Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

November 11, 2006

Ice Mountain remains central to water debate

Filed under: Great Lakes Issues,Michigan,Water Diversion — nemo @ 4:25 pm

The Cadillac News carriers this update on the efforts of Ice Mountain to increase the bottling and shipping of water from their Michigan bottling plant.

The case is now at the State Supreme Court level.“The issue the Supreme Court is reviewing is whether the plaintiff (Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation) has standing for alleging harm,” said Noah Hall, water law expert and assistant professor of law at Wayne State University. “That is not the emotional heart of the case. The heart of the case is whether or not a company can bottle a public resource and sell it for profit.”

“The biggest issue at stake is how we treat groundwater in the 21st Century – whether it’s a public or private resource or balancing it,” Hall said.

If the Supreme Court in the MCWC/Nestle case upholds the Appellate decision, MEPA would be undermined, according to Jim Olson, lead attorney for the citizens group.

“What would happen is every land owner with wetlands or endangered species can damage their land and neighbors can do nothing about it,” he said. “There can be a patchwork of destruction on property and there won’t be any remedy.”

The parties have until the beginning of December to submit briefs to the court on standing. The court will also accept amicus briefs on the issue and both sides anticipate business organizations and environmental groups to submit statements.


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