Until two years ago, the 40,550 generally well-behaved Midwesterners of Mecosta County, Mich., regularly attended church, sent their children off to school on yellow buses, and never for a moment worried that their clean, freshwater supply would ever run dry. Mecosta County, after all, sits near the center of Michigan's lower peninsula, which itself sits at the center of the largest supply of freshwater on Earth. A Mecosta County battleground. Photo: Jeff Sapp, MCWC. Then came the water war. On Dec. 6, 2000, the Perrier Group of America, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle, the world's largest food company, applied to …
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Keith Schneider, a former national correspondent and a contributor to the New York Times, began his environmental reporting career in 1979 when he covered the hazards of radioactive releases from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. He is the senior editor and producer at Circle of Blue, which covers the global freshwater crisis from its newsroom in Traverse City, Mich. He also contributes to Yale Environment 360 and The Energy Collective.