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MDEQ approval of Nestlé water withdrawal faces challenge from conservation group

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

Despite overwhelming disapproval by the public, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit allowing Nestlé to increase the amount of water it pumps out of a well in Osceola Township.

Nestlé bottles that water for its Ice Mountain brand.

Now, the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is contesting that permit.

Peggy Case is president of the group. She joined Stateside to discuss why her group is contesting the permit, some of the expert feedback given during the public comment period, and what she said was Nestlé’s failure to provide sufficient data during the permit process.

Nestlé’s Ice Mountain Natural Resource Manager Arlene Anderson-Vincent provided Stateside with the following statement:

People are passionate about water and so are we. Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) shares the same deep commitment to the people and natural resources of Michigan with all of the state’s citizens. While we have not had the opportunity to review all of the details of the appeal, the facts of the situation remain: The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) carefully reviewed and considered our application in what it has called, “the most extensive analysis of any water withdrawal in Michigan history.” At the conclusion of that analysis, the department developed a 58-page recommendation memo, and provided 22 conditions for the permit. We have the highest degree of confidence in the more than 16 years of scientific data supporting our application. Moreover, the department has highly trained professional scientists on staff that are committed to being leaders in environmental stewardship who collected and evaluated the data for the state. We appreciate the MDEQ’s comprehensive review and firmly believe that the decision was appropriate. We have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of laws that protect the environment and are committed to helping ensure the sustainability of Michigan’s natural resources. And as always, we welcome the opportunity to have constructive, fact-based dialogue on these topics. We have made a long-term investment in Michigan, and we take great care to operate in a responsible and sustainable way that preserves and protects our shared water resources and the surrounding environment for generations to come.

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