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Pollution response drill being held near Rogers City

ALPENA — Rogers City will be the site of a pollution response training exercise in northern Lake Huron in Rogers City today, designed to simulate a chemical spill in the great lake.

The U.S. Coast Guard and local, state and tribal government and industry partners are teaming up for the exercise at Rogers City’s Carmeuse calcite plant.

The training begins around 9 a.m. and should finish about 3:30 p.m.

“Our goal is to familiarize all of these participating organizations with the equipment and people available in this region so we can all remain ready to respond to the best of our ability,” said Capt. Anthony Jones, the sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, which covers Lake Superior and northern lakes Huron and Michigan. “Northern Michigan has always had local, state, and tribal agencies that are eager to help in an emergency, and exercises like this bring those people together ahead of time, so they know each other’s capabilities and what’s available to create the best possible response to any contingency.”

The drill is designed to test local response capabilities in the event of a chemical spill and environmentally safe dye will be used in the water around Rogers City during the simulation. Participants will use specialized response gear — including drones and autonomous and remotely controlled watercraft — in response to the spill.

Static displays of response equipment from Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Onaway’s Moran Iron Works, and many other agency and industry partners are also part of the exercise.

Experts from several Michigan universities will be on hand, including Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University and Northwestern Michigan College.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the training will happen Wednesday.

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