H2Olson

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Common Water, Public Health, and the Common Good: Just What Does the Term “Public Trust” Mean Anyway?

FLOW’s organizing principle is the public trust doctrine.  What sounds like an exotic concept is quite simple.  This centuries-old principle of common law holds that there are some resources, like water and submerged lands that by their nature cannot be privately owned.  Rather, these commons – including the Great Lakes — belongs to the public.  And… Read more »

Court Charts Path Forward for Generational Commitment to Save Humanity and Earth from Rising Devastating Effects of Climate Change

FLOW’s organizing principle is the public trust doctrine.  What sounds like an exotic concept is quite simple.  This centuries-old principle of common law holds that there are some resources, like water and submerged lands, that by their nature cannot be privately owned.  Rather, these commons – including the Great Lakes — belongs to the public. … Read more »

Our Public Water, Infrastructure and Health:  Here Come the Profiteers!

Our public water systems are in crisis. Every person and business in every city and town in the U.S. will face increasing competition for water, more and more repairs, improvements, and replacement of crumbling infrastructure or preventing illness or pollution. They will also face the wild card of increased frequency and intensity of rainfall and… Read more »

Failed Leadership and Line 5

Our State’s leadership in the handling of Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac has gone from bad to worse. In light of disclosures by Enbridge of a failed pipeline design and the refusal on the part of our State leaders to take action to prevent devastating harm to the Great Lakes, it is… Read more »

Public Trust Watch: Courts Weigh Public Access to the Shore

What rights does the public have to access the shore?  By deciding not to hear an appeal brought by a right-wing foundation on behalf of a coastal property owner, the U.S. Supreme Court has provided an answer, for now. The Court of Appeals decision whose challenge the Supreme Court refused to hear upheld a local… Read more »

Whose waterfront is it anyway?

Whose waterfront is it anyway? An important court case in Wisconsin will offer one answer to that question – – and it could have important implications for public access and open space in the redevelopment of Michigan’s and Great Lakes’ shorelines.  The case, which is on appeal from a trial court that sided with the… Read more »

FLOW Response to Hurricane Harvey NEWS

Stop All Disaster-Schemers from Ripping Off Our Public Water for Selfish Profits Jim Olson Here’s the ugly future of water if we don’t protect it as something public and held in public trust for the benefit of citizens. Water is a commons, meant to be used by landowners, homeowners, and citizens who have a right… Read more »