H2Olson

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Minnesota Water Train Proposal Exposes Flaw in Great Lakes Compact

By Jim Olson A railway company recently proposed extracting 500 million gallons of groundwater per year from Minnesota and shipping it to water-scarce states in the southwestern United States. Although the water that would be diverted lies outside the Great Lakes Basin, and Minnesota officials said they are not likely to approve the water export… Read more »

Faceoff over Farm Runoff Heads to Iowa Court

The foot-dragging by public officials to take action against deadly algal blooms and pollution from bad farming practices finally has reached a tipping point. Food and Water Watch, a national public interest organization, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement have teamed up in Des Moines to file a lawsuit to force Iowa state officials and commissions for violating their duty to protect the Racoon River and the drinking water of 500,000 people.

Reflections on Independence – Liberty, Water, and the Public Trust Doctrine

July is “Public Trust Month” at FLOW, a time to gather views and inspiration from people from all walks of life who live, use and enjoy, or depend on the waters of the Great Lakes Basin for life, recreation, and livelihood. Talk about a gift for all of us to celebrate on Independence Day and FLOW’s “Public Trust Month.” This is one to be thankful for, exercise, and protect for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and all future generations.

Michigan Citizens, Tribe Challenge State Permit for Nestlé’s Water Grab

By Jim Olson I don’t mean to dampen the joy of spring in Michigan, but amidst headlines over Line 5 and unconscionable groundwater contamination from PFAS, we need to embolden our governor, our state officials, and every citizen who cares about water, justice, and the rule of law to join another battle. We need to hoist the mast of Michiganders’… Read more »

The Future of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac

Now that Michigan’s governor and attorney general have sunk the oil tunnel scheme hatched by the last administration, I’m asked nearly every day: What can citizens and state leaders do to shut down the propped-up, banged-up Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac for good? Here’s my answer, as succinctly as I can distill… Read more »

What Happened on Line 5?

How Did We Get Here on Line 5? Tracing the Law and the Politics The plotting of former Governor Snyder’s administration and Enbridge to hand over the public trust soils and bedrock under the Straits of Mackinac for the company to build and operate a new crude oil pipeline in a tunnel for 99 years… Read more »

A Day in the Life of Patagonia – a Corporation that Promotes the Common Good

Above: Jim Olson and his wife Judy Bosma pose with Patagonia environmental programs associate Alex Cangialose and environmental grants coordinator Tom Kaheli on the front steps of Patagonia’s headquarters. Patagonia, the cutting-edge outdoor clothing company with a mission to serve the common good and the planet’s environment, started out as a climbing equipment company in… Read more »

Sign of the Times: Toledo Voters Pass Bill of Rights for Lake Erie

Above: A Summer day on western Lake Eire A lake, river, creek, parkland, wilderness, or canopy of redwoods or old sugar maples can’t walk to the courthouse to file lawsuits to protect their right to be free from harm, nor can they walk into a precinct and vote. Come to think of it, neither can… Read more »

FLOW Challenges Proposed Great Lakes Water Diversion for Foxconn in Wisconsin

This week, FLOW President and Legal Advisor Jim Olson filed an amicus brief in a challenge to a State of Wisconsin permit authorizing a diversion of 7 million gallons a day (mgd) of Lake Michigan water to support the Foxconn Corporation’s proposed manufacturing facility. As discussed below, the proposed diversion raises troubling legal questions and… Read more »

Walk On!

photo by Beth Price The Town of Long Beach, Indiana, runs along a wide stretch of sandy Lake Michigan beach just below the southwest corner of Michigan. Residences, and a series of public access corridors, extend to the shore from the town’s Lake Shore Drive. More homes extend inland along winding streets, hills, and vistas, all… Read more »