Stop Nestlé water grab

July 1, 2020

From the July-August 2020 issue of News & Letters

Flint, Mich.—On April 24 an administrative law judge upheld a decision by the state government of Michigan to allow Nestlé Corporation to withdraw up to 400 gallons of water per minute, an increase from 250 gallons per minute. Nestlé is, fortunately, unable to take advantage of this decision yet because it lacks the necessary pumping capacity.

Osceola Township in Osceola County in northern Michigan had denied Nestlé’s request for a permit to build a booster-pump building. Last December, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the permit.

Water is taken from three wells, including a well near the headwaters of Twin Creek and Chippewa Creek. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation found that in seven culverts the water level had dropped between five and 12 inches and that the water  temperatures were higher than normal. Even the existing draw of 250 gallons per minute is not sustainable.

Nestlé pays $200 per well a year for a permit and does not otherwise pay for the water although it pays local property taxes. Nestlé Corporation has a large bottling plant near the wells and sells bottled water under the brand name “Ice Mountain.”

—Dan B.

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