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FLOW: For the Love of Water

FLOW: For the Love of Water

On Thursday evening, March 2, 2017, an over-FLOW-ing crowd attended a viewing of “Great Lakes, Bad Lines,” at the Workshop Brewery owned and operated by Pete Kirkwood, whose wife, Liz Kirkwood, is the Executive Director of FLOW, a leader of the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign dedicated to shutting down Line 5, an oil pipeline in the Mackinac Straits. Built in 1953, the 65-year-old line exhibits problems with corrosion-causing invasive mussels, rust, missing supports, and shifting pipes in currants exceeding the power of Niagara Falls.

Liz Kirkwood

With 23 million gallons of oil per day running through the pipeline engineered to last 60 years, FLOW maintains it is not a question of if the pipeline will rupture, but when. The film focused on documenting some of the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on these pristine Michigan Lakes to nurture body and soul: marinas, commercial and tribal fisheries, public recreation such as swimming, boating, surfing and kayaking, shoreline communities, an 80 billion dollar a year tourism industry and the over 400,000 Michigan residents who get their drinking water from the Great Lakes. All of them agree: Certain things are too valuable to risk. We must speak up to protect our Great Lakes.

The state of Michigan signed an agreement in 1953 with Enbridge Energy, the owners of Line 5, that spells out the State's responsibility to fulfill its legal obligation to protect the Great Lakes. The State of Michigan has a legal trust: to protect the Great Lakes in perpetuity. Enbridge Energy, is the same Canadian company responsible for the worst ever inland oil spill that occurred in 2010, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where about 1 million gallons of oil poured into the Kalamazoo River, the same company now risking our way of life and livelihood here in the upper Great Lakes.

Attendees were asked to write, call, and email Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to demand that they fulfill their obligation to protect the Great Lakes, and shut down Line 5. Clean water is bi-partisan issue. Insist that every person running for office in 2018 MUST have a platform to protect the Great Lakes. Go national! The Great Lakes belong to everyone!

To donate visit: Your tax-deductible gift will help FLOW continue to grow as a leading policy center protecting the Great Lakes. For volunteer opportunities, programs and events email:

Submitted by Kay Keating, Reporter, and Sylvia McCullough, Content Editor for the GT Dems Communications Committee.

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