Michigan’s second-highest court has dealt a legal blow to Nestlé’s Ice Mountain water brand, ruling that the company’s commercial water-bottling operation is “not an essential public service” or a public water supply.
If it is to carry out such plans, then it will need to be legally recognized as a public water source that provides an essential public service.
The Michigan environmental attorney Jim Olson, who did not represent Osceola township but has previously battled Nestlé in court, said any claim that the Swiss multinational is a public water utility “is ludicrous”.
“What this lays bare is the extent to which private water marketers like Nestlé, and others like them, go [in] their attempts to privatize sovereign public water, public water services, and the land and communities they impact,” Olson said.
They said state law “unambiguously” implies public water supplies are “conveyed to a site through pipes” while nonessential water is provided in bottles.
“We conclude that [Nestlé’s] proposed booster-pump facility is not a ‘public water supply’ under [Michigan law],” the court wrote.
Hammersley told the Guardian the appellate court finding that Nestlé is not a public water source could help in his case, as could remarks about the company’s impact on the water table. »