Last week, the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) unanimously approved a resolution affirming water as a human right and expressing concern about the trend toward treating water as a commodity. The resolution also affirms that “the water of the Great Lakes … shall remain in the public trust for the people of the Great Lakes region.” This resolution promises to be a milestone in the looming controversy over the creation of water futures markets.
The public is invited to join FLOW on Tuesday, June 29, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern for a webinar—Managing High Water & High Tension along the Great Lakes Shoreline—that will provide frontline, scientific, regulatory, and legal insights into efforts at the state and local level to manage high waters and high tensions along Michigan’s Great Lakes shoreline.
Some 800 miles north of the Montana border, past vast prairie grasslands, clear, untroubled lakes, and pristine boreal forests, lies a place of profound devastation and desolation. Just north of Fort McMurray in Northeast Alberta, Canada, one encounters an abrupt alteration of the landscape—a ravaged wasteland of disturbed lands and metallic lakes of oil-sheened process waste. Welcome to the place where bitumen—a thick, viscous, oil-containing soil having the consistency of coffee grounds—is extracted for later upgrading and refining into tar sands oil, ultimately destined to cross the Great Lakes watershed by pipeline.
FLOW is thrilled to welcome our ambitious and talented crop of summer interns—Milliken law and policy interns Nora Baty and Henry Ludwig, and our Milliken intern for communications, Matt Harmon.
Line 5-owner Enbridge and its enablers continue to engage in a Chicken Little “sky is falling” campaign, with the Canadian company claiming that, “shutting down Line 5 would cause shortages of crude oil for refineries in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and eastern Canada, as well as propane shortages in northern Michigan. In fact, none of Enbridge’s predictions of an energy shortage materialized when both legs of the dual Line 5 pipelines in the Straits were shut down for more than a week in June 2020 and one leg remained closed until about mid-September following damage that the U.S. Coast Guard said likely was caused by an Enbridge-contracted vessel. The research results are consistent with these studies forecasting little, if any, change in energy costs after Line 5 shuts down for good.
Short’s Brewing in the heart of downtown Bellaire, Michigan, is known for giving back to the community as much as for their fiercely creative handmade beers and ciders and seltzers. And the local company with a broad reach knows you can’t make unique, premium beverages without fresh, clean water. That’s why for the entire month of June, consumers can head to your favorite store or restaurant and purchase Local’s Light—Short’s flagship American Lager—take a picture of your receipt, and upload your proof-of-purchase here.
FLOW is proud that one of our own, former founding board member, Tom Baird, has been appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve on the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and is officially confirmed as of Monday, May 24. The NRC, which oversees the state Department of Natural Resources, has exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and sport fish in Michigan, and to establish seasons. Its meetings are a forum for a myriad of natural resources concerns.
The Groundwork Center’s Michigan Clean Energy Conference and Michigan Climate Action Network’s (MiCAN) Climate Action Summit are joining forces this year to present the virtual Michigan Climate & Clean Energy Summit, May 24-27. FLOW spoke with MiCAN director Kate Madigan about the summit, climate change in the Great Lakes, the environmental justice movement, and what gives her hope for the environmental movement.
Michigan, the state that became notorious for one of the worst episodes of environmental injustice in American history, this week staked a claim to being a leader in ensuring environmental justice.
May 13 marked an inflection point in our water and climate work to shut down Line 5. It was a day of action and a show of force to evict Enbridge as a foreigner occupier—a rogue pipeline company pumping oil through our public waters and lands of the Great Lakes. It was a day highlighting the power of community and solidarity and the power of indigenous leadership in protecting the source of all life: water.