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E-M:/ The importance of the Ice Mountain Case and International Trade



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Enviro-Mich message from marie mason <forestsforever62@yahoo.com>
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Hello Everyone,
I would like to address a dangerous misconception
about the Ice Mountain "skirmish", as Fred Cowles
refers to it. While I agree that it is necessary to
have an extremely long view when it comes to working
on environmental issues and to give potential allies
every chance to come around - it is important to
understand that the Ice Mountain case is not a local
issue or an islolated incident. Nestle has identified
some 37 potential pump sites already, to be developed
if all goes well in Mecosta. Sweetwater Alliance works
on water right's issues locally and internationally
and has networked with other groups from California
and Wisconsin to Brazil and South Africa. What we have
learned is that international trade agreements can be
invoked once an international corporation (like
Nestle) has negotiated a deal to extract water and
sell it. It becomes a commodity on the international
market and cannot be later protected by state or local
law. That means, that even if Gov. Granholm does at
some time in the future help to shepherd local water
protection legislation - international corporations
like Nestle can sue under NAFTA and WTO rules for lost
profits if they are refused access to water as a
commodity. This has happened in Bolivia, where Bechtel
sued Bolivia for $25 million and won. The implications
of this are staggering, and certainly important to all
who work to protect Michigan's environment that is
defined by water. We hold some %20 of the world's
fresh water in our region, a target for the newly
developing water market. Every day that Nestle pumps
water as a business, not a public service, endangers
our environment, creates a damaging legal precedent 
and jeopardizes our future democratic control over our
local water heritage. Gov. Granholm is aware of this
as a competent and experienced attorney. Please
understand the Ice Mountain issue in context, the rest
of the world, both corporate and community, does.





--- fred cowles <fecowles@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
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> Enviro-Mich message from fred cowles
> <fecowles@yahoo.com>
>
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> 
> Jennifer Granholm is the best friend that Michigan's
> environment has had in Michigan politics in a
> looooong
> time.  Michigan Enviros need to be careful about
> withdrawing support for our friends, lest we get
> something much much worse.  Have patience and take a
> little longer view.  I'm not saying to be quiet, but
> use moderation in phrasing your responses.  Believe
> it
> or not, the political spectrum is much more than all
> green and all black.  
> 
> There is much more at stake in the ice mountain
> issue
> than it might appear.  The governor's selected path
> has the potential to lead to much greater good
> state-wide than winning a minor skirmish in Mecosta
> county.  
> 
> ========= Fred Cowles
> 
> 
> --- MCKENNA193@aol.com wrote:
> > EMers,
> > 
> > I think it is pretty clear that Granholm and
> Chester
> > were sending a signal to 
> > Michigan corporations that there would be no
> > sustained environmental campaign 
> > against them. It's symbolic politics. Look, with a
> > 7% unemployment rate, 
> > Granholm has said that jobs are her top priority.
> > She doesn't want to discourage 
> > investment.
> > 
> > I totally disagree with her and Chester, and think
> > she overreacted big time. 
> > If she continues along this road she will
> > justifiably become person non-grata 
> > with environmentalists. We must continually remind
> > her and Chester (who I 
> > thought had more fortitude) about this. Chester
> > should be prepared to quit if need 
> > be. The MEC and others did a great job in 
> > dissenting. 
> > 
> > There are hundreds of enviro issues out there so
> > we'll see how this all comes 
> > down in 2004. Here's hoping for a better year. . .
> > 
> > Brian McKenna
> > 
> 
> 
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