News Story

Gotion will siphon more water than Nestle

Whitmer supports Chinese facility that will draw 139,000 daily gallons more than the project she ran against in 2018

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer campaigned in 2018 on a promise to stop Nestle Waters North America’s “siphoning” of water from Michigan for private gain and distribution. But the state-supported Gotion battery plant in Big Rapids will draw more water for its daily operations than Nestle does.

“For a mere $200 a year Nestle is allowed to extract up to 576,000 gallons-per-day, which would amount to 210 million gallons-per-year and 4.8 million bottles of water,” Whitmer declared in the 2018 campaign document Get It Done: Clean Water for Michigan.

Whitmer blasted then-Gov. Rick Snyder for allowing the water withdrawal, writing, “We need a way to control the siphoning of water for water bottling, and my administration will work to see it done.”

Whitmer has not take any action to stop Nestle while she has been in office. And now Whitmer is adding to the purported water problem by subsidizing and heavily supporting a project that would siphon 715,000 gallons of water per day — 139,000 gallons more than the Nestle plant uses.

Gotion, a Silcon Valley subsidiary of Chinese-based Gotion High-tech Co. Ltd., plans to make components for electric vehicle batteries at the forthcoming Mecosta County facility.

Whitmer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The governor is not alone in giving inconsistent signals on this issue.

Clean Water Action was a vocal opponent of the Nestle project. The environmental organization delivered 5,000 letters to the Department of Environmental Quality in 2017. Clean Water Action said that allowing the Nestle project “qualifies as a harmful water withdrawal according to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s own flawed water withdrawal assessment tool.”

Clean Water Action did not respond to a request for comment.

The state of Michigan has so far given $800 million in incentives to Gotion.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.