Nestle Pumps Up

The company just won a highly opposed decision in Michigan.

In a state that has become a referendum on water equity, an important decision was made this week.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved Nestlé’s plan to boost the amount of water it takes from the state. Michigan citizens were outspoken against the decision in record numbers, registering about 80,945 public comments against the motion and only 75 in favor.

Nestlé’s request to the Michigan agency to pump 576,000 gallons of water each day from the White Pine Springs well in the Great Lakes Basin was highly controversial given recent water crises in Flint and Detroit. But despite deep public opposition, the agency concluded that the company’s plan met with legal standards. Opposition sparked peaceful protests in January 2017 (see below):

Nestlé is now approved to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from the White Pine well, rather than the 250 gallons per minute it had been extracting for its bottled water products. The company first applied for the new permit in July 2016. The full 58-page memo, released April 2, examined whether the proposed withdrawal met the requirements of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1976.

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