Target: Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Heidi Grether
Goal: Deny Nestlé’s application to draw more water out of aquifers that feed Lake Michigan.
For several years, a Nestlé bottling plant in Northern Michigan has been extracting up to 150 gallons of water per minute from aquifers that feed into Lake Michigan. The company now plans to increase the plant’s extractive capacity to 400 gallons per minute, which could be detrimental to the local communities and wildlife that rely on this water supply for their survival.
Nestlé’s Ice Mountain water brand is sold throughout the United States. This is a particular problem since once water leaves the watershed its in, it does not return. Michigan may seem to have an abundance of water, but allowing Nestlé to expand its extraction of water directly from the sources of Lake Michigan could have impacts on local communities, wildlife, and ecosystems and sets a dangerous precedent.
Nestlé has submitted its proposal to Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality for review. The proposal faces opposition from local residents who have been opposed to the plant for over a decade and point to its potential and ongoing impact on wetlands, streams, and creeks in the area. They have achieved notable victories and successfully reduced the amount of water Nestlé is permitted to withdraw. However, the approval of this plant expansion would reverse their victories. Sign our petition and call on the DEQ to deny Nestlé’s application and reexamine the environmental impact of the bottling plant.
Dear Director Grether,
I was alarmed to hear of the planned expansion of the Nestlé Ice Mountain bottling plant near Evart, Michigan. As you know, Nestlé’s plan would increase extraction capacity from 150 to 400 gallons per minute. Given the fact that only a fraction of this bottled water will remain in the watershed of Lake Michigan, this represents hundreds of thousands of gallons of water not entering Lake Michigan and the surrounding ecosystem. Furthermore, approving this expansion sets a precedent that may lead to further water extraction of aquifers that feed into the lake, accelerating the problem.
Local opposition to any expansion of the plant has stated repeatedly that they have witnessed changes to their environment including the drying of wetlands, creeks, and streams. They are calling for the DEQ to reexamine the environmental impact of the plant and consider the long-term impact of the bottling plant. I would like to add my voice to theirs. I urge you to block any expansion to the plant pending an in-depth environmental review.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lee Brimelow