Three Things Thursday: May 18, 2023

Three Things Thursday: May 18, 2023

Dear Michigan LCV Family, 

Welcome to the May 18, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week it’s all about water! 

1. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s new video about toxic PFAS 

The Michigan LCV team has been working to address the toxic PFAS crisis  for the last many years, and this week we released a new video featuring Congresswoman Debbie Dingell*!


WATCH: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell calls for action on toxic PFAS 

The video, which was produced in partnership with Congresswoman Dingell and our partners at national LCV, highlights the gravity of the toxic PFAS crisis and calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement strong drinking water standards for PFAS chemicals.

Currently, the EPA is gathering public input on the first-ever proposed national drinking water standards for PFAS chemicals. The proposed standards are critical to ensuring PFAS chemicals –which are linked to a large number of health issues, like cancers, infertility, and kidney complications – are eliminated from municipal drinking water sources.  

As I have noted over the last many months, toxic PFAS contamination continues to impact communities all over our beautiful state. Our partners at the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network (GLPAN) are gathering signatures for their sign-on letter supporting the EPA’s proposed standards and calling for them to be implemented.  

If you have a minute to add your name to the letter, please click here. Thank you! 

2. How the Bad River Band did their utmost to force a Line 5 shutdown 

The Bad River Band (an indigenous Tribal Nation) is dealing with a major threat of an oil spill from Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil pipeline, which runs across the Bad River Band’s reservation in Wisconsin. The Band has been working tirelessly to demonstrate Enbridge’s disregard for their Tribal rights and natural resources, and last fall U.S. District Judge William Conley determined that Enbridge is actively trespassing on the reservation. 

As you can imagine, Enbridge is fighting (legally and in lots of other ways with boatloads of money) to keep the pipeline in place for as long as possible. Enbridge is enlisting powerful friends in this effort – they even have Canada trying to intervene with U.S. courts and government officials, despite an Indigenous-led United Nations panel recently recommending that Line 5 be shut down.

The situation recently reached an urgent flashpoint – spring flooding in the Bad River (which flows directly into Lake Superior) accelerated the erosion of land near a particularly vulnerable stretch of Line 5, and now the pipeline is only separated by a few feet of soil from powerful river currents. In response, the Bad River Band asked for an emergency shut down of Line 5 – after all, other major oil spills have occurred when rocks and trees have scoured exposed pipelines when soil and sediment has eroded away. Judge William Conley scheduled a hearing today to consider evidence in court on this request.

Michigan LCV rolled up our sleeves to  spread the word about this emergency situation. We worked with a coalition of organizations to encourage people to show up (peacefully) at the courthouse in Madison, WI in solidarity with the tribe. We educated reporters in Michigan about this major moment ahead of the hearing and encouraged them to participate in a press briefing immediately following the hearing.

Unfortunately, Judge Conley bought the Enbridge message. Instead of taking into consideration that this foreign company – with an incredibly bad track record on environmental protection (think 2010 oil disaster in Kalamazoo) –  is currently trespassing on Tribal land, and that the erosion near Line 5  is putting the Band River Band and the Great Lakes at risk, he decided instead to put blame on the Tribes for their lack of cooperation with the company.  

You can read about the decision in the Traverse City Record Eagle  here. 

As reported: 

The tribe says less than 15 feet (4.6 meters) of land now stands between the Bad River and Line 5 along a meander on the reservation. In some places, more than 20 feet (6 meters) of riverbank has eroded in the past month alone. Experts and environmental advocates have warned in court that an exposed section of pipeline would be weakened and could rupture at any time, causing massive oil spills.

Per the media coverage: 

Conley planned to issue a ruling in the next two weeks explaining what conditions would have to be met for him to order a shutdown.

“There’s going to come a time when there will be an imminent risk that will require me to step in,” he said.

I am incredibly grateful to the many Michigan LCV board members who are playing a leadership role in this case and in the overall campaign to shut this antiquated, dangerous pipeline down.  The list is long, but special thanks go out to Riyaz Kanji, Bruce Wallace, Bob Sutherland, and Lana Pollack. And, we can never forget the fearless leadership of Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessell who determined early on that this is an enormous threat to the Great Lakes, the regional economy, and the health and safety of the people who live here.  

The fight is far from over. More to come in the days and weeks ahead.

3. Protecting Michigan school kids from lead in drinking water 

After the Flint Water Crisis put lead contamination in the national spotlight more than a decade ago, lead contamination continues to be at the center of conversations about water and health here in Michigan. 

Michigan LCV’s mission runs parallel to the belief that everyone deserves clean, safe water to drink, especially our kids. We work every day to make this a reality, but challenges remain. Students and kids across Michigan continue to attend schools and daycare facilities with no requirements for the safety of the drinking water. That is unacceptable. 


Fortunately, bipartisan “Filter First” legislation recently passed out of committee in the state House. House Bills 4340, 4341 and 4342 would help ensure kids have safe water to drink through a comprehensive program to install filters on drinking and cooking water sources in schools and childcare centers.

Contact your lawmaker to ensure Michigan students have lead-free water.

The Filter First method is proven to be impactful, cost-effective, and is supported by health professionals, environmental groups, civil rights organizations and more. All Michigan children should have safe water to drink and this effective, tangible solution is a no-brainer for Michigan.

As we await a vote before the full House, we need your help to tell your lawmaker to swiftly pass these Filter First bills to protect the health of Michigan kids. 

Send a message to your lawmaker urging them to vote YES on Filter First bills.

As I say every single week: thank you! You are a critical part of this team and we couldn’t do what we do without you! 



P.S. Cleaning Up Our Future: The IRA, Implementation, LCV’s Role and Your Impact

As I mentioned last week, I will be joining LCV CEO Gene Karpinski, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and LCV State Equity Policy Director LaShelle Johnson for a webinar entitled, Cleaning Up Our Future: The IRA, Implementation, LCV’s Role and Your Impact.  The first part of the webinar will focus on sharing up-to-date information on the IRA; the second part will be a conversation between Congresswoman Dingell and me. 

I love that our tenacious Michigan Congresswoman is leading on both water AND climate!  


I’m incredibly honored to be part of this event and I am really looking forward to the dialogue.  This is a timely and important conversation, and Congresswoman Dingell never disappoints!  I hope you will join us! 

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