Michigan lawmaker wants to charge water bottlers per gallon

Myrtle Beach TheDigitel / CC BY 2.0
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LANSING (WJRT) (10/18/2017) - A Shelby Township lawmaker wants to start charging bottled water producers for every gallon of water they withdraw from Michigan.

State Rep. Peter Lucido introduced a bill on Wednesday that would impose a fee of 5 cents per gallon on water as compensation to the state for loss of a natural resource.

“It’s not fair that these out-of-state and out-of-country corporations can swoop in, take millions of gallons of our groundwater, and sell it for a profit. They’re basically poaching our water,” Lucido wrote in a press release. “Why are we giving away our resources for free? Our state and its citizens deserve some compensation when companies are making a financial killing off our water – a resource they’re getting for practically nothing.”

Lucido’s bill relates only to water used for drinking water by bottling companies. It would not apply to farmers pumping water out of the ground to sprinkle their crops. Revenue on the fee would go exclusively toward infrastructure improvements, including municipal sewer and water systems.

“We need to preserve, protect and repair our sewer and water systems, and this will provide a fitting funding source,” Lucido said.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Nestle draws approximately 1.1 million gallons of water a day from its four pumping locations in Michigan. Lucido said a 5-cent per gallon fee would amount to $55,000 a day, or more than $20 million a year.

House Bill 5133 has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.