Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says more than $2.9 million in grants will help develop new uses for old vehicle tires.

The grants announced this week support Gov. Rick Snyder's initiative to double the state's residential recycling rate to 30 percent.

They fund projects that use rubber-modified asphalt in construction and repairs to improve Michigan roadways; research to find new and better ways to incorporate scrap tire rubber into asphalt and concrete; and equipment projects to increase the use of scrap tires.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

As residents and businesses wait for the Environmental Protection Agency testing at a site near Hall and Madison, WGVU’s Mariano Avila tells us how the situation began and where things stand today.

It was in 2013 that officials first realized the site was contaminated from having been a dry cleaner in a previous life. Abigail Hendershott is an environmental quality analyst with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She’s the one that figured out there was a problem.

Michigan is paying criminal defense bills for two state employees charged amid Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water.
 
The state Department of Environmental Quality is paying fees for Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, who are charged with evidence tampering, misconduct in office and safe drinking water violations.
 
The Detroit Free Press reports Michigan must provide or pay for defense for state employees sued in connection with their jobs, but not those facing criminal charges.
 

Photo Mariano Avila | Image MDEQ/EPA Presentation

Contamination from a site of a former dry cleaner in southeast Grand Rapids may be larger than environmental officials initially thought.

Federal, state and local agency representatives provided updates at a public meeting held Wednesday.

Betsy Nightingale is an on-scene coordinator with the EPA’s Superfund division. She says officials will be contacting property owners and testing a several-block area near the corner of Hall and Madison for potential contamination.

The agency hopes to have initial sample tests completed by late June.

Hilary Farrell

Environmental authorities have closed off a corner of Hall and Madison on Grand Rapids’ southeast side following a chemical vapor issue reported last week.

The Kent County Health Department says recent Michigan Department of Environmental Quality testing found the presence of tetrachloroethylene vapors at the site were four to eight times higher than acceptable levels.

The KCHD says acceptable levels are six parts per billion. Testing found levels between 25 and 50 parts per billion. 

Republican state House Speaker Kevin Cotter has announced a two-bill package to make it easier for higher ranking government officials to fire state employees beneath them.

Cotter told reporters Thursday that the legislation isn't a reaction to the public health emergency in Flint.

It comes at a time, however, when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and state workers face intense scrutiny after Flint's water supply became contaminated with lead after the city began using water from the Flint River in 2014.

feedingamerica.org

Michigan is boosting efforts to provide healthy food to Flint residents amid the city's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says Thursday it's awarding $100,000 to Feeding America West Michigan to help distribute up to 2 million pounds of frozen vegetables per year.

The DEQ says half will be sent to the Flint-based Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

The food banks are partnering with Arbre Farms of Walkerville.

Governor Rick Snyder calls criminal charges against two state and one city of Flint employee related to the Flint water crisis "deeply troubling".

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Governor Rick Snyder says the investigations are "critically important".

Flint water pipes
FlintWaterStudy.org | Min Tang, Kelsey Pieper

The first criminal charges have been filed in Flint's lead-tainted water crisis, including allegations that two state regulators and a Flint water plant supervisor tampered with evidence and that the state regulators knowingly misled U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials and the county health department.

Michigan's attorney general says two state employees and a Flint utility worker charged in the Flint lead-tainted water crisis "failed Michigan families."

An investigation led by the office of Bill Schuette began in January.

Two state employees and a Flint utility worker were charged Wednesday with several crimes.

Schuette also said at a news conference Wednesday that he'd "guarantee" there will be more charges.

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