Blog Posts

Blog posts by FLOW team and guest writers

How Big is the Plastics Problem in the Great Lakes?

Significant volumes of plastics and Microplastics enter the Great Lakes every year, and they are not going away. The United States and Canada together discard 22 million pounds of plastic into the waters of the Great Lakes each year.

It’s Time to Bring Enbridge ‘Line 5’ Under the Rule of Law

In a partial victory for Michigan’s waters and the rule of law, a state government administrative law judge ruled on Monday that legal challenges to permits issued by the state for the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline project in the Straits of Mackinac can move forward. Judge Daniel Pulter ruled that Enbridge failed to show… Read more »

New Book About International Joint Commission Takes Hard Look at U.S.-Canada Water Relationship

The First Century of the International Joint Commission is the definitive history of the International Joint Commission (IJC), which oversees and protects the shared waters of the United States and Canada. Created by the Boundary Waters Treaty (BWT) of 1909, it is one of the world’s oldest international environmental bodies. A pioneering piece of trans-border water governance, the IJC has been integral to the modern U.S.-Canada relationship, especially in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin.

Michigan Courts Can Enforce a Township’s Responsibility to Remedy Widespread Septic System Failures

Michigan remains the only state without statewide regulations governing the inspection of septic systems, leaving the job of protecting waters from septic systems to local governments. A 2012 decision of the Michigan Supreme Court makes clear that, in the face of widespread septic system failures in a region, Michigan courts can nevertheless step in to enforce a local government’s duty to protect the waters of the state from sewage contamination.

Who Owns the Water? Glen Arbor Arts Center, FLOW Hold Student Art Exhibition

Applications are available for the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s (GAAC) 2020 student exhibition, Who Owns The Water? This themed, juried exhibition takes place April 7-May 1, and is open to students in grades 9-12, attending schools in Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. The deadline for online submissions is March 4. Three cash prizes will… Read more »

Wanted: a Government That Acts Like an Adult and Cleans Up its Mess

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has a prime opportunity to provide a bold, optimistic alternative to Trump’s war on the environment when she delivers the Democratic Party’s response to the State of the Union address on Tuesday night. As the leader of our Great Lakes state, and the protector of our lakes, streams, air, and groundwater, Whitmer must stand up for the 1.5 million workers whose jobs are directly tied to the health of the Great Lakes. She should call for a Great Lakes platform to protect our drinking water, public health, jobs and quality of life.

The State of Governor Whitmer’s State of the State Message

When Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State speech on Wednesday, January 29, she would do well to emulate her predecessor Gov. William Milliken, who 50 years ago gave a 1970 State of the State speech that fought environmental degradation and deregulation and called for dramatic changes in state policy to better protect the air, water, land, fish and wildlife.

Delivering an Environmentally-strong State of the State—the Milliken Way

Michigan Governor William Milliken outlined a sweeping attack on environmental degradation in both his annual State of the State address on January 15, 1970, and a special message to the Legislature solely on environmental issues, on January 22, 1970. “Milliken Urges War on Pollution,” read a Detroit Free Press headline.