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State regulators say they've rejected an appeal of a bottled water company's plan to pump more water in western Michigan. The head of Michigan's environment department says she can intervene only "under very limited circumstances." Liesl Clark says they're not present in the dispute involving a grassroots group and Nestle's Ice Mountain operations. In April, an administrative law judge upheld a state permit, which allows Nestle Waters North America to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well in Osceola County. That's a 60% increase.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

An environmental group says Nestle's water bottling operations in Osceola Township are drying up two creeks.

Peggy Case, President of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation says there are mud flats along parts of Twin and Chippewa Creeks, where people used to canoe.  She says surveys show that large trout are disappearing from the creeks.

"So at a time when the water is at high levels all over the state of Michigan -- drowning in water right now, rivers are high and lakes are high.  (But) Twin Creek and Chippewa Creek are not. They are quite low."

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will have the final say on an increase in water withdrawals by a Nestlé water bottling plant.

An administrative law judge decided the state’s decision to grant a permit to Nestlé to withdraw more water was proper.

Nestle Waters won't appeal Osceola Township pumping site

Feb 20, 2020
bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After a years-long battle, Nestlé Waters will not get the water pumping building it wants in northern Michigan.

The company did not appeal a court decision in December, effectively stopping the bottler from being able to build on land it wasn’t zoned for.

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New bills in the state House would put Michigan’s water – including groundwater – in a public trust. That means that the waters would have to be reserved for the public’s use, and the state would have to protect the water for that purpose.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Court of Appeals says Nestle can't force Osceola Township to rezone some land.

A box of Ice Mountain brand water bottles
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Many residents were outraged when the state granted Nestlé a permit to significantly increase the amount of water it pumps out of a well near Evart, Michigan.

More than 80,000 people submitted public comments opposing the decision. The environmental group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation has since challenged that permit.

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A controversial company will provide some Flint residents with bottled water for the next several months.

Nestle has been criticized for its deal to pump more water from rural Michigan for its bottled water business.

The company has agreed to distribute thousands of those bottles for free to Flint residents.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit that allows the Nestle Corporation to pump up to 400 gallons of groundwater per minute to feed its bottled water operations in Osceola County.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been another day of long lines at water distribution centers in Flint. 

Cars and trucks started lining up after Governor Snyder announced last week that the state will stop providing city residents with free bottled water.

The state started handing out cases of water to city residents two years ago after tests showed elevated levels of lead in Flint’s tap water. The governor insists tests show Flint’s drinking water is now well within state and federal standards.

A box of Ice Mountain brand water bottles
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved a permit for Nestle to increase the volume of water it pumps from its well in Osceola County from 250 gallons per minute to up to 400 gallons per minute.

More than 80,000 people spoke out against Nestle's permit request, but the MDEQ said it cannot base its decision on public opinion.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss potential political blow-back that could stem from the state's approval of Nestle's permit.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for Nestlé to increase pumping out water from 250 gallons a minute to 400 gallons at a facility in Osceola County. That approval came after overwhelming disapproval from citizens. The DEQ says it must follow the law when making permit decisions, which would seem to get rid of necessity of taking public comment.

Vicki Barnett, former Mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, and Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in state senate, joined Stateside to discuss how effective and desirable the DEQ and public comments are, how the legislature should treat water resources, and how the decision will affect the state’s farmers.

Wikimedia Commons

Now that the state has approved a permit for Nestle to remove more water from its Osceola County well, opposition is growing.

Among the critics: Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and former Republican congresswoman Candice Miller.

Ian Geoffrey Stimpson / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is now considering a proposal that could put Michigan in the forefront of potash mining. 

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Department of Environmental Quality has approved a permit for Nestlé Waters North America to boost the amount of groundwater it pumps from its well in Osceola County, near Evart.

Nestlé is now pumping up to 250 gallons per minute from that Evart well – water that is bottled under its Ice Mountain label.

The new permit allows it to pump up to 400 gallons a minute.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan DEQ has approved a permit from Nestle Waters North America to increase the amount of groundwater it pumps from its well near Evart, Michigan.

The state says Nestle has to complete a monitoring plan and submit it to the DEQ for approval. After that happens, Nestle will be authorized to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from its White Pine Springs well.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

80,945 against to 75 in favor.

These numbers show the scope of the public opposition to a new proposal from Nestle.

The company wants to be able to pump a lot more water out of the ground in West Michigan that it can bottle and sell under its Ice Mountain brand.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Legislature is considering three bills that would change how the state determines environmental rules. One of the bills would create an environmental rules committee that could reject or change any rule the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issues.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Osceola Township is appealing a circuit court judge's order to allow Nestle Waters North America to build a booster pumping station. 

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A judge says a bottled-water company should be allowed to build a pumping station as part of its plans to get more groundwater in western Michigan for the Ice Mountain brand.

Nestle Waters North America sued after Osceola Township rejected a zoning permit. Nestle wants to withdraw up to 400 gallons a minute, with help from a pipeline booster station at the SpringHill summer camp.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new bill introduced into the Michigan Legislature would impose a 5 cent per gallon fee on bottled water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A couple hundred Michigan water activists gathered in Flint this weekend.

They represent a variety of different groups, from water rights activists in Detroit and Flint to groups opposed to corporations bottling and selling Michigan water.

Conferences speakers included representatives of the Council of Canadians, Flint Democracy Defense League and the Detroit People’s Water Board

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan environmental regulators have told a bottled water company to re-evaluate how its proposal to withdraw 210 million gallons of groundwater annually would impact local wetlands, streams and natural springs.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A zoning appeals board has dealt another setback to a bottled-water company that wants to pump more groundwater in western Michigan.

Nestle Waters North America had appealed the Osceola Township Planning Commission's decision in April to deny a request for a permit to build a new pumping station. MLive.com reports a zoning appeals board on Tuesday let that denial stand.

Bottles of water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Nestle wants to draw more spring water from its well in Osceola County.

As Michigan decides whether to approve Nestle’s request, there's a group with an especially large stake in that decision: Native American tribes who have treaty rights to those waters.

Flitn River
Courtesy of the Flint River Watershed Coalition

After battling bottled water giant Nestle, residents and concerned citizens near Evart now are trying to keep another company from drawing down and potentially contaminating their water supply.

Just six miles from Nestle's wells, Michigan Potash, a Colorado-based company, is seeking permits to drill 11 injection wells for a potash mining operation. Potash, a mineral element, is naturally occurring in Michigan and is used in many forms of fertilizer.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Officials have denied a request for a permit to build a new pumping station by a bottled-water company that wants to pump more groundwater in western Michigan.

The Osceola Township Planning Commission on Tuesday night denied granting Nestle Waters North America the permit for the pipeline booster station at Spring Hill Camp. It's part of the company's proposal to withdraw up to 400 gallons per minute from a well in Osceola County.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 500 people showed up to a public hearing in Big Rapids hosted by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality last night. Almost every one of them spoke against Nestle’s plan to pump 400 gallons of water a minute to sell under the company’s Ice Mountain bottled water brand. 

Michigan Radio mapped 49 bottled water facilities in Michigan. An interactive version is below.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow evening at 7pm, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing on a request from Nestle Waters. 

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