November 03, 2016 Headlines
And in northern Michigan, a Nestlé bottling plant that has been sucking water out of aquifers that feed Lake Michigan for free for years is now petitioning the state regulatory agency for permission to expand and pump even more fresh water out of the ground for free. The Nestlé Ice Mountain bottling plant in Mecosta County, Michigan, is proposing a $36 million expansion of its plant. It’s asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for permission to more than double the amount of water it can pump out of the ground, from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. The bottling plant has been the site of a more than decade-long struggle by local residents, who oppose the extraction of the groundwater for profit. This is local activist Peggy Case.
Peggy Case: “So the water that Nestlé is bottling, here and elsewhere in our state, is coming from the Great Lakes Basin. It is feeding here into Dead Stream and Cold Creek, then into the Little Muskegon River, that aquifer, and then eventually, ultimately, into Lake Michigan. So, it’s Great Lakes Basin water. It’s part of the commons. It belongs to all of us. And part of the reason that people in Mecosta were pretty upset about it is that the extraction of that water was being—it was being taken out of the watershed. The streams were being pumped down, to the point where the Dead Stream looked like a mudhole at one point, and bottled and shipped all over the world.”