Via the Salida Citizen online news site, we discovered the reception “enjoyed” by Nestle at the Chaffee County Commissioners meeting wasn’t as friendly as they could have hoped.
After seven hours of discussion on technical data from a mounting pile of consultant reports and impassioned pubic testimony on Nestle Waters North America proposed water harvesting project, Chaffee County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Frank Holman halted the proceedings. With more than 20 people still interested in commenting on the application, the commissioners agreed to continue public testimony on Wednesday, April 29, starting at 1 p.m. at the Salida SteamPlant Theater and Event Center.
The bulk of yesterday’s hearing before an overflow, standing room only crowd at the cramped American Legion Hall in Buena Vista focused on the two newest consultant reports reviewing the hydrology and economic impacts of Nestle’s plans to harvest water in Nathrop. Nestle’s plans call for piping spring water from the mouth of Brown’s Canyon to Johnson Village where it will be loaded onto trucks bound for Denver for bottling and distribution under Nestle’s Arrowhead brand.
A bad sound system and horrible acoustics of the hall added an extra challenge as the audience that reached nearly 200 at its peak, strained to hear testimony from a parade of Nestle and county consultants as well as comments from citizens, the vast majority of whom voiced opposition to Nestle’s plans.
This is just an excerpt; the whole story is definitely worth a read, and interestingly – and despite repeated statements from Nestle suggesting there will be no negative environmental impacts from their projects – several new consultant reports and citizens groups disagree.
Will the citizens of Chaffee County – despite a late start – still pull this one out? Stay tuned.