LANSING — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced on Monday that it has approved a permit application to allow Nestlé to increase the amount of Michigan groundwater they pump for sale as bottled water, despite receiving 80,945 comments opposed to the permit approval and only 75 in favor. The new permit will allow the company to pump 400 gallons a minute, up from 250 gallons a minute. In response, state Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township), Democratic vice-chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement:

“Fresh water is our most precious natural resource, especially here in the Great Lakes State. It is shameful that the Department of Environmental Quality disregarded the tens of thousands of Michiganders who opposed this decision and made it clear they want our natural resources protected, not sold off. This is yet another example of this administration putting the profits of big corporations before people. We cannot claim to be ‘Pure Michigan’ while at the same time valuing our unique natural resources so little. My House Democratic colleagues and I will continue fighting to ensure that those entrusted with preserving and protecting what makes Michigan so special, hear and listen to the concerns of Michigan residents, not a large foreign corporation.”