Ann Arbor, Michigan eighth graders Yousef Emara and Nathan Kohhave have created a Change.org petition, asking that Michigan state legislature and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) deny a request from Nestle to increase its water pumping rates in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan.
As part of a Sustainability Action Project (SAP), the two students are going to bat for the natural water resources at White Pine Springs. According to the students (via Change.org), “Water bottling companies have been pumping billions of gallons of water out of aquifers and impacting the watershed and surrounding environment and selling water bottles for 3000 to 5000 times more than they pay for it. One such pumping site is Nestle’s well field in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan, which is part of the Muskegon River watershed. In many countries, including the United States, there is little limitation on the rate at which water can be pumped out of aquifers (underground water reserves). “
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Nestle pumped more than 3.4 billion gallons of water from its three Michigan well fields between 2005 and 2015.
Now Nestle is asking that its water production get clearance for an increase, to 400 gallons per minute! As if that was bad enough, Nestle would only be paying the state of Michigan an extra $200 a year. Think about that one for a minute.
It’s time to take a stand. We need to protect the waters in and around the Great Lakes from companies like Nestle. In the past, Nestle has been under fire for depleting natural rainforest resources in Indonesia (see here). Obviously this company has no regard for anything other than its bottom line. Why would the state of Michigan agree to allow Nestle to further deplete its natural resources, not to mention the inordinate amount of plastic that is used to bottle the water? Obviously, we are not doing enough to protect our waters, and we are being subjected to the greed of mega-companies that don’t care about aquifers, watersheds, and the like. According to the students, tests conducted by Malcom Pirnie Inc. seven years ago showed that wetlands and wildlife atop these underground water resources are directly impacted by Nestle’s excessive pumping practices. Apparently having a fleet of lawyers, PR hacks, etc., continues to keep Nestle at the top of its water pilfering game. Past attempts to legally prevent Nestle from absconding with more water continually hit roadblocks, which is justly spelled out by the students:
“Nestle’s plan to increase the amount of water withdrawn to 400 gallons per minute would undo an agreement with environmentalists reached more than seven years ago for a well field in Sanctuary Springs, which is also part of the Muskegon River watershed. In 2001, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation sued Nestle over potential damage to the system of lakes, rivers, and streams that its water withdrawal would cause. An agreement was reached in 2009, limiting the amount of water the company could pump.”
Yousef and Nathan have done their part by identifying the problem, while coming up with a solution. They plan on delivering 15,000+ signatures to the state legislature. Please consider signing the petition. Also, avoid drinking Nestle bottled water. Finally, if you own a business that stocks Nestle bottled water, do the right thing and cancel your orders moving forward. It’s time to send a message to Nestle that we’re sick of its environmentally unfriendly practices. By doing so, you will be speaking for the precious waters in and around the Great Lakes.