News Release on Nestle Permit
April 25, 2018
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) which includes among
its members a number of citizens with riparian rights and clear standing in
Osceola Township, Evart, Michigan, is currently preparing a Petition for a
Contested Case with regard to permit 1701 issued by MDEQ to Nestle on
April 2, 2018. A Preservation Letter has been submitted and has been
received by the appropriate agencies and by Nestle Waters. This letter
requires all parties to preserve any records which may become relevant to
litigation and discovery. It also informs Nestle and the DEQ that they should
not proceed with any implementation of the permit while it is being
contested. If they do so it is at their risk.
MCWC is represented by the firm of Olson, Byzdok & Howard in this
matter, with Ross Hammersley as our lead attorney. The permit was issued
in clear violation of the legal requirements of the State of Michigan and we
intend to show this. From the initial granting of a permit for 100 additional
gallons per minute in 2015, to this final gift of another 100, the State of
Michigan has clearly bent the law to favor Nestle. It has allowed Nestle to
have a permit before it provided the State with required real data, has
continued to allow Nestle the privilege of doing the monitoring the DEQ
now claims is needed in the future, but does not require that such
monitoring be done prior to issuing this new permit. It is a backwards
approach to the requirements of law and science.
The permit was also issued without prior resolution of outstanding issues
with Osceola Township, which is appealing the circuit court ruling on the
booster station permit.
We are most appalled that the DEQ chose to claim that the comments and
submissions of over 80,000 citizens and experts in Michigan opposing this
permit were irrelevant. They claimed that only the law mattered but failed to
follow it themselves in issuing the permit. Clearly they intended to issue the
permit all along. The process dragged out, to be the most extensive they
claim to have used because they had to keep asking Nestle to provide
something they could use to grant it and appear to be legal. It in fact was
not the longest review. That one occurred when MCWC sued Nestle in a
case that went on for 9 years and set a precedent on such large scale
withdrawals from a stream, a precedent the DEQ chose to ignore in the
present situation. The needs of an ecosystem matter as well as the needs
of people. It is all connected to the knowledge that Water is Life. Naturally
MCWC must challenge this permit. It is full of flaws. We therefore will
submit an administrative challenge, otherwise known as a Petition for a
Contested Case, to the DEQ within the 60 day time frame allowed. We
know we have the support of the thousands of people in the Great Lakes
Basin who care to uphold the rule of law and are concerned about justice.
We believe that all those people who commented and showed up do
matter. The waters of this territory are protected under the public trust for
the use and benefit of all as agreed to in the documents which granted
statehood and established treaty rights with the tribes.
The nine tribal governments that opposed it matter a great deal. So do all
those people in Michigan who do not have access to clean water because it
was poisoned by the State or shut off due to the actions of State-appointed
Emergency Managers. Those people should have first rights to the water
that Nestle is being given for free. Instead they are asked to pay some of
the highest bills in the country for water the State is rushing to privatize.
They are asked to watch as their taxes pay to buy Nestle-grabbed water in
toxic plastic bottles which are then temporarily given to the people of Flint.
The State should be trucking the groundwater of the commons to Flint in
large containers, free. Instead they shut off the pods the same week they
grant Nestle a permit to capture and privatize the water of the commons.
Justice does matter. We will resist this outrageous permit and all other
attempts to turn our commons over to corporations and the politicians they
Peggy Case, President Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation
Read more on Nestle’s water taking in Michigan here.
Also published on Medium.