Despite the fact that in Flint, Michigan locals are still unable to drink their water without using a filter, just a mere 120 miles away in Evart, Michigan, Nestlé is gearing up to pump nearly double the volume of groundwater than they already are in order to sell under their branded bottled waters.
Expectedly, Michigan residents were in disbelief to learn that their state may, indeed, approve a permit that will allow for Nestlé to pump such a large volume of water despite the fact that the foreign company barely pays for such access.
The Swiss company is worth $219 billion, but will only have to pay an unjust $200 annually for the enormous increase, as well as potentially pay a permit fee. The reason the company won’t have to pay much is because, under Michigan state law, the Nestlé bottling plant is treated as a private well.
The company’s proposal to boost pumping from 150 gallons a minute t0 400 gallons a minute via an aquifer beneath the plant is a portion of a constructed $36 million dollar plan to expand bottled water operations in Standwood, Michigan. So far, the company has already gotten away with increasing pumping to 250 gallons per minute, with no permit required.
So where will all the added water go? The company plans to bottle it under the Ice Mountain and Pure Life brands, distributing it throughout Michigan as well as the rest of the midwest.
Nestlé said in a statement that Ice Mountain is “the number-one selling bottled spring water brand in the Midwest,” and that the decision will actually help the state since it will create “some 20 new jobs.” But not everyone is buying it.
“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?” asked a man from Ada, Michigan. “Please do not attempt to justify giving away our resources for the ‘benefit’ of Nestlé adding 20 more jobs.”
“Please, please, please reconsider allowing Nestlé to pump additional gallons of water from their facility near Evart,” urged a woman 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.”
Residents of Michigan already sued the bottled water giant over 10 years ago in regard to a similar permit that would have permitted Nestlé to pump a whopping 400 gallons a minute at a Mecosta, Michigan plant. A settlement resulted in the company being allowed to pump 218 gallons per minute.
Christopher Rieck, who is a spokesperson for Nestlé Water North America said in a statement: “We appreciate that some people may have concerns … sustainability and water quality are top priorities for us as well.”
“We are deepening our investment in Michigan to meet growing consumer demand. As we do so, we are committed to an open, transparent process that allows the public to share their views and learn more about our operations.”
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