Tag: water policy

FLOW Staff to Issue Public Statement at Governor’s Energy Forum in Traverse City

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FLOW Staff to Issue Public Statement at Governor’s Energy Forum in Traverse City

Michigan’s Energy Plan Needs to Bring Water to the Center of the Conversation

For Immediate Release

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Governor Rick Snyder’s “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions” Public Forum tour makes its seventh and final stop in Traverse City on Monday April 22, 2013. FLOW, a Traverse City-based nonprofit water policy and education center, has prepared written comments and will made public statements during next week’s forum that highlight the water-energy nexus as an integral part of charting Michigan’s energy future plans. Once water is elevated and integrated into the energy debate, the case for prioritizing renewable energies becomes clear. FLOW is a proponent for establishing and applying principles that unify and protect the integrity of the water cycle that flows through the “nexus” between energy production, water management, and climate change.

“Michigan faces a watershed moment and opportunity to chart a new cleaner energy course that is good for jobs, good for the environment, good for energy affordability, and good for the water,” says FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood. Energy production, particularly of non-renewable sources, depends heavily on water for resource extraction, refining and processing, transportation, and electric power generation. The International Energy Agency projects that the amount of water consumed for energy production will double by 2035. FLOW urges Michigan energy policy-makers to wean Michigan off water-intensive energy sources, such as coal-fired power plants and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. “The big issue with fracking is the water, both in sheer quantity (e.g., 300 million gallons to frack 13 wells in Kalkaska County) and in safe disposal of chemical-laden and often toxic wastewater that will never return to our hydrologic cycle,” remarks Kirkwood.

In addition to water consumption for energy generation, climate change is a major issue to address in the water-energy nexus, according to Attorney and FLOW Chair Jim Olson. “What we want the Governor’s office and our state’s decision-makers to realize is that Michigan’s current energy plan is much more expensive when the costs of climate change impacts on water resources are accounted for. Our dependence on fossil fuels is the leading cause of climate change—the largest diversion of water from the Great Lakes—and the principle reason for current low water levels,” says Olson. Historic low water levels are costing taxpayers up to $21 million for emergency dredging this year. Super-storms, drought, increased evaporation, heavy precipitation, and precipitously falling water levels are all strong indicators that our fossil fuel and carbon-rich lifestyle and diet is no longer sustainable to assure the integrity and health of the waters of the Great Lakes.

The bottom line is that expanding Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio makes good sense because it good for jobs, good for the environment, good for energy affordability, and good for the water.

For more information: Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW

Guest Blog: Ted Curran – “Make Them Pay”

Excelsior fracking operation in Kalkaska, MI

Preface from Jim Olson
Water in Michigan is recognized as a public resource or the “waters of the state.” Landowners or those leasing from them have a right to use water, but not unreasonably and it generally not by removing it permanently from watersheds. FLOW board member Ted Curran rightly calls on the state to start treating water as the valuable public resource that it is.

Make Them Pay

April, 2013

The oil and gas companies using millions of gallons of Michigan water to extract natural gas from fracturing shale should be required to pay a fee per gallon for the water used. So far, Michigan water has been used without cost; and, by the way, is no longer usable after it is ruined by the chemicals used in “fracking.” Also, the water taken will lower water tables at a time when Michigan water levels, including the Great Lakes, are at historic lows.

Natural gas exploration and extraction have become important factors in U.S. long-term energy needs, but it is vital that the method used do not create new environmental problems. Fresh water used in “fracking” is an example: Since the water is a public resource and the water used in gas drilling is removed from the water cycle and cannot be reused for human consumption or for agricultural purposes, it is vital that states—including Michigan—and local communities immediately begin charging a fee per gallon for fresh water used in “fracking” so that funds will be available to provide new sources of fresh water and or research the current practice of “fracking” water use to come up with a different natural gas extraction technology that protects groundwater and the Great Lakes.

A shorter version of this op-ed appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle Opinion section on April 10, 2013

Radio: Thirsty Natural Gas Wells Proposed — Jim Olson on IPR

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Jim Olson speaks with Peter Payette on on Interlochen Public Radio program Points North

“Attorney Jim Olson says Michigan is playing a guessing game when it comes to water use and the development of deep shale gas. He says the safeguards in place are inadequate when it comes to protecting rivers and streams. State regulators say they can and do deny water withdrawal permits when oil and gas companies want to take too much water from the ground to drill a natural gas well.”

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June 26 – Traverse City: Book Reading and Signing by Wenonah Hauter, Author, FOODOPOLY

Author and Food and Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter is coming to Traverse City to do a book signing and reading event for her new book, Foodopoly, sponsored by FLOW. Join us at Horizon Books for an interesting and educational event.

“In Foodopoly, Hauter takes aim at the real culprit: the control of food production by a handful of large corporations—backed by political clout—that prevents farmers from raising healthy crops and limits the choices that people can make in the grocery store.”
See more at foodopoly.org

Date: Wednesday, June 26
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Horizon Books Shine Cafe
The Shine Cafe is located in the basement of Horizon Books, 243 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684 MAP
Tickets: FREE admission to the event, FREE snacks, donations to FLOW are welcome

RSVP on Facebook here

See the poster, download + share

July 7 – Water as Commons: Saving the Great Lakes in the 21st Century

FLOW President and Chair, Jim Olson, will speak about the problems facing our Great Lakes Basin – climate change, extreme water levels, dead zones, nuclear and sands oil shipments, to name a few – at 10:30 am on Sunday, July 7 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Center Road in Traverse City. MAP

His presentation will address the threats to our waters within the framework of our larger ecological challenges – including energy and food.   The best way to address these threats, he says, is to see water and related issues as a commons and to apply public trust principles to come up with solutions in this century.

Grand Traverse Insider: Talk to discuss recent fracking developments

Click here to read the article on Grand Traverse Insider

Contributing Writer

LEELANAU – Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW, will talk about the recent developments in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Michigan at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Leelanau School.

FLOW is a Great Lakes water law and policy center dedicated to empowering decision-makers and citizens with legal strategies to protect the region’s common waters.

The Jan. 14 event is sponsored by the Leelanau Independent Women for Democratic Action (LIWdA) and is free and open to the public.

The presentation will provide an overview of the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) and recent fracking developments in the state of Michigan. In addition, it will discuss legal strategies that local communities are implementing with FLOW and others to regulate ancillary fracking activities and protect air, water and land resources.

For more information about the presentation, call 231-642-1391.