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E-M:/ Granholm Administration move on water case

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Judge this for yourself......

December 16, 2003

Contact:   Patricia Spitzley
(517) 241-7397

Granholm Calls for Comprehensive Water Use Statute; DEQ, DLEG Directors
File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Mecosta County Workers

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today called for a comprehensive water
withdrawal and water use statute in Michigan and promised to present a
legislative package to create one to the Michigan Legislature early next
year.  The Nestle case underscores the critical need for the state to
monitor and regulate certain categories of groundwater withdrawals,
Granholm said.
The directors of the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality
(DEQ) and Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG) have asked the Attorney
General to file an Amicus Brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals
requesting a partial and conditional stay of the Mecosta Circuit Court
decision requiring Nestle Corporation to cease its operations today.

While DEQ and DLEG have not taken positions on the merits of the case
in the amicus brief filed today, the agencies are asking the Court of
Appeals to maintain the status quo at the facility until a ruling on the
merits is made.

"With its opinion, the court has provided guidance on DEQ's ability to
issue permits," said Chester.  "The court suggests that DEQ had the
statutory ability to issue a permit in this case.  By filing this
amicus, the state is asking for the time to review those changes and
complete the development of a comprehensive standard on groundwater

Director Chester says Governor Granholm believes that with 20 percent
of the world's fresh water supply within our reach, the state has a
moral and legal obligation to ensure that we are the best possible
stewards of the extraordinary resource.

Granholm has long said that Michigan needs a comprehensive water use
strategy.  She is committed to working with all stakeholders to develop
legislation to govern the use and withdrawal of groundwater and surface
water in the state.  In the comprehensive package she will present in
the coming weeks, the Governor will implement necessary administrative
changes to address withdrawals like the Perrier case in the future, and
ask the Legislature to develop a permitting program for such

If a stay is granted, the DEQ has committed to provide increased water
quantity monitoring around the area to determine if an impact is
occurring, and will not allow Nestle to pump more than 250,000 gallons
per day, which is 150,000 gallons less than their permit currently

DELG Director David Hollister also supports the stay as it will prevent
the laying off of approximately 120 workers right before the Christmas
Holiday.  "Nestle Corporation has indicated quite clearly that it will
have to lay off approximately 120 workers without pay by January 31,
2004, if they shut down pumping at the "Sanctuary Springs," said David
Hollister, DLEG Director.  "A partial stay will provide the plant
workers and families some economic stability while putting in place
reasonable protective measures to limit the potential for any
significant environmental harm during the appeal process."

DEQ data is showing water levels in the area at an all time high.  Both
agencies believe a stay is appropriate because it allows time for the
Governor to craft a comprehensive region-wide water withdrawal policy
that will provide clear regulatory direction for those seeking to use
Michigan's ground and surface water resources in this and future
  "This issue has captured the attention of the public and private
sectors, and underscores the need for a comprehensive water use plan,
including legislation which Governor Granholm will be unveiling in early


Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
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