Wednesday, March 01, 2017 by Vicki Batts
Nestle is looking to once again rob the public of their water. The corporate giant came under fire last year for bottling water in drought-stricken California, and now, they’re looking to cash out in Michigan. Residents of the state have until March 3rd, 2017 to speak out and stop Nestle’s greedy water grab.
Right now, Nestle has filed for a permit that would allow them to double the amount of groundwater the corporation can take from the Muskegon River watershed — for just $200. Keep in mind, Nestle would be bottling this water and selling it for massive profits. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting public commentary until March 3rd, so be sure to submit a comment if you want your voice on this matter to be heard.
Nestle is one of the world’s largest food corporations, and it seems that the water-bottling behemoth has made it their mission to scrounge up as much of the world’s water supply as they can. Water is obviously one of the earth’s most precious resources — and it’s a finite resource, at that. It’s no wonder the corporate giant wants to get their greedy hands all over the water supply: it’s a necessity that people can’t do without. Nestle reportedly controls about one-third of the bottled water market in the United States, and sells 70 different brands of bottled water.
Since 2001, Nestle has pumped more than 4 billion gallons of fresh groundwater out of three Michigan wells from the Muskegon River watershed — for just a mere $200 annual fee. And in that time, the corporate giant hasn’t been quiet. They spent ten years trying to increase the amount of water they could take from the state, but ultimately failed. “In 2009, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) ended a 10-year battle with Nestlé/Ice Mountain and won by reducing the amount of water being pumped so that nearby wetlands and streams would not be harmed in Mecosta County,” explains FlowForWater.org.
Now, it seems that Nestle is reviving their plans for leeching more water from Michigan’s public water supply. They want to more than double their water-pumping efforts, with a proposed increase from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. If their efforts are approved — even without full disclosure and public review — Nestle’s plans are expected to create only 20 new jobs. Meanwhile, the Big Food giant would be entitled to bottle and sell some 500 million gallons of Michigan water for profit each year.
Rural communities across the U.S. are suffering, and footing the bill, for Nestle’s corporate greed. For example, Nestle’s bottling water plant in Mecosta, MI has done precious little for the locals — despite the economic gains the company promised. Donald Roy, who is involved with a citizen action group, said, “We’ve found that they mostly hire temp workers. They pay many of them $10 an hour, no benefits, for a temp position, and then they can lay them off and not have to worry about compensation.” Similar situations have been reported in other areas where Nestle has brought their business, like in McCloud, California — where Nestle promised to bring back jobs.
Nestle is not the angelic, benevolent corporation it often purports itself to be. As a whole, Nestle has been scrutinized for their treatment of employees and other uncouth business practices — such as taking advantage of underprivileged areas. The company has faced immense opposition from locals almost everywhere they go, and has become something of a pariah — at least in the eyes of those who are bulldozed by the water-bottling beast of an organization.
Nestle has all but stolen water from public water supplies and turned watersheds across the U.S. into their own corporate, money-making playgrounds. It is well beyond time for citizens to draw their line in the sand and say, “Enough is enough.”