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  • What Enbridge Really Knows About the Risk of a Line 5 Rupture in the Straits of Mackinac

    What Enbridge Really Knows About the Risk of a Line 5 Rupture in the Straits of Mackinac

    “Safety. It’s a core value that makes us Enbridge. It’s our way of life.” Enbridge, Our Commitment   Universally considered among the most vulnerable, at-risk pipelines in the world, the 4-mile segment of Line 5 crossing the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, is quite literally, …Read More »
  • ART MEETS WATER: “Wilderness, Water & Rust: A Journey Toward Great Lakes Resilience” by Jane Elder book talk

    ART MEETS WATER: “Wilderness, Water & Rust: A Journey Toward Great Lakes Resilience” by Jane Elder book talk

    Wilderness, Water, and Rust: A Journey toward Great Lakes Resilience asks us to consider what we value about life in the Great Lakes region and how caring for its remarkable ecosystems might help us imagine new, whole futures. Weaving together memories from her life in the upper Midwest with nearly …Read More »
  • New York City school group visits to learn about Great Lakes issues

    New York City school group visits to learn about Great Lakes issues

    During the week of April 15, a group of students from the Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) in Greenwich Village, Manhattan visited Traverse City and spent time with FLOW executive director, Liz Kirkwood. The students were studying water pollution and plastics, and their research led …Read More »
  • Great Lakes Manure Conference: Agriculture Runoff and Lake Erie

    Great Lakes Manure Conference: Agriculture Runoff and Lake Erie

    On May 1-2, 2024, FLOW policy director Carolan Sonderegger and legal director Carrie La Seur attended the Great Lakes Manure Conference in Toledo, Ohio. The conference was an opportunity to tour the Maumee River, and learn from experts about legal, environmental, and public health issues posed by Concentrated Animal Feeding …Read More »
  • Drinking Water Week 2024

    Drinking Water Week 2024

    We are so used to turning on the tap and receiving safe drinking water that we often forget how vulnerable that water can be to contamination. During Drinking Water Week, recognized May 5-11 by the State of Michigan and nationally, filling knowledge gaps is a critical priority. Knowing the source …Read More »
  • “Wilderness, Water and Rust” – A conversation with author Jane Elder

    “Wilderness, Water and Rust” – A conversation with author Jane Elder

    Longtime Great Lakes advocate Jane Elder’s new book, Wilderness, Water and Rust, (available from Michigan State University Press) is a compelling story of both progress and backsliding in policies and practices affecting the Lakes. It is also a memoir of growing up in Michigan and more than 40 years of …Read More »
  • State Expands Clean Water Funding; More Funding Needed

    State Expands Clean Water Funding; More Funding Needed

    On Earth Day, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced a $290 million expansion of the MI Clean Water Plan with proceeds from the bipartisan, voter-approved 2002 Great Lakes Water Quality Protection Bond. The funds will expand state low-interest loans to local governments …Read More »
  • Protecting citizen rights and access to water

    Protecting citizen rights and access to water

    In the state of Virginia, public water shutoffs for nonpayment of water bills are now prohibited during below-freezing or scorching temperatures and during public health crises, such as the COVID pandemic. Imagine if, here in Michigan, we take the four steps to finally pass a new law that addresses the …Read More »
  • Policy Brief: The Case for a Statewide Septic Code in Michigan

    Policy Brief: The Case for a Statewide Septic Code in Michigan

    Policy Brief: The Case for a Statewide Septic Code in Michigan (Download PDF) Michigan is located at the heart of the most extensive fresh surface water system in North America, which comprises about 90% of all fresh surface water in the region. However, it is the only state in the …Read More »
  • 8 ways to keep the Great Lakes great

    8 ways to keep the Great Lakes great

    Earth Day has always been about action as much as education. But in a complex world with complex environmental problems, where do we begin? Here are eight specific actions you can take protect the world’s greatest lakes: Pare down plastics Plastic pollution is growing exponentially, with some of the highest …Read More »
  • In Honor of John Monroe Frey: A Dear Friend of FLOW

    In Honor of John Monroe Frey: A Dear Friend of FLOW

    It is with deep sorrow that we bid farewell to John Monroe Frey, an extraordinary man whose life was a testament to the power of passion, curiosity, and unwavering dedication to the Great Lakes and his community. John passed away peacefully on March 28, 2024, at his home in Charlevoix, …Read More »
  • A Watershed Moment: The Great Lakes Compact After 15 Years

    A Watershed Moment: The Great Lakes Compact After 15 Years

    On April 16, 2024, FLOW released its report, A Watershed Moment: The Great Lakes Compact After 15 Years. The report offers a history of the agreement, analysis of its achievements and gaps, and recommendations to strengthen its protections. Download the Report (PDF) On December 8, 2008, after 10 years of …Read More »
  • Policy Brief: Polluter Accountability in Michigan

    Policy Brief: Polluter Accountability in Michigan

    Download the policy brief: Polluter Accountability (PDF) The repeal of the Polluter Pay law has cost Michigan taxpayers over $1.5 billion over the past 25 years1. Polluters have walked away from more than 3,000 contaminated sites with groundwater and soil too polluted to use, leaving taxpayers on the hook for …Read More »
  • Green Infrastructure: Smart solutions for stormwater runoff

    Green Infrastructure: Smart solutions for stormwater runoff

    Download the brief: Stormwater Utilities (pdf) Over the past few decades, Michigan has faced an increase in unpredictable storm events. Unfortunately, our existing stormwater infrastructure is not built to handle the frequency and intensity of these storms, creating problems with water runoff and flooding.  This, in turn, has led to …Read More »
  • FLOW Appeals MPSC Decision Approving the Line 5 Tunnel

    FLOW Appeals MPSC Decision Approving the Line 5 Tunnel

    Download FLOW Appellate Brief  (PDF) Traverse City, Mich.— On April 11, 2024, FLOW filed a brief before the Michigan Court of Appeals aimed at reversing the Michigan Public Services Commission’s (MPSC) approval of the proposed Line 5 tunnel project. Enbridge’s proposed tunnel received a green light from the MPSC on …Read More »
  • FLOW Applauds EPA for First-Ever, National Enforceable Drinking Water Standards for PFAs

    FLOW Applauds EPA for First-Ever, National Enforceable Drinking Water Standards for PFAs

    On April 10, the Biden-Harris Administration and EPA issued the first-ever nationally enforceable drinking water standards to protect communities from cancer-causing toxic PFAS pollutants, also known as “forever chemicals.” FLOW applauds this important federal coordinated action designed to tackle PFA contamination, prioritize public health, and advance environmental justice in communities …Read More »
  • Court upholds permit denial for private boat basin and channel on Long Lake

    Court upholds permit denial for private boat basin and channel on Long Lake

    Citizen action and public engagement safeguards Michigan waters Most everyone familiar with the beauty and majesty of Long Lake regard it as an exceptional example of the stunning natural features that are so abundant in Northwest Lower Michigan. The largest lake in Grand Traverse County and the headwaters of the …Read More »
  • What happens when we treat water as a commodity?

    What happens when we treat water as a commodity?

    Does water serve public needs and interests, or should it be a commodity available for private investment, ownership, and management? Those who believe water should remain public are deeply troubled by this question. The investment community is increasingly interested in developing markets in water. In the year 2020, the transition …Read More »
  • Stephanie Kimball joins the FLOW team as Operations Manager

    Stephanie Kimball joins the FLOW team as Operations Manager

    FLOW is pleased to announce the hiring of Stephanie Kimball as our new Operations Manager. Stephanie brings a wealth of nonprofit administration experience, having served at Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear and The Father Fred Foundation. She also had the experience of living near the 2010 Enbridge oil spill in Marshall, …Read More »
  • FLOW welcomes Marshall Protetch, Public Engagement Manager

    FLOW welcomes Marshall Protetch, Public Engagement Manager

    FLOW is pleased to announce that Marshall Protetch has joined the team as our new Public Engagement Manager. The Public Engagement Manager is an important part of FLOW’s communications team, working to expand and engage FLOW’s audience, and inspire people to take action on the issues that are critical to …Read More »
  • AG Nessel’s lawsuit against Allegan County CAFO

    AG Nessel’s lawsuit against Allegan County CAFO

    By Carrie La Seur, FLOW Legal Director It’s getting warm this spring down in Allegan County. In late February 2024, attorneys in the Michigan Attorney General’s office brought an enforcement lawsuit against J&D Brenner Farms, an Allegan County dairy operation and successful scofflaw until this year. EGLE has been trying …Read More »
  • Michigan Water Day resolution 2024

    Michigan Water Day resolution 2024

    For the fourth year in a row, FLOW has helped author and worked towards a House of Representatives resolution declaring March 22 as Michigan Water Day, and resolving that water is a human right. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D-81) and co-sponsored by Betsy Coffia (D-103) and …Read More »
  • World Water Day: Water Unites Us All

    World Water Day: Water Unites Us All

    The 8 billion people of this planet are almost unfathomably diverse, but have one thing in common. We need water to survive, and we consist of water – 55 to 60% of the adult body is water. Recognizing the universal human need for water, the United Nations has declared the …Read More »
  • Nessel v. Enbridge: Oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

    Nessel v. Enbridge: Oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

    Download as PDF Listen to audio recording of the oral arguments Traverse City, Mich.— Today, March 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments in Michigan Attorney General Nessel v. Enbridge, the 2019 lawsuit seeking to shut down Line 5 in the open waters of …Read More »
  • Groundwater Awareness Week: March 10-16, 2024

    Groundwater Awareness Week: March 10-16, 2024

    Here’s a riddle: what resource is critical to our public health, environment and economy and invisible to the naked eye? That should be easy. The answer is groundwater. By its nature out of sight, and therefore out of mind, groundwater is an indispensable resource in Michigan and around the world, …Read More »
  • WEBINAR: The Ethics of Sharing Great Lakes Water – April 17, 2024

    WEBINAR: The Ethics of Sharing Great Lakes Water – April 17, 2024

    With worsening water scarcity in the US and around the world, pressures to share Great Lakes water will grow. The Great Lakes Compact allows water to be diverted outside of the watershed basin for “short-term humanitarian emergencies.”  But what does this mean, and who defines it? What are the ethics of sharing …Read More »
  • FLOW’s Legislative Recommendations for Michigan’s 102nd Legislature

    FLOW’s Legislative Recommendations for Michigan’s 102nd Legislature

    PDF DOWNLOAD: FLOW Legislative Recommendations for 102nd Legislature As a non-partisan, nonprofit law and policy center, a key component of our mission is to help Michigan’s elected leaders uphold their duties under Article IV, Section 52 of the state constitution, the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, and the public trust doctrine …Read More »
  • The new abnormal: Ice cover and the ecology of the Great Lakes

    The new abnormal: Ice cover and the ecology of the Great Lakes

    Why is less Great Lakes ice a bad thing? This year’s historically low Great Lakes ice coverage has attracted considerable attention. Less has been said, however, about what reduced ice means for the ecology of the Great Lakes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research …Read More »
  • How the Great Lakes Will Benefit from Governor Whitmer’s Energy Plan

    How the Great Lakes Will Benefit from Governor Whitmer’s Energy Plan

    Originally published October 6, 2023; updated February 29, 2024 In what is among the most comprehensive clean energy initiatives in the country, Michigan has become the first industrialized swing state to enact laws requiring 100 percent of electric power to come from carbon-free sources by 2040. The ambitious legislative agenda, …Read More »
  • Michigan eliminates counterproductive environmental rules committee

    Michigan eliminates counterproductive environmental rules committee

    The Michigan Legislature recently completed action on a bill eliminating the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC). The ERRC gave polluters and developers an avenue for stopping, slowing, or weakening proposed environmental protection rules. Six of the eleven seats on the committee six were designated for industries regulated by the Michigan …Read More »
  • Indiana Wetland Protection Rollback Threatens Great Lakes

    Indiana Wetland Protection Rollback Threatens Great Lakes

    A new Indiana law that weakens the state’s wetland protection framework will have repercussions beyond Indiana’s borders. Indiana’s move follows a U.S, Supreme Court ruling last year that gutted federal wetland protection under the Clean Water Act and gave states leeway to weaken their wetland protections. The ruling removed federal …Read More »
  • Happy Birthday to our founder, Jim Olson!

    Happy Birthday to our founder, Jim Olson!

    This week, we’re celebrating not only a remarkable individual but also an inspiring force behind the mission of FLOW. It’s our founder Jim Olson’s birthday! Jim’s unwavering commitment to keeping the waters of the Great Lakes Basin healthy, public, and protected has paved the way for positive change. As we …Read More »
  • A Festering Issue: Why Michigan Can’t Afford to Cave to Big Manure

    A Festering Issue: Why Michigan Can’t Afford to Cave to Big Manure

    The Battle Over Regulating Biodigesters The current West Michigan controversy surrounding permitting for a facility that processes pre-consumer food waste into fuel is a stark reminder of the delicate balance between environmental protection and economic interests. While proponents of the facility tout its benefits in terms of waste reduction and …Read More »
  • Water, Clean Energy Budget Boosts in Governor’s Budget

    Water, Clean Energy Budget Boosts in Governor’s Budget

    Funds to help communities deal with stormwater pollution triggered by climate change and to support water infrastructure are among budget increases proposed by Governor Whitmer. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 also includes some increases for clean energy initiatives that build on climate legislation …Read More »
  • The 2024 Issue Outlook: Hope and Possibility for Michigan’s Environment

    The 2024 Issue Outlook: Hope and Possibility for Michigan’s Environment

    A nationally significant package of Michigan climate bills enacted in 2023 may herald significant progress on other environmental issues in 2024. That’s the hope that FLOW and partner groups bring to the policy agenda in the year ahead. With legislative majorities and a governor in favor of strengthening Michigan environmental …Read More »
  • Federal Court Hears Arguments from Bad River Band and Enbridge in Appeal of Line 5 Pipeline Shutdown Order

    Federal Court Hears Arguments from Bad River Band and Enbridge in Appeal of Line 5 Pipeline Shutdown Order

    Traverse City, Mich.— On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago heard oral arguments in the Line 5 case involving northern Wisconsin’s Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Enbridge, Inc., a Canadian multinational pipeline and energy company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, …Read More »
  • Chemours Site Cleanup: FLOW Supports Community Advocates Calling for Polluter to Restore Michigan Waters

    Chemours Site Cleanup: FLOW Supports Community Advocates Calling for Polluter to Restore Michigan Waters

    With FLOW’s legal help, a community group called the Chemours Environmental Impact Committee (CEIC – pronounced seek) of White River Township, in Muskegon County, Michigan, has petitioned the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for a more active role in negotiations around cleaning up the Chemours (a Dupont …Read More »
  • Carolan Sonderegger joins FLOW as Policy Director

    Carolan Sonderegger joins FLOW as Policy Director

    FLOW is pleased to announce that Carolan Sonderegger has joined the team as our new Policy Director. Carolan leads our policy team in designing strategic policy interventions, and works with coalition partners, stakeholders, and agency and elected officials to advance FLOW’s mission to keep the Great Lakes healthy, public, and …Read More »
  • 53% of groundwater aquifers are losing water

    53% of groundwater aquifers are losing water

    A resource invisible most of the time to Michigan residents may be coveted more and more by other regions of the U.S.  It’s called groundwater.  Found underground in cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock, groundwater is vital to human health and the environment. And while Michigan has an …Read More »
  • Virtual book talk with environmental novelist Maryann Lesert

    Virtual book talk with environmental novelist Maryann Lesert

    On February 15, FLOW presented an “Art Meets Water” virtual event with Maryann Lesert, novelist and author of the book, Land Marks. FLOW senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey hosted the talk via Zoom, which is now available to watch on YouTube. And, when you pre-order Land Marks from Bookshop.org in …Read More »
  • Large-Volume Groundwater Withdrawals and the Public Trust

    Large-Volume Groundwater Withdrawals and the Public Trust

    A fish kill in Oregon may seem to have little to do with Michigan waters – but if you look closely there is a close connection in law. As the result of large-volume groundwater withdrawals like that in Oregon’s Deschutes River, western states have documented the serious impairment of streams, …Read More »
  • FLOW Appeals MPSC Permit to Site Replacement Line 5 Pipeline in Proposed Great Lakes Tunnel

    FLOW Appeals MPSC Permit to Site Replacement Line 5 Pipeline in Proposed Great Lakes Tunnel

    Media Release: January 3, 2024 Download printer-friendly PDF Traverse City, Mich.— For Love of Water (FLOW), a Great Lakes water law and policy center, filed an appeal on December 22, 2023 with the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn the Michigan Public Service Commission’s December 1 decision to approve the …Read More »
  • FLOW joins amicus brief in Michigan Supreme Court CAFO case

    FLOW joins amicus brief in Michigan Supreme Court CAFO case

    By Carrie La Seur, FLOW Legal Director My lungs remember. While I was an Iowa Environmental Protection Commissioner, I said yes to a chance to visit a relatively small hog confinement run, by the dad of one of my son’s best friends. It was just a few miles from our …Read More »
  • The Great Lakes: Fact or Fake | A new book by FLOW senior advisor Dave Dempsey

    The Great Lakes: Fact or Fake | A new book by FLOW senior advisor Dave Dempsey

    In this new book by author and FLOW senior advisor Dave Dempsey, learn the true stories beneath the surface of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Everybody who looks at the Great Lakes knows they’re big, but why are they Great? From sea serpents to sunken ships, from lonely lighthouses to …Read More »
  • History of The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: Some progress, some problems

    History of The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: Some progress, some problems

    By Daniel Macfarlane Daniel Macfarlane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. He is also a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Center for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto, and President of the International Water History Association. His research …Read More »
  • Disgraceful: MPSC Approves Permit for Enbridge Tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac; Breaches Legal Duty to Protect Michigan’s Natural Resources

    Disgraceful: MPSC Approves Permit for Enbridge Tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac; Breaches Legal Duty to Protect Michigan’s Natural Resources

    Traverse City, Mich. — FLOW is shocked that the collective efforts of thousands of Michiganders and treaty-protected tribes to protect our waters from the catastrophic risks of Line 5 have been ignored in today’s decision by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to grant authorization for a Line 5 tunnel. …Read More »
  • Douglas Jester announced chair of FLOW Board of Directors

    Douglas Jester announced chair of FLOW Board of Directors

    FLOW is pleased to announce that Douglas Jester has been elected to a two year term as chair of its Board of Directors. Douglas has served on the FLOW board for over 4 years. A partner at 5 Lakes Energy, Douglas specializes in utility regulation and energy policy, research, and …Read More »
  • Traverse City Participates in a Binational Exercise to Re-energize the Ecosystem Approach

    Traverse City Participates in a Binational Exercise to Re-energize the Ecosystem Approach

    Illustration: Mariah Alexander By John Hartig, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor Last month, 13 people representing diverse backgrounds met in a Traverse City workshop to brainstorm on how to make better use of something called “an ecosystem approach” in Great Lakes protection and restoration. Part of …Read More »
  • Be a part of a wave of support for FLOW this Giving Tuesday

    Be a part of a wave of support for FLOW this Giving Tuesday

    Giving Tuesday is on November 28, and we’re asking you to be part of a great wave of support for FLOW and the Great Lakes ❤️ Giving Tuesday is national day of philanthropy, where people across the country show some love to the nonprofits they care about. If keeping the …Read More »
  • EGLE’s denial of permit for Long Lake private private marina upheld

    EGLE’s denial of permit for Long Lake private private marina upheld

    The Environmental Permit Review Commission (EPRC) recently made an important decision affecting inland lakes and the public trust doctrine in Michigan. In a case involving the proposed construction of a boathouse, boat basin, and dredged entrance channel on the 3-acre lakefront property on Long Lake in Traverse City, the EPRC …Read More »
  • What happens when Line 5 is shut down? A report on energy market impacts

    What happens when Line 5 is shut down? A report on energy market impacts

    Download as PDF PLG Consulting’s 111-page October 2023 report, Likely Market Responses to a Potential Shutdown of LINE 5, provides an overview of potential impacts and market responses in the event of a planned and orderly shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. Line 5 is part of Enbridge’s Lakehead System, …Read More »
  • We Love the Water: A conversation with Eva Petoskey

    We Love the Water: A conversation with Eva Petoskey

    By Diane L. Dupuis, FLOW Senior Advancement Advisor I have long sought a deeper understanding of the parallels to be found in the Great Lakes water protection work undertaken by both FLOW and the Anishinaabe nations. Recently I came across an academic paper whose title seemed to point to these …Read More »
  • Groundwater Story Map: updated, interactive data on Michigan’s hidden resource

    Groundwater Story Map: updated, interactive data on Michigan’s hidden resource

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is often worth tens of thousands. That’s especially true of a map that tells the story of a natural resource that is out of sight and often overlooked: groundwater. Building on over five years of work, FLOW has recently updated …Read More »
  • FLOW welcomes Carrie La Seur as its new Legal Director

    FLOW welcomes Carrie La Seur as its new Legal Director

    FLOW is pleased to announce that Carrie La Seur has joined our staff as Legal Director. A graduate of Yale Law School, Carrie recently relocated to northern Michigan from Montana, where she practiced civil litigation, specializing in environmental and climate issues. From 2006-2012 served as Executive Director of Plains Justice, …Read More »
  • Water: Essential for Life, Victim of Politics

    Water: Essential for Life, Victim of Politics

    By Jim Olson, FLOW founder and senior legal advisor Recent reports show that four decades ago, Congress was advised that citizens in our cities and towns would face lead poisoning from lead pipes in municipal drinking water systems. Nothing was done. The failure of Congress to address this crisis then …Read More »
  • Making Polluters Pay: How to Fix State Law and Policy to Protect Groundwater and Michigan Taxpayers

    Making Polluters Pay: How to Fix State Law and Policy to Protect Groundwater and Michigan Taxpayers

    Download the Polluter Pay Report (PDF) FLOW (For Love of Water) hailed the introduction of “polluter pay” bills in the Michigan Legislature as a long overdue step toward protecting Michigan’s groundwater resources and public health from the 24,000+ contaminated sites in the state. The new legislation shifts the cost burden …Read More »
  • Bottled water: A threat to public water, but there’s hope

    Bottled water: A threat to public water, but there’s hope

    In his timely and profound new book, Unbottled, Daniel Jaffee tackles the threat that commercialized, packaged water poses to water as a public good. His message is more than an alarm bell – it offers hope and suggestions on how to fight back. Maude Barlow, a globally recognized water steward …Read More »
  • Michigan state legislators introduce water affordability bills

    Michigan state legislators introduce water affordability bills

    In the wake of massive water service shut-offs in recent years affecting residents of Detroit and other communities, members of the Michigan Legislature are offering bills to make water rates affordable for all citizens. “We are the Great Lakes State, surrounded by fresh water, but many Michiganders do not have …Read More »
  • A conversation with DNR Director M. Scott Bowen

    A conversation with DNR Director M. Scott Bowen

    Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed M. Scott Bowen as Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in September 2023.  Bowen served as the Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery from January 2008 to February 2017. He also served as the Director of Office of the State Employer and was elected …Read More »
  • FLOW files amicus brief; urges Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to remand Line 5 lawsuit back to state court

    FLOW files amicus brief; urges Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to remand Line 5 lawsuit back to state court

    On September 25, 2023, FLOW (For Love of Water) filed a motion with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the 2019 state lawsuit Attorney General Dana Nessel v. Enbridge, requesting the federal appeals court to accept an amicus brief, laying out arguments why the case should be remanded back …Read More »
  • New methods enable tracking of beach contamination sources

    New methods enable tracking of beach contamination sources

    By guest authors: Alan Steinman, Ph.D.1 and Charlyn Partridge, Ph.D.2 1Allen and Helen Hunting Research Professor and 2Associate Professor Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University In an email issued earlier this summer, FLOW quite appropriately noted the beauty and allure of our Great Lakes beaches, and also the …Read More »
  • Why does Michigan need a statewide code for septic systems?

    Why does Michigan need a statewide code for septic systems?

    There’s a loose patchwork of septic standards in Michigan Because of the lack of state standards to assure replacement of failing septic systems, some counties, townships, cities, and villages are enacting local ordinances in place of statewide requirements, but they are relatively few out of Michigan’s approximately 2,000 local units …Read More »
  • Don’t flush that!

    Don’t flush that!

    Guest post by Michigan State University Extension natural resources and water quality educator, Beth Clawson It is no secret that tossing foreign objects into your toilet or sink drains will plug them up. But did you also know that they plug up your municipal wastewater treatment facilities and home onsite wastewater (septic) …Read More »
  • Free water well testing now available in Michigan

    Free water well testing now available in Michigan

    Michigan households relying on private wells may be drinking polluted groundwater without realizing it. Residents can now get their water tested for FREE through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and their local health departments.Read More »
  • Stop doing that, or else we’ll tell you to stop again: BASF polluting the Detroit River

    Stop doing that, or else we’ll tell you to stop again: BASF polluting the Detroit River

    When you get a speeding ticket, you don’t get 43 years to pay it. And when you contaminate a river with toxic materials — a much bigger hazard than going 45 in a 40 – you shouldn’t get 43 years to stop doing it and pay a fine. But there’s …Read More »
  • Defending Public Trust Rights to Enjoy Indiana’s Lake Michigan Shoreline

    Defending Public Trust Rights to Enjoy Indiana’s Lake Michigan Shoreline

    Guest authors: Kim Ferraro and Kacey Cook, attorneys at the Conservation Law Center In the 2018 Gunderson case, the Indiana Supreme Court held that Indiana’s Lake Michigan beaches are, and always have been, held in trust by the State as public trust resources, with State ownership extending from the natural …Read More »
  • FLOW’s Technical Questions for the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority

    FLOW’s Technical Questions for the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority

    The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) is a three-member panel that is responsible for overseeing Enbridge’s proposed pipeline tunnel project under the busy, environmentally sensitive Straits of Mackinac, pending all applicable permits and approvals. In June 2023, FLOW submitted public comments to the MSCA, to help further public understanding of …Read More »
  • Where do plastic bags and bottles go to die?

    Where do plastic bags and bottles go to die?

    The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 112,000 particles of plastic per square mile of Great Lakes water. While the specific, causal effects plastics may have on human health are yet unknown and currently being researched, animal studies suggest that plastics and plastic byproducts affect digestive, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, and …Read More »
  • A River of Manure: CAFO Sewage Runoff Threatens Water Systems

    A River of Manure: CAFO Sewage Runoff Threatens Water Systems

    Guest author Pam Taylor is a volunteer with Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan. Taylor’s family came to Lenawee County, Michigan in 1837 to farm, and some family members are still farming there. She and her brother own a farm that’s been in her family for 117 years, where …Read More »
  • Get the Facts on Line 5 with FLOW’s New, Updated Fact Sheet

    Get the Facts on Line 5 with FLOW’s New, Updated Fact Sheet

    Every day, Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline carries nearly 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from the oil sand fields in western Canada to refineries in Ontario, using the Straits of Mackinac as a high-risk shortcut. In FLOW’s new, updated Line 5 Fact Sheet, you’ll learn the …Read More »
  • Michigan’s Sixth Great Lake: FLOW featured in July 31 “Northern Express”

    Michigan’s Sixth Great Lake: FLOW featured in July 31 “Northern Express”

    FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood sat down with the Northern Express to talk about Michigan’s unheralded “Sixth Great Lake”: Groundwater. In the July 31, 2023 issue, learn about Michigan’s hydrological connections, and how FLOW is working to protect all the waters of the Great Lakes Basin through our work on education, …Read More »
  • Gov. Whitmer signs “No Stricter Than Federal” roll-back: Why it matters

    Gov. Whitmer signs “No Stricter Than Federal” roll-back: Why it matters

    Michigan is once again free to enact environmental protections critical to the health of our environment and residents. Updated July 31, 2023 On July 27, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 14, which passed the State House of Representatives on June 28 by a 56-52 vote. With her signature, …Read More »
  • U.S. Army Corps to Limit Line 5 Tunnel Review

    U.S. Army Corps to Limit Line 5 Tunnel Review

    “The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to exclude the cumulative impacts of the fossil fuels Line 5 will transport, climate concerns, and, remarkably, engineering concerns raised by experts as to the integrity of the tunnel, flies in the face of the Corps’ purpose and mission, the Biden Administration’s goals …Read More »
  • Michigan: First in Fresh Water, Last in Septic Regulation

    Michigan: First in Fresh Water, Last in Septic Regulation

    This fall, the Michigan legislature will have an opportunity to correct a grievous and egregious deficiency in Michigan’s water policy. How is it that in the third decade of the 21st Century, Michigan, the Great Lakes State, is the only state of 50 without a statewide code setting minimum standards …Read More »
  • On this day in 2010: Enbridge Oil Spill in Kalamazoo River

    On this day in 2010: Enbridge Oil Spill in Kalamazoo River

    This week marks the unlucky 13th anniversary of one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. On July 25, 2010, a pipeline operated by Enbridge – the same corporation operating the risky Line 5 in the Strait of Mackinac – burst and released dirty tar sands oil into …Read More »
  • FLOW commends new EGLE appointments

    FLOW commends new EGLE appointments

    FLOW Statement Commending Appointments of EGLE Director Phil Roos and EGLE Chief of Staff Kara Cook Traverse City, MI – FLOW commends the appointment of business entrepreneur and strategist, Phil Roos, to serve as director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “Phil Roos is an outstanding …Read More »
  • “The Strait Story” Line 5 Webinar

    “The Strait Story” Line 5 Webinar

    Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzO-NA-qjfw Download the Line 5 Fact Sheet (PDF)   Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is over 70 years old and remains a threat to the waters and people of the Great Lakes region. On Wednesday, July 19 2023, FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix presented a special live …Read More »
  • PFAS Chemicals in Tap Water More Widespread Than Thought

    PFAS Chemicals in Tap Water More Widespread Than Thought

    A new U.S. government study that finds toxic PFAS chemicals could be present in nearly 50% of the nation’s tap water “should sound alarm bells for people across the country,” says a Michigan citizen leader on PFAS policy. Tony Spaniola, who co-founded and co-chairs the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network …Read More »
  • Canadian Wildfires and AQI

    Canadian Wildfires and AQI

    If you’re in the midwest or the mid-Atlantic, chances are you’ve been affected by dangerous air quality this summer. Here in northern Michigan, the Air Quality Index (AQI) soared above 200 in late June, as smoke clogged the atmosphere. Our most basic, life-sustaining element was rated “Very Unhealthy” to breathe. …Read More »
  • FLOW welcomes Kyle Plummer as its new Development Director

    FLOW welcomes Kyle Plummer as its new Development Director

    FLOW is pleased to announce that Kyle Plummer has recently joined our staff as Development Director. In his new role, Kyle will help FLOW build the capacity to achieve its mission and connect with supporters. Kyle and his family are relocating to the Grand Traverse area from Washington state, and …Read More »
  • Meet the Line 5 Webinar Panelists

    Meet the Line 5 Webinar Panelists

    Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is over 70 years old and remains a grave threat to the waters and people of the Great Lakes region. On Wednesday, July 19, FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix will present a free live webinar, The Strait Story: Enbridge Line 5 and its Trespass …Read More »
  • Manipulating Great Lakes Water Levels

    Manipulating Great Lakes Water Levels

    Manipulating Great Lakes Water Levels By Dan MacFarlane Daniel Macfarlane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at Western Michigan University.He is also a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Center for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto, and President of the International Water …Read More »
  • Sackett v. EPA: Supreme Court Takes a Whack at Wetlands, but Michigan Has a Shield

    Sackett v. EPA: Supreme Court Takes a Whack at Wetlands, but Michigan Has a Shield

    Sackett v. EPA: Supreme Court Takes a Whack at Wetlands, but Michigan Has a Shield A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued on May 25 will remove federal protection for millions of acres of wetlands across the country, but will have much less impact in Michigan thanks to a state law …Read More »
  • The Environment and Your Summer Outing

    The Environment and Your Summer Outing

    Our enjoyment of beach outings, picnics, or time outside often rises or falls depending on environmental conditions from pollution to excessive heat. Before you head out, you can check on relevant conditions at these websites. Stay safe and have fun out there this summer! Public beach closures: Beachguard   Great …Read More »
  • Megan Kelto Joins FLOW as Director of Public Engagement

    Megan Kelto Joins FLOW as Director of Public Engagement

    FLOW welcomes Megan Kelto to the team as our new Director of Public Engagement. Megan brings over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit marketing, communications, and leadership, and has a strong background in digital content strategy. As Director of Public Engagement, her mission is to tell the story of FLOW’s …Read More »
  • Bridge Across The Border:  The International Joint Commission and US-Canada Boundary Water Relations

    Bridge Across The Border: The International Joint Commission and US-Canada Boundary Water Relations

    By Daniel MacFarlane Daniel Macfarlane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, Geography, and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. He is also a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Center for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto, and President of the International Water History Association. His research …Read More »
  • Michigan Great Lakes Freshwater Awareness Week

    Michigan Great Lakes Freshwater Awareness Week

    You probably don’t know it, but through next Sunday, Michigan is observing Great Lakes and Freshwater Awareness Week. It’s certainly appropriate. Michigan has an astounding array of waters.  As Governor Whitmer said in her proclamation, “during this week, we encourage Michiganders to learn more about the unique wonders of our …Read More »
  • Good Beach News as Summer Begins

    Good Beach News as Summer Begins

    There’s good news and even better news about Michigan’s 1,237 public swimming beaches.  The good news is that water at most monitored beaches is clean most of the time.  The better news is that a modern testing tool allows for quicker turnaround on public beach monitoring samples. The faster turnaround …Read More »
  • Plastic-Free Picnics

    Plastic-Free Picnics

    Picnics with Less (or Zero) Plastic You may be surprised at how much trash we generate from what might seem a  low-impact picnic. Reducing picnic waste—especially plastics—is particularly important at a time when scientists are sounding the alarm about the buildup of small particles, or microplastics, in the Great Lakes …Read More »
  • Trees Can Talk – If We Learn How To Listen:  Part Two

    Trees Can Talk – If We Learn How To Listen: Part Two

    By Brett Fessell Brett is River Restoration Ecologist for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and a member of FLOW’s Board of Directors. Challenges Tribes Face In Fire and Nearly Everywhere Else Overall, the use of fire by Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region was a …Read More »
  • Trees Can Talk – If We Learn How To Listen:  Part One

    Trees Can Talk – If We Learn How To Listen: Part One

    By Brett Fessell Brett is River Restoration Ecologist for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and a member of FLOW’s Board of Directors. Modern forest management practices and policies, such as wildfire control, have had significant impacts on the diversity, resiliency, and productivity of forest communities in …Read More »
  • No Stricter Than Federal

    No Stricter Than Federal

    On their way out of office in late 2018, former Governor Rick Snyder and the lame-duck Legislature delivered a body blow to Michigan’s environment by enacting a law intended to thwart state rules that go beyond weak federal minimums. This seemingly abstract law in fact repudiated 50 years of efforts …Read More »
  • Drinking Water Awareness Week – May 7-13th

    Drinking Water Awareness Week – May 7-13th

    During Michigan’s 2023 Drinking Water Week, May 7-13, filling knowledge gaps is a critical priority. Knowing the source of your drinking water is crucial, and so are threats to its safety and legal and environmental defenses to its contamination. One surprising fact to many is that 45% of Michigan’s population …Read More »
  • AFFEW Engages Many: An Interview with Founder Julia Chambers

    AFFEW Engages Many: An Interview with Founder Julia Chambers

    One of Michigan’s most successful grassroots environmental groups may soon take a big step with the hiring of its first staff person. But the group’s volunteer status has not kept it from being effective. Its recent Earth Day event demonstrated its popularity in the Ludington area. In 1990, Julia Chambers …Read More »
  • FLOW Welcomes Caelyn Brintnell as our Operations Manager

    FLOW Welcomes Caelyn Brintnell as our Operations Manager

    We are thrilled to welcome Caelyn to the FLOW family! Read about Caelyn and her love for the Great Lakes region. We asked her a few questions to help our community get to know the newest member of the FLOW team. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Where were …Read More »
  • Change Makers: Earth Day Heroes Reflect on Successful Advocacy – Relationships, Persistence and Hope

    Change Makers: Earth Day Heroes Reflect on Successful Advocacy – Relationships, Persistence and Hope

    Bringing about cleaner air, water, land and health is not a simple task. Sometimes it is a long fight with uncertain results until the very end. We asked several of Michigan’s foremost environmental change makers to give us their thoughts. We asked them about the keys to successfully advocating for …Read More »
  • National Environmental Education Awareness Week

    National Environmental Education Awareness Week

    By Kaitlyn Bunting Kaitlyn is a former communications specialist with FLOW.  She is also an enthusiastic educator. She has built a deep connection to the land and waters of northern Michigan through extensive time outdoors here. Find her way down a dirt road, pb&j in hand, trailing her energetic dog …Read More »
  • Earth Day: The Long View

    Earth Day: The Long View

    By Dave Dempsey On the first Earth Day in 1970, I was 13 years old and barely aware of the event. But only when I look back at 1970 later in life, as an amateur environmental historian, do I fully appreciate what happened that year. It wasn’t just April 22—the …Read More »
  • Make It Right Michigan: Restore Sadony Bayou

    Make It Right Michigan: Restore Sadony Bayou

    The Chemours Environmental Impact Committee (CEIC, pronounced “seek”) of White River Township, in West Michigan, has been advocating for the long-overdue cleanup of the sources of groundwater and soil contamination on the DuPont property, now owned by Chemours. This contaminated property connects with both White Lake and Lake Michigan.  FLOW …Read More »
  • Federal Rescue Funds Support Michigan Drinking Water, Wastewater Projects

    Federal Rescue Funds Support Michigan Drinking Water, Wastewater Projects

    But much more funding is needed. American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding has now supported $140,471,648 in grants to 24 Michigan communities to address drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs. Congress approved this funding in 2021 to stimulate the economy when it was recovering from the pandemic. The funds are part …Read More »