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MEA Submits Amicus Brief in Lawsuit Over Controversial Lake Superior Water Bottling Proposal

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Madison, WI—Today, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed to accept an amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ brief, written by Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) on behalf of the grassroots group Lake Superior Not for Sale. The brief was filed in a case that stems from a controversial proposal by start-up company Kristle KLR to harvest and transport water from an artesian well near Lake Superior for eventual bottling and sale.

Lake Superior Not for Sale was formed in opposition to extractive industries and water commercialization schemes in the Lake Superior Basin. The group is headquartered in the Town of Clover (Herbster), Wisconsin—where Kristle KLR’s
operation is proposed—but is comprised of thousands of members throughout the western Great Lakes region in both the United States and Canada.

In April 2021, the Bayfield County Planning and Zoning Commission denied Kristle KLR’s application for a conditional use permit to operate a water pumping facility in Clover Township. Since then, Kristle KLR has unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the Bayfield County Board of Adjustment and the Bayfield County Circuit Court. The case is now before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

“Bayfield County’s zoning ordinance simply does not authorize the harvesting and shipping of artesian water from the
Lake Superior watershed where Kristle KLR is proposing that use,” said MEA Staff Attorney Rob Lee. “Kristle KLR’s
attempts to run roughshod over local regulation have been rebuffed at every level, and we are pleased that voices from the local community will be heard through Lake Superior Not for Sale’s amicus brief.” 

According to Kristle KLR’s proposal, the water would be stored in large underground tanks before being transported in
tanker trucks to an off-site bottling facility in Superior, Wisconsin. From there, it would be sold in plastic bottles in the
Twin Cities area and eventually around the country.

“Since Kristle KLR first applied for a conditional use permit in early 2021, thousands of people have joined Lake Superior Not for Sale. Together we unite to be the voice for the water—to oppose treating water as a commodity to be exploited,” said Patty Carpenter of Lake Superior Not for Sale. “The outpouring of care for the water runs deep in our community.”

A timeline for a decision from the appeals court has not been set. Lake Superior Not for Sale members say they will be
following the proceedings closely.

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