When State Government Favored Environmental Regulations Over “Fries with that Permit”

Seth Phillips started working as a state regulator in the late 1970s, at a time when there was a strong growth in environmental consciousness in society, and a serious commitment in government to environmental improvement. William Milliken was Michigan’s Governor when Phillips started, and he and the legislature were national leaders in addressing the many challenges our environment faced.

The Case of the Green Ooze

It’s disappointing that it took creeping green ooze to awaken state officials in Lansing to a monumental environmental problem — thousands of dirty groundwater contamination sites across the state. But that’s exactly what has happened.

FLOW in Focus: Doing the Next Right Thing For the Love of Water

As FLOW’s Executive Director, Liz demonstrates the rightness of Jim’s decision every day. She is a courageous advocate for public water and the public trust, a champion of water justice and water literacy, and a valued counselor to many other professionals and organizations. Liz has earned every accolade and deserves every expression of respect and admiration that comes her way. 

Live, Work, Create, Renew, Repeat.

Above: Liz Kirkwood, who has been standing guard over the Great Lakes since 2012 as FLOW’s executive director, will be on sabbatical with her family from January through March 2020. By Liz Kirkwood, FLOW Executive Director sab·bat·i·cal /səˈbadək(ə)l/  noun: a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel,… Read more »

A Truly Golden Anniversary: 50 Years Since the Environmental Awakening of 1970

Although American environmentalism reaches back to the early 20th century, public demands for clean water, clean air, and healthy ecosystems reached a crescendo in 1970. As 2020 dawns, FLOW believes it’s time to remember and reflect on all that happened that 50 years ago—and how we can make the next 50 years a time of further dramatic progress for our precious waters and the environment.

Court’s Denial of Zoning Permit for Nestlé Pump Station Exposes Achilles Heel of Private Bottled Water Industry

On December 3, the Michigan Court of Appeals released an opinion nullifying a lower court order that had allowed Nestlé to build an industrial booster pump facility to transport 210 million gallons per year of groundwater that feeds headwater creeks in Osceola Township just north of Evart. The decision exposes the Achilles heel of private bottled water industry’s water withdrawals, diversions, and sales throughout Michigan and the country.

Chronicling FLOW’s Accomplishments in 2019

Powered by our supporters, FLOW had quite a year in 2019. Our legal advocacy work to restore the rule of law made a big impact at the state level. Michigan’s new Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a public trust lawsuit on June 27 to revoke the 1953 easement that conditionally authorizes Enbridge to operate its… Read more »

State Official’s Non-Decision Thwarts Protection from Potash Mining

A Michigan state administrative law judge, after almost a year and a half delay, recently decided he had no jurisdiction to rule on a citizen challenge of a proposed potash mine that would suck enormous amounts of groundwater out of an aquifer near the town of Hersey—near Reed City and the Huron-Manistee National Forests. The mine, if approved, would drain groundwater supporting sensitive wetlands and result in disposal of contaminated water into aquifers.

Thunder Bay Film Festival Showcases Water Themes

In what is becoming a cherished Great Lakes community event, the eighth annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival takes place in Alpena, Michigan, January 22-26, 2020. Organized by Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the festival’s offerings span a range of films, from a local student competition to Great Lakes subjects to selections from the International Ocean Film Festival.