June 13, 2019
The first Northern Michigan Environmental Compliance Conference in the U.P. brought together professionals from the business community, government, and environmental groups to discuss the impact of important issues close to home and statewide.
For two days in early June, more than 170 participants gathered at Northern Michigan University in Marquette for a Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy-sponsored event that provided Upper Peninsula stakeholders with an opportunity to learn more about topics such as hazardous waste, asbestos removal, air permitting, mineral drilling, water regulations, and brownfield redevelopment.
EGLE Director Liesl Eichler Clark's keynote highlighted the department's priorities for the region and state, such as water infrastructure upgrades, recent changes to the Lead and Copper Rule, continuing PFAS investigation and remediation, and solid waste management. Clark also emphasized the importance of improving the department's communication efforts with stakeholders and the public.
EGLE's Jim Ostrowski, who helped to coordinate the event, said it was important to provide a conference that afforded easy access for businesses and communities in the region.
"We had a great turnout for a first-time event," Ostrowski said. "The staff here have been really encouraged by the great conversations they've been able to have with attendees about environmental regulations and how to comply with them."
In one of the main presentations, Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust Lake Superior, discussed how public, private and non-profit partnerships can be successfully leveraged to achieve common goals. Other sessions provided updates on EGLE's air, land, and water resource priorities in the U.P., and Michigan's PFAS response, presented by Steve Sliver, director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team.
There were three breakout tracks and more than 18 sessions that covered a variety of topics from air permitting to water infrastructure finance.