Dear friend of FLOW,
This is a difficult time to write about climate change.
Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder that humans still cannot agree to stop killing each other. How then will we ever be able to agree upon a coordinated response to global warming? This question itself is a privilege that people who are busy fighting for their lives do not have time to ask. What should those of us who have this privilege do with it?
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has bravely answered this question by charging the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) with developing and implementing a “Healthy Climate Plan” to achieve Michigan’s greenhouse-gas reduction targets and otherwise prepare for and adapt to climate impacts that are now unavoidable.
EGLE’s draft MI Healthy Climate Plan, however, is an imperfect response to this charge. Please join FLOW in helping EGLE improve the draft climate plan by emailing your public comments by the March 14 deadline to EGLE-ClimateSolutions@Michigan.gov. We recommend you convey your personal concerns while also requesting the following changes, which are explained in my latest blog:
- Transform the draft MI Healthy Climate Plan from a decarbonization plan into a comprehensive climate plan.
- Provide baseline climate and environmental data.
- Make water a primary focus of the plan.
- Create a shared vision anchored by clear definitions.
We have to eat the apple and plant the seeds at a time like this. By submitting comments, you’ll be doing both.
Zach Welcker, Legal Director
FLOW Seeks Summer Interns in Communications, Law & Policy
FLOW is seeking interns for summer 2022 in communications and law and policy. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. Learn more below and apply today! FLOW is a Great Lakes law and policy center based in Traverse City, Michigan, and operates as an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We act to protect 20% of the planet’s surface freshwater for the benefit of all by educating and engaging citizens to advance cutting-edge public trust policy solutions.
Groundwater Emerges into the Light
Overlooked for many years, groundwater has taken the driver’s seat in 2022, as multiple organizations promote a deeper understanding of the source of drinking water for 145 million Americans and approximately 4.5 million Michiganders. Promotion this week comes from the Groundwater Foundation and National Groundwater Association as they encourage their constituents and the general public to observe National Groundwater Awareness Week. Later this month, it will be FLOW’s turn, as we host a groundwater webinar on March 22, which is also World Water Day. Coordinated by the United Nations, this year’s World Water Day theme is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible.” The FLOW webinar, which runs from 12-1:15 pm Eastern, will feature presentations from Michigan groundwater experts and policymakers. Register today for FLOW’s webinar!
DNR Director Concerned about Climate Change, Accelerating Threats to Natural Resources
Managing one of the oldest agencies in Michigan state government is the job of the youngest person ever appointed as its director. Dan Eichinger was 37 when Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed him in 2019 to run the 101-year-old Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which was originally called the Department of Conservation. FLOW asked Eichinger to discuss what he regards as his most important accomplishments and the biggest challenges facing the DNR, which manages the state’s fish and wildlife, state parks, state forests, and more. Not surprisingly, climate change policy figures in both what’s been done and what’s yet to be tackled. Click here to read more.
Act Now! Let’s Break Free from Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is pervasive. You can find it in debris washing up on Great Lakes and ocean beaches, litter clogging streams and inland lakes, industrial chemicals polluting our communities, and in tiny microplastic particles, which have been found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. There is sweeping legislation currently before the U.S. Congress that will help tackle this crisis. Sign the Waterkeeper Alliance’s petition today to show support for the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act!
Urge President Biden to Act and Support Line 5 Shutdown Order
It's time for President Biden to support Gov. Whitmer's Line 5 shutdown order. An oil spill from the Line 5 oil pipeline in the Great Lakes threatens drinking water for 40 million people. He must act now to protect the Great Lakes from Enbridge's damaged, dangerous, and old pipelines. Click here to urge President Biden to act.
March 15 to April 21: Jim Olson, FLOW Team Offer Online Classes on "Water & Shoreline" with NMC
Don't miss FLOW founder Jim Olson's "Water & Shoreline" courses offered this winter and spring through Northwestern Michigan College Extended Education. These courses are taught by Jim and the FLOW team, including FLOW Board Member Bob Otwell, Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, Legal Director Zach Welcker, Policy Advisor Dave Dempsey, and Legal Advisor Skip Pruss. The public is invited to sign up and attend these four online courses:
• March 15 & 17-- "For Love of Water and the Future of the Great Lakes";
• April 12 & 14 -- "Can Humans Survive Climate Change?"; and
• April 19 & 21 -- "A Matter of Public Trust: The State of Michigan’s Shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 Pipelines" Click here to sign up.
March 17: Join Oil & Water Don’t Mix in Lansing to Comment to the MPSC on the Proposed Line 5 Oil Tunnel
We are approaching a turning point in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s contested case over the Line 5 tunnel. It is going to take sustained action and public input for us to win here. Can you join Oil & Water Don’t Mix (O&WDM) at 1:00 p.m. in Lansing on Thursday, March 17, to make your voice heard? RSVP to the O&WDM campaign if you plan to attend in Lansing, or send an email now to the MPSC.
March 22 at Noon: FLOW Groundwater Webinar–Making the Invisible Visible on World Water Day & Every Day
FLOW will host a livestream event–Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible on World Water Day & Every Day–on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. EST. The online session will offer perspectives on the critical importance of our groundwater resources and the work of the Michigan Groundwater Table, which is convened by FLOW. The Groundwater Table is made up of 22 knowledgeable and influential stakeholders from local government, academia, and regulatory agencies focused on the state of Michigan’s groundwater, the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population. Between 20%-40% of the volume of the Great Lakes originates as groundwater. Register today!
FLOW in the NEWS:
FLOW’s expert staff members provide key context and analysis to journalists covering freshwater threats and protection. Our full list of media coverage involving FLOW includes these most recent stories:
• March 5—Northerners You Need to Know: Katherine Corden: The Lakeside Painter—Northern Express
• Feb. 27—Even in water-rich Michigan, there's no guarantee of enough for all—Associated Press
• Feb. 16—Enbridge gets green light to seek proposals for Line 5 tunnel—Toledo Blade