After Bottling Michigan’s Clean Water, Nestle Comes Under Fire For Ties To Snyder Admin
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, center, meets with senior staff to begin his first morning as governor, his chief of staff Dennis Muchmore, right. is married to Nestle’s Michigan spokesperson Deb Muchmore. Jan. 3, 2011, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis) Nestlé currently controls more than 70 of the world's bottled water brands, among them Perrier, San Pellegrino and Vittel.
FLINT, Michigan — As celebrities, corporations and citizens alike donates thousands of gallons of bottled water to the lead-poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan, Nestle, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of bottled water, has come under fire for its ties to the state’s water woes.
The global food and drink giant teamed up with Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi to deliver up to 6.5 million bottles of water to 10,000 school students in Flint. Celebrities including Madonna and Jimmy Fallon have pledged tens of thousands of dollars toward relief efforts.
Although Nestle controls over 70 bottled water brands, some local activists are pushing back against the company’s involvement in relief efforts. On Sunday, New Era Detroitpublished a warning: “On the behalf of New Era Detroit we ask that you not purchase Nestle’s or Ice Mountain bottle (sic) water which is owned by Nestle.”
Activist, documentary filmmaker and Flint resident Michael Moore elaborated on the connections between Nestle and Michigan’s government in a Feb. 1 report on The Huffington Post:
“[Gov. Rick] Snyder’s chief of staff throughout the two years of Flint’s poisoning, Dennis Muchmore, was intimately involved in all the decisions regarding Flint. His wife is Deb Muchmore, who just happens to be the spokesperson in Michigan for the Nestle Company — the largest owner of private water sources in the State of Michigan.
Nestle has been repeatedly sued in northern Michigan for the 200 gallons of fresh water per minute it sucks from out of the ground and bottles for sale as their Ice Mountain brand of bottled spring water. The Muchmores have a personal interest in seeing to it that Nestles grabs as much of Michigan’s clean water was possible — especially when cities like Flint in the future are going to need that Ice Mountain.”
Whether or not the Snyder administration’s ties to Nestle influenced the government’s actions, bottled water donations alone will not fix the crisis. They do, however, provide much-needed good publicity for a corporation battling accusations of using slave labor in other markets and criticism of its high water use amid California’s drought.