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Dear friend of FLOW,

Do the Great Lakes need an oil tunnel? The Army Corps of Engineers is asking that question as it plans its environmental study of the proposal.

Enbridge thinks so. The Canadian oil transport giant proposes to blast and bore a 20-foot-in-diameter tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron collide, to house its “Line 5” pipeline for another 99 years. Since 1953, Enbridge has used the Great Lakes as a shortcut (see the red line in the image) to move western Canadian oil eastward, chiefly to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario.

Members of the public can answer the tunnel question for themselves and for the future of Great Lakes water during the Army Corps’ online meeting set for 1:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday—or anytime before the October 14 deadline by mail or on the Army Corps website. We at FLOW encourage you to attend the session and speak up for protection of the Great Lakes and against the proposed tunnel. Read FLOW’s detailed preview of the online meeting, what the public has said so far, and what’s next in the Army Corps study.

The Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign, of which FLOW is a founding steering committee member, also is collecting and forwarding comments to the Army Corps by October 14 using an email template that suggests key points to make. FLOW’s preliminary tunnel comment also provides critical elements to convey.

At the Army Corps’ September 8 in-person hearing in St. Ignace, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, more than 4 out of 5 people who spoke, from among a crowd of hundreds, said that an oil pipeline tunnel proposed under the Great Lakes was a dangerous idea that would rob future generations by threatening the most precious thing on earth—fresh water—and worsening the climate crisis.

FLOW and our partners have identified critical deficiencies in the project’s construction permit application, its legal authorization, and the review by State of Michigan environmental agencies of expected impacts to wetlands, bottomlands, and surface water, including from the daily discharge into the open waters of the Straits of millions of gallons of wastewater during construction. We also train a spotlight on the fundamental lack of public necessity for the project.

The public also has the opportunity to speak out against the proposed tunnel on October 10 at 10 a.m. EDT in Lansing, Michigan’s capital, at the next meeting of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, which will be livestreamed on YouTube.

FLOW, meanwhile, remains vigilant on several other fronts as we seek to uphold our mission, together with you, to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all. We continue to work with other advocates for clean water and public health to pass a state law keeping septic system waste out of Michigan’s groundwater and surface waters, which the state legislature finally is considering

We also are watching Washington, D.C., and wondering: Will the Supreme Court Shrink the Clean Water Act? The landmark law reaches a key milestone later this month, causing us to ask: Where Do We Stand on the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act?

Stay connected in the weeks and months ahead to learn of updates and opportunities to safeguard fresh water together. As always, thank you for standing with FLOW to keep our Great Lakes, groundwater, and drinking water protected for all of us.

Kelly Thayer

Communications Director

P.S.—Please spread the word: FLOW is seeking to expand our team with dynamic people dedicated to Great Lakes protection who will serve as our Communications Manager and Development Manager. Both full-time positions are based at FLOW’s downtown office in Traverse City, Michigan, and may include a hybrid remote-work option. Occasional nights and weekends are required for events and other gatherings. Click here to read the full job descriptions and learn how to apply.


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