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18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Appeals court wants judge to review pumping limits for Ice Mountain


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 By Ed White The Grand Rapids Press

STANWOOD -- America's No. 1 bottled-water company is interfering with neighboring property owners in Mecosta County but still can pump some groundwater that would otherwise flow into a stream, the state appeals court said Wednesday.

More than five months after hearing arguments, a three-judge panel issued a ruling in a landmark dispute over the high-volume extraction of groundwater and its impacts on the environment and nearby landowners.

Nestle Waters North America, the bottler of Ice Mountain, has state permits to pump 400 gallons a minute from a private hunting sanctuary, south of Big Rapids.

But the appeals court said members of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation who live along Dead Stream "will suffer substantial harm" if the company pumps at that volume.

The court agreed with Judge Lawrence Root, who ruled in 2003 that the stream would lose 24 percent of flow, shrink and drop significantly at 400 gallons per minute.

Nestle "argues that the trial court's findings are speculative and not supported by the record. We disagree," the three-judge panel said.

At the same time, however, the court said Nestle is entitled to "reasonable use" of water.

The court wants Root to come out of retirement to determine what amount would give Nestle "fair participation" in use of the water while also maintaining an "adequate supply" for R.J. and Barb Doyle, who have a second home along Dead Stream.

A member of Nestle's legal team, Mike Haines, said the 48-page ruling still was being digested. But at first glance, he added, "it's not a full loaf for either side."

The Ice Mountain bottling plant opened in Stanwood, about 45 miles north of Grand Rapids, in May 2002. In 2003, Root ordered the wells turned off. Nestle quickly got a 250-gallon-per-minute reprieve while the case was at the appeals court.

That was a monthly average. The appeals court Wednesday changed the amount to a weekly average of 200 gallons per minute while the case is further litigated.

18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
URLs to the Court of Appeals decisions in the case of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, et al v. Nestle Waters. These are decisions by Michigan Court of Appeals Judges Murphy, P.J., and White and Smolenski, JJ.

There were 3 documents on this, including main decisions, orders and disposition of attorney fee motions, concurring opinions....




131 Posts
I live nearby the water plant and hear all the locals complain about the water levels dropping. All the while drinking a bottle of water? My answer for them is dont complain to me about Ice Mountain pumping water if your drinking it. If people dont buy it they wont pump it. Its simple supply and demand. As far as Dead Stream, my father has lived near it all his life. Where do you think it got the name Dead Stream? For twenty some odd years this stream has gone dry in the summer. In the past few years its has not.

I dont want to stir anything up here, just stating what I know about it.

Also had to get the guy standing there complaining about the plant while drinking bottled water off my back.

18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great Lakes agreement may have sprung a leak


Editorial December 18, 2005

The issue:
A new Great Lakes water agreement
Our view:
It’s a Trojan Horse

Veteran environmental attorney Jim Olson of Traverse City and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation say the issue of Great Lakes water diversions may seem convoluted but the message is clear: The fresh water we take for granted will be for sale if the Great Lakes Charter Annex agreement gets final approval.
Olson and the Water Conservation group have been trying to get the attention of state officials and other environmentalists, but his message has so far failed to penetrate the hoopla surrounding the signing of the Annex agreement last week.
Olson has broken down the wording of a few key portions of the agreement and makes a compelling case that the protections claimed by Annex supporters have been undermined.
It’s a one-plus-one-equals-two argument that, once decoded, seems clear.
- The Annex agreement makes water “diversions” outside the Great Lakes Basin illegal. But it also contains wording, added in just the past few months, that makes bottled water a “product” that can be bought and sold inside and outside the Great Lakes basin.
Olsen says the “product” label trumps diversion protections in the agreement.
- Because trade in products (or articles of commerce, which includes everything from automobiles to bow ties) is protected under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution or trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Act, so is trade in bottled water.
Just as importing trash from Canada can’t be blocked because of NAFTA, exporting water can’t be banned, either.
- Once trade in bottled water outside the Great Lakes basin is established as something other than a “diversion,” it’s just a matter of time before someone simply makes a bigger bottle.
Olson wrote that the threat of water exports “is about legal precedents that could make it difficult if not impossible to restrict exports in the future.”
Given the growing thirst for fresh water around the globe, these aren’t Chicken Little warnings. Some have pooh-poohed the idea that Great Lakes water could be sold by the tanker; in fact, however, a firm got Canadian permission not long ago to do exactly that.
Olsen is also concerned that Annex agreement wording gives out-of-basin users the same rights to the resource as those of us who live here. That means Nestle, the Swiss food giant which has at least two bottling plants in the state, has as much right to use - and that now means bottle and sell - Michigan water as any Michigan resident. That’s a recipe for disaster.
He is also concerned, and rightly so, that it is unclear just who wrote and insterted the revised wording into the Annex agreement before it was signed. That issue alone should send up red flags and prompt a thorough examination of the agreement from a legal standpoint.
State officials absolutely must put the Annex wording to the test and take Olson’s concerns seriously. He has a long track record in environmental law, and this one has him worried. That should make us worried, too.

2,140 Posts
Intent::::;what is the Intent??? and Limits::::::What are the Limits???:bash:


18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great Lakes for sale! Michigan's Odawa Indians lead anti-Nestle fight


by Brian McKenna April 22, 2006

If water is the oil of the 21st century, then Michigan, smack dab in the middle of the Great Lakes, is Saudi Arabia. And after banging their straws at the Big Dipper for years, Nestle Corporation has finally succeeded in plunging into the liquid gold.

On February 28th Michigan Governor Granholm signed a bill that will, for the first time, permit a multinational corporation to scoop up given amounts of the Great Lakes and sell bottled water across the world. For the first time in history the concept of the Great Lakes as a commons for all to enjoy has been breached. And NAFTA, as we'll see, might insure a run on the Great Lakes.

The new Michigan law allows Nestle Corporation to continue its five-year takings of up to 250,000 gallons per day and sell them at a markup well over 240 times its production cost. Nestle's profit from drawing this water could be from $500,000 to $1.8 million per day. A key proviso is that the bottles can be no larger than 5.7 gallons apiece.

Nestle had been ferociously fighting in court to prevent Granholm from exercising her veto power against diversion, but with her acquiescence to the 250,000 limit, Nestle dropped its suit.

The irony is that most mainstream environmentalists compromised with Nestle and the Governor. James Clift the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), a coalition of about 70 environmental organizations, called the new law, "a huge step forward for Michigan." Not so says Dave Dempsey, the former Policy Director of MEC. "I think Nestle is dancing in the streets." Dempsey is author of "On the Brink, The Great Lakes in the 21st Century."

NAFTA's Trojan Horse

Few Midwesterners are aware that the ubiquitous Nestle bottled water filling their shopping carts is really the peoples' water. How could they know? Nestle calls the water "Ice Mountain," and they adorn their plastic containers with a majestic snowy Mountain, even though there are no such places in Michigan, let alone Mecosta County where it draws the water from four wells 60 miles North of Grand Rapids.

Truth in advertising might require Nestle to label the bottles, "Your Great Lakes for Sale Plundered at a 24,000% mark up."

Under NAFTA's Chapter 11 corporations are protected from differential treatment meaning that Pepsi could line up next. Once one corporation gets its foot in the door to extract a resource there are no restrictions on others to do the same. If barriers were put up against Pepsi, for example, they could sue Michigan government for a potential loss of profits.

For years there has been talk about ocean tankers loading up the Great Lakes water for the Far East, or a pipeline diverting the bounty to the dry Southwest which has already mined the Colorado River. Michigan environmentalists succeeded in stopping those types of water diversion - for the moment at least - but they failed to stop this Trojan horse of privatization on the Great Lakes. Nestle came to Michigan after former Republican Governor Engler enticed with a sweetheart $10 million deal to create jobs after Wisconsin's citizens and tribes kicked them out.

Largest gathering of Great Lakes Tribes since 1764

First Nations people are at the forefront in mounting challenges to Nestle and the nation state sovereigns along several fronts. Frank Ettawageshik is Chair of the Little Traverse Bay tribe of Indians. In February, 2002 the tribe filed suit against Nestle and Governor Engler in federal court contending the Ice Mountain project violated the 1986 Water Resources Development Act which protected water as a public trust. It was later dismissed in June 2002, the judge claiming the tribes had no right to sue.

Ettawageshik fought on, telling audiences he feared, "soon there will be bus tours of the sunken ships of the Great Lakes," if this goes forward. He calls the Lakes, "the white pine of the 21st century," referencing the logging assault which felled most of Michigan's forests in the nineteenth century.

Angry that the U.S. and Canadian governments disrespected the tribes in its 2001 Great Lakes Charter, where tribes were treated as "stakeholders" not sovereign nations, Ettawageshik deliberated with other tribes about a response. After a while he joined John Beaucage, Grand Council Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians to form a coalition of more than 140 tribes to sign the historic Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water Accord.

The organization is called the United Indian Nations of he Great Lakes (UINGL) and it was officially launched in April 2005 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The location is historically significant. It was the largest gathering of Great Lakes native leaders since the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. That Treaty grew out of he Royal Proclamation of 1763 which provided all land west of the Ottawa River as Indian land.

Ettawageshik was influenced by the Water Walkers of the Great Lakes. In 2003 Indian women began journeys around the Great Lakes carrying a copper bucket full of water. They want to recall the traditional Anishnabe role of women as protectors of water, what they call the lifeblood of Mother Earth. So far they have completed treks around Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. They begin their walk around Lake Ontario on April 29, departing from Niagara. "We're not stakeholders but bonafide owners," Bob Goulais, a spokesperson for the Union of Ontario Indians, told me. "The Great Lakes are not for sale."

The tribes are supporting Clean Water Action which is beginning a petition drive to amend Michigan's Constitution to stop privatization. "Enshrining Great Lakes diversion protection in the Michigan Constitution may be the best and the only way, in the end, to keep our waters from being privatized and sold off to the highest bidders," said CWA's David Holtz.

Nestle Votes with Its Feet on March 16th

Nestle claims it cares about Great Lakes preservation but it was a no show on March 16th when Senators Clinton, Obama, Jeffords, Levin and other dignitaries assembled at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to hear testimony from Great Lakes Governors for $20 million to preserve and protect the Lakes. Yellow perch have declined by 80% in Lake Michigan over past 25 years due to the zebra mussel. Raw sewage is a huge problem as are exotics like the sea lamprey which preys on native fish.

"Some of us joked that the Great Lakes should be in pristine condition for Nestle Waters to ship it out in millions of little 12 oz. bottles!" said Mary Lindemann, a tribe spokesperson. No matter, Senator James Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, said that funding for Great Lakes restoration is unlikely in these tight fiscal times. The nation has other priorities.

The story was different that day in Mexico City. On March 16th about 10,000 protesters marched outside the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, some "armed" with wooden rifles. Water diversions, long water lines and sewage stink are propelling outrage. Protesters organized an alternative forum, a few miles away, claiming that the official summit is a cover for companies that want to privatize water services.

Nestle was central to the gathering, sponsoring five grade school students to the official summit. Two were 12-year-old girls from Wisconsin, which sits in the Great Lakes basin. They are part of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society whose work focuses on the use of rice to clean and filter water. According to Nestle, they "created awareness about the spiritual and ecological importance of this traditional Native American plant." Meanwhile Nestle fights the Great Lakes Indians tooth and nail in Michigan, while absenting itself from the Senate Meeting that day in D.C. Nestle, which brought us the infant formula scandal (in which hundreds of babies died after Nestle persuaded moms to forego their breasts in favor of the formula which they mixed with polluted water) has no shame.

Michigan as Tap and Dump

Picture two trucks passing one another at Michigan's border. One is taking away tons of Michigan's fresh water while the other is bringing in tons of Canadian garbage.

That's the reality.

As the estimated 190,000 diesel powered Nestle trucks ship out Michigan water every year, another 295,000 dump trucks enter, bearing Canadian trash. In fiscal year 2005 the 11.5 million cubic yards of Canadian mess was equivalent to a trail of bumper to bumper trucks stretching 1,233 miles long, each with 40 cubic yards of waste. Thanks to NAFTA, Michigan governments cannot stem the tide, as privatized landfills make enormous profits from the commodities in circulation, against citizen outrage. Michigan's soil and water are available to capital at bargain basement prices. Meanwhile the polluted air from all the trucks wafts over the Mitt, just another social cost shouldered by the lungs of Michigan's citizens.

In short, the Wolverine state is now host to a neoliberal orgy of environmental profiteering and pollution.

Tribes represent a counterculture to neoliberalism, putting forth a public politics that underscores a collective responsibility to resist capital encroachments.

Michigan Governor Granholm herself called the tribes "Michigan's original environmentalists," when she signed an Intergovernmental Accord with them in May 2004. But she didn't listen closely enough when the tribes told her that "Preserving the environmental quality and quantity of Great Lakes water resources for the present and for the next seven generations is absolutely essential to the Tribes."

Indians are at the forefront of establishing an anti-corporate discourse and movement. They were at the fore in Bolivia against Bechtel, on the march against multinationals in Mexico City, and are now are at the lead in the Great Lakes. But mainstream environmentalists typically resemble the nation's Democrats willing to accommodate and concede, rather than stand their ground.

38 Posts
Looks like we can kiss the great lakes good bye and the chance of our waters ever retreating.

Thanks Grandholm:sad: :rant: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:

18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I saw our Lake Michigan Mother Earth walkers this morning in a White lake area restaurant while having morning coffee. I'm sorry I did not recognize them as our walkers at the time as I could have said "Miigwetch" from our White River Watershed Partnership and wish them well on their journey. My wife did catch up with them later, thanked them, and brought their brochure home to me.
Tom Hamilton, V-Chair, WRWP

Indians: 'Our water is not for sale'


04/28/08 by Jeff Alexander | The Muskegon Chronicle

A group of American Indians that has been walking around most of Lake Michigan this spring to focus public attention on the intrinsic value of water spent Sunday night in Muskegon before continuing its journey this morning.

The sixth annual Mother Earth Water Walk http://motherearthwaterwalk.com/ began Saturday in Manistee and continues through May 12, when the walkers are expected to arrive in Hannaville, near Escanaba. A dozen walkers arrived here Sunday evening and spent the night at Love Fellowship Baptist Church, 1404 Eighth.

"The important thing we want to tell people is that our water is not for sale, it's for us to use respectfully," said Josephine Mandamin, an Ojibway Indian from Ontario who co-founded the walk. "It is important to keep our waters clean to ensure the everlasting use for our grandchildren and their grandchildren."

The walk, which involves carrying a pail of water around Lake Michigan, will cover 583 miles and cross parts of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. For Mandamin and another American Indian grandmother who started the Mother Earth Water Walk in 2003, this year's trek will complete a roughly 6,000-mile walk around all five Great Lakes.

Mandamin and a few other American Indians walked around Lake Superior in 2003. They followed that with walks around the northern portion of Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie last year.

Mandamin said the walk was inspired by an Anishnabe tribal chief who prophesied in the 1970s that water would be as valuable as gold by the early 21st century unless steps were taken to protect water quality and quantity. She said the journey is a symbolic attempt to call attention to the threats facing the Great Lakes and other fresh waters.

"People think water is going to be here everlasting -- they don't realize the lakes are going down," she said. "There is a lot of apathy; the majority of people really don't care about water or know what's going on."

Water levels in lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior have been dropping steadily since 1998. Lakes Michigan and Huron have dropped nearly four feet since 1998 and are currently about 21 inches below their long term averages. Lake Superior dipped to a record low last year before rebounding slightly this winter; it remains 11 inches below the long-term average.

Water levels in lakes Erie and Ontario were eight inches above average in March, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

18,038 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Emailed to HR:

The Anishinawbe Grandmothers are walking around Lake Michigan, so will get to Escanaba via Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin! Currently, they are headed south along the Lake and there is opportunity in the next few days for Western Michigan folks to walk with them and welcome the Walkers in their communities.

From their website: "Two Anishinawbe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinawbe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes. - Along with a group of Anishinabe-que and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007."

The Grandmothers (and their supporters) are walking around Lake Michigan. Please join them in this critical walk if you can, even for a little. Give what you can. A walk like this takes tremendous resources. These Walkers deserve our support. They are giving precious time from their families to bring awareness to Great Lakes residents that "the water is sacred and is the very life-blood of our Mother the Earth"- that we need to protect it! - Here is their schedule. There is more information available about this and past Walks on their website: http://motherearthwaterwalk.com/lakeMichigan2.html Our heartfelt thanks to the Walkers. (Name withheld by HR)

April 26 2008 Send Off
Manistee, Michigan
Ludington, Michigan
April 29, 2008 Muskegon, Michigan
April 30, 2008 Holland, Michigan
May 1, 2008 Benton Harbor, Michigan
May 2, 2008 Michigan City, Michigan
May 3/4, 2008 Chicago, Illinois
May 5, 2008 Waukegan, Illinois
May 6, 2008 Milwaukee, Illinois
May 7, 2008 Sheboygan, Wisconsin
May 8/9, 2008 Green Bay, Wisconsin
May 10, 2008 Marinette, Wisconsin
May 11/12, 2008 Escanaba, Michigan
Hannaville, Michigan
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