Update on Temporary Restraining Order opinion from Judge Root. - Terry Swier, President of MCWC
Judge Denies Temporary Restraining Order,
But States That Perrier Builds Bottling Plant Now at its Own Risk
June 19, 2001
Contacts: Jim Samuels, Attorney for MCWC (231) 796-8858
Jim Olson, Attorney for MCWC (231) 946-0044
Terry Swier, President of MCWC (231) 972-8856
In an oral opinion delivered at 3:00 today by conference call, Mecosta County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Root denied an emergency request to stop construction at the site of a proposed Perrier bottling plant in Mecosta County, Michigan. At the same time, however, the judge stated that Perrier assumed the "business risks" of its "business decision" to start building the plant now before the legality of its water pumping plan is determined.
The Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation ("MCWC"), a grassroots community group, filed the suit yesterday seeking to stop the construction of a water bottling plant by Great Spring Waters of America, a subsidiary of Perrier. The proposed plant is located on 8 mile road near US 131 in Mecosta Township outside of Big Rapids, Michigan.
MCWC argued that construction of the plant was premature because no decision has been made on Perrier’s applications for permits to pump the water from a site 11 miles away, and to pipe it to the plant site. In addition, two state legislators, Rep. Julie Dennis of Muskegon and Sen. Christopher Dingell of Trenton, have recently asked Attorney General Jennifer Granholm for an opinion on whether the Perrier plan will violate various laws and treaties prohibiting the export of Great Lakes water out of the Great Lakes basin. MCWC argued that if construction of the plant proceeded without these and other issues being resolved first, it would become difficult or impossible to stop Perrier’s operation in court.
Judge Root stated that he would not stop construction of the bottling plant because the water pumping plan was the real issue, and not the plant itself. The judge cautioned Perrier that it "assumed the risk" involved if it built the plant but could not get authorization on one of the other issues, and that Perrier could not argue later that it was too deeply invested in the plant to be prevented from going forward with its plan to pump over 200 million gallons of water per year from springs at the headwaters of the Little Muskegon River.