April 03, 2018
Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced that it had approved a permit to Nestlé Waters North America, Inc. (Nestlé) to increase its groundwater withdrawal for the purpose of bottling drinking water.
In reaction to the news, Emma Pullman, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, an international consumer watchdog that has opposed the issuance of the permit, released the following statement:
“The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to grant Nestlé a permit for increased groundwater withdrawal is shameful. Tens of thousands of Michiganders made their voices heard in record numbers and their voices were silenced. This decision - corporate bullying at its most basic - is a blow to both Osceola Township’s local sovereignty and to Michigan’s shared natural resources.
“But we aren’t giving up on this fight.. We will continue to support Osceola Township’s legal appeal fighting the construction of an additional booster pumping station that will allow Nestlé to meet the limits of this new permit. Michigan’s water is pure and pristine, and we need to protect it from corporate greed.”
Earlier this year, a Michigan circuit court judge ruled that Nestlé Waters North America would be allowed to build a booster pumping station capable of extracting 400 gallons of water per minute in Osceola Township, despite immense pushback from the local community. Members of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and residents of Osceola Township along with SumOfUs started a petition which has garnered over 354,000 signatures worldwide. Both groups have appealed that decision.
A separate petition garnered nearly 350,000 signatures calling on the DEQ to reject Nestle’s proposal.
Prior to the MDEQ’s decision, SumOfUs members in Michigan submitted 26,337 comments to the MDEQ, forcing the state to lengthen the public comment period and schedule a public hearings in Big Rapids, MI. SumOfUs members also helped deliver petitions to the Capitol and help pack the hearings across the state.
View the petitions here:
Over the course of the last several months, SumOfUs has crowdfunded more than $50,000 to cover legal expenses for the Osceola Township community.
Visit the public comments to MDEQ here: