As Flint Suffers, Nestlé Plans Dramatic Expansion of Water Privatization in Michigan

What's more, the biggest food company in the world gets to pump that water at no cost .
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    Nestle brand Arrowhead water bottlers. (Screenshot)

    Nestle brand Arrowhead water bottlers. (Screenshot)

    The state of Michigan has reportedly issued preliminary approval for bottled water behemoth Nestlé to nearly triple the amount of groundwater it will pump, to be bottled and sold at its Ice Mountain plant, which lies roughly 120 miles northwest of the beleaguered community of Flint.

    “Nestlé Waters North America is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for permission to increase allowed pumping from 150 to 400 gallons-per-minute at one of its production wells north of Evart,” MLive reported on Monday.

    “The DEQ Water Resources Division conducted a site review and signed-off on the pumping increase in January, but the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance is approving the permit,” the report continued. The agency is accepting public comment on the proposal(pdf) until Thursday, Nov. 3.

    While Nestlé and other bottled water companies have rankled many communities for privatizing their public water supply, the news particularly stung in Michigan, where citizens have faced a years-long nightmare over lead contamination in their drinking water. Many residents of Flint are still forced to rely on bottled water for cleaning, cooking, and bathing as government delays have hampered efforts to replace the corroded pipes.

    Meanwhile, the report notes that company representatives defended the need to expand the facility because “U.S. market for bottled water in general is driving the bid for more Michigan groundwater.”

    What’s more, Nestlé, the biggest food company in the world, gets to pump that water at no cost. As MLive reports, “Michigan law allows any private property owner to withdraw from the aquifer under their property for free, subject only to a nominal $200 annual paperwork fee. The interstate Great Lakes compact prohibits water diversions outside of the Great Lakes basin, but a bottling exemption within the law allows water to be sold outside the region if it’s shipped in bottles smaller than 5.7 gallons.”

    “The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?” said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, which for years fought against Nestlé’s expansion in the state.

    When contacted by MLive for comment, Ostahowski said he wasn’t even aware of the new proposal. But as news spread on social media, the outrage was palpable:


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      • Mikronos

        Flint can buy all the bottled water they want.

        PS: Nestle is an European corporation. What trade agreement allowed them to buy water sources in the USA?

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      • Patricia P. Tursi

        BOYCOTT NESTLE!é_bra

        1 Cereals
        2 Yogurt
        3 Coffee
        4 Water
        5 Other drinks
        6 Shelf stable
        7 Chilled
        8 Ice cream
        9 Infant foods
        10 Performance nutrition
        11 Healthcare nutrition
        12 Seasonings
        13 Frozen food
        14 Refrigerated products
        15 Chocolate, confectionery and baked goods
        16 Foodservice products
        17 Petcare
        18 As shareholder
        19 Former brands

        19.1 Beverages
        19.2 Bottled water
        19.3 Confectionery
        19.4 Eyecare
        19.5 Health and nutrition
        19.6 Petcare
        19.7 Shelf-stable

        20 References

        • TeeJae

          I do my best to (since learning 2 years ago about what they’re doing in CA), but their greedy tentacles reach into SO MANY products, it’s difficult to avoid everything!

      • GALT

        ENOUGH!!!!!! Reclaiming the “commons” is a number ONE priority….
        because not only are they still “coming for you” but in many cases
        ( here and with gmo’s and health care, etc. ) they are HERE and

        We have four very bizarre years ahead of us, while “to conquer, first DIVIDE”
        rules…..and we need a “unifying progressive party” that can overcome
        the numerous divisions that are resistant to “unification” …..because even the
        so called “progressive voices” are “singular” and “not listening” to each
        other. ( the singular exception being Jill Stein’s offer to Bernie Sanders,
        who foolishly “ignored” an offer that would have put him in the white
        house, given him a chance to initiate change as well as “become educated”
        regarding his “economic as well as political naivete”, as he attempted to
        move forward.)

        We have lost that “opportunity” and I don’t have much “faith” in Bernie’s
        ability or Warren’s, to force Clinton to adhere to the “platform” for which
        Bernie “sold out”, and where Warren’s behavior is “inexplicable”.

        There are “too many” so-called “progressive brands”, each engaged in
        “self promotion” in one form or another ( it is a living, after all ) and none
        of them has a clear understanding of the present, the past that led here,
        or the future, which is already upon us…….and they preach to their
        “various choirs”……which “create” more divisions, among those that
        should be “unified”……so there is no “actual leadership” and if this
        continues, we are LOST.

        “The lesson of history is: we have learned NOTHING from history.”

        I am uncertain as to how to proceed at this point, although it is clear that
        the path to “inclusive sustainability” is the only way forward.

        Therefor, it is my intention to begin a series of essays on this “subject”
        dealing with the various elements that will be required to implement it,
        as soon as possible…..the series will be entitled:

        “Inclusive Sustainability, The Way Forward: Paradise Found in a World
        Where There is Enough for Everyone.”

        I shall attempt to insert these “essay’s” in “relevant segues” to Mint Press
        articles, although that will not always be possible, so if YOU are interested
        in “following this series”, providing questions and feedback… probably
        probably click the follow option……and, you can pass these essay’s along
        to people or forums, which may have an “interest”, if you so wish. ( most of
        you seem to get around a lot more than I do, and have never been much
        into self promotional marketing, since to my way of thinking the true goal
        of a “problem solver” is to be “unemployed” and “unnecessary” BUT,
        this could just be me?

      • In addition folks need to know this as well. August 2nd, 2016 Flint Officials Profited While Water Crisis Raged

        Federal officials approved mortgages worth more than $11 million for Flint, Michigan homes bought after it was discovered the city’s drinking water contained dangerous levels of lead and copper, according to a government watchdog. At least 144 such mortgages were issued that collectively obligated federal taxpayers to guarantee unpaid balances of $11.2 million.

        • Yahu Savant

          Nestle’ has done the same in California and other parts of the world as well.

          • You are well informed Yahu Savant. Keep it up patriot!

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