Nestle’s Water Wars in Maine: A Wrapup of Current Events

It’s been a little busy lately (and in a month or two, it’s going to get even busier), but we’ve got a lot of Nestle-related news popping in Maine, so I thought I’d create a quick digest post with the things that have come across my desk.

The Movie “Tapped” Premiers

The long-awaited “Tapped” movie – by the same people who produced “Who Killed the Electric Car?” – premiered in Maine. We’ve shown the trailer before, but if you missed here it is (complete with a kickbutt soundtrack):

Tapped takes a hard look at the bottled water industry, focusing on Nestle’s legal bludgeoning of Fryeburg, Maine – and the mess they made of the tiny rural town.

Tapped also ties the bottled water industry to the plastics industry, and while those unfortunate folks in the movie suffering from the effects of plastics manufacturing wouldn’t suddenly enjoy a respite if all bottled water was eliminated, it’s important to recognize the upstream impacts of consumption.

You can visit the .

See a short review at the Grist (online magazine).

You can read an interview with Tapped’s director here.

You can see a list of theaters showing Tapped here (or reserve your own copy of the DVD).

You can also join their Facebook page here.

Nestle Forced to Remove Test Wells From Wildlife Preserve Near Shapleigh, Newfield

This one’s sweet; Nestle drilled 23 test wells in a State Wildlife area without any public notice, though you could say the public “noticed” once word got out.

The residents of Shapleigh and Newfield reacted quickly, passing a moratorium on water extraction, then passing rights-based ordinances that prohibited extraction. From the Kennebunk Post site:

Winn-Wentworth, who said she discovered the wells after people told her about heavy machinery taken into the wildlife preserve, said “we are not going anywhere until this is over.”

When the state and Poland Spring did not reach an agreement, the bottling company approached Shapleigh selectmen about using town land to draw from the aquifer, which also flows under the Vernon Walker preserve.

In September 2008, Shapleigh voters passed a moratorium on drilling for wells and commercial water extraction.

Gobeille, Winn-Wentworth, Hennessey and others are members of the group formed to prevent extraction at the site. In the year since the group formed, membership numbers have been fluid, but Gobeille estimated at least 20 people were active members.

Dubois said the moratorium, not ordinances passed in Newfield and Shapleigh in March, was a signal the company should look elsewhere for water.

There’s even a video of the removal:

Note the final sentence in the printed excerpt above – the bit where Nestle operative Dubois tries to suggest the whole thing wasn’t a big deal.

This is standard operating procedure: Nestle continues to assert that its recent reversals nationwide are due to the economy and a lack of information, and not the result the activists.

Here’s a wake up call for you, Nestle: bottled water is suddenly the ugly kid who has to have the pork chop tied around its neck just to get the dogs to play with it.

Poland Spring Exporting Maine Water in Tankers

This isn’t exactly news as much as it is an unpleasant reality for Poland Spring, who have repeatedly touted the jobs they provide in Maine (and repeatedly held those jobs hostage when they haven’t gotten what they wanted).

Water activists created a video documenting Maine’s water leaving the state, bound for bottling plants elsewhere – suggesting that Poland Spring isn’t the down home Maine company with 100+ years of history Nestle keeps telling us it is, but simply an interchangeable “brand” that parcels resources in the most profitable way.

From the SOH2O page:

What do Mainers get when our water is trucked out of state in bulk? Money for the water…think again! We do get wear and tear on our highways and roads which costs taxpayers dearly and air pollution which fills the air.

The video’s right here, though you’ll want to visit the SOH2O site anyway to read all the latest water news.

One thought on “Nestle’s Water Wars in Maine: A Wrapup of Current Events

  1. And that’s not the only route they leave Maine from. From Fryeburg they take route 16 down through NH, and never leave through the toll booth in the video!

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