The Guardian reported in 2017:
Despite having endured lead-laden tap water for years, Flint pays some of the highest water rates in the US. Several residents cited bills upwards of $200 per month for tap water they refuse to touch.
But just two hours away, in the tiny town of Evart, creeks lined by wildflowers run with clear water. The town is so small, the fairground, McDonald’s, high school and church are all within a block. But in a town of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer. This is where the beverage giant Nestlé pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles that are sold all over the midwest for around $1.
To use this natural resource, Nestlé pays $200 per year
(click here to continue reading Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable | US news | The Guardian.)
How is this right? Nestlé should have to provide clean drinking water to Flint as part of their deal, or even better, pay to upgrade the water mains, especially since Nestlé is trying to increase the amount of water they pump out:
Now, Nestlé wants more Michigan water. In a recent permit application, the company asked to pump 210m gallons per year from Evart, a 60% increase, and for no more than it pays today.
Access to clean water should be a human right, all over the world, including in Michigan. Private corporations shouldn’t be able to profit from a public good.
The fight continues:
Michigan’s second-highest court has dealt a legal blow to Nestlé’s Ice Mountain water brand, ruling that the company’s commercial water-bottling operation is “not an essential public service” or a public water supply.
The court of appeals ruling is a victory for Osceola township, a small mid-Michigan town that blocked Nestlé from building a pumping station that doesn’t comply with its zoning laws. But the case could also throw a wrench in Nestlé’s attempts to privatize water around the country.
The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America’s water to sell in plastic bottles
If it is to carry out such plans, then it will need to be legally recognized as a public water source that provides an essential public service. The Michigan environmental attorney Jim Olson, who did not represent Osceola township but has previously battled Nestlé in court, said any claim that the Swiss multinational is a public water utility “is ludicrous”.
“What this lays bare is the extent to which private water marketers like Nestlé, and others like them, go [in] their attempts to privatize sovereign public water, public water services, and the land and communities they impact,” Olson said.
The ruling, made on Tuesday, could also lead state environmental regulators to reconsider permits that allow Nestlé to pump water in Michigan.
The Osceola case stems from Nestle’s attempt to increase the amount of water it pulls from a controversial wellhead in nearby Evart from about 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. It needs to build the pump in a children’s campground in Osceola township to transport the increased load via a pipe system.
The township in 2017 rejected the plans based on its zoning laws, and Nestlé subsequently sued. A lower court wrote in late 2017 that water was essential for life and bottling water was an “essential public service” that met a demand, which trumped Osceola township’s zoning laws.
However, a three-judge panel in the appellate court reversed the decision.
(click here to continue reading Nestlé cannot claim bottled water is ‘essential public service’, court rules | Business | The Guardian.)