A major flaw in the new water withdrawal law in Michigan is that for its early years of its effectiveness, the burden is not on applicants to demonstrate their withdrawal won't damage natural resources -- the burden is on the state to show it will. Here's the result. How can an understaffed state agency with inadequate understanding of hydrology meet this burden?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2006
DEQ Announces Proposed Determination on Nestle Water Withdrawal Proposal
The Department of Environmental Quality has issued a proposed determination that a water withdrawal being considered by Nestle Waters of North America is not likely to cause an adverse resource impact under Michigan's new water withdrawal law. Under the law, an adverse resource impact occurs when water is withdrawn from a stream at a rate that could harm fish populations.
proposing to withdraw water for bottling via a well in Osceola County with a
maximum proposed pumping rate of 216,000 gallons per day. The proposed
withdrawal would intercept groundwater discharging to Twin Creek and Chippewa
Creek, two designated trout streams in Osceola Township. Based upon the
calculated base flow of the two creeks, along with Department of
Natural Resources studies of natural flow variation in streams statewide, the DEQ proposes to determine that the allowable withdrawal from the two watersheds is a combined 691,200 gallons per day, well below the amount to be withdrawn by Nestle.
The DEQ's proposed determination is the first to apply Michigan's new water withdrawal law. It responds to a voluntary request from Nestle for the DEQ to determine whether the proposed withdrawal would have an adverse resource impact.
While not required under the new law, the DEQ is making its proposed finding of no adverse resource impact open to public comment. Copies of the public notice, the report submitted by Nestle's consultant in support of the petition, and a decision document providing the basis for the DEQ's proposed determination are available online http://www.michigan.gov/deqwater.
Comments on this proposed determination received by January 15, 2007, will be considered in the issuance of a final determination. Comments can be submitted to Brant Fisher, DEQ Water Bureau, PO Box 30273, Lansing, MI 48909-7773, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Protecting Michigan's Environment (Editor's Note: ?), Ensuring Michigan's Future"