Dec 05, 2019

Nestle's Ice Mountain Bottled Water Denied Zoning in Osceola Township, Michigan

Nestle's Ice Mountain bottled water was denied zoning for a new booster pump station in Osceola Township, Michigan. 

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Nestle Waters North America was denied zoning approval for a new booster pump station to move its water, according to the Detroit Free Press

The company planned to increase water withdrawals from its White Pine Springs well in Osceola Township, Michigan, from 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. 

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approved the increased water withdrawal in April 2018, according to the Detroit Free Press

Water withdrawals at current levels can already be seen in nearby wetlands and streams, however. Environmental groups appealed the permit and a ruling on the groundwater withdrawal increase is expected by early 2020, reported the Detroit Free Press.

"As an initial matter, the circuit court's conclusion that plaintiff's commercial water-bottling operation is an 'essential public service' is clearly erroneous," said appellate judges Cynthia Diane Stephens, Deborah Servitto and Amy Ronayne Krause.

"We firmly believe that the Circuit Court was correct in ordering Osceola Township to issue a permit for our request to build a small, 12 ft by 22 ft building, to house a booster pump," said Ice Mountain Natural Resource Manager Arlene Anderson-Vincent in an emailed statement. "We believe the plan we proposed met the Township’s site plan and special land use standards. We will evaluate our possible next steps in the legal process."

The pump station is not considered an extractive operation because the actual well removing groundwater is 2 miles from the proposed pump station. The area proposed for the pumping station is zoned for agricultural use and is in the middle of a children's summer camp as well, reported the Detroit Free Press

"Extracting the water and sending it to other places where it cannot return to the water table and, critically, doing so faster than the aquifer can replenish, is an 'irretrievable' depletion unless the pumping is reduced or halted," ruled the court.

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