Press Release: April 21, 2017
Today is the final day for public comment on the Nestle permit application to increase water withdrawal at the PW 101 well in Osceola Township in Evart from 150 gpm to 400 gpm. Final comments must be in by 5:00.
It is still unclear if the increase to 250 gpm Nestle got from the DEQ in January of 2016 was legitimate, and therefore means Nestle is only seeking an additional 150 gpm, or if that previous increase has been bundled with the latest permit to raise it only 100 more. We are confused and the DEQ seems to be as well. Will they get 400 or 500 gpm? MCWC has questioned this with the DEQ. We have received no answer.
Of course this will not be relevant if the permit is denied, as it should be. Over 50,000 individual public comments have been sent in, with the vast majority of them for denial. In addition about 400,000 people signed an on-line comment conducted by SumOFUs https://www.sumofus.org/ , with over 66,000 of those from Michigan. Among all those comments the DEQ will find sufficient legal and scientific cause to deny this permit.
Though we would hope the issue of justice would be included in the deliberations, we have few illusions on that score. State law does not make allowances for the injustice the Nestle water grab represents. If the permit is allowed, Nestle would get 210 million gallons of water a year for $200. The people of Detroit are facing massive new shut-offs and Flint is still paying for tainted water. Their bills would amount to between a dime and $75 a year at the Nestle rate. The DEQ would not give these people their own hearing.
It was therefore a privilege and a necessity for MCWC to be able to bring two buses, from Detroit and Flint, to the hearing in Big Rapids to testify to the injustices they are enduring while Nestle pockets millions of profit. We thank the people who came for taking a long day out of their busy lives to be present and voice their concerns.
We are also grateful to our many members who showed up to be counted, to testify, and to make connections with others around the state who share the commitment to protecting our water for the generations to come within the public trust mandate of our constitution.
We applaud the decision of the Osceola Township Planning Commission to deny the Nestle permit requested for the booster station needed to increase pumping to 400 gpm. The decision was unanimous that no public need or benefit could be established to justify such a structure, which would solely benefit Nestle. The people of Evart have noticed that there have been no real benefits to them as a result of Nestle’s pumping. Nestle has threatened to look for an environmentally more damaging way to get the water they want. We don’t expect the people of Evart to be intimidated by such threats.
We expect the DEQ to do its job, examine all the evidence presented to it, and make a decision that enhances environmental quality and protects our water from privatization and export by a Swiss corporation whose only interest is profit for its stockholders.
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation