Rural Maine Town Passes Moratorium on Water Extraction – Aimed Straight at Nestle

Developing new water sources for the Nestle/Poland Spring bottling operation is getting harder for the Swiss multinational, especially among the rural towns which used to be their primary target.

The selectman in Wells, Maine, have approved a water extraction moratorium for placement on the November ballot,

Resident Joe Hardy, one of the group that proposed the moratorium, said
Rachin’s changes were excellent, but disputed the notion that
extraction was adequately prohibited in town. “It allows the KKW to go
on but excludes a large outside entity like Poland Spring or Nestle,”
he said. “It’s not a permitted use but it’s not prohibited either. The
threat is very real, given the closeness with which we almost had the
contract with Nestle.”

Formerly, Nestle/Poland Spring (a venerable Maine brand bought by Nestle) encountered little opposition when trying to extract water from small, rural towns.

Things have changed dramatically in recent years, and towns are no longer so eager to give up their precious bottled water resources for a fraction of a penny per gallon and a handful of sub-living-wage jobs.

Several towns in Maine and Washington have sent Nestle packing, or – in the case of McCloud, CA – opposition to Nestle’s sweetheart deal (negotiated in secret) forced an abandonment of the original contract.

With Nestle being confronted by informed townspeople – connected to others via the Internet – will they finally have to offer towns a good deal in exchange for their water?

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2 thoughts on “Rural Maine Town Passes Moratorium on Water Extraction – Aimed Straight at Nestle

  1. Tom, above you ask, “…will they(Nestle) finally have to offer towns a good deal in exchange for their water?” I’m confused. Is this website’s intent to Stop Nestle (profit and privatization of water) as the site’s title would suggest, or to shame Nestle into paying more $$ in exchange for the water?

  2. Barbara: In truth, I’d like nothing better than to see Nestle out of McCloud. The impacts of even the smaller plant – and several hundred truck trips per day – would be damaging to the area (where I often fish). And bottled water is ridiculous idea given the quality of 99% of the tap water in this country.

    I also believe Nestle’s predatory tactics toward rural towns are despicable – as are its attempts at greenwashing – and I want to highlight them here in order to combat Nestle’s sizable PR machine. Offering a clearinghouse/repository of news and information for citizens in other rural towns is one of the stated goals of this site.

    That said, some rural towns undoubtedly will opt to work with Nestle. Those towns had better do what it takes to protect their environment, watersheds, and the economic viability of the deals they cut.

    One way to aid them in doing this is to highlight Nestle’s less savory behaviors (the secret negotiations, the utter lack of environmental review, etc). Another is make them aware of the profits Nestle makes on the water they buy for almost nothing.

    Should small towns start asking for a lot more for their water than a handful of jobs and a few hundred bucks per acre foot, then Nestle’s business becomes less profitable, and perhaps they’ll start looking at new business models.

    Simply put, the answer to your question is something like “yes.” I want them out, but I’ll take what I can get.

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