STATE NEWS IN BRIEF

EPA gives $3.7M to protect endangered Lake Superior reef

GAY, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is spending $3.7 million to remove copper mining waste rock from a Lake Superior harbor where it threatens an important fish spawning area.

Waste known as stamp sands was dumped along the lakefront during the early 20th century. It covers 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of shoreline and lake bottom and is drifting toward Buffalo Reef, where trout and whitefish reproduce.

A dredging operation is expected to continue through this year. About 157,000 cubic yards (120,035 cubic meters) of rock will be removed from Grand Traverse Harbor and a trough will be dug to create a sediment trap near the reef.

The EPA funding was awarded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that focuses on longstanding environmental problems in the region.

The state of Michigan is contributing $3 million.

Court rules in favor of city allowing mosque to be built

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — An appeals court says a Detroit suburb violated no laws when it cleared City Council chambers during a meeting about construction of a mosque.

The Detroit News reports a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this week found in favor of Sterling Heights.

An attorney for a group of residents opposing the American Islamic Community Center’s mosque says they’ll ask the full court to take up the issue.

A federal judge last year ruled in favor of Sterling Heights. The city denied plans for the mosque in 2015 over what it said were parking, traffic and other concerns.

The center and the U.S. Justice Department sued the city, leading to a 2017 agreement allowing construction. Lawyers for some residents then sued, saying zoning ordinances were being violated.

Plans move ahead for cleanup around former Michigan tannery

ROCKFORD, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials say excavators will soon be used to remove contaminated soil and buried leather from the former Wolverine World Wide tannery site in western Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Press reports a popular stretch of the White Pine Trail will be closed in Rockford for the work and excavations in Belmont also are planned to remove soil and waste. Contractors also plan to remove contaminated sediments at two spots in the Rogue River.

Wolverine is paying for the cleanup work that’s being completed this fall.

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier ordered contaminated sediment and soil be excavated after finding high pollution levels where the shoemaker once operated.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, were discovered at Wolverine’s former Rockford factory grounds and its nearby waste dump in Belmont.

— From the Associated Press

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