A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday reversed a local judge in a case between a northern Michigan local government and Nestle Waters North America.
The COA panel ruled that Osceola Township had the right to deny a zoning permit for a pump station for the company’s Ice Mountain bottled water operation, which would have allowed it to pump out 576,000 gallons per day. The case is Nestle Waters North American Inc. v. Osceola Township.
Nestle argued that it met the “essential public service” exemption to the township’s zoning ordinance and an Osceola County Circuit Court judge agreed. However, COA Judges Cynthia Diane Stephens, Deborah Servitto and Amy Ronayne Krause ruled that Nestle selling bottled water is not “essential.”
“There is no legal or factual basis for considering plaintiff’s commercial water bottling operation to be a ‘public water supply’ under the MSDWA [Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act],” they wrote.
The world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestle has long drawn fire from environmental activists in Michigan and across the country for its bottled water business.