Legal action

Opposing a Lake Superior Water Bottling Proposal

STATUS: Legal Victory!
When a private company applied for a conditional use permit to bottle and sell water from an artesian well located within the Lake Superior watershed, the proposal faced strong opposition from local residents. With legal representation from Midwest Environmental Advocates, grassroots group Lake Superior Not for Sale took legal action to prevent the exploitation of Great Lakes water.


Case Summary

In April 2021, the Bayfield County Planning and Zoning Commission denied an application from Kristle KLR for a conditional use permit to operate a water pumping facility in Clover Township. According to the company’s proposal, the water would have been stored in large underground tanks before being transported in tanker trucks to an off-site bottling facility in Superior. From there, it would have been packaged and sold in the Twin Cities area and eventually around the country.

Local residents concerned about the proposal came together to form a grassroots group called Lake Superior Not For Sale (LSNFS). The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa also declared its opposition to the commercial sale of water from the Lake Superior watershed.

In August 2021, MEA submitted legal briefs on behalf of LSNFS asking Bayfield County to affirm its jurisdiction and to deny the permit. MEA attorney Adam Voskuil traveled to Bayfield County to appear before the Bayfield County Board of Adjustment. After hearing from Attorney Voskuil and members of the public, the five-member Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to uphold the permit denial.

Kristle KLR unsuccessfully appealed the County’s decision to the Bayfield County Circuit Court. When the company subsequently appealed the circuit court decision, MEA filed an amicus brief with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on behalf of LSNFS.

In a June 2024 decision, the Court of Appeals rejected Kristle KLR’s arguments and affirmed the decision to deny the permit.

Patty Carpenter

Lake Superior Not for Sale

News Related to this Case

Press Release

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

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.

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