Tag: Peggy Case

Peggy Case: FLOW Advocates for Better Policy, Better Legal Systems, Better Ways to Protect Waters

For 10 years, FLOW has worked to keep our water public and protected. During 2021, our 10th anniversary year, FLOW supporters and collaborators are sharing reflections on what our work together has meant to them, and to the freshwaters of the Great Lakes Basin.

Click here to view our video series featuring the testimonials of key FLOW supporters and stakeholders.

Meet Peggy Case, executive director of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC).

“It’s not just a matter of saving water in a creek or a stream here or there. It’s a matter of engaging in global human rights activities. Resources that should be available for everybody,” says Case.

“I had friends who had been alerted to what was going on with the new bottling plant in Stanwood that Nestlé was building. They were protesting and demonstrating. They were part of the original groups that were trying to stop Nestlé from coming into Michigan.”

“FLOW came out of MCWC. [FLOW founder] Jim Olson’s work with MCWC prompted the need for FLOW. Showed that there was a need for a policy and legal organization that would gather together experts, researchers, and legal minds to do something about the flawed laws that we have to advocate for better policy, better legal systems, and better ways to protect waters.”

“Water is a public trust. Government must protect it. Each of us has a right to water and a responsibility to care for it,” says Olson. “FLOW launched in 2011 following a successful campaign to protect the streams and lakes from Nestlé’s large water wells, and stop the sale of our public water.”

“Our work is grounded in law and science,” says FLOW executive director Liz Kirkwood. “We empower communities and citizens to assert their rights. From the Straits of Mackinac where the Line 5 pipelines threaten our precious fresh waters, and across the Great Lakes Basin.”

“FLOW has had a unique opportunity to be able to take a leadership role in some really important legal issues. Line 5 in particular,” says Case. “It’s made a big difference to have an organization like FLOW taking on that role.”

“Michigan boasts a proud environmental legacy of protecting our lakes and streams, our groundwater and our drinking water. It’s time to once again embrace our duty to protect that world-class resource,” says FLOW senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey.

“Your support, your investment, your commitment these past 10 years have made our work possible. A decade of keeping our water public and protected. Please stand with FLOW in the decade to come as the eyes of the world focus even more on our freshwater,” says development director Diane Dupuis.

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

Wetlands photo courtesy of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

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.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) filed the challenge after the state in June 2018 granted permits for eight solution mining wells and three non-hazardous brine disposal wells for the potash mining operation, despite environmental opposition to the project. The proposed potash mining operation in an Osceola County wetland complex would use 725 million gallons of Michigan groundwater per year, according to the state. Potash is used as fertilizer.

Michigan Potash Co. LLC proposes to extract potash salt through the process of solution mining, by pumping water or brine into targeted zones to dissolve the underground potash. The resulting dissolved, potash-rich brine is returned to the surface where it is evaporated to recover potash and food grade salt, state officials say.

The process creates potash deficient brine and water that is recycled in a closed loop system and reused. The three proposed nonhazardous disposal wells will handle the residual brine that is no longer usable for solution mining.

Administrative Law Judge Daniel Pulter, just days before a scheduled hearing on MCWC’s challenge and more than a year after the state issued the permits, determined he had no jurisdiction to rule on the challenge. The action baffled opponents of the mine.

“The upshot of all this,” said MCWC chairperson Peggy Case, “is that for the past year and a half, no one in Lansing has been looking into the serious issues involving Michigan Potash’s plan and site.” But MCWC vows to forge ahead, taking its challenge to the Environmental Permit Appeals Board within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). A hearing on jurisdiction is expected on March 20.

Case notes that Pulter’s non-decision decision dealt only with permits to drill the 11 wells. Additional permits will be required for the location of a refinery, high-pressure brine pipelines and handling facilities, shipping routes, and storage. The company has not performed any tests to establish that it can safely withdraw 5 to 10 times more fresh water than Nestlé is taking for its bottled water six miles away.

“People ask us why we’re continuing our fight,” Case said. “In short, we believe that we have no choice. High-risk, intensive industrial activity at such a uniquely vulnerable site is not something we’re willing to accept without a fight. Michigan already has far too many areas that have become ‘water sacrifice zones’.”

“As Michiganders, we view fresh clean ground and surface waters as our birthright.”