Clifford Lobbies For Clean Water

Flint, Michigan has been the center of attention on a world-wide scale this year. That’s what happens when you switch from the great Lake Huron to a cesspool as your water source. We’ve had everyone from Erin Brockovich to Cher sounding the bells about the contamination and the terrible things happening to the poor city residents there.

The Flint crisis continues, but not as many people know about an even bigger disaster that could happen very soon:  Line 5.


Line 5 is an oil pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline is 50 years old. It is running a tremendous risk of springing a leak, especially now as the temperatures are so erratic. For some time now, Clean Water Action has been begging Governor Snyder to shut down this line which runs through what is basically the artery of our Great Lakes.

I take the Line 5 situation pretty seriously. After all, we cross that bridge several times every year. Every summer, the dogs and horses and I play in Lake Huron, up on Drummond Island.


We need our lakes to stay pure.

Today was Clean Water Action’s chosen “Lobby Day” in the state capitol. Being that I am currently only a half hour from Lansing, it made sense to load Clifford up and go join them.


Thanks to the help and cooperation of Sean McBearty, canvass staff director, Clifford was welcomed into the group with open arms and he even got his own signage.

As I had explained to Sean, the sight of a horse elicits thoughts of times past; a cleaner lifestyle, simpler pleasures. However, the fact that Clifford has spent so much time *in* the Great Lakes leads to some fantastic images to promote clean water.


Clifford can go into almost any situation with a cool head. Being house trained, he has been inside all types of facilities, including going up and down stairs and squeezing into some tight spaces. Getting him to knock on the door of Bill Schuette’s office might be all we would need to guarantee some action. I knew it would certainly guarantee attention.
I had the idea to use him as a walking billboard. Sean took this idea and ran with it, with the help of some poster board and safety pins.
CWA Sean pinning

Clifford was all too happy to march up the street with Sean. In fact, he tried to lead the parade. I just followed along, holding on to the end of the rope. We got to the governor’s office and gave a couple of speeches to the press. Then the Clean Water Action volunteers delivered more than 8,500 letters they have collected over the past months, from different individuals asking for the closing down of Line 5.

CWA Clifford rallies

One would think the situation with Flint would have opened some eyes. But unfortunately, Line 5 is still pumping oil through this precarious system into our precious Great Lakes.

The National Wildlife Federation is taking it seriously. The group is threatening to sue the federal government over the pipeline.

CWA Clifford Rocks the State Capitol

We hope for good results. Sean did tell me that they don’t normally have so much media attention. Four news crews were present. He attributes that to Clifford.

Keeping fingers — and hoofs — crossed, for a happy ending to this story.




About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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