Residents in Flint are being forced to drink and cook with bottled water, yet they are being charged higher rates than almost anywhere in the country for their poisoned water.
Meanwhile there is a story about the bottled water industry in Michigan that has mostly gone unnoticed.
Less than two hundred miles away, multi-billion dollar corporation Nestle has been pumping millions of gallons out of Lake Michigan for free. They have actually received 13 million dollars in tax breaks to do so.
Democracy now reports:
In 2001 and 2002, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued permits to Nestlé, the largest water bottling company in the world, to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from aquifers that feed Lake Michigan.
This sparked a decade-long legal battle between Nestlé and the residents of Mecosta County, Michigan, where Nestlé’s wells are located.
One of the most surprising things about this story is that, in Mecosta County, Nestlé is not required to pay anything to extract the water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to a private landowner.
In fact, the company received $13 million in tax breaks from the state to locate the plant in Michigan.
The spokesperson for Nestlé in Michigan is Deborah Muchmore. She’s the wife of Dennis Muchmore—Governor Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, who just retired and registered to be a lobbyist.
We speak with Peggy Case, Terry Swier and Glenna Maneke of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation succeeded in forcing Nestle to reduce their withdrawals from 400 to 200 gallons a minute. But Nestle continues to receive free water and preferential treatment.