Release: MCWC Filed Complaint with Attorney General to stop Nestle’s damage to Ecosystem in Osceola County

July 12, 2020

Complaint Filed with Attorney General to stop Nestle’s damage to Ecosystem in Osceola County

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) has just sent a formal
complaint by registered letter to the Attorney General of Michigan seeking
an investigation into the environmental destruction we have documented in
the Muskegon River Watershed caused by the continuing excessive water
withdrawals of Nestle North America. (Complaint attached)
Since 2011 Nestle has been drawing down the water of two cold water trout
streams in Osceola County and caused significant changes in those
streams in violation of the Michigan Constitution and state law. Our all-
volunteer, grassroots organization, representing its members who live in
the watershed and also have riparian rights to protect, has worked for the
last 20 years to call attention to this kind of destruction of the natural
resources our State Government is required to protect. We have used the
courts to slow down the destruction at great extra cost to citizens who also
pay taxes to the State to do this work of protection.

Over the course of the last 20 years, the State of Michigan, through several
administrations and under the blatant influence of multinational
corporations and their lobbyists, has allowed the waters of this territory to
be a playground for profit-seeking corporations such as Nestle and
Enbridge. It is time to put a stop to this violation of the public trust mandate
of our Constitution.

The Attorney General is being called upon to act on behalf of the people,
the environment, and the water that gives us life. We ask her to take a
stand on Nestle’s operations just as she has done with the clear threat
Enbridge poses in the Straits. Groups such as ours should not have to
spend years in court doing the job of State agencies such as EGLE
(formerly MDEQ). We ask the Attorney General to step in and investigate

the effects of Nestle’s water grab on Twin and Chippewa Creeks, taking
appropriate action to stop the destruction of an ecosystem. We have done
our part. If it takes a lawsuit to stop bad corporate behavior, then the State
should file it and use our tax dollars to defend our rights. We should not
have to pay twice for the legitimate work of state government.
The private bottled water industry is not going to go away just because
Nestle is deciding to sell off some of its operations to clean up its
international image and focus on more profitable components of its water
business. Like the industry as a whole, Nestle is simply shuffling the deck
and moving assets around under different names as public pressure
mounts to end water privatization and plunder of resources. It does not
matter who ultimately “buys” the Nestle operations in Michigan, the State
still must maintain responsibility for protecting our water commons. Now is
the perfect time for the State, through the Attorney General and the
supposedly new EGLE to step up and challenge the way we have done
business in Michigan, not just in the Straits, but throughout the state where
clean, affordable, public water is threatened.

The AG’s office has received our complaint. We look forward to a response
and some action before these two streams become the Michigan poster
children for corporate greed over ecosystem health. Privatization of water
and water delivery systems has not resulted anywhere in the world in
benefit to people or ecosystems. Our two creeks in Osceola County may
not seem significant, but they stand as forerunners of what will happen if
the clearly laid out policies of the private water industry are allowed to
prevail over the Constitution and laws of the State.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation –

Peggy Case – President – – 231-275-2244
Shannon Abbott – Vice President
Chris Swier – Treasurer
Diane Weckerle – Secretary
John McLane – Board Member
Jim Maturen – Board Member
Ken Ford -Board Member

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