mid-Michigan dams failed on May 19th—they are two of hundreds of dams across Michigan that have “high” hazard potential ratings from the National Dam Inventory, meaning that “failure or misoperation… will probably cause loss of human life.” Dam safety—like the safety of much of our infrastructure—has been overlooked for decades nationwide. Metro Detroit is no exception. As Midland recovers, Planet Detroit decided to take a look at the dams in our backyard.  Metro Detroit has 95 dams, 35 of which are rated “high” or “significant” hazard. The hazard rating reflects the
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Do you have questions about your air, water, soil, food, energy, and health? We’re here to help answer your questions and information needs about your local environment and health. You can ask your questions by clicking the blue button below OR you can TEXT Planet313 to 73224. OUR GOALS ARE TO: 1. Understand + respond to community information needs related to the environment. 2. Report stories that explain and illuminate environmental justice and health issues + solutions in Detroit. 3. Launch a community information hub on planedetroit.com to serve as a resource for the region.
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picture being taken on tree trunk using iPhone
We’ll be offering ways to help get you thinking about the outdoors and indoors — and how your local environment and health are connected — while also keeping you safe and socially distant.
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Above Lakewood between Scripps and Harbor Island on May 22, 2020. Photo By Demetrio Nasol.
"A little bit unattractive, but it's better.. than the sandbags." That's how Detroit General Services Department Project Manager Crystal Perkins described the water-filled ‘Tiger Dams’ that are now being installed throughout Jefferson Chalmers in an attempt to control floodwaters. At a Wednesday press conference, Perkins said the city was about 85% percent finished with the project, which will install Tiger Dams across more than 350 properties at a cost of $3.5 million in the far eastside neighborhood that borders Grosse Pointe Park. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan touted the dams as a "temporary solution" to the problem of record high water
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The Sierra Club filed a settlement agreement in federal court Friday committing DTE Energy to retire three of its five coal-fired plants by 2022.
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The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan’s dams a C- on its most 2018 infrastructure report card (better than the roads, storm drains and drinking water systems, which all got a D or worse.)
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The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a 4.7% rate increase for DTE customers last week —  less than the 9% increase DTE had requested in their June 2019 filing. The decision also requires the utility to propose a system to link its performance with profits and to engage with community stakeholders in its next rate case.   Increased rates are set to begin for all DTE customers Friday.  DTE had previously announced that customers would save 3-4% this summer in bill relief due to the coronavirus shutdown resulting in cheaper electric generation costs.  Chris Lamphear, a corporate communications manager for DTE, wrote in an email, “We recognize
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The data gathered by the U.S. Census, which includes information on the age, racial background and income level of an area’s residents, is often the statistical basis for legal action and activism around environmental threats.
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city of detroit orange and white sign denoting sewage problems
Scripps Street on April 3. Photo by Brian Allnutt. On Scripps street in Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers Neighborhood, Blake Grannum, 36, has been nervously watching the canal that links her backyard to the Detroit River. She has lived in this house her entire life and has experienced floods before, but this doesn’t make her any less anxious. “Right now, the water is extremely high,” she says, “and I’m just imagining it coming over it in the next week or two.” If the canal overtops the sixty-foot seawall behind the house that she shares with her mother, this would be the second
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On Saturday morning on March 21, around a dozen volunteers wearing gloves and masks were helping unload an Absopure water truck at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Corktown
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Theresa Landrum’s neighborhood in the shadow of the Marathon Oil Refinery. Photo courtesy Landrum. Theresa Landrum’s neighborhood in the 48217 zip code is surrounded by polluters like AK Steel and Marathon Petroleum. She says that her community is dealing not only with the rapid spread of the coronavirus, but also a high prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma that could make the impact of the virus even deadlier.  “It’s like popcorn popping, hot spots everywhere,” says Landrum, a local resident, and activist, about the spread of COVID-19 in Detroit, which has emerged as one of the worst outbreaks in the country with thousands of cases and a
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A conspiracy theory began floating around on social media in March linking the rollout of 5G technology with the emergence of the novel coronavirus and its resulting disease, COVID-19.
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