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LCO Tribe Passes Resolution Opposing Commercial Sale of Lake Superior Water

By Joe Morey

News Editor

Patti Carpenter photo of Bark Bay Slough

On August 2, the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Kristle Majchrzak request to Bayfield County for a conditional use permit to tap into and sell water from one of the area’s many artesian wells. The Tribal Resolution further opposes any commercial sale of Lake Superior water in accordance with applicable treaties and the Great Lakes Compact.

Majchrzak is proposing to tap into an artesian well on her father’s adjacent properties off the south shore of Lake Superior near the small town of Herbster in Bayfield County. She shares the watershed with the Bark Bay Sloughs, an area designated in 1977 by the DNR as a state natural area.

According to Majchrzak’s company website, Kristle KLR describes itself as "an American, family-owned start-up water company that will provide people in the Midwest with the best quality drinking water in the world."

An artesian well is one, under the right conditions, where water flows under natural pressure, without needing to be pumped. Majchrzak plans to bottle and sell the water, but first needs to obtain a permit from Bayfield County.

In the Tribe’s resolution, they state the proposed project is within the Tribe’s ceded territory and would impact land and water ceded by the Tribe in the 1842 Treaty of LaPointe; and the proposed project poses a serious threat to the culture and lifestyle of the Anishinaabe people with negative impacts on natural resources including the Lake Superior fishery and wild rice beds: and Gitchi Gamii is further protected by the Great Lakes Compact which was approved by the United States Congress and became effective in 2008; states have acted further to implement its commitments to the Compact in recent years; and the Great Lakes Compact describes how the states will manage and protect the waters and related natural resources and includes a ban on diversions of water with exceptions made for communities, not private commercial use.

The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa issued a similar resolution declaring formal opposition to the commercial sale of water from the Lake Superior watershed.

At a meeting this spring, a Bayfield County committee unanimously voted against the company to bottle the water but Kristle appealed.

According to a group, Lake Superior is Not for Sale, in her proposal, it states they plan to capture and store the artesian well water in large underground tanks, then transport the water in tanker trucks to an off-site bottling facility in Superior, Wisconsin. From there, they plan to sell the plastic bottles of water to the Twin Cities, MN initially and then expand to the entire country.

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