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E-M:/ Statement condemning Government actions allowing Ice Mountain to Operate

Enviro-Mich message from Frank Ambrose <snakeman1549@yahoo.com>

Press Release
December 23, 2003
For Immediate Release

Contacts: Marie Mason, 313-410-4155
Holly Spaulding, 231-228-5489

Sweetwater Alliance Condemns Government Actions
Allowing Ice Mountain to Operate

Michigan—The Sweetwater Alliance today issued the
following statement concerning the recent court
decision concerning the case of the Michigan Citizens
for Water Conservation vs. Nestle Waters’ Ice Mountain
brand water, and the subsequent actions by the
Governor, DEQ and the Appeals court.  The Sweetwater
Alliance is a statewide network of citizens,
activists, and environmentalists dedicated to the
liberation of essential resources from corporate
control.  We believe that the rights of people,
wildlife, and all living things to water and other
shared resources are sacred, and can never be
compromised for the benefit of a few. Sweetwater
Alliance’s specific goals are ending the state’s give
away of water to  Nestle Waters’ Ice Mountain Bottling
plant and the state’s policy of denying municipal
water to low income residents of Michigan. 

The Sweetwater Alliance applauds Judge Lawrence Roots
decision in the case MCWC vs. Nestle. We believe that
he gave fair and balanced decision on the topics he
addressed. Unfortunately, he did not consider the full
spectrum of issues that were originally raised in the
lawsuit.  We believe the merits of water diversion 
and the ethics of the sale of water for profit were
within the scope of what should have been considered
in the lawsuit. 

As the decision was about to be enacted, Governor
Granholm and the DEQ stepped in and spoke on Nestle’s
behalf. Why? The Governor’s actions are completely
uncalled for and undermine the foundations of
democracy. Governor Granholm has completely and
publicly reversed her opinion about the Ice Mountain
bottling plant.  As attorney general, she issued an
opinion considering the plant an illegal diversion of
water. She urged then Gov. Engler to subject the plant
to review under  the federal Water Resources
Development Act. Since she has been governor, she has
made many statements declaring herself an ally of the
state’s most precious and defining feature [water],
and has declared that she is against diversion of
Great Lakes water. Now, she has filed a brief on
behalf of Nestle, taking a stand against the people
and in favor of an outside corporation.  She has
undeniably declared herself in favor of diverting and
exploiting Great Lakes water and of corporations that
aggressively and run roughshod over citizens’ rights
and the environment. She has effectively given Nestle
a green light to look for more well sites under her
protection and to expand their detrimental operations
in Michigan.  

The Sweetwater Alliance will not rest until the plant
is closed and all those responsible for its continued
operation are exposed and forced out of their
positions of power.  We will continue our boycott
campaign and continue to encourage businesses and
individuals not to buy or sell Ice Mountain water. We
will also continue our ‘name and shame’ campaign to
expose corrupt politicians and organizations who
support the destruction and sale of our water

It is disingenuous for Ice Mountain to say that we
must choose between jobs and our water. True economic
development never involves environmental devastation.
What Ice Mountain wants is for the community to bear
the cost of its profit through the loss of it’s water
first, then through the jobs that will end with the
destruction of the aquifer. This has been their
pattern in other places. Ice Mountain received $10
million in tax breaks for the privilege of pumping our
water for free to sell across the country for
millions. They could return the tax money to the 
state and the county by donating it to the employees
who will lose their jobs. That would amount to $83,333
for each of the 120 workers [this number happens to be
equal to approximately two years pay at $20 an hour
for each of the 120 workers] .  That would be a
responsible use of the funds and would result in much
more economic activity in the Mecosta area than the
continuation of the plant and the drain of capital and
resources out of the region and into Nestle’s Swiss
bank accounts. 

The Sweetwater Alliance and others will be in Lansing
on February 4, 2004 to host a ‘State of the People’
event on the capital steps. The Ice Mountain tragedy
will certainly be on the minds of many. We invite all
concerned citizens to join us in redirecting our
Governor’s misguided policies.

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