Conservation group responds to Nestlé economic study

BIG RAPIDS — An official with a local conservation group that opposes water withdrawals by Nestlé Waters North America in Mecosta and Osceola counties believes a recent economic output study doesn’t give residents a clear picture of impact on the area.

Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation’s governing board, said there is important information missing from the study by Public Sector Consultants for NWNA released Tuesday.

“I would look forward to the economic impact study when Nestlé begins to recycle the mountains of plastic bottles they are responsible for dispersing upon our planet,” he said via email.

In a release from NWNA, the PCS study highlighted 765 jobs created statewide and more than $160 million in economic activity.

All Nestlé groundwater withdrawals must be monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey, Ostahowski said as MCWC demands honest science with transparency.

“The economic study that Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation would like to see conducted is the one that ranks the companies that have received the most dollar value of Michigan’s public resources and paid the least for them,” he said.

Of the $5 million NWNA pays in state and local taxes highlighted in the study, Ostahowski said he would like to see an exact amount of tax dollars local school districts actually receive.

“Public Sector Consultants is primarily known as a Lansing lobbying firm,” he said. “They neglected to add into their study the additional costs the public pays for the road maintenance of the Nestlé water transport system of continuous mega water trucks from Evart to Stanwood.”

A copy of Public Sector Consultants’ study can be found at nestle-watersna.com/Content/Documents/pdfs/Economic_Contribution_of_NWNA_Report_FINAL_8_9_17.pdf.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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