Nestle continues push to draw more Michigan water

The fight for the crystal clear waters flowing from the springs in the northwest part of Michigan continues.

Nestle, the parent company of Ice Mountain, is looking for approval from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to increase production at a well in Evart. Currently, they pull 250 gallons of water a minute from the spring. They want to nearly double that production to 400 gallons of water per minute.

"That's water that they're going to take and just sell back to us," says Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park). "This is something that's going to impact everyone here in the state of Michigan, and I think everyone should be kind of up in arms. So, we're encouraging the governor and MDEQ not to approve this permis they're requesting.

Wittenberg is partnering with another Democrat from Muskegon to draft a resolution, basically going on the record saying this is a bad idea. The Department of Environmental Quality has the final say.

We talked with them in January and they said they can deny the permit for two reasons: if the water is unsafe or if obtaining the water harms the environment.

Nestle, the petitioner, says they had an independent study that revealed it has no long-term effects. They issued this response to the rep's resolution:

"Nestlé Waters' pending application is based on over 15 years of extensive studies and regular monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and the local ecosystem. We are confident in the science and in the professional scientists - both from inside and outside the company - who collect and evaluate the data."

"Their best interest is making a profit, and that's all they're really worried about," says Wittenberg. "If, all of a sudden this well runs dry they're going to go find another one."