Public Trust Tuesday

Living Along Enbridge Line 5 in Michigan

If you live anywhere along the route of Enbridge’s Line 5 crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) pipeline, which travels 547 miles across the Upper Peninsula, the Straits of Mackinac, and down through Lower Michigan, you should be asking state and local government officials and emergency responders a lot of questions. You should know… Read more »

Legal Fact from Legal Fictions

A Preface When I sat down to finish this post this morning on the news about Michigan’s agreement with Enbridge to consider replacing an aging, dangerous Line 5 crude oil pipeline through the Great Lakes basin, I realized that what I should really be writing about is yesterday’s dire warning by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel… Read more »

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 ditches cut across the landscape… Read more »

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 of its aqueducts, knew this…. Read more »

The Public Trust Doctrine and the Implications of the Walker Lake Litigation

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, this commons – including the Great Lakes — belongs to the public. … Read more »

Appreciating Our Submerged Lands: Michigan

Submerged Michigan   38,000 square miles.  That’s a lot of real estate.  In fact, it’s bigger than the square mileage of 12 states — including Indiana, West Virginia and Massachusetts.   It’s part of Michigan.  It’s a part you and all other citizens of Michigan own.   And it’s all underwater, under Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron… Read more »

Public Trust Perspectives

FLOW’s organizing principle is the public trust doctrine.  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 governments, like the State of Michigan, have a responsibility… Read more »

Running Michigan’s Water Into the Ground

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 »