Judge Cuts Off Wells to Nestle Waters

Nov 26, 2003

By George Anderson

Ice Mountain Spring Water (Nestle Waters North America) is calling a decision by a judge in Minnesota that prevents the company from drawing water from wells in a Michigan county,
“extreme” and unwarranted by scientific evidence.

Environmentalists filed suit against Ice Mountain claiming its water-bottling operation was damaging the environment by depleting nearby lakes, streams and wetland areas.

Ice Mountain had been cleared by the water division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to withdraw up to 400 gallons per minute from four wells in Mecosta County
in western Michigan, according to an Associated Press report.

The company was only using up to 250 gallons but the Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Root ruled that this was too much in light of the environmental impact of Ice Mountain’s operation.

Michael Haines, an attorney for Nestle Waters North America, said the court “was misled by plaintiffs’ predictions of stream and wetland level declines.”

Mr. Haines said the claims by environmentalists had been proven to be without merit but Judge Root did not agree.

In his ruling, he wrote, “I am unable to find that a specific pumping rate lower than 400 gallons per minute, or any other rate to date, will reduce the effects and impact to
a level that is not harmful.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on this story and the ethical responsibility businesses have to protect the environment?

Environmentalists are hailing this ruling (which Nestle Waters intends to appeal) as a major victory.

For ourselves, we just can’t seem to get past one question on this story.

Does it make sense that a company that depends on an abundant supply of water to process and bottle for sale would knowingly destroy the resource most essential
to its business?

We don’t think so and we wonder why Judge Root doesn’t seem to have asked himself this basic question before handing down his ruling. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "Judge Cuts Off Wells to Nestle Waters"

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Dorothy Karlsen
Dorothy Karlsen
17 years 4 days ago

I have trouble with the fact that portions of America’s water supply are in the hands of a Swiss corporation.