We reported on Nestle Waters of North America’s interest in Cascade Locks a while ago, and it appears Nestle’s moving along with preliminary work on the project.
Nestle’s clearly interested because the town fits the ideal Nestle profile so perfectly; it’s a small town facing dire economic straits. Nestle wanders in, and in exchange for a promise of jobs, gets the water rights for next to nothing – and foists most of the infrastructure and non-negotiated costs on the community.
After all, we’re talking about a handful of jobs – most of which traditionally go to people outside the community – and 110 trucks on the roads every day.
That, of course, ignores Nestle’s shameful track record in other small towns when it doesn’t get what it wants.
Opposition remains light, yet – as Nestle discovered in Colorado – engaged citizens can make a difference in a hurry. For example, the following story is blandly pro-Nestle, but if you read the posted reader comments under the story, you’ll discover overwhelmingly negative feedback on the idea (I’ve cut and pasted a couple examples below the story).
The spring feeds a fish hatchery right now. The city would swap water rights, and the hatchery would get well water. Nestle would pay the city about a fifth of a cent per gallon for the water; it’s bottled water products sell for about $1.40 per gallon. The company plans to draw 100 million gallons a year from the spring, filling its Arrowhead and Pure Life water bottles.
“We started out, I understand, with about 90 businesses in the late 60s, and now we’re down to about a dozen and a lot of us are just hanging on by sheer will so anything that comes will be good,” said Mayor Brad Lorang.
The plant would double the town’s tax base, the mayor said.
But not everyone likes it.
“I don’t necessarily oppose it,” said Katelin Stuart. “I’m just the most outspoken person around here evidently.”
She worries about the environment and truck traffic.
“I agree that we need jobs,” she said. “I don’t necessarily agree this is the way to get it. It’s only 48 jobs. There’s no guarantee it just goes to people in Cascade Locks.”
Sample Reader comments:
Well, I don’t know very many businesses that are able to reap 70,000%
profit on thier raw meterials, so why not. Nevermind that Nestle has no
intention of paying the city anything beyond it’s base taxes for the
spring, or that 50 jobs is not a very big plant and many of those will
be filled by current nestle people brought in from out of state. It’s a
great deal, for nestle. For Oregon, we would be better served by just
letting the spring flow free into the Columbia. It would be one of the
few truly clean tributaries going into the river.
Let me add quickly, I find KATU’s slant offensive in this article. “Is
gushing spring a well of hope for town?” Perhaps “Is Cascade Locks
about to be ripped off by corporation?” a more honest headline
The Dutch multinational corporation Nestle is NOTORIOUS for setting up
these ‘pumping rights’ arrangements, giving nothing back to the
communities whose water they appropriate, and massively abusing their
position once in place.
We’re moving into a time when a clean
water source like this spring could well be worth its weight in gold.
Do we really want faceless, profit-driven corporations to own that
Everyone concerned with this issue should watch the
documentary “FLOW”, which investigates the worldwide efforts of
corporate powers to claim and control fresh water wherever it still
exists. One section details the Nestle corporation abusing their water
rights in Michigan, draining the surface streams dry, and giving
nothing back to the people of the area. Alarming stuff, and they have
their sites set on Oregon.
The money and jobs are tempting. But Nestle will screw this town ounce they have secured the revinue source (water rights).
It seems easy, but folks, you will regret it. and so will your children, and thier children.
Don’t sell your soul.
Letting in Nestle would “shower” the entire area with bad…
you have not followed their failed attempt in other areas, try these
google search terms “Nestle water Enumcla” & “Nestle water
Nestle has been trying to get a west coast town
convinced to take them in for some time & failed. All that is left
is a wake of disgruntled neighbors who were once friends.
Ouch. Apparently, Nestle’s reputation precedes it – and it’s fast becoming impossible for the rogue multinational to sneak in under the radar.