“Nestle in Michigan” is a video clip on YouTube about the Nestle corporations bottled water plants with a primary focus being on the plant located in Stanwood, Michigan (Menzies, 2010). Nestle has a 99 year lease on property that only cost them $63,000, “they received $10 million in tax abatements”, and they are pumping water at a rate of 218 gallons per minute (down from the original 450 gallons per minute) (Menzies, 2010). In other words, Nestle is pumping dangerously large amounts of water that is free to them as property owners, selling it for a profit, and not being subjected to the same tax as other land owners.
House Bill 6443 was introduced in 2010 to keep well water withdrawal from being taxed, but “instead, an owner would have to get permission from the state to use well water” (House Bill 6443, 2010). The intention of this bill was to encourage water conservation without taxing the private use of water. Within the bill it says to also refer to bill 5319 which “gives a property owner a right to the reasonable use of ground water, to the extent this does not diminish the ability of neighbors to obtain water” (House Bill 6443, 2010).
This would only solve the problem if Nestle and the people of Stanwood could agree on how much water is a reasonable amount. As it stands, Nestle said they would “be reasonable” and cause “no harm”, yet they continued to pump water at the same rate during a drought, have caused sinkholes, and have caused more than one neighbor to have a decreased water supply (Menzies, 2010). Private land owners in Michigan already have to get permits/permission before drilling and using a well, they are also already not taxed for using their well. Based on this information it is unlikely that an agreement could be reached, the bill itself seems somewhat unnecessary, therefore I believe it was right to not pass this particular bill.
If this bill had passed it could potentially cause unnecessary time and money tied up in neighborly...
References: House Bill 6443. (2010). Michiganvotes.org. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from http://www.michiganvotes.org/2010-HB-6443
Menzies, Jesse. (2010). Nestle in Michigan. YouTube.com. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from http://youtu.be/M3d0rGGS3OA
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