89.1 WEMU

Barbara Lucas

Host

Barbara received a master's degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan.  She began her association with WEMU in 2003 as an intern with Washtenaw County, assisting with the weekly "Issues of the Environment" show.  In 2003 she also began working in documentary film, and later established her own video production company.

Continuing her work with the County as an environmental media consultant, Barbara Lucas works in video, television, and radio to communicate and explore the environmental issues that affect our community.

Ways to Connect

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

As the recent disaster in Massachusetts shows, pipeline problems can cause fatal explosions.  But in Michigan, it’s the impact pipelines might have to our increasingly threatened water supplies that is drawing most of the attention.  This is the third of our “Green Room” series on pipelines.


Courtesy Photo / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Whether crude oil or natural gas, once these fossil fuels are extracted from the ground, they can present flammable and toxic hazards.  Safely transporting them is a major challenge.  In this installment of "The Green Room," we have the second in our series on pipelines. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Why do some people feel oil and gas pipelines are a good and necessary part of our lives, while others fight against them?  To tackle this question, first we need to understand the basics:  We all know what a pipeline is.  But what they carry, where they are, and why there are so many, are questions most of us aren’t so sure about.  In this first part of a series on energy pipelines, Barbara Lucas gives us a bit of “Pipelines 101," in "The Green Room." 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Driverless technology is here!  Two fully-automated, 11-passenger, all-electric shuttles manufactured by French firm NAVYA will soon begin transporting University of Michigan students, faculty, and staff on a non-stop two-mile route between the Lurie Engineering Center and the North Campus Research Complex. As it grows, this paradigm-shifting technology promises to change our world in many ways.  In the May edition of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room,' we examine its potential to help, or hurt, in our challenge to reign in the energy costs and emissions of our transportation sector.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1WEMU

Inspired by the intense controversy over Ann Arbor’s deer cull, this two-part series focuses on underlying value systems that shape perspectives on wildlife management issues.


Miss Shela

Centuries-old trees have many benefits:  they provide habitat, absorb stormwater runoff, sequester carbon, and beautify the rural landscape.  Many of our largest got their start when buggies or farm tractors were the fastest thing on the road.  Now, in the age of speedy (and often distracted) driving, trees close to the road are being hit by drivers that lose control.  Should they be removed for safety's sake?  In the last few months, there has been much talk about this question in Washtenaw County.  The controversy continues.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

These days, it seems you can back up just about any point of view, depending on which facts you choose to  cite.  So, let’s take a moment to set aside the debate over data when it comes to Ann Arbor’s deer management plan, including sterilization and a lethal cull.  In this first of our two-part series in “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas focuses instead on the underlying perspectives and value systems guiding some of the voices in this contentious issue. 


Youtube.com

At the November climate talks in Bonn, Germany, an initiative called “America’s Pledge” put forth a commitment by U.S. states, cities, companies, and colleges to achieve the carbon cuts agreed to by the U.S. in Paris in 2015, despite Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.  But if the U.S. doesn’t pursue federal-level policies to reign in carbon emissions, can global efforts succeed, in light of the world’s highly interdependent economies?  In this installment of WEMU’s The Green Room, Barbara Lucas explores this dilemma, with a focus on the US and Canada.


Michigan Audubon / https://www.michiganaudubon.org/

Sandhill cranes are perhaps the earth’s oldest living bird species.  Measuring up to 5 feet tall, these iconic symbols of wilderness have rebounded from near extinction in our area.  Has this conservation success story gotten out of hand?  In this installment of WEMU’s Green Room series, Barbara Lucas explores varying perspectives.

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

The City of Ann Arbor’s Climate Action Plan says walking reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion, while improving our health.  But, walking can be risky.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, a pedestrian dies after being hit by a car every 1.6 hours in the United States.  Understandably, many people feel safer behind the wheel, than in front of it.  How can people get across the street safely?  There is considerable debate over best strategies.  In this installment of WEMU’s “Green Room” series, Barbara Lucas explores a tip that could be a complement to all. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

The U.S. is out of the Paris Climate Accord.  Despite lack of support from the current administration, many are heartened by the growing interest in finding solutions emanating from other levels of government. In this installment of WEMU’s "The Green Room," Barbara Lucas explores a fundamental question:  at what level will it be most effective to concentrate our efforts? 

 

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

More and more people are opting to cycle rather than drive for at least some of their transportation, whether for personal health, or for the health of the planet.  But safety is an issue, and emotions run high.  Conflicts occur over who has a right to the roadway. Should we encourage bicycles in the street, or should we try to separate bikes from cars?  In this installment of WEMU’s Green Room series, Barbara Lucas explores varying perspectives.


Ellen McDonald

Because natural burial has environmental benefits over conventional burial, it is often favored by those who like to “go green.”  But it also can appeal for other, more conservative reasons.  It’s the choice of some independently-minded rural folks, and to many religious traditionalists.  Additionally, it can help out the local businesses that serve the growing demand.  In this installment episode of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at natural burial benefits that go “beyond green.” 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Many of our most cherished North American songbirds are in trouble.  It’s primarily due to habitat loss—whether through development, agriculture, or climate change.  But, cats and glass, i.e. collisions with buildings, are also huge problems for birds.  Although there are definite challenges to reducing these threats, there also are solutions. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Carbon taxes are a seemingly simple way to deal with the climate crisis. As the price of fossil fuels goes up, consumption goes down.   But fears of negative economic impacts have kept the idea from moving forward in the U.S.  Now, a group of leading Republican elders has a proposal that goes a step further.  They call it “Carbon Dividends,” because the taxes collected are returned to the public.  What is the local reaction?  In this installment of WEMU’s “Green Room” series, Barbara Lucas sets out to find out.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Every parcel slated for development comes with a host of environmental considerations, from stormwater control to cleanup of soil contamination.  Two of the considerations most hotly debated in the Ann Arbor area are greenspace and density.  In this month’s “Green Room” segment we look at the question, “How does density impact our quality of life, and the health of our environment?”  


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For two decades the State of Michigan’s “containment” policy has allowed polluters to leave contamination in place rather than clean it up.  4,000 such “prohibition zones” exist in the state.  In our ongoing look in the Ann Arbor area's 1,4 dioxane plume, we look at the ramifications of that kind of policy.  


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

As concern rises and detection methods improve, 1,4-Dioxane is being discovered in water sources across the country. Central to formulating remediation plans is determination of the safe level of exposure to this probable human carcinogen. What constitutes a true hazard as opposed to an “acceptable risk?”  Barbara Lucas goes in search of the answer in this 24th installment in our series on the Ann Arbor area’s 1.4 Dioxane Plume in “The Green Room.” 


City of Tucson

At a September work session, Ann Arbor City Council members asked city staff if the current water treatment plant could accommodate equipment to remove 1,4 dioxane,  just in case it becomes necessary in the future.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we look at what such a water treatment process looks like in action.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor’s dioxane plume is rather unusual, in that it emanates from just one source. That source is the old Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road in Scio Township. Other area's of dioxane contamination around the country, such as  the KL Avenue Landfill in Kalamazoo, have many “Responsible Parties” contributing to the contamination problem. Even with a single source, assigning responsibility for clean-up remains complicated in Ann Arbor.  In this installment of "The Green Room"  we try to untangle the confusing web of who is who when it comes to liability. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

The cast of players involved with Ann Arbor’s dioxane problem has changed many times over in the thirty years since the contamination was first discovered.  Some say that’s part of the problem:  it’s hard to stay motivated to tackle problems that go on seemingly indefinitely. Luckily, there are a few people in the community who have stuck with it, keeping the issue in the public forum.  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we talk with one of them.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

While the federal advisory level is 3.5 parts per billion, the amount of dioxane the State of Michigan allows in drinking water is 85 ppb, one of the highest standards in the country.  High levels mean less extensive remediation plans, a boon to industries responsible for the cleanups.  But, could the resulting water pollution negatively impact other businesses, and the local economy in general?  In this installment of  WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at various perspectives on this question.

In our previous 18-installments on the Ann Arbor area’s 1, 4 dioxane plume, we’ve heard from citizens, scientists, and government officials; both locally and from other dioxane sites around the country. Meanwhile, requests for interviews with the “Responsible Party”—Gelman Sciences, Pall Corporation or Danaher, are all met with silence.  In this episode of “The Green Room,” we learn, that wasn’t always the case. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

When considering the expanding 1,4 dioxane plume in groundwater in the Ann Arbor area, money plays a significant role. Further determinations need to be made on how best to clean up the pollution. In this 18th installment on the dioxane plume, Barbara Lucas explores what the clean-up goals should be, how much money is needed and who should pay. 

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Good communication between all parties involved is central to productive conflict resolution.  Some say it needs improving when it comes to dealing with Ann Arbor’s dioxane-contaminated groundwater. In this segment of our ongoing series, Barbara Lucas looks at the question:  “What part does communication play in how we move forward?”


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