Nestle Waters of North America Backs Away From Orting, WA Bottling Plant Deal

Nestle Waters of North America has announced it won’t be building a water bottling plant in Orting, WA, leaving industry watchers wondering where they’re planning to locate their “we-want-to-break-ground-by 2010” Northwestern water bottling plant.

From the Seattle-Tacoma news site:

Nestle Waters North America is no longer exploring Orting as a site for its first bottling plant in the Pacific Northwest.

The company was considering Orting’s three mountain springs as sources for a plant that would bottle 100 million gallons of water a year.

Officials in the East Pierce County city announced Wednesday afternoon that Nestle would not locate its plant in the city, ending talks that started in June.

The company’s only West Coast plant north of California is in Hope, B.C.

David Palais, Nestle Waters’ natural resource manager, said Wednesday that the company’s decision was based on a variety of factors. He said there weren’t any specific problems with Orting’s water volume or supply.

“We have a whole list of factors, such as land and infrastructure requirements, and certain ones look like they’d be better for us at other locations,” Palais said. “As a company, we obviously have limited resources. We have to focus on a location where the group of factors appears more promising.”

One potential new Nestle bottling plant is Cascade Locks (OR), where one resident has written in frustration; she’d rather not see Nestle do there what they did in Calistoga.

10 thoughts on “Nestle Waters of North America Backs Away From Orting, WA Bottling Plant Deal

  1. I would be interested in hearing from the Cascade Locks person. Our organization helps to organize citizens around bottled water issues and anti-privatization as it deals with our water.

  2. Nancy; I’ll forward your email to the person who wrote. There was a meeting on February 4, and I don’t know the outcome.

  3. Whoever wrote you from Cascade Locks, OR is obviously one of the employed people in town, this town has a higher unemployment rate than most of this country, this plant would be a good fit here as it is close to Portland and only 4 or 5 hours by semi to Seattle, just because one person wrote about not wanting it here, they are not the voice of this town, considering we just lost our school a new development with steady jobs is more than welcome in this tiny community that has lost 3 businesses already this year with more tallying up…. this town needs help badly… take a drive up I-84 and see the town of less than 1,000… it’s beautiful until you realize 2 restaurants, one gas station, the hardware store, and a hotel have all gone under recently… prime example of low-income Oregon, all apartments here a low-income…. I am from Cascade Locks, I graduated here, and moved back just a month ago to see this town turn for the worst…..

  4. Jeremy: Nestle specialises in finding rural communities willing to sell their souls cheaply for a handful of jobs. When you’re envisioning a Nestle plant, keep the following in mind.

    Nestle starts with one water source, but typically taps several to feed their bottling plants – dramatically increasing the amount of truck traffic, which runs 24 hours a day
    They promise more jobs than they deliver (in Florida, Nestle promised the state 300 jobs, employs 205, and 46 of them are from out of state – do the math on whatever they promise you)
    Nestle

    Nestle’s least savory behavior is how quickly their “friendly neighbor” routine disappears when you don’t give them what they want. The town of Fryeburg, ME decided it didn’t want a 24/7 truck loading station built in a residential area, and rather than acquiesce to the town’s wishes, Nestle/Poland Springs sued the town, and is on their fourth appeal (to the Maine State Supreme Court).

    In Mecosta, MI, Nestle’s plant was drawing too much water, but they refused to cut back on the pumping until the a citizen’s group sued. Nestle lost, and finally negotiated a halving of their pumping under threat of an judge’s injunction. Later – after losing again over the damage to the watershed issue – Nestle sought relief from the lawsuit not by doing the right thing, but by having their attorneys challenge the right of the citizens to bring the suit in the first place.

    In McCloud, a citizen’s group – angered by the closed-door negotiations and utter lack of public input into the original sweetheart Nestle deal – sued (and initially won) a case nullifying the contract, and suddenly their private financial records subpoenaed by Nestle’s lawyers (a move which pretty clearly was an attempt to intimidate further opposition).

    Nestle’s tactics typically involve provoking division among small town residents, referring consultants and lawyers with clear conflicts of interest to “help” small towns make a deal, and playing on economically depressed rural areas to get the water (which they sell at a price several times higher than gasoline) for practically nothing.

    Where Nestle goes, local control of zoning, streets and water supplies often disappears. They aren’t a good corporate neighbor.

    If you are going to talk to Nestle, I’d suggest your town hires a lawyer to negotiate for you (and not someone referred to you by Nestle, which is another trick). Insist that everything happen in in open meetings, and that thorough environmental review is performed by reputable people who have no prior contact with Nestle.

    Finally, you seem focused on jobs. Nestle shut down the plain bottled water line in their Calistoga plant due to a poor economy and flat bottled water market; 78 people lost their jobs during the holidays, and keep in mind the bottled water industry is facing a public backlash over bottled water’s environmentally unfriendliness. If the market continues to contract, it’s not Nestle executives who will be losing their jobs.

  5. I am so excited for them to do it! I have to drive 45 minutes away to a Juice Plant and dont get alot of time with my family. It would do Skamania county and Cascade Locks some good to actually get some jobs. I am all for it! Even if I dont live there I live just across the river! MORE POWER TO NESTLE!

  6. A very bad idea. Evironmental movement is moving away from the use of plastic bottles for water. We need to conserve our state’s water. Truck traffic means more distructive emissions.

  7. Hi there, my name is Alexis and I am a citizen of Portland, Oregon.

    Upon reading the Oregonian article “Bottler seeks to Tap spring water in gorge” June 13th, 2009, I was furious. “There is no way I’m going to let my states water be privatized by some money grubbing company!” I thought to my self and furious told my younger sister what was going on.

    Anyway, if anyone knows of someone I can contact I would love to dedicate my time to beating off this parasite. I love my state and I want to keep it green and alive, not having it’s water sources tapped and sent off to other states to make a profit.
    I AM MAD! Can someone help me out? ^_^

    Thank you!

  8. IF you live in Cascade Locks I think your opinion should count in this. If not? Please don’t interfere. The town is on the verge of becoming a ghost town in the next few years, housing developments started but have shut down and appear abandoned with overgrown parks, yards, etc. The high school just shut down, kids are being bused 30 minutes away to another school. The stores have mostly been boarded up and abandoned. We barely have the finances to keep police and fire services in town. This town is loosing steam fast.
    Trucks 24/7? They have to eat and fuel up somewhere! Water issues? Wettest area in Oregon! Tax revenue, SOME jobs (Cascade Locks would be thrilled to get 200 jobs, but just as excited to get 20 jobs!), these are all perks!
    Please people, unless YOU have something better to offer us in Cascade Locks, butt out.

  9. Does Nestle “live” in Cascade Locks?

    I’ll wait here for an answer.

    See, they don’t “live” in McCloud either, but that hasn’t stopped them from interfering in the local elections in 2006 (after saying they wouldn’t – they made a $2500 donation to their slate of candidates the day before the election, allowing them to claim neutrality during the entire campaign).

    Nor has it stopped them from smearing those who oppose their bottling plants by suggesting those who oppose the McCloud plant are “wealthy, out-of-town fly fishermen” – a divisive statement that’s far from the truth.

    Finally, they may be your streets, but it’s everybody’s landfill and climate, and many oppose bottled water plants simply because the product is a triumph of marketing over reality – one whose time has likely already come and gone. What happens to your town when Nestle builds the plant and the market continues its downward trend? If you’re curious, ask 78 employees at Nestle’s Calistoga plant, who were laid off during the holidays due to decreased demand.

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