Protecting our environment – by Becky Norris

Can we as a small business community help out? Antrim County, Star Township, and the Friends of the Jordan River are working to prevent a potential environmental disaster for northwestern Michigan and need financial support.  What’s it all about? Many years ago some regulatory decisions were made that permitted development of the Bay Harbor complex south of Petoskey on top of tons and tons of cement kiln dust, without proper clean-up.  Over the years, it has become evident that leaving the cement kiln dust in the development site was a big mistake: the very alkaline material is caustic, poisons the fish and plant life where it leaches into Lake Michigan and contaminates some of the groundwater that provides drinking water for the Petoskey region.

The matter has recently come to a head because a “solution” has been developed. The plan is to collect about 10% –what about the other 90%? — of the toxic leachate and pump it down a deep well near Alba in Star Township to get rid of it. The potential consequences of the well disposal “solution” are terrifying to contemplate: pollution of the headwaters of several of the watersheds in northern lower Michigan, pollution of the groundwater supplies for the region, destruction of a lot of the pristine northland that attracts tourist trade and supports many of our businesses, etc., etc. More information about this is available on the web site of the Friends of the Jordan.

Star Township is planning a fundraiser picnic on June 14 from 1:00-6:00 PM at Richardi Park in Bellaire. Contributors for matching funds are being sought. What can we do to help?

Any and all types of help for the picnic itself, in addition to monetary support, would be welcome. Please contact Barb Bradford at 231-533-6789 or by email at bjbradford@gtlakes.com (include Star Township Fundraiser in the subject line) for more information.

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