This news story by Bill Chappell appeared on National Public Radio’s (NPR) website, April 3rd, 2018
A brief commentary by Community Rights US media team member Curt Hubatch: This final quote in this article is instructive. Matt Gamble, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) source water supervisor, points to something that is hidden in plain sight when he says, “We don’t have the power to say no arbitrarily. We can’t just say no for reasons that aren’t attached to the law…even if the vast majority of the public wants them to.”
Here is an employee of an environmental regulatory agency stating clearly that despite close to 81,000 Michiganders (a record number) opposing Nestlé’s request to pump more water than they currently do out of the Great Lakes, they can’t say “no” to Nestlé’s request. Why? It’s what’s hidden in plain sight. A regulatory system of law that does not grant them the power to say no “even if the vast majority of the public wants them to.” If We The People ever want to make democracy legal in the places we live we will have to confront and challenge what Mr Gamble reveals for us at the end of this article: An unjust and illegitimate set of laws that benefits the few, in this case the board of directors of the Nestle corporation, and NOT the many, in this case close to 81,000 Michiganders that took the time and energy to voice their opposition.
Over 200 communities across the United States have challenged the legal doctrines that stand in the way of democratic majorities having a say in shaping their future. To learn more please have a look around our Community Rights US website and see how you can get involved in the growing Community Rights movement.
In a much-watched case, a Michigan agency has approved Nestlé’s plan to boost the amount of water it takes from the state. The request attracted a record number of public comments — with 80,945 against and 75 in favor.
Nestlé’s request to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to pump 576,000 gallons of water each day from the White Pine Springs well in the Great Lakes Basin was “highly controversial,” member station Michigan Radio reports. But despite deep public opposition, the agency concluded that the company’s plan met with legal standards.
“It is very clear this permit decision is of great interest to not only residents in the surrounding counties, but to Michiganders across the state as well,” MDEQ Director C. Heidi Grether said in approving the permit.
“In full transparency, the majority of the public comments were in opposition of the permit,” Grether added, “but most of them related to issues of public policy which are not, and should not be, part of an administrative permit decision.”
Under the plan, Nestlé will be approved to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from the well, rather than the 250 gallons per minute it had been extracting. The company first applied for the new permit in July 2016. MORE…