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Clean up your mess ... later

Upper Peninsula State Roundup

November 1, 2009


Clean up your mess ... later

A considerable amount of attention is being paid to the environmental health of the Great Lakes. Action, on the other hand, appears to be in shorter supply.

A September progress report on cleanup of 43 “areas of concern” throughout the Great Lakes found that work was moving so slowly that completion would take 77 years.

Most of the AOC sites in the so-called Great Lakes Binational Toxic Strategy were identified in the 1980s. Four of the sites are in the Upper Peninsula, and several others are near its Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canadian borders. Among them is Torch Lake, on the northern tip of the U.P., which made the list in 1987 after fish with tumors of unknown origin were discovered. Also on the list is Deer Lake/Carp River, near Marquette, where concentrations of mercury were found in 1981, leading to a state ban on fish consumption.

To date, only three sites—two in Canada and one in the United States— have been fully remediated and taken off the list.

photo of Ronald A. Wirtz
Ronald A. Wirtz
Editor, fedgazette

Ron Wirtz is a regional outreach director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Ron’s primary responsibilities involve tracking current business conditions, with a focus on employment and wages, along with sector-tracking in construction, real estate, consumer spending and tourism. In this role, Ron networks with local businesses in a six-state region, both in person and via various communication channels, and gathers other traditional and nontraditional sources of information to assess current business activity. Ron also gives customized speeches on regional economic activity, and handles advance planning for regular outreach trips to Ninth District communities by Bank President Neel Kashkari. Prior to this role, Ron was the long-time editor of the fedgazette, the Bank’s regional business and economics publication, where he conducted research on such topics as employment trends, health care pricing and consolidation, housing, entrepreneurship, public pensions, income mobility, the Bakken oil boom and other topics.