Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) is pleased that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) dismissed the challenge to the permit granted to us in April 2018. We firmly believe that EGLE’s decision to approve our permit application was appropriate, as it carefully reviewed and considered our permit application in what it called “the most extensive analysis of any water withdrawal in Michigan history.”
We have confidence in the science behind our application from the 18 years’ worth of environmental data collected near the site since beginning our operations in Michigan, and EGLE’s thorough review and analysis of our application and data.
We remain opposed to the application of extraction taxes or similar fees that unjustly target the bottled water industry. Proposals such as these are both unscientific and discriminatory, in that they not only target a renewable resource, they focus on only one particular water-using industry in the state. According to EGLE’s own data, Michigan’s nearly 40 bottled water companies account for less than .01% of water used in the state. Our water use in Michigan ranks us far down on the list of the state’s top water users.
It is also important to note, we do not receive a special rate for water use and the annual fee we pay is just one of the many expenses we pay to operate in Michigan. Since 2002, NWNA has made capital investments totaling more than $267 million and contributed $427 million to Michigan’s economy. According to an economic impact study we conducted in 2017, our company directly employs approximately 280 employees in the state. With an annual payroll of nearly $16 million, our economic activity generates about $5 million each year to support state and local taxes that fund local schools, fire and police departments, local parks, and other essential services. We also purchase more than $50 million in goods and services each year from Michigan companies to support our business operations.