LANSING — State Reps. Terry J. Sabo (D-Muskegon) and Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park) introduced a resolution earlier this year urging the governor and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to reject Nestlé Waters’ request to increase their pumping operation at its Evart location. Among the many points in the resolution, the representatives cited a lack of information on the potential impact of the permit as the key reason for rejection. Now, the MDEQ has stated before they can move forward, Nestlé must provide that exact information.
“Our state has seen — far too often in the last several years — the devastating effects of moving forward on a water-related project without having the appropriate research or information,” said Rep. Sabo. “Ensuring that Nestlé does its due diligence, and can back up its claims with hard data, is not only the responsible choice, it’s the moral one.”
According to a letter written by MDEQ water unit supervisor Matt Gamble, the “information, analysis, data and explanation provided does not provide the DEQ with a reasonable basis to make the determination,” and requested further information. Due to increased public scrutiny in the face of the application, the MDEQ has kept the permit request on hold since its filing last October.
“In the end, it isn’t only about protecting our environment, it’s about protecting our people,” said Rep. Sabo. “When it comes to evaluating these kinds of projects, there is no such thing as too much data. The MDEQ is charged with expecting and requesting that exact kind of information, so I am heartened to see them doing their job in that capacity. I look forward to working with local stakeholders as these analyses are conducted, to ensure that whatever happens next, the environmental interests of Muskegon are taken care of.”