LANSING — State Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton) spoke out today against Nestle Waters’ request to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to increase its groundwater pumping operation to 400 gallons per minute in the city of Evart. Today, Nestle Waters pumps more than 200 gallons per minute for its Ice Mountain water bottle brand. Michigan currently allows the company to pump water in two other locations, as well as in Evart.

“Michigan’s unique geographical placement and abundance of rivers, lakes and streams make it a prime target for those wishing to profit off of our natural resources,” Sneller said. “It seems unjust, however, to allow a company to take Michigan’s groundwater, put it in a plastic bottle, and turn around and sell it to residents whose lives depend on having clean, affordable water available, simply so that the company can increase its profits. Particularly when residents of Flint still require cases of water bottles to bathe, cook and drink, it is in poor taste for Nestle to ask the MDEQ to allow them to make a greater profit off of our state’s precious resources.”

Nestle Waters owns the wells that it pumps water from, which means the company only pays $200 in administrative fees to allow it to pump groundwater.

“It is critical that we are aware of how our resources are used, and that we ensure we are getting the greatest benefit while still preserving our planet for generations to come,” Sneller said. “The fresh water that we have access to in our state is extremely unique, which makes it even more important that we carefully regulate how this resource is used. It seems appropriate that today, in recognition of World Water Day, we renew our commitment to protecting our state’s water, for both our planet’s and our people’s sake.”