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Why This Matters: It is unconscionable that the largest food company in the world takes groundwater, puts it in bottles, and sells it back to poor communities in the state whose own drinking water supplies are some of the most costly in the country and have previously been tainted with toxic chemicals. And now, due to the pandemic, bottled water is more expensive than ever in Michigan.House Democrats are investigating the company’s practices. Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said “Where my constituents are having their water shut off due to exorbitant bills, we have Nestle up the road profiting millions off the water my community is being denied.”
Michigan Citizens for Water
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and local Indigenous nations challenged the permit due to the concern that the increased pumping will hurt the ecology of the Chippewa Creek watershed. But, according to the Detroit News, the judge ruled that the proposed pumping is “reasonable under common law principles of water law in Michigan.” Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation vowed to continue their fight, saying “Unfortunately, the laws of our state still allow private corporations to profit from our natural resources but do not seem to support public health and welfare. Those laws must change so that the human right to clean, affordable water and sanitation becomes the top priority of government, rather than the promotion of corporate greed and destruction of environmental support systems.”
MLive reports that recently “Nestlé announced $2 million in grants to support conservation projects in Michigan’s Muskegon River watershed. The company has been trying to combat negative perceptions through social media efforts and blog posts that portray Nestle as a responsible environmental steward with minimal impact.”
Why This Matters: Rivers are often touted as an environmentally friendly and cheap mode of transportation – even here in the U.S. (e.g., the Mississippi River). But there are many other users who rely on these waterways in India for fishing and other livelihoods.
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