Activists Investigated for Attempted Sabotage of Water-bottling Plant

A federal judge has ordered palm prints and saliva swabs from two Detroit environmental activists under investigation for the attempted sabotage of a Mecosta County water-bottling plant in September.

Marie Mason and her husband, Frank Ambrose, insist they were not involved in planting incendiary devices inside a rural pump station owned by Ice Mountain Spring Water Co. The devices did not detonate.

However, Mason and Ambrose have resisted subpoenas from a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids looking into the crime. U.S. Chief District Judge Robert Holmes Bell upheld the subpoenas Wednesday, ruling that the couple's opposition to them must end.

Ambrose must comply with his subpoena by Tuesday, according to a report in The Grand Rapids Press. Mason must do the same after returning from an international water forum in India on Wednesday.

A radical environmental group called the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility, but because investigators found a palm print and genetic material at the scene, the investigation continues.

The pump station is in Martiny Township in northeastern Mecosta County, about 50 miles west of Midland. It pressurizes a 13-mile pipeline that carries water drawn from four nearby wells to the Ice Mountain bottling plant near Stanwood.

The couple has been actively promoting their defiance on the website of an environmental group, Sweetwater Alliance.

They believe they're being targeted for their "open, active and vocal" opposition to Ice Mountain — a brand owned by Nestle Waters North America which has pumped and bottled millions of gallons since opening in May 2002.

Members of Sweetwater Alliance "protest against what they consider to be the improper exploitation and depletion of the public's natural water resources," attorney Hugh Davis said.

The Associated Press

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