June 3, 2017

Nestle out for cheap Michigan water

Christian Science Monitor- Three years after state-appointed officials began piping contaminated water to households in Flint, eventually triggering a national outcry, another drawn-out fight over water management is roiling the Great Lakes state.

This time the battle is over the bottling of Michigan groundwater by Nestle, the Swiss multinational food company. Nestle is seeking permission to extract more water from an existing well about 100 miles from Flint, for sale in the Midwest. As long as it passes review, the expansion would only incur a nominal permit fee, to the dismay of critics who argue that Michigan is handing over its natural resources to a corporation for a song.

There is no direct link between Flint’s municipal water crisis and Nestle’s pumping permit. But the emotions stirred by the mismanagement in Flint, and concern over how regulators failed to stop it, have combined to make Nestle a lightning rod for environmentalists and a potential test case for how that most basic of natural resources – groundwater – should be managed.

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