[Note: This item comes from friend Judi Clark. Judi’s comment:’Also noting that Nestle pumped water from CA with a long-expired permit, during the drought years. Go politicians.’ DLH]
Michigan residents deplore plan to let Nestlé pump water for next to nothing
In a state still reeling from the Flint crisis the Swiss company would get nearly free access to pump 210m gallons a year for its bottled water business
By Jessica Glenza in New York
Nov 5 2016
Michigan regulators were deluged with angry comments this week, after reports that the state had drafted a permit approval for Nestlé to nearly double the amount of groundwater it pumps from a plant in Evart, Michigan to 210m gallons a year.
The pumping increase is only expected to cost the Swiss food giant $200 a year, and possibly the price of a permit fee, because its bottling plant in Evart is considered a private well under state law, regulators said.
In a statement, Nestlé touted the move as a boon to the state because it is created “some 20 new jobs”. The company is valued at $219bn.
Some local residents were not so enthusiastic.
“Why on earth would the state of Michigan, given our lack of money to address water matters of our own, like Flint, even consider giving MORE water for little or no cost to a foreign corporation with annual profits in the billions?” a man from Ada, Michigan wrote to regulators, who provided the message and others to the Guardian.
“Please do not attempt to justify giving away our resources for the ‘benefit’ of Nestléadding 20 more jobs.”
The Nestlé plant at Evart is just 120 miles from Flint, where a recent move by public officials to save money by switching water sources caused lead to contaminate the city’s water.
Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter and health have officials said bacterial illnesses are on the rise because residents fear bathing. Flint’s mayor is still lobbying Congress for cash to fix the city’s pipes.
“Please, please, please reconsider allowing Nestlé to pump additional gallons of water from their facility near Evart,” wrote a woman who identified herself as being from Newaygo, Michigan. “The rape of our Michigan inland fresh water sources is a cause for concern, especially when it is done by a private company for profit.”
Another commenter told regulators Nestlé “could literally suck the life out of the state”.
The company’s proposal to increase pumping from 150 gallons a minute to 400 gallons a minute from an aquifer underneath the plant is part of a planned $36m expansion of bottled water operations in Stanwood, Michigan. The company has already increased pumping to 250 gallons per minute, an increase for which no permit was required.
The additional water will be bottled under the Ice Mountain and Pure Life brands and distributed “throughout Michigan and the midwest”, according to a press release.