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  • The Public Trust Doctrine Percolates into State Courts, Legislators, and Commissions to Protect Groundwater, Streams, Lakes, Economies and Quality of Life

    The Public Trust Doctrine Percolates into State Courts, Legislators, and Commissions to Protect Groundwater, Streams, Lakes, Economies and Quality of Life

    “Water Justice Flows Like Water.”[1]   Law professor Sprout D. Kapua’ala, borrowing from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech in 1968 (“justice rolling down like waters”), captures decades of conflict over the streams and waters of Hawai’i, siphoned and dried from a century of withdrawals and diversion …Read More »
  • FLOW’s Vision to Address the World Water Crisis

    FLOW’s Vision to Address the World Water Crisis

    “The water cycle and the life cycle are one” —- Jacques Cousteau   A White-Water Trip Down the Currents of the Public Trust Doctrine In ancient times, people knew water and the life cycles were the same. Without water, civilizations collapsed. Rome, with its dependence on water and the spokes …Read More »
  • President Trump’s Executive Order to Industrialize Great Lakes Violates the Public Trust

    President Trump’s Executive Order to Industrialize Great Lakes Violates the Public Trust

    On June 19, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order that declared “the ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters of the United States are foundational to economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States.” The purpose of this order is three-fold: Facilitate economic growth and industrial use of …Read More »
  • Why Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation’s Contested Case Against the Nestlé Water Permit Is Right and Necessary

    Why Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation’s Contested Case Against the Nestlé Water Permit Is Right and Necessary

    Permits that Harm Water and Natural Resources Michigan officials have been busy this spring — busy handing out permits to take or destroy Michigan’s water and natural resources in violation of clear constitutional and legal mandates: A mandatory duty to protect the public’s paramount interest in our air, water, and …Read More »
  • Saving the Straits of Mackinac

    Saving the Straits of Mackinac

    Saving the Straits of Mackinac Yesterday, May 22, 2018, marks the day that our state’s citizens, threatened with the terrible harm of an oil spill from a failed Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, took matters into their own hands. The Straits of Mackinac Alliance (SMA) filed a contested-case …Read More »
  • Common Water, Public Health, and the Common Good: Just What Does the Term “Public Trust” Mean Anyway?

    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 — …Read More »
  • Court Charts Path Forward for Generational Commitment to Save Humanity and Earth from Rising Devastating Effects of Climate Change

    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 …Read More »
  • Why Public-Private Partnerships that Own or Control Our Cities and Towns’ Water and Infrastructure Are Not the Answer

    Why Public-Private Partnerships that Own or Control Our Cities and Towns’ Water and Infrastructure Are Not the Answer

    In this space two weeks ago I demonstrated that plans by President Trump and Governor Snyder to rebuild our deteriorating public Infrastructure will force shrinking or financially strapped cities and towns to turn to private water companies and investors.  The Trump plan would cut the historical federal 75 percent share …Read More »
  • Our Public Water, Infrastructure and Health:  Here Come the Profiteers!

    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 …Read More »
  • Nestlé Must Still Prove to State It Can Divert Water from Headwater Creeks

    Nestlé Must Still Prove to State It Can Divert Water from Headwater Creeks

    A Circuit Court ruling reversing Osceola Township’s denial of a zoning permit for a booster station five days before Christmas does not clear the way for Nestlé’s push for a massive increase in pumping from 150 gpm to 400 gpm (210 million gallons a year) from two headwater creeks. Nestlé …Read More »
  • Failed Leadership and Line 5

    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 …Read More »
  • It Is Time to Remove the Grinch from Flint, Detroit, and the Future of Michigan’s Great Lakes Water

    It Is Time to Remove the Grinch from Flint, Detroit, and the Future of Michigan’s Great Lakes Water

    The City of Flint, through its city council, just approved a deal to return to and stay on Detroit water, now managed and sold by the suburban Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).  This decision must be viewed as the next step, not the final outcome.  Even though the city and …Read More »
  • Public Trust Watch:  Courts Weigh Public Access to the Shore

    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 …Read More »
  • Whose waterfront is it anyway?

    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 …Read More »
  • FLOW Response to Hurricane Harvey NEWS

    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 …Read More »
  • Line 5 Straits New Anchor Structures

    Line 5 Straits New Anchor Structures

     Public Statement Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Line 5 Straits New Anchor Structures Jim Olson President and Legal Advisor, FLOW (For Love of Water) July 25, 2017 Director Grether, Division and Unit Chief Fisher, and the Gaylord Office Unit Supervisor Haas, and Great Lakes Submerged Land Specialist Graft: This statement …Read More »
  • Jim Olson’s statement to Pipeline Safety Advisory Board

    Jim Olson’s statement to Pipeline Safety Advisory Board

    Public Meeting of the Michigan Pipeline Advisory Board Petoskey, Michigan, June 12, 2017 Statement of James Olson President and Legal Advisor, FLOW for Love Water It’s time for our state government to stop treating our 1963 Constitution, statutes and common law as nice but meaningless environmental policy statements and start …Read More »
  • Welcoming Dave Dempsey to FLOW

    Welcoming Dave Dempsey to FLOW

    I share in the excitement with FLOW’s Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, the staff, Board of Directors, and supporters in welcoming Dave Dempsey’s arrival at FLOW. When we began FLOW in its initial stages nine years ago, Dave Dempsey expressed his enthusiasm and support for our launch and the course ahead. …Read More »
  • The Intrinsic Value of Water and the Public Trust Doctrine

    The Intrinsic Value of Water and the Public Trust Doctrine

    March 22, 2017 World Water Day Let us ask ourselves today, on World Water Day – led by the United Nations, Watershed Movement, and the Vatican, with the assistance of organizations like Circle of Blue and the World Economic Forum, and many others – just what is the value of water …Read More »
  • Jim Olson & Dave Mahan on Natural Resources Stewardship

    Jim Olson & Dave Mahan on Natural Resources Stewardship

        A Conversation About Climate and Conservation In this video produced by Joe VanderMeulen for NatureChange, Phil Ellis, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, moderates as two of Northern Michigan’s most respected and experienced environmental leaders discuss the challenges and choices facing our region. FLOW’s own Jim Olson and Dr. …Read More »
  • The Great Lakes are no place for fish farming, but there might be one nearby

    The Great Lakes are no place for fish farming, but there might be one nearby

    The waters of the Great Lakes are held in trust by the state as a shared public commons for the benefit of citizens for navigation, boating, fishing, health and sustenance. The courts of all eight Great Lakes states have recognized this principle, which means the states must manage these waters …Read More »
  • Water Poet Mike Delp Shares His Latest Work

    Water Poet Mike Delp Shares His Latest Work

      “I say water is better than money,” — Mike Delp, “Mad Angler Speaks Truth to Power,” from Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler. (Wayne State University Press, 2016). Mike Delp, the water poet, has shared his poems at readings and …Read More »
  • Waukesha’s Proposed Exemption to the Great Lakes Compact Diversion Ban

    Waukesha’s Proposed Exemption to the Great Lakes Compact Diversion Ban

    Ask any ship captain or sailor along the shores of the Great Lakes, and they will tell you how important it is to follow the rules of navigation, including honoring those lighthouse beacons and green and red channel buoys. In short, boat captains must exercise utmost caution at all times. …Read More »
  • NY Times features Public Trust Doctrine

    NY Times features Public Trust Doctrine

    A recent article on the New York Times Opinion Editorial Page  features the public trust doctrine as basis for citizens, including the children atmospheric trust cases, to bring court actions to order governments to take affirmative action to drastically reduce greenhouse gases and minimize climate change.  All water, air, and wildlife are legally viewed …Read More »
  • There is No Legal Authority for Commercial Fish Farming in Great Lakes Waters

    There is No Legal Authority for Commercial Fish Farming in Great Lakes Waters

    The Great Lakes are not and cannot be a “gold mine” for any private person or corporation. They are owned by the State in public trust for each citizen. The Supreme Courts of Michigan, the U.S. and other states have ruled for more than 120 years that public trust bottomlands …Read More »
  • End Enbridge Stonewalling

    End Enbridge Stonewalling

    Observations by some that the State of Michigan has no regulatory authority over hazardous liquid pipelines is correct to the extent that it is understood in the context of  safety regulations — standards, inspection and enforcement; safety code enforcement is covered by the federal PHMSA law, regulation and agency.  However, …Read More »
  • Jim Olson Debates Enbridge on Line 5

    Jim Olson Debates Enbridge on Line 5

    FLOW founder and president Jim Olson made the case against Enbridge recently for the need to eliminate crude oil in Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Read the full debate in Riparian Magazine here.     Read More »
  • FLOW’s Pioneering Work on Right to Water, Commons and Public Trust Join the Mainstream

    FLOW’s Pioneering Work on Right to Water, Commons and Public Trust Join the Mainstream

    The launch of FLOW’s new website comes at the same time FLOW’s work (beginning back in 2009 when Terry Swier, President of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, my brother Eric Olson, Ted Curran, and a few others, saw the need to educate leaders and the public on the overarching  principle …Read More »
  • California Drought and the Public Trust

    California Drought and the Public Trust

    By Jim Olson This has been a long time coming, inevitable really: Since the California Supreme Court’s decision in the National Audubon “Mono Lake” case back in the 1980s, courts have recognized the hydrologic connection between navigable and non-navigable but tributary streams and the groundwater that replenishes them.  Indeed, it …Read More »
  • Some Thoughts for the New Year: Common Home and Common Principles – Living and Working for the Common Good

    Some Thoughts for the New Year: Common Home and Common Principles – Living and Working for the Common Good

          By Jim Olson President, FLOW For Love of Water, Traverse City Attorney, Olson, Bzdok & Howard, P.C., Traverse City         When I look back over the past year, I can’t help but feel hope in the common goodness of people and communities. I say …Read More »
  • Holiday Thoughts on the Paris Climate Change Agreement: A Christmas Gift of Hope and Reality

    Holiday Thoughts on the Paris Climate Change Agreement: A Christmas Gift of Hope and Reality

    By Jim Olson, President FLOW (For Love of Water)   We can be thankful that nations of the world have opened the door to the foyer to address climate change. Most encouraging is the senses of cooperation to protect this home we call earth. The other end of the promise …Read More »
  • Court Confirms 45 Miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline Owned by State Under Public Trust

    Court Confirms 45 Miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline Owned by State Under Public Trust

    Court Confirms Indiana’s 45-Mile Shoreline on Lake Michigan Owned and Held by State for Public Recreation Under Public Trust Doctrine By Jim Olson[1]   Another state court confirms that the 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline are owned by states in public trust for citizens to enjoy for walking, swimming, …Read More »
  • Take Action to Prevent Pipeline Secrecy Bill

    Take Action to Prevent Pipeline Secrecy Bill

    An alarming piece of legislation was introduced last week by Rep. Heise and is quickly being moved to committee Thursday, May 14th. It would exempt oil & gas companies like Enbridge from disclosing pipeline and energy-related information under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We need more information on critical pipelines …Read More »
  • Blueprint for the Great Lakes Trail

    Blueprint for the Great Lakes Trail

    Blueprint for the Great Lakes Trail Melissa K. Scanlan Vermont Law School July 31, 2014 Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, July 31, 2014. Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 14-14 Abstract: The Great Lakes are vast yet vulnerable. There is a need to focus the public’s attention on …Read More »
  • Yes: Ohio farmers’ harvest depend on healthy waters, Toledo Blade

    Yes: Ohio farmers’ harvest depend on healthy waters, Toledo Blade

    A great article from the Blade, a Toledo newspaper, was just published which supports the need for a strong “waters of the US” rule under the Clean Water Act. This rule would insure that wetlands and tributary waters of the Great Lakes are not diminished, impaired, and the Great Lakes ecosystem and waters …Read More »
  • ‘Biggest Fracking Victory Ever!’ as New York Bans Dangerous Drilling in State

    ‘Biggest Fracking Victory Ever!’ as New York Bans Dangerous Drilling in State

    Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 by Common Dreams ‘Biggest Fracking Victory Ever!’ as New York Bans Dangerous Drilling in State ‘Fracking has no place in New York or anywhere,’ says prominent activist after announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Jon Queally, staff writer Anti-fracking protesters outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s …Read More »
  • Jim Olson Article on Detroit Water Shut Offs

    Jim Olson Article on Detroit Water Shut Offs

    Detroit’s Bankruptcy and Water Shutoffs Strike a Blow   to the Rights and Public Trust in Water of Detroit’s Poor   By Jim Olson[1]             Detroit’s emergency manager filed for bankruptcy in July 2013 to force creditors to negotiate a bankruptcy plan that would slash the city’s unwieldy debt, and, …Read More »
  • Great Lakes fishery managers need insight on climate change impacts

    Great Lakes fishery managers need insight on climate change impacts

    http://greatlakesecho.org/2014/10/30/great-lakes-fishery-managers-need-insight-on-climate-change-impacts/ Great Lakes fishery managers need insight on climate change impacts By: GREAT LAKES ECHO | 6 HOURS AGO By Duygu Kanver Great Lakes fishery managers worry that their operations may be harmed by invasive species, habitat loss and climate change in the long run, according to a new study. …Read More »
  • State Gets Report on Straits of Mackinac Pipelines

    State Gets Report on Straits of Mackinac Pipelines

    http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/State-Gets-Report-on-Straits-of-Mackinac-Pipelines-278321971.html   Officials from a pipeline company are seeking to reassure Michigan officials who are conducting a safety review of lines including those running beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force announced Monday it got an update last month about Enbridge Energy Partners LP’s Line 5. …Read More »
  • What’s the status of the old oil pipeline under Lake Michigan? We need more information to know.

    What’s the status of the old oil pipeline under Lake Michigan? We need more information to know.

    By MARK BRUSH The Environment Report A diver inspects Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent. Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan Listen Listening… Listen to the second part of our answer to a “M I Curious” question about …Read More »
  • New Report Released on Fresh Water Crisis by Johnson Foundation at Wingspread Releases

    New Report Released on Fresh Water Crisis by Johnson Foundation at Wingspread Releases

    Groundbreaking Report on U.S. Freshwater Crisis  Charting New Waters report provides recommendations for transforming U.S. water infrastructure after 6-year examination A new report on water and sewer infrastructure in this century.  Here’s a business oriented report based on series of convenings by  Johnson Foundation. As you can see, the report concludes with a set …Read More »
  • Good news about groundwater – Rutland Herald

    Good news about groundwater – Rutland Herald

    “Vermont leaders pioneer public trust principles to address systemic pollution and water quantity issues in this century.  The MTBE case is groundbreaking, because it demonstrates how the public trust principles advocated and demonstrated FLOW’s projects will work for the Great Lakes and beyond, including addressing the toxic algae and algal …Read More »
  • Toxic Algae Problem Likely To Get Worse Before It Gets Better

    Toxic Algae Problem Likely To Get Worse Before It Gets Better

    A featured story on National Public Radio this morning.  The issue of blue-green algae in lakes which took the spotlight in August after the Ohio city of Toledo banned its drinking water for two days.  Toledo could be a wake-up call for people around Lake Erie.    If you missed …Read More »
  • Oil & Water Don’t Mix: Potential Harm from Enbridge Pipelines in the Straits Stretches from Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island to Governor’s Desk

    Oil & Water Don’t Mix: Potential Harm from Enbridge Pipelines in the Straits Stretches from Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island to Governor’s Desk

    Oil & Water Don’t Mix: Potential Harm from Enbridge Pipelines in the Straits Stretches from Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island to Governor’s Desk By Kelly Thayer, FLOW Contributor September 9, 2014 It was a chilling portrait of a place accustomed to grandeur: Mackinac Island swallowed by a sea of oil. …Read More »
  • Harmful Algal Blooms Causing Toledo’s Municipal Water Crisis

    Harmful Algal Blooms Causing Toledo’s Municipal Water Crisis

    Harmful Algal Blooms Causing Toledo’s Municipal Water Crisis By Casey Spitzer, FLOW Intern August 8, 2014   Fear and confusion spread quickly through the greater Toledo area in the early morning hours of Saturday, August 2nd when Ohio Governor declared a state of emergency that announced that the water was …Read More »
  • DEQ and Attorney General Determine Enbridge in Violation of 1953 Easement

    DEQ and Attorney General Determine Enbridge in Violation of 1953 Easement

    On July 1st, FLOW along with 16 conservation, water and environmental groups and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians sent a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder urging greater state action to regulate Enbridge’s 61 year-old Line 5, which transports some 23 million gallons of crude oil and …Read More »
  • Detroit Spirit and Community Leader Passes Away

    Detroit Spirit and Community Leader Passes Away

    Charity Hicks, a visionary, cultural, and community leader in Detroit passed away after a serious bus accident in New York July 9th, 2014. Charity had led the fight of the Detroit People’s Water Board against political efforts to privatize Detroit’s water system and shut off water to and otherwise marginalize …Read More »
  • Barlow raises Detroit water shutoffs on CBC National and in The New York Times

    Barlow raises Detroit water shutoffs on CBC National and in The New York Times

    CBC National news reports, “Nearly half of Detroit’s water customers are in arrears so the city is disconnecting service at an unprecedented pace. 12,500 in the last 90 days though some have paid up to get their water back. …A group here in Canada has taken up the cause. The …Read More »
  • FLOW attends Northern Michigan Pipeline Symposium

    FLOW attends Northern Michigan Pipeline Symposium

    On Tuesday night June 24, 2014, approximately 150 concerned citizens gathered together at Petoskey High School to learn and ask questions about Enbridge Energy and their future plans for pipeline 5.  A wide range of advocacy and regulatory groups were also in attendance and participated in the discussion panel that …Read More »
  • Intern Adventures: Courtney Hammer

    Intern Adventures: Courtney Hammer

    Hello! My name is Courtney Hammer, and I am thrilled to be spending twelve weeks this summer up in the beautiful Traverse City, Michigan interning with FLOW (For Love of Water). I was raised down south in Roswell, Georgia, but Traverse City is home away from home for me, as …Read More »
  • Dark Snow is “Not Cool” – Peter Sinclair on Climate Change and Showstoppers

    Dark Snow is “Not Cool” – Peter Sinclair on Climate Change and Showstoppers

    Peter Sinclair is tall and brawny, and while the climate change communications expert looks like he could scale a mountain or scramble a glacier (and soon he will), he doesn’t look like a baseball player on steroids. What looks like a baseball player on steroids, he says, is climate change. …Read More »
  • Local Government Regulation of Large-Scale Hydraulic Fracturing Activities and Uses

    Local Government Regulation of Large-Scale Hydraulic Fracturing Activities and Uses

    Ross Hammersely and Kate Redman, attorneys with the Traverse City law firm, Olson, Bzdok & Howard, have done a marvelous service for local government officials, planners, administrators, property owners, industry, and the public in publishing a cogent, objective article on the scope and nature of local government regulation, including zoning …Read More »
  • Water cut offs in Detroit a violation of human rights

    Water cut offs in Detroit a violation of human rights

    I recently visited Detroit, Michigan and am shocked and deeply disturbed at what I witnessed... Every day, thousands of them, in a city that is situated right by a body of water carrying one fifth of the world's water supply, are having their water ruthlessly cut off by men working …Read More »
  • Summary – Virtual Townhall Webinar on Nutrient Pollution, Harmful Algal Blooms, and Dead Zones in the Great Lakes

    Summary – Virtual Townhall Webinar on Nutrient Pollution, Harmful Algal Blooms, and Dead Zones in the Great Lakes

    Click here to view on YouTube.com FLOW’s May 13th webinar hosted four speakers who provided their insight on nutrient pollution in Lake Erie. We were fortunate to hear from Dr. Don Scavia, professor from the University of Michigan Codi Yeager-Kozacek, correspondent from Circle of Blue Dave Dempsey, member from the …Read More »
  • Photo Gallery: “Well May the World Go” Pete Seeger Community Concert FLOW Benefit in Benzonia, MI

    Photo Gallery: “Well May the World Go” Pete Seeger Community Concert FLOW Benefit in Benzonia, MI

    Photos from the “Well May the World Go” Pete Seeger Community Concert FLOW Benefit in Benzonia, MI Credit: Liz Kirkwood, FLOW Executive DirectorRead More »
  • Joe Sax, Legal Giant and Visionary, Leaves the Gift of the Public Trust Doctrine

    Joe Sax, Legal Giant and Visionary, Leaves the Gift of the Public Trust Doctrine

    For Professor Joseph Sax “Of all the concepts known to America law, only the public trust doctrine seems to have the breadth and substantive content which might make it useful as a tool of general application for citizens seeking to develop a comprehensive approach to resource management problems.” – Joe Sax, …Read More »
  • The Pipeline in the Straits: Learning About Line 5 with Enbridge in St. Ignace

    The Pipeline in the Straits: Learning About Line 5 with Enbridge in St. Ignace

    By FLOW intern Jonathan Aylward. Jonathan has been with FLOW since January 2014 and also works on food-related projects throughout the Grand Traverse region. There is an oil pipeline running through the Great Lakes underneath the Mackinac Bridge. The pipeline, called Line 5, is owned and operated by Enbridge, a …Read More »
  • Systemic Threats to Great Lakes Demand an Immediate Paradigm Shift to Water as Commons Protected By Public Trust

    Systemic Threats to Great Lakes Demand an Immediate Paradigm Shift to Water as Commons Protected By Public Trust

    Pursuant to his recent publication in The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, the following are some thoughts from Jim Olson on the importance of the public trust doctrine at this time in history. Systemic Threats to Great Lakes Demand an Immediate Paradigm Shift to Water as Commons Protected By Public …Read More »
  • FLOW’s Transparent Open Door Fracking Program

    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman As a non-partisan policy and education center focused on protecting the Great Lakes, FLOW undertakes projects and programs based on the demonstrated reality of problems needing resolution. Unequivocally, FLOW’s mission and …Read More »
  • Enbridge Under the Bridge: What We Do and Don’t Know about the Underwater Oil Pipeline in the Great Lakes

    Enbridge Under the Bridge: What We Do and Don’t Know about the Underwater Oil Pipeline in the Great Lakes

    FLOW and a number of organizations have come together over the last year to rally the public and raise awareness about the Canadian energy company Enbridge and their Line 5 pipeline, a 61-year-old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes which has increased in flow and pipeline pressure …Read More »
  • FLOW Funder Park Foundation Among Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

    FLOW Funder Park Foundation Among Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

    The New York Times recently featured one of FLOW’s major funders, the Park Foundation, in an article about a group of philanthropic foundations that are collaborating to move their financial investments away from fossil fuels (divestment) in an effort to align their money with their missions to curb climate change. …Read More »
  • Require Cumulative Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL and Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Oil Pipelines

    Require Cumulative Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL and Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Oil Pipelines

    FLOW, along with a myriad of policy and environment groups throughout the Midwest led by Sierra Club, signed this coalition letter to Department of State Secretary John Kerry. The letter requests that the Department of State consider developing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the Keystone XL pipeline that also …Read More »
  • Pennsylvania Court Precedent on Fracking and How It Relates to Protecting Michigan’s Commons: PA State Supreme Court rules municipalities can limit what gas drillers can do

    Pennsylvania Court Precedent on Fracking and How It Relates to Protecting Michigan’s Commons: PA State Supreme Court rules municipalities can limit what gas drillers can do

    From the desk of FLOW founder Jim Olson: thoughts on the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on how municipalities can limit gas drilling in their community (you can also read the full text of the TribLive.com article at the bottom of this post). In a show of judicial analysis and …Read More »
  • Wisconsin Pauses Great Lakes Tar Sands

    Wisconsin Pauses Great Lakes Tar Sands

    Congratulations to Alliance for the Great Lakes, citizens and organizations in Wisconsin and Michigan, and Council of Canadians for leading the way to deny Elkhorn’s request to improve a barge dock in Superior, Wisconsin to transport dirty tar sands oil over the Great Lakes.  With citizen vigilance, persistence, and growing …Read More »
  • Let’s Get Together

    Let’s Get Together

    The Great Lakes Society was formed to sustain the work of FLOW. Now the Great Lakes Society wants to encourage others to join and participate with comments, suggestions for how the Society can foster FLOW’s work to find and apply solutions to address the systemic threats to the Great Lakes. …Read More »
  • Fracking: It’s All About the Water

    Fracking: It’s All About the Water

    Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas in Michigan is the subject of scrutiny in the recent Integrated Assessment report series from the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute.  The report confirms that the future development of tight shale formations appears to be massive and intensive in size and scope …Read More »
  • Canada’s Bill 6 Great Lakes Protection Act, the Public Trust, and Your Water Rights

    Canada’s Bill 6 Great Lakes Protection Act, the Public Trust, and Your Water Rights

    This week I teamed up with Ralph Pentland, a leading Canadian water policy expert (see Pentland and Wood, Down the Drain, Greystone Books, 2013), and submitted to the Ontario Parliament comments on Bill 6, its proposed Great Lakes Protection Act. Bill 6 looks to the future by requiring policy and …Read More »
  • #FAIL – It’s a Good Thing

    #FAIL – It’s a Good Thing

    As FLOW’s Communications Designer, I have been working in our Traverse City office since January, creating print and web content that gets the word out about FLOW’s policy programs that help protect the integrity of Great Lakes water with the vision of the commons. I have been given the great …Read More »
  • Do We Have a Blue Future?

    Do We Have a Blue Future?

    By Guest Blogger Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of the Canadians and longtime partner of FLOW. Read the original post here. The world is running out of accessible clean water. Modern humans are polluting, mismanaging and displacing our finite freshwater sources at an alarming rate. Since 1990, half …Read More »
  • Bayfield: A community full of inspiring stewards of the Great Lakes

    Bayfield: A community full of inspiring stewards of the Great Lakes

    By Guest Blogger and FLOW Board Member, Emma Lui, Council of Canadians Water Campaigner. Read the original post here. Maude Barlow and I arrived in Bayfield, Ontario, the 15th stop of the Great Lakes Need Great Friends tour, on Friday evening. It is a beautiful village and Main Street is …Read More »
  • Kalkaska County: The centre of fracking in the Great Lakes Basin

    Kalkaska County: The centre of fracking in the Great Lakes Basin

    Guest Blogger and FLOW Board Member Emma Lui is the Water Campaign Director for the Council of Canadians. She shared her recent blog post with us about her recent trip to Kalkaska, MI. Read the original post on canadians.org Driving into Kalkaska County, the welcome sign displays a picture of …Read More »
  • Name the Five Great Lakes: Summer Internship

    Name the Five Great Lakes: Summer Internship

    My name is Eliza Somsel and I am currently an intern here at FLOW. I am from Grand Rapids, MI originally, but after I graduated high school in 2011, my parents moved to Traverse City. While I have not lived here long, I have always enjoyed Crystal Lake, Lake Michigan …Read More »
  • The Greatest Threat to the Great Lakes that No One Seems to Know About

    The Greatest Threat to the Great Lakes that No One Seems to Know About

    The Greatest Threat to the Great Lakes and No One Seems to Know About It: Expanding Enbridge’s Line 5 Through the Straits of Mackinac Click here to read and download PDF How often do you hear a story in the news and then feel utterly shocked that you didn’t know anything …Read More »
  • Why I Volunteer for FLOW

    Why I Volunteer for FLOW

    Hello Great Lakes lovers. My name is Justin Sterk and I have recently begun volunteering at FLOW, in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.  As a native of Traverse City, the Great Lakes hold special importance to me and my family, and it is a great thrill for me to be able …Read More »
  • Rochester groups are Protecting the Great Lakes Forever

    Rochester groups are Protecting the Great Lakes Forever

    Guest Blogger and FLOW Board Member Emma Lui is the Water Campaign Director for the Council of Canadians. She shared her recent blog post with us about Maude Barlow’s speaking engagement in Rochester, NY. I just got home from an incredible event in Rochester, New York, the fourth Great Lakes …Read More »
  • The Water-Energy Nexus: FLOW at the MI Governor’s Energy Policy Listening Session

    The Water-Energy Nexus: FLOW at the MI Governor’s Energy Policy Listening Session

    As part of Earth Day today, I had the opportunity to submit FLOW’s memorandum to the Michigan Public Service Commission at the Governor’s “listening session” on future energy policy in Michigan. At FLOW we believe that by looking at the entire hydrological cycle as a basis for addressing systemic threats …Read More »
  • Guest Blog: Ted Curran – “Make Them Pay”

    Guest Blog: Ted Curran – “Make Them Pay”

    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 …Read More »
  • Welcome to the New FLOW site

    Welcome to the New FLOW site

    Today the threats facing the Great Lakes and its tributary waters, communities, businesses, governments loom large. If we can understand these threats as a whole, that is holistically, through science, data, values, and new frameworks, we may find a unifying principle that integrates the science, policy, law and economics into …Read More »