Democracy Now! reports that “as Flint residents are forced to drink, cook with and even bathe in bottled water, while still paying some of the highest water bills in the country for their poisoned water, 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.”
Here are some highlights from this must-watch video segment:
- “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.”
- “The water from this plant is coming from several wells, one in Mecosta and two in Everett. And they are now pumping 218 gallons per minute. They wanted to do 400,” says Peggy Case, current president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation.”
- “In 2000, we found that Nestlé was—had come to Mecosta County and was meeting with elected officials. And what Nestlé was asking for was a place that they would be able to take water, a bottling plant, and selling the water, which they basically—what Nestlé did was basically sold the water to us, and it was already our water,” says Terry Swier, original president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation.”
- “This decade-long lawsuit against Nestlé began in the circuit court. We had seen what Nestlé was proposing to do, and decided that we needed to take Nestlé to court. That was the only way that Nestlé would ever realize that, yes, we did want our water, we wanted to protect our water, and the water was ours, not theirs. This lasted for—like I said before, this lasted for eight years. And in that time, with lawyer fees and, you know, all the fees that come with going to court, we spent over $1 million,” Swier says.