July 19, 2023 – The Strait Story: Enbridge Line 5 and Its Trespass on State Waters and Indigenous Lands
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 July 19, FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix presented a special live webinar, featuring a panel of experts about how Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are working together in the courts to shut down Line 5 and bring an end to Enbridge’s trespass on state, sovereign, and indigenous lands. We also talked about smart pipeline alternatives, how organizations are working to avert an oil spill disaster, and answered audience questions.
Our expert panel:
- Riyaz Kanji, founding member and Directing Attorney of Kanji & Katzen and attorney for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
- Christopher Clark, Supervising Senior Attorney, Earthjustice – representing Bay Mills Indian Community
- Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix and Legislative and Policy Director at Michigan Clean Water Action
- Read full panelist bios.
Hosted by FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, and moderated by Senior Legal Advisor Skip Pruss.
This online webinar was supported in part by a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund.
May 22, 2023 – Learning about Factory Farming and Water Pollution in Michigan
Presented by VegMichigan
April 20, 2023 – Water for All: The Future of Water in the Great Lakes Region
Presented by Detroit WILPF’s Kitchen Table Talk
What is the future of water in the Great Lakes region? Liz Kirkwood, Director of FLOW (For Love Of Water), discusses water affordability, the water infrastructure crisis, a legal framework to ensure public water justice, groundwater withdrawal for profit, the Line 5 oil pipeline, and more. Sponsored by the Detroit Branch of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.
March 21, 2023—The Case for a Statewide Septic Code: Michigan Must Inspect Septic Systems to Protect Fresh Water
FLOW hosted a webinar on March 21, 2023, that offered legal, scientific, economic, and political perspectives on the urgent need and critical opportunity for Michigan to finally join the rest of the nation in adopting a state law to protect public health and fresh water from septic system pollution. Billions of gallons of poorly or untreated sewage flow each year into an estimated 330,000 failed septic systems. An unknown amount of that raw sewage ends up in lakes, streams, and groundwater, the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population.
FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood hosted the webinar, and FLOW Legal Advisor Skip Pruss moderated the panel discussion with:
- State Rep. Phil Skaggs
- Dr. Joan Rose of Michigan State University
- Brad Ward, Legal and Policy Director of the Michigan Realtors
Panelists held a rich discussion and answered questions from the audience during the online event, which was free and open to the public. Watch a recording of the livestream below, and please share.
July 28, 2022—The Latest on Line 5: Key Pathways to Protect the Great Lakes from an Oil Spill Disaster
FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix, in partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community, on July 28, 2022, held a livestream event—The Latest on Line 5: Key Pathways to Protect the Great Lakes from an Oil Spill Disaster.
FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood hosted the session, and presenters included Whitney Gravelle, President, Bay Mills Indian Community; Zach Welcker, FLOW Legal Director; and Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix.
Presenters answered questions from the audience and discussed recent developments in the widespread effort to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac and stop the proposed oil tunnel. The online session was free and supported in part by a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund. Watch the livestream below and view the slides too.
June 15, 2022—“Still Hopeful”: A Livestream Conversation with Maude Barlow
FLOW hosted a livestream event on June 15, 2022, with lifelong and world-renowned champion of water, Maude Barlow, who has authored a book built on her career of activism. Its title, appropriately, is Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism. In the book, Barlow tells stories of her work on many issues, perhaps most importantly her successful advocacy of water as a human right. Resisted by many governments, this idea faced enormous challenges, but in July of 2010, the work of Barlow and allies resulted in a declaration of the human right to water by the United Nations General Assembly. The vote was 122 nations in favor, with 41 abstentions—no nation voted against the resolution.
“Hope often defies logic and gives us the strength to continue when all the ‘facts’ tell us things are hopeless,” Barlow writes. “Hope helps us to put one foot in front of the other when despair would tell us not to move.”
FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood led the conversation with Barlow, following a welcome by FLOW Senior Advisor Dave Dempsey and a video tribute by FLOW founder and Senior Legal Advisor Jim Olson, a dear friend of Maude Barlow.
March 22, 2022—Groundwater–Making the Invisible Visible on World Water Day & Every Day
FLOW hosted a livestream event – Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible on World Water Day & Every Day – on March 22, 2022. The online session offered perspectives on the critical importance of our groundwater resources and the work of the Michigan Groundwater Table, which is convened by FLOW. The Groundwater Table is made up of 22 knowledgeable and influential stakeholders from local government, academia, and regulatory agencies focused on the state of Michigan’s groundwater, the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population.
The Groundwater Table has agreed groundwater needs to be elevated as a state policy priority for long-term Great Lakes protection. The Groundwater Table has explored how data and scientific knowledge can be used to advance groundwater policy reform and management, enhance public understanding of groundwater-related issues and challenges, develop findings for groundwater protection, and help secure needed resources to better protect human health and the environment.
FLOW Advisor and Groundwater Table convenor Skip Pruss moderated and led the discussion, with co-presenters including:
* Michigan State Rep. Padma Kuppa
* Dr. Alan Steinman, Director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University
* Dave Hamilton, retired MDEQ/TNC groundwater scientist
* Andrew Hogarth, retired MDEQ/EGLE site cleanup chief
* Joshua Mosher, Assistant Director, EGLE Remediation and Redevelopment Division
March 3, 2022—Environmental Justice–Hosted by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood on March 3, 2022, participated in a livestream event on Environmental Justice hosted by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. Her remarks begin at 15:56 in the recording.
Dec. 8, 2021—Conversation with Author Dave Dempsey on his Freshly Updated Book, “Great Lakes for Sale”
FLOW hosted a conversation on Dec. 8, 2021, with author Dave Dempsey on his freshly updated book, Great Lakes for Sale. Sally Cole-Misch, author of The Best Part of Us, and longtime communicator for the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Regional Office, facilitated the conversation with Dave. “A call to action for every Great Lakes resident to recognize the lakes as our most immense gift from nature, something to be cared for as if our lives depended on them—because they do,” Cole-Misch said about Great Lakes for Sale. “This is a must-read for every resident of the Great Lakes region.”
August 25, 2021—Virtual Launch of “The Accidental Reef,” Featuring Author Lynne Heasley and Illustrator Glenn Wolff
FLOW held a virtual book launch of “The Accidental Reef” on Wednesday, August 25, featuring author Lynne Heasley and book illustrator Glenn Wolff. “The Accidental Reef and Other Ecological Odysseys in the Great Lakes” was published by Michigan State University Press. With dazzling illustrations from Glenn Wolff, the book helps us know the Great Lakes in new ways and grapple with the legacies and alternative futures that come from their abundance of natural wealth. This virtual book launch featured the author and the illustrator for a Happy Hour reading and glimpse into the book’s creative collaboration.
July 29, 2021—The Battle Over Line 5: The Legal Fight for Our Public Waters
FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix hosted a webinar on Thursday, July 29—The Battle Over Line 5: The Legal Fight for Our Public Waters—for residents of Mackinac Island, the Straits Area, and beyond, supported with a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund. The webinar explored legal, economic, regulatory, tribal treaty, and frontline insights in support of the State of Michigan’s case to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood introduced the topic and moderated the co-panelist presentations and question-and-answer session with attendees. Co-panelists included:
- Skip Pruss, FLOW Legal Advisor and former director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth.
- Christopher Clark, Supervising Senior Attorney at Earthjustice (Chicago), representing Bay Mills Indian Community
- Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix and Legislative and Policy Director at Michigan Clean Water Action
June 29, 2021—Managing High Water & High Tension along the Great Lakes Shoreline
FLOW hosted a webinar providing frontline, scientific, regulatory, and legal insights into efforts at the state and local level to manage high waters and uphold public trust rights along Michigan’s Great Lakes shoreline.
Session description: While Great Lakes waters have receded from their 2019-2020 historic high levels, surface waters remain higher than their long-term average—except for Lake Ontario. Concerns remain regarding high water levels, construction of seawalls and other armoring, and impacts to public and private property, the environment and wildlife, and the public trust rights of people to safely access the shoreline and water.
FLOW Founder and Senior Legal Advisor Jim Olson will introduce the topic and moderate the co-panelist presentations and question-and-answer session with attendees.
- Jerrod Sanders, Assistant Director in the Water Resources Division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
- David Bunte, Supervisor of Chikaming Township in Berrien County in Southwest Lower Michigan
- Scott Howard, Attorney and Partner, at the law firm of Olson, Bzdok, & Howard
June 10, 2021—An Evening with Robin Wall Kimmerer, Best-Selling Author of “Braiding Sweetgrass”
FLOW co-hosted this event with the National Writer Series and guest hosted by FLOW Board Member Matthew L.M. Fletcher, the Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Kimmerer weaves together a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires acknowledging and celebrating our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.
March 10, 2021—Deep Threats to Our Sixth Great Lake: Spotlighting and Solving Michigan’s Groundwater Emergency
FLOW hosted a webinar providing insight and commentary on the state of Michigan’s groundwater and what can be done to better protect the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population. Out of sight and therefore out of mind, Michigan’s groundwater faces deep threats, including contamination in thousands of places by everything from failing septic systems to industrial chemicals. A Zoom webinar hosted by FLOW on Wednesday, March 10 provided insight and commentary on the state of Michigan’s groundwater and what can be done to better protect the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population. In addition, invited speakers made presentations on critical issues related to groundwater quality and quantity.
FLOW Senior Advisor Dave Dempsey discussed FLOW’s new report, “Deep Threats to our Sixth Great Lake.” The second of FLOW’s reports on Michigan groundwater, Deep Threats proposes a Groundwater Protection Act as a remedy to the widespread contamination of this vital resource. Co-presenters included Dr. Carrie Jennings, Policy and Research Director for the Freshwater Society, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that has received a grant from the Joyce Foundation for research on groundwater governance in some of the Great Lakes states; and Dr. Alan Steinman, the Allen and Helen Hunting Director of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University.
September 27, 2021—Sally Cole-Misch Discussing her Novel, “The Best Part Of Us”
January 17, 2021—Alison Swan Discussing her Poetry Collection, “A Fine Canopy”
Publisher’s Weekly hailed the book. “Swan carefully constructs an arc of grief and transformation through a wide range of poetic forms, including … luminous fragments…Swan offers a subtle consideration on the natural world through accomplished poetic craft.”
A Fine Canopy is Alison’s fifth book. Her poems and environmental writing have appeared in many publications, including the recent award-winning anthologies Elemental, Ghost Fishing, and Here. In 2006, Alison’s first book Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes was named a Michigan Notable Book.
August 5, 2020 — Securing a Brighter Future Without Line 5 or an Oil Tunnel
FLOW hosted a webinar providing the latest update on the 67-year-old Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel to replace them.
Session description: Presenters will share legal, scientific, and financial arguments for decommissioning Line 5 in the Straits before it ruptures and rejecting the tunnel scheme, and also will answer questions from attendees. The online event is supported with a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund. The timely session comes on the heels of Line 5 suffering “significant damage” and a court-ordered shutdown in June 2020, while the oil pipeline tunnel was dealt a major setback later that month when a state agency ordered a full review of the proposal rather than rubber-stamping it, as Enbridge had requested. Presenters include:
- Dr. Edward E. Timm, PhD, PE, Retired as Senior Scientist, Dow Chemical Company
- Stanley “Skip” Pruss, former Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth and former Chief Energy Officer for Michigan
- Ian Bund, Senior Advisor, Plymouth Growth
- Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community
July 22, 2020 — Exploring Legal Pathways to Shut Down Line 5 and Stop Oil Tunnel to Protect the Great Lakes
FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix co-hosted a webinar — in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, National Wildlife Federation, and citizen-led Straits of Mackinac Alliance — providing legal and other insights into the past, present, and future of the 67-year-old oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and Enbridge’s proposed oil tunnel to replace them.
Session description: This event is timed to closely coincide with the 10-year anniversary on July 25 of Enbridge’s Line 6B oil spill disaster near Marshall, Michigan, contaminating nearly 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and its watershed with a million gallons of tar sands oil, sickening more than 300 people, and destroying wildlife and habitat.
- Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW
- Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix
- Aaron Payment, Chairman, The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
- Patty Peek, Chair, Straits of Mackinac Alliance
- Beth Wallace, Manager of Conservation Partnerships, National Wildlife Federation
June 17, 2020 — Nestlé: Stopping the Groundwater Grab
FLOW and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation co-hosted a webinar providing frontline, scientific, and legal insights into citizen-led efforts to challenge Nestlé, the Swiss-based corporate giant, in its quest to expand its groundwater grab in Michigan. Every year, Nestlé in its operations near Evart pumps hundreds of millions of gallons of public groundwater virtually for free, bottles it, and sells it under the Ice Mountain brand back to the public at a huge markup – while threatening streams that provide aquatic habitat and flow to Lake Michigan. Presenters include:
• Jim Olson, President & Legal Advisor, FLOW
• Peggy Case, President, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation