Line 5 advisory board meeting 3/13 – Wear blue!

Line 5. We all know the 63 year old oil pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinaw. (Well, most of us. More and more each day.)

We all know how this line is operated by Enbridge, the same company that let nearly one million gallons of oil spill into the Kalamazoo River. We all want Line 5 shut down. This is the summer we turn up the heat; beginning March 13th at noon.

Show up and demand or support a decision for the immediate shut down of line 5! The rally will begin at noon, the meeting begins at 1:30.

WEAR BLUE!!! – Wear blue clothing in support of a healthy Great Lakes Basin!

The meeting will be held at 7109 West Saginaw Highway Lansing, Mi in the Lake Michigan Room. 

Previous agendas and meeting minutes can be found here

A facebook event has been created by Fen Valley Earth First!, and can be found here

Oil And Water Don’t Mix have also put out a public call-out

Want to speak during the meeting? Email to register for the public comment session. Check out FLOW‘s new fact sheet for some ideas. Even if you can’t or don’t want to speak during the meeting, showing up and holding a sign outside will help, and let’s pack the meeting hall with people dressed in blue as a show of solidarity for clean water!

Thanks to models from the Graham Sustainability Institute at University of Michigan, we know what a Line 5 spill would look like. Devastating. Watch below:

Comments on Nestle Due Mar 2: Here’s what to do…

Time is almost up to make comments on Nestle’s proposed withdrawal increase at their production facility in Evart, Osceola County, Michigan! 

This increase is unprecedented and unnecessary. CACC opposes the approval of this permit by MDEQ.

Here are some talking points, as compiled by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. Copy and paste into your letter if you want. You can rework, rephrase, or not. Just get some comments in!

Talking Points

1. Nestle has already taken more than 4 billion gallons of groundwater from Evart, and in anyone’s book – 4 billion gallons is not reasonable use of this aquifer.

2. Swiss multi-billion dollar corporation, Nestle’, is expanding the Ice Mountain bottling plant in Stanwood, Michigan to add 80,000 square feet of production space for $36 million. Nestle’ says the expansion is due to the “expansion of consumer demand for bottled water”. Nestle’ is “excited to grow in the area and provide additional support back to the community.” The expansion will add 20 new jobs at the Stanwood bottling plant.
MCWC believes the demand for bottled water is increasing due to the Flint water crisis, water shut offs in Detroit, and a heightened knowledge of contaminated water in our state and around the country because of aging infrastructure, and many manufacturing and oil/gas corporations are using poor practices and not keeping local groundwater and surface water safe. Creating 20 local minimum-wage jobs is not equal to Nestle’ taking millions more gallons of OUR water. Nestle pays $200 annually for the water withdrawal permit, and has received “sweetheart deals” with this local community to withdraw water for pennies and a $13 million+ tax rebate. What it gives back to the community is VERY minimal (softball field, football field, fire department donation) compared to bottled water PROFIT.

3. The expansion on the White Pine Springs well, PW-101, drilled on May 3, 2001, will increase the withdrawal from the original permit of 150 gallons per minute (gpm) – to the current withdrawal (started in 2015) of 250 gpm to the maximum of 400 gpm. This is an increase of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation 576,000 gallons per day (210 million gallons per year). There are no limits (# of years) on when they will STOP “taking” the water. Chippewa Creek and Twin Creek flow into the Muskegon River Watershed, a major tributary to Lake Michigan. This increase of withdrawal will create a 240 gpm slow down in the Muskegon River. The DEQ must take into account that another company, Michigan Potash Co. LLC, is attempting to site a large potash solution-mining operation approx. 8 miles west of Production Well PW-101, on the opposite side of the Muskegon River. That project is slated to consume several times as much fresh water as Nestle’s operation and will result in significant further reduction of water entering the Muskegon River system.

4. Upon observation and talking with local folks in Evart, this withdrawal has already lowered the surface level of Chippewa Creek. Local citizens have reported no trout are in these coldwater trout tributaries (Chippewa and Twin Creeks). Nestle paid the company, Golder Associates from Lansing, to make sure that the withdrawal is “sustainable”. The Water Assessment Tool indicated that the withdrawal WAS NOT sustainable, and thus they used an “on site” inspection. The crucial data needed to evaluate these industry evaluations has not been supplied by the DEQ – as attachments of the Application. Therefore citizens do not yet have the information needed to fully evaluate this permit.

5. PW-101 is one of four withdrawing water wells in Evart, with 3 wells that also draw from the Twin and Chippewa Creeks that flow to the village of Evart’s municipal water system. PW101 is located southwest of the intersection of 9 Mile Road and 100th Avenue in Osceola Township, Osceola County (just northwest of the town of Evart). The water is loaded on tankers and trucked to the Ice Mountain bottling facility in Stanwood. An additional well in Morton Township, Mecosta County also “takes” 218 gpm, which is transferred via pipeline to Stanwood.

6. MCWC fought against Nestle’ in a lawsuit from 2001 to 2008 over the withdrawal at the Morton Township site in Mecosta County. The outcome of this lawsuit netted a reduced withdrawal from 400 gpm to 218 gpm average (225 in winter and 125 in summer). Now Nestle’ is asking to expand 20 miles up the road and requesting to increase withdrawal from the Chippewa Creek aquifer to 400 gpm. MCWC feels this is counter-productive to the lawsuit that was already decided, up to the Supreme Court of Michigan.

7. The Great Lakes Compact in 2008 allows diversions from the Great Lakes in containers of 5.7 gallons or less. It doesn’t really matter how big the containers are, it is still a DIVERSION – taking OUR water for pennies, to fill the coffers of a multi-billion $$ foreign corporation. Nestle’ CEO, Peter Brabeck has said, “Access to water should not be a public right.” Nestle’ has had many difficulties in other states and countries with their business practices. Nestle is currently withdrawing water on an expired contract in Ontario, near Guelph/Elora. This water is coming from a watershed that feeds into Lake Huron. Also, please remember that although Nestle’ says their water stays in Michigan and the Midwest, reports indicate that Ice Mountain is sold worldwide.

When you write, be sure to reference the well as Production Well PW-101, White Pine Springs Site, Osceola Co.  both in your letter and in the subject line of your email.

Many people are also asking for multiple Public Hearings in Michigan. Specifically for Public Hearings in Evart, Detroit, Flint, Muskegon, and Traverse City.

EMAIL COMMENT to: Carrie Monosmith

For a ton of information to help fill your letter out, go here.

The executive summary and application information package can be viewed at Comments received by March 3, 2017 will be considered in the decision prior to final action.

Happy writing!

Climate Change and Ice Storms

The GLB is experiencing an especially icy winter. Preliminary study indicates a warming climate could lead to a higher frequency of ice storms. Here’s how…

Ice storms (“glaze events”, or in some parts of the US a “silver thaw”) are historically normal. There is nothing particularly climate-changey about an ice storm in and of itself. The record ice accumulation in the US was set in the North American Ice Storm of 1961, with 8 inches of ice encasing parts of northern Idaho. However, as the globe continues to warm, the increased movement of warm air masses across the continent during winter could increase the frequency of icy weather.

Due to the obvious need to ruggedize in the face of potential increased ice glaze, and the need to effectively retort workplace climate change denials (e.g. “Look at all that ice. So much for global warming”), it might be a good idea to understand ice storms a little better than we already do.

Graphic: Wikimedia Commons

The formation of ice begins with a layer of above-freezing air above a layer of sub-freezing temperatures closer to the surface. Frozen precipitation melts to rain while falling into the warm air layer, and then begins to refreeze in the cold layer below. If the precipitate refreezes while still in the air, it will land on the ground as sleet.

Alternatively, the liquid droplets can continue to fall without freezing, passing through the cold air just above the surface. This thin layer of air then cools the rain to a temperature below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F). However, the drops themselves do not freeze, a phenomenon called supercooling (or forming “supercooled drops“). When the supercooled drops strike ground or anything else below 0 °C freezing (power lines, tree branches for example), a layer of ice accumulates as the cold water drips off, forming a slowly thickening film of ice.

Given this information, simple logic shows how an increased presence of warm air masses can lead to more ice storms. But logic isn’t the only epistemology. What does the empiricism of science have to say about climate change and future ice storms?

Not much, yet. While consensus is clear that the overall climate is warming and will continue to warm, how that will effect the frequency of specific weather conditions such as ice storms remains unclear. It is generally accepted that there will be an increased frequency of storm events overall. Studies are being performed to determine whether or not that means more ice storms for the northeastern US and eastern Canada.

Graphic: Wikimedia Commons

The conditions for an ice storm are, as we see above, complex. The unpredictable nature of vertical temperature profiles that lead to ice storms makes it difficult to predict increases in their frequency.

Researchers Kelly Klima and M. Granger Morgan performed a simple “thought experiment” using vertical temperature profile data to explore how these might change given plausible future temperature regimes. Using an approximation for surface effects, they estimated that a temperature increase will result in an increased frequency of ice storm events throughout much of the winter across eastern Canada and in the U.S. west of the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Tennessee. Future changes in variability may enhance or moderate these changes.

Watch your step, but go forth. The patient epistemology of science must wait for the data to accumulate. Those of us building climate-resilient communities and fighting the rhetoric of climate denial can be fairly confident that as the globe continues to warm we will see more ice events like those we’ve experienced in the last couple weeks. Be careful walking and driving, and remember to go easy on the salt, it’s bad for the frogs.

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