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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. —The Sault Tribe Board of Directors unanimously voted at its May 1 meeting to oppose the expanded groundwater withdrawal permit for Nestle waters of North America Inc. Not only does Sault Tribe oppose the expanded permit, it is declaring a moratorium on the purchase and sale of Nestle bottled water products at any tribally owned and operated facility and urges tribal members to boycott Nestle products.

The resolution was brought forward by Unit III Director Bridgett Sorenson. “I brought the resolution forward because I am disgusted that the state has little regard for something that every human being relies on to live. Our Great Lakes are vital to our survival for ourselves, our fisheries and our tourism.”

OPPOSITION TO EXPANDED GROUNDWATER WITHDRAWAL PERMIT FOR NESTLE WATERS OF NORTH AMERICA, INC.
 
WHEREAS, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in the state of Michigan; and
 
WHEREAS, thousands of members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians depend upon groundwater as their sole source of drinking water; and
 
WHEREAS, the Tribe has a stewardship role over the land, air, water and all the natural resources within its reservation boundaries; and
 
WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on April 2, 2018, announced a decision to grant Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (Nestle) a permit to substantially increase its groundwater withdrawal for the purpose of bottling and selling drinking water; and
 
WHEREAS, this decision allows Nestle virtually unchecked authority to extract and sell Michigan groundwater for commercial profit and will have significant detrimental impact not only on our Michigan's groundwater but also on its lakes, rivers, and streams and on the treaty protected rights of the Tribe and its members to utilize those resources.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians expresses its strong disagreement with and opposition to the decision of the MDEQ to approve the expanded groundwater withdrawal permit for Nestle and urges the MDEQ to reconsider and to rescind that approval.
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians declares a moratorium on the purchase and sale of Nestle bottled water products at any tribally owned and operated facility and, further, urges its tribal members and any other concerned Michigan residents to similarly boycott and refuse to purchase any such products.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY