LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group has filed a challenge against the state Department of Environmental Quality's permit for the Nestle Waters North America Inc. to pump more western Michigan groundwater for its Ice Mountain brand.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation submitted the petition on Friday against the DEQ, which last month approved Nestle's application to remove 400 gallons of water per minute from an Osceola Township aquifer. Nestle had been permitted to withdraw 250 gallons per minute.

The conservation group says the DEQ's review of the site failed to pick up on the environmental consequences of withdrawing additional water, therefore "illegally granting Nestle the water of the commons."

The case may go to trial if it fails to be resolved.

Nestle sent us a statement about the filed challenge.

People are passionate about water and so are we. Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) shares the same deep commitment to the people and natural resources of Michigan with all of the state’s citizens. While we have not had the opportunity to review all of the details of the appeal, the facts of the situation remain:

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) carefully reviewed and considered our application in what it has called, “the most extensive analysis of any water withdrawal in Michigan history.” At the conclusion of that analysis, the department developed a 58-page recommendation memo, and provided 22 conditions for the permit.

We have the highest degree of confidence in the more than 16 years of scientific data supporting our application. Moreover, the department has highly trained professional scientists on staff that are committed to being leaders in environmental stewardship who collected and evaluated the data for the state.

We appreciate the MDEQ’s comprehensive review and firmly believe that the decision was appropriate. We have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of laws that protect the environment and are committed to helping ensure the sustainability of Michigan’s natural resources. And as always, we welcome the opportunity to have constructive, fact-based dialogue on these topics. We have made a long-term investment in Michigan, and we take great care to operate in a responsible and sustainable way that preserves and protects our shared water resources and the surrounding environment for generations to come.

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