Nestle opponent asks judge to overturn Michigan situation dismissal

LANSING, MI — A Michigan water conservation group which has fought versus groundwater withdrawals by Nestle has requested a choose to overturn a final decision by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to bounce its problem to the company’s permit on a technicality.

The Michigan Citizens for H2o Conservation (MCWC) is contesting a determination by the Michigan Division of Setting, Fantastic Lakes and Energy (EGLE), which dismissed the group’s challenge to a permit to allow Nestle Waters extract more groundwater for bottling under the Ice Mountain brand name.

The group’s petition for judicial assessment was submitted Thursday, Jan. 21 in Ingham County Circuit Court docket.

In a push assertion, MCWC President Peggy Situation, called it “punitive, unlawful, and totally unjust” of EGLE Director Liesl Clark to dismiss the group’s enchantment soon after a condition administrative judge upheld Nestle’s controversial permit originally granted in 2018 underneath previous Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and subsequently defended by Whitmer’s administration.

“We had hoped the ‘new’ EGLE would rule on the deserves and ultimately set a cease to Nestle’s skill to extract our water for absolutely free and problems our streams and lakes,” Situation wrote. “We had hoped EGLE would honor the precedent from prior litigation that was won by MCWC in 2009 to lessen Nestle’s pumping.”

“EGLE apparently considered it could just kick the can down the highway and prevent a authentic ruling,” she wrote.

The group claims EGLE encouraged MCWC to abide by an administrative procedure that price tag them $200,000 around two a long time right before EGLE dismissed the case primarily based on jurisdiction. In November, Clark dominated that EGLE lacked authority to hear worries to these permits under state law and that the group’s circumstance really should have been filed in circuit court docket.

EGLE spokesperson Scott Dean declined to remark, expressing Clark’s ruling “speaks for itself.”

“We have practically nothing new to say on the issue,” he reported.

The MCWC’s submitting is the hottest transform-of-the-screw in legal efforts to unwind state approvals that make it possible for Nestle to withdrawal 576,000 gallons of groundwater-for every-working day from the headwaters of two chilly drinking water trout streams in Osceola County.

The point out granted Nestle its permit in 2018, but point out regulators say the company’s watershed checking plans remain under overview and Nestle even now has but to boost pumping on the very well in Osceola Township northwest of Evart.

The MCWC and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians filed a problem to Nestle’s allow acceptance in July 2018 arguing the condition erred in granting the permit due to the fact, between other motives, it was done using modeling info fairly than precise discipline measurements. Nestle promises its data exhibits the withdrawal fees are sustainable and will not hurt the surrounding environment.

If a circuit court docket choose policies in favor of MCWC, attorneys in the scenario say Clark would have to revisit her conclusion and rule on the deserves of the group’s problem.

The MWCW and the tribe could also file new litigation against Nestle or the state in circuit court if vital, say attorneys.

The condition situation is individual but associated to a nearby zoning dispute amongst Nestle and Osceola Township, which hampered Nestle’s designs to make new distribution infrastructure necessary to transfer supplemental drinking water to its bottling plant by withholding zoning acceptance to develop a booster station that would maximize pressure in a h2o pipeline.

The Michigan Court docket of Appeals sided with the township in 2019, rejecting Nestle’s argument that bottled drinking water fulfilled the regional zoning ordinance definition of an “essential community assistance.”

Nestle Waters North The us issued a assertion Friday indicating the MCWC attraction has “no merit” and referencing earlier statements from EGLE which characterized the company’s allow evaluate as uniquely thorough. “We have self-confidence in the science at the rear of our allow,” claimed a Nestle spokesperson.

The MCWC filing comes far more than 4 a long time just after Nestle submitted its original application to boost withdrawal on its White Pine Springs Very well No. 101 in Osceola Township.

General public disclosure of the ask for in 2016 produced extensive public outcry around possible environmental impacts, and from individuals upset that Nestle could source groundwater at basically no price tag while people in Flint had been drinking water contaminated by bacteria and lead, and very low-earnings people of Detroit ended up having their taps shut off for non-payment.

The Whitmer administration states issues of developing a condition royalty or payment program for bottled water wells should be taken up by the legislature, which has not drastically regarded the issue.

Relevant tales:

Nestle h2o extraction permit enchantment rejected

Nestle wins lawful problem in Michigan

Why Nestle pays following to practically nothing for Michigan groundwater

How Michigan drinking water will become a solution inside of Nestle plant

In Detroit, Nestle holds personal assembly on upcoming of water

Michigan township wins attraction in Nestle zoning lawsuit

Nestle announces $36M expansion of Gerber in Michigan

Far more pumping could hurt wetlands, for every Nestle resear