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E-M:/ Easement from DNR to Perrier

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from "Terry Swier" -------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am forwarding an email message from Jim Olson, legal counsel for Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation explaining MCWC's stand on the DNR granting the sale of a 50 foot easement for the construction of two 6 inch water lines for transporting spring water to Perrier's proposed water bottling plant site. The DNR is accepting written coments until June 4, 2001 and will hear public comments at 4:30 PM in Lansing on June 7, 2001. A group is planning to be in Lansing to speak out against this sale.
Terry Swier - President of MCWC
Dear All--

Yesterday, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, through our firm,
filed comments with Director K.L. Cool, opposing or requesting a delay in
the DNR's granting of any easements to Perrier for its water pipelines.  The
State law governing easements for pipelines, appears to be confined to
public utility easements, not private pipeline easements.  Moreover, as
proprietor and under its property power, the State through the DNR does not
have to grant the easements, and cannot be legally attacked for refusing to
do so.  This is new territory for the DNR, and it should exercise utmost
caution.  One particular caution emerges from the fact that the pipeline
easement would support the diversion of water from springs that feed the
Little Muskegon River, which flows to Lake Michigan, for the purpose of
export and sale by Perrier out of the watershed, and to a great degree out
of the Great Lakes Basin.  The State should be urged not to approve
easements in advance of a thorough review by the State, through its attorney
general, as to the extent the State would unwittingly give up essential and
fundamental water rights, and the extent to which this whole scheme violates
the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, amended in 2000; WRDA prohibits
the diversion or export of waters from the Great Lakes, including tributary
waters (such as springs that feed streams), without the consent of the
governors from each Great Lakes state.

A copy of the letter is attached.   Please write and urge the Department to
slow this "pipe-dream" down. The State must resolve these critical questions
of law and policy, through comprehensive legislation, before knocking over
the first domino.  If it does not, it will be much more difficult to address
these questions in the near future, including current negotiations by
Governors over Annex 2001.

Jim  Olson
Attorney for MCWC

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