Congressman opposes Nestle request for more Michigan water
Congressman Dan Kildee sent a strongly worded letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Thursday opposing Nestle Ice Mountain's request to pump more groundwater out of a well near Evart.
"I support Nestle's desire to create jobs in Michigan, but not at the cost of damaging our environment and depleting our state's water resources," Kildee wrote in the letter.
U.S. Rep. Kildee, D-Flint Twp., said his constituents have urged him to oppose the permit request. A number of Flint residents attended a DEQ public hearing Wednesday, April 12, in Big Rapids to oppose Nestle's application.
Nestle has applied for a permit to increase its groundwater pumping from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute from its White Pine Springs No. 101 well. The well is located between two coldwater trout stream tributaries of the Muskegon River northwest of Evart.
Kildee said scientific experts have shown that allowing Nestle to increase its withdrawal from the well would result in damaging impacts to the environment and to wildlife.
The Congressman also criticized Nestle.
"I am concerned that Nestle is seeking to rush this proposal through without much public input," Kildee wrote. "It is unfortunate that Nestle is more concerned with corporate profits than protecting natural resources that support our state's economy, jobs and way of life."
Kildee does not represent the Mecosta and Oceola counties where Nestle Ice Mountain pumps water in Michigan to bottle and sell. That district belongs to U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland.
In March state Reps. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon, and Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park, introduced concurrent resolutions urging the state to reject Nestle's pending permit request.
While Kildee has chosen to get involved in the DEQ's review process, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said at a town hall this week that it was an issue best left up to the state.
"It's a state issue," Huizenga said. "I'm not sitting there to say what the appropriate level is. I'm focused on North Korea and Syria and making sure the federal government is accountable."