Nestle is up to its old tricks. The scheming resource-leech of a corporation has tiptoed around the public eye to file for a permit that – for the negligible price of $200- that would allow it to double the amount of water that it pilfers from the Muskegon River watershed in Michigan.
Surprising? Not Really.
Nestle extracted 36 million gallons of water from a national forest in San Bernardino in 2015, amidst the third year of the California drought. While the company’s permit to do so expired in 1988, the state warrants the continued raping of the waterways contingent on the corporation’s payment of a $526 yearly fee.
The 500 million extra gallons that Nestle aims to drain in Michigan is just the latest antic in the long list of sites that it has ravaged both nationally and globally. In 2012, Maine’s highest court granted Nestle the right to pump 603,000 gallons per day in the town of Fryerberg, while the residents are left to deal with the environmental implications.
Not a Win-Win Situation
While Nestle reaps the massive profit margins of the commodification of a basic human need, the rural communities most obviously affected by the corporation’s exploits receive little to no benefit. As the aquifers are strained, so are the farmers who must work with the changed ground ecology.
Based on its track record, the company’s presence in Muskegon won’t bring jobs or boost the local economy. In fact, the extra 350 gallons per minute of water that the company will be pumping is only expected to bring in 20 new jobs.
It’s a Never-Ending Battle
As citizen action groups and environmental organizations canvas local governments to up their environmental regulations, Nestle prowls for new sources in rural communities. But a finite resource can’t sustain the infinite corporate greed.
We can’t wait around for policymakers to limit corporations. Every day, we vote with our dollars. Do yourself, your wallet, and the planet a favor; buy a water filter. And always consider who – and what – you are supporting.
As Corporate Accountability International says, “It’s time to think outside the bottle”.