The Green Room

Monthly 6:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.

The Green Room radio show is a collaboration between the WEMU News Department and the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division. Through her work with the County, Barbara also co-produces a monthly Green Room  television show with Ann Arbor's CTN, Channel 19.

The Green Room will take listeners out into the community as reporter, Barbara Lucas, explores important, local environmental topics. Lucas will not only get to the heart of these issues, but will provide a soundscape that supplements and enhances the subject matter, and advances the story in the minds of listeners.

 

89.1 WEMU News Director, David Fair, serves as Executive Producer for the monthly feature which will air at 6:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.

 

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

  The National Priorities List is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for long-term remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.  Currently there are 1,171 sites on the NPL, either being cleaned up or waiting for their turn.  Should Ann Arbor’s 1,4-dioxane contamination be “listed” too?  Weighing benefits against potential stigma costs is the subject of this week’s Green Room segment in our ongoing series.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In 1980 Congress created the Superfund to clean up hazardous waste sites that have passed criteria placing them on the “National Priorities List.” If and when funding becomes available for a site, the EPA works with the state’s DEQ to remediate it.  When polluters can’t be made to pay to clean them up, the Superfund pays, using taxpayer money. In Michigan, there are currently 65 sites on the National Priorities List.  Should Ann Arbor become one of them?

 


wikipedia

The University of Michigan’s research in human and environmental health is of global import.  Should the university “think local” as well?  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor area’s 1,4-dioxane contamination. 

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For almost thirty years, a “responsible party” (Gelman Sciences, Inc.) has been legally and financially responsible for the 1, 4 dioxane contamination of  groundwater inthe Ann Arbor area.  This is in contrast to many contamination sites where cleanup falls totally on taxpayers. But the plume remains, and some question if enough resources are being devoted to its remediation.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at money, and how it impacts Ann Arbor’s contamination problem. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Citizens for Safe Water

Local citizens and scientists have amassed large amounts of information on Ann Arbor’s 1,4-Dioxane plume. Locally sourced information has been invaluable since University of Michigan student Dan Bicknell first discovered the plume.  It has continued with 23 years of data collection by Roger Rayle of Scio Residents for Safe Water.  Has the information been put to good use?  Has it informed decision-makers?  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas continues her exploration of this ongoing issue. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For over ten years, the cleanup criterion for 1,4-Dioxane in Michigan has been 85 ppb.  This is in spite of the fact that in 2010, the EPA in recommended 3.5 ppb as the screening level for a one in 100,000 cancer risk. Finally, the Michigan DEQ has proposed a safer limit:  7.2 ppb.  Today—Earth Day—WEMU’s “The Green Room” looks a how this may affect Ann Arbor’s groundwater cleanup.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In the past two decades, Michigan’s dioxane standards have seen extremes, going from 3 to 85 parts per billion (ppb).  Now 7.2 ppb is being proposed by the MDEQ.  Other states' standards are all over the map.  The EPA’s current recommended levels for dioxane exposure vary greatly as well, depending on multiple factors.   In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at some reasons why it is so hard to come up with uniform guidelines for safe levels of dioxane.


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents for Safe Water

Since 1995, 4,000 prohibition zones have been put in place in Michigan to “manage risk,” i.e. prevent people from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at how the balance between cleaning up pollution versus managing the risk is playing out when it comes to the Ann Arbor area's 1.4 dioxane plume. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents for Safe Water

Over the next few months, WEMU's environmental feature, 'The Green Room.' will focus exclusively on the 1,4 dioxane plume that is impacting groundwater in the Ann Arbor area. Following last week's initial report looking at how another major city is handling its dioxane issues, we take the next step in exploring whether solutions in Tuscon, Arizona might work here. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents For Safe Water

In the United States, approximately 10 million pounds of 1,4-dioxane are produced each year.  It is being detected in groundwater at dozens of sites across the country.  Once thought to be relatively benign, new science says otherwise.  Costs to clean it up are high, and communities are grappling with how to deal with it.  In this installment of  “The Green Room,” WEMU  explores the experiences of two cities:  Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Tucson, Arizona. 

 

 

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

80 percent of Americans drink coffee, and global consumption is projected to rise by 25% in the next five years.  Some is sustainably-grown, some isn’t—and impacts can add up.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores how the price of coffee can affect far more than your wallet.  


“Green the Way” Report, Fall 2014: / University of Michigan Urban and Regional Planning Capstone

The Allen Creek Greenway is a three-mile walking and biking trail proposed to run north-south, near the railroad, through downtown Ann Arbor. The city has taken a $200,000 first step, by funding the master plan process. In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores hopes and dreams for the Greenway, whose proponents say, “It’s about time!” 


Noelle Bowman

While the repeated use of cloth bags makes them a better choice for the environment, the free throwaway bags at checkout are hard to resist.  Is this really a problem?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores why the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is looking into a reusable bag ordinance.


Mary Ferguson

Now’s the time of year a few Snowy owls might arrive in Michigan, if we’re lucky.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores a few of Michigan’s owls:  the dangers they face, and why we should care.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Whether honeybees or native bees, local or global—bees are in trouble.  And since nearly a hundred of our crops are pollinated by them, their trouble is our trouble! What can we do?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas talks with a few of the many people in our local area working to save bees.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Americans spend less of their household budget on food than do citizens of any other country.  Should we spend more, to reduce long-term impacts to the planet?  How do we decide what products are “greenest,” anyway?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s  The Green Room, Barbara Lucas explores two perspectives regarding the sustainability of foods grown right here in Michigan.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Driverless Cars are in the news: On July, 20th, the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center unveiled its test track for connected, automated vehicles. Once thought of as fantasy, driverless cars are real and are being researched right here in our backyard. In this installment of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room,' Barbara Lucas looks at the environmental implications of this cutting edge technology. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Some consider breastfeeding to be one of the best ways to promote both human and environmental health. In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores the benefits and challenges of ensuring that all babies have access to breastmilk.


Richard Neitzel

The average American household has twenty-four electronic devices—most are destined for the dump when we’re done with them.  We are upgrading at ever-increasing rates, and challenges to getting our discards recycled safely are mounting.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at what we can do to lessen the environmental impact of our love of the “latest and greatest” in electronics.

89.1 WEMU

Michigan’s maple syrup industry is growing at a time when climate change is both shortening the sap collection season and moving northward the range of sugar maples.  But new technologies have increased efficiencies, and the recent cold winters have been great for maple sugar farmers. 

 

Things are sweet in Michigan’s Sugarbush!  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores the environmental considerations of this homegrown industry.


Tara Habeck

Are today's children spending too much time indoors and online? Might a year-round, outdoors education serve them well? Find out as The Green Room explores 'Learning Without Walls.' 


Barbara Lucas

To decrease its carbon footprint, the Climate Action Plan of Ann Arbor calls for increasing walking, biking and public transit.  But heavy precipitation events have increased 37% in the Midwest in the last century, and keeping pathways clear can be a challenge.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we explore local attempts to make sustainable travel viable, year-round.


Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon / NASA Earth Observatory.

Toxic algae has been plaguing Lake Erie—why, and what can we do to stop it?  Perspectives abound, especially when it comes to whether or not measures to prevent it should be voluntary or prescribed by law.  In this month’s “Green Room” show Barbara Lucas explores this simple organism and the complex problems it’s causing.  


Leah Wiste

Michigan gets more sunlight than Germany. Why does that matter? Germany happens to be the world leader in solar installations.  But we lag far behind Germany in terms of how much of our solar energy we harness.  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at factors that may spur more local folks to go solar.

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In today’s world, most of our food comes in packages at from the grocery store, and few of us have a real connection to how it got there.  The locavore movement is all about  the benefits of knowing your foods. In the November installment of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room', we  look at local groups reaping myriad benefits of from working to grow their own food.

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