Line 5, PFAS, the Great Lakes and more: Our best environmental reporting

Mackinac Bridge | Susan J. Demas

Quotable of the Year:

“Today is a big day for our Great Lakes.”

Sean McBrearty, Michigan legislative and policy director of Clean Water Action, when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in November she was shutting down Line 5

It’s been a big year of news. To end 2020, the Advance is running a series of our best stories from some of the many issues we cover, from the COVID-19 pandemic to education to the election. We’ll also have a roundup of stories that you might have missed.

Here’s our roundup of our top environmental stories:

Wondering what’s going on with Line 5? We’ve had dozens of stories this year. Get caught up fast with our explainer on the legal issues surrounding Enbridge’s pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Nessel got Line 5 shut down, for now. Enviros say Whitmer can shut it down for good.

There have been a number of environmental issues concerning the pipeline this year, starting in January.

Enbridge retrieves ½ of mechanical debris on Line 5 pipeline — but plans to leave the remainder in lakebed

In 2020, anti-pipeline activists saw victories across the country, which gave hope to environmentalists trying to shut down Line 5.

Anti-Line 5 activists buoyed by national pipeline victories

Indigenous activists have opposed Line 5. In the fall, they discovered Ice Age artifacts close to the pipeline.

New: Tribal members urge EGLE to deny or delay Line 5 permits after archeological finds

After reviewing issues about the pipeline since taking office in January 2019, Whitmer in December ordered Line 5 shut down.

New: Whitmer announces Line 5 shutdown after 15-month review

And in a joint effort with the Advance‘s sister outlet, the Minnesota Reformer, we revisited the similar issues involving Line 5 and another Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota, Line 3.

As Enbridge fights for Line 5, Indigenous activists block Line 3 construction in Minnesota

Environmental advocates have long pushed to end water shutoffs, but it took on new urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Advance investigated Michigan’s patchwork regulatory system which makes it hard to know how many Michiganders are going without water.

How many Michiganders are still without clean water during COVID-19? Not even the state knows.

Following the collapse of dams in Midland this spring, the Advance looked at Michigan’s larger infrastructure crisis and the complex roles of the state, federal agencies and private companies.

Michigan’s dam problem isn’t just in Midland — and it’s part of a larger infrastructure crisis

We looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon to hunting in Michigan and how hunting lodges adjusted so that people would stay safe this fall.

Michigan has seen more hunters this year, but COVID-19 brought changes

A mine that’s been proposed in the Upper Peninsula has big potential impacts for both Michigan and Wisconsin.

Proposed U.P. mine faces mounting troubles

Michigan has sued several companies, including 3M, over PFAS contamination in communities across the state.

Michigan sues 17 companies over PFAS contamination

High lake levels have taken their toll on Michigan and other Great Lakes states. Our D.C. bureau reported on efforts in Congress to help states facing erosion issues.

Lawmakers want more federal help for Great Lakes erosion problems

Micheconomy columnist Rick Haglund wrote about why local governments are taking action on climate change.

Rick Haglund: Tackling climate change is the smart move for local governments, businesses