Nestle Seeks to Increase Water Withdrawal Limit Again

crumpled plastic water bottle / photo: flickr.com/jesse (CC BY 2.0)

Nestle has again applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to increase the amount of water it is allowed to pump from wells near Evart, MI from 218 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. Through a public comment period in early 2017, Clean Water Action members made their voices heard and more than 5,000 members submitted public comment telling the MDEQ to deny Nestle’s permit request.

MDEQ has not yet made a decision about Nestle’s permit request, which had been previously denied due to the fact that the increase would qualify as a harmful water withdrawal. Nothing has changed in the past few years that would make this request any better for Michigan’s water resources today than it was in 2009, when Nestle settled a lawsuit over their request to pump 400 gallons a minute from the same well they are asking to increase pumping from this time.

For the millions of gallons of water that Nestle takes from Michigan each year to bottle and sell, they only pay the state a $200 annual fee. For years, the state of Michigan has been essentially giving Nestle our water for free. Clean water is a human right, and as climate change advances, our water resources only become more precious. It is past time for the MDEQ to do the right thing and deny this permit application.

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