Despite overwhelming public outcry from Michiganders, Michigan approved a request by Nestle to increase the amount of water it pumps from the groundwater in Michigan by 167 percent.
Then, just 4 days later, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that he would be terminating the bottled water program that had been providing Flint, MI with a short term solution for their water woes, effectively leaving them without a source for clean water.
Flint is a mostly black, mostly impoverished city in Michigan, that was booming just 30 or 40 years before all of the industry fled for countries like Mexico, leaving Flint without any kind of industry.
So at the same time that Michigan’s state government is telling Nestle that they can just pump and pump away, they are also telling their own people that they can just fuck right off and that they won’t be providing the most vulnerable people in their own state with drinking water.
That is unconscionable.
Remember, if they can do this to the people of Flint, they can just as easily do this to the people of any other mostly poor city, like Philadelphia, Baltimore or Detroit, don’t think this is something that can only happen to poor black people.
Flint to me is like a test run for the elite. They are patiently watching Flint and gauging the public’s reaction and how soon the people in Flint get used to living without water and using Flint as sort of a dry run for many of the other cities in the country.
Just the other day a bombshell report came out which stated that 70% of Chicago’s water is tainted with toxic lead.
As state ends bottled water program in Flint, officials grant new permits to Nestlé Waters — The Michigan officials have granted the world’s largest bottled water company expanded rights to exploit the state’s fresh water supplies.
In a turn of events so ironic it could have been scripted by Franz Kafka, on April 2, the state of Michigan awarded Nestlé Waters, the world’s largest bottled water corporation, the right to draw 167 percent more water from the states’ aquifers than it did last year. Four days later, Governor Rick Snyder announced the state would no longer distribute free bottled water to the residents of Flint, Michigan, whose water was contaminated by lead due to actions of state and local officials.
Nestlé’s new agreement with the state of Michigan will allow the multinational conglomerate to pump 570,000 gallons per day—two-and-a-half times what it would take to provide for every person in Flint. The water increase was awarded by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Nestlé Waters has been the leading bottled water brand in the world since 2008. Its 51 labels include Ice Mountain, Nestlé Pure Life, Arrowhead, Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ozarka, Zephyrhills, Acqua Panna, San Pellegrino, Perrier, Vittel, and Buxton.
For 12 years, Nestlé—under Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm and Republican Governor Snyder—has been pumping spring water for its “Ice Mountain” label near Evart, Michigan, about 140 miles east of Flint. Evart is one of three Nestlé water-pumping locations in the state. Because Nestlé owns the wells it is pumping, the company only pays $200 in administrative fees to authorize its groundwater extraction, plus a one-time $5,000 fee for permit application review. While Nestlé pays $200 for 210 million gallons a year, an average Flint family pays between $120 and $200 each month for water, which is not safe to drink from the tap.
Public comments on Nestlé’s request for a new permit were originally scheduled to last 45 days but had to be extended to seven months because opposition was so great. Of the more than 80,945 comments, only 75 were in favor of granting the permit. Most cited their opposition to corporate greed, and many others said water was a right, not a commodity. There were also 340,000 signatures on petitions expressing concerns about water withdrawal and its impact.