Category Archives: Fryeburg

Stories pertaining to Fryeburg, ME

Does Nestle’s Infiltration Of Maine’s PUC Make An Unconflicted Decision About Its Water Operations Impossible?

Nestle is not a corporation that treads lightly on a place — especially Maine, where its tentacles infiltrate the politics so deeply, it seems it’s not possible for a decision to be made by political people untouched by the company. Witness this story from the Press Herald:

FRYEBURG – When the Maine Public Utilities Commission this week takes up a controversial 25-year contract between the company that owns the Poland Spring brand and the family-controlled utility that supplies its water, it will do so under troubling and unprecedented circumstances: All three PUC commissioners, as well as the state’s public advocate, have ties to the company.

If you can’t tell, this is my shocked look.

“Every commissioner on the PUC has been touched by Nestle,” said Fryeburg resident Scot Montgomery, who manages a restaurant kitchen in the nearby White Mountains and has been involved in local water issues. “Everyone who’s supposed to be looking out for the ratepayers, communities, and resource seems to have this other interest.”


While many at the state and PUC level go to great pains to say they believe the commissioners and public advocate aren’t biased, it’s largely impossible to believe that someone who once had a financial interest in Nestle’s success can now be expected to turn around and render an unconflicted decision.

And let’s be clear — in public proceedings, the mere appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided. In this case, the conflicts are real (and financial in at least one case), yet at least one commissioner has yet to recuse himself despite having had a hand in preparing the very same situation he’s being asked to vote on.

The Fryeburg Deal: Controversial From The Start

The Press Herald’s Colin Woodward writes one of the most cogent explanations of Nestle’s involvement in Fryeburg’s water system, which isn’t without its shadier elements:

Fryeburg Water Co., which serves Fryeburg and East Conway, N.H., is unusual in that it is a privately held water utility. (About 15 percent of the nation’s water utilities are privately held.) It was founded in 1883, but by the 1990s the majority of the shares were held by members of the Hastings family, whose patriarch, Hugh Hastings, has served as company president since 1969 and as an officer since 1950.

Recognizing that Fryeburg had excellent water — the result of quartz-rich geology and clean, copious runoff from the Presidential Range in the White Mountains — Hastings hoped some could be profitably sold to bottlers. But in the interest of fairness, the PUC prohibits utilities from selling water to any entity at a higher price than it charges its ordinary customers, so Hastings and a business partner, Eric Carlson of the engineering firm Woodard & Curran, came up with a workaround.

In 1997, Hastings and Carlson created a company, Pure Mountain Springs, that bought water from the utility at its ordinary rate and sold it to Nestle Waters at a much higher — but undisclosed — rate. Pure Mountain Springs was headed by Hugh’s son, John, who shared ownership with Carlson. PUC filings show Hugh Hastings maintained power of attorney over his son for the first five years of the company’s operation.

Between 2003 and 2007, previous PUC proceedings revealed, this pass-through entity had revenues of $3 million and paid Fryeburg Water Co. $700,000 in rents and water fees. Hastings wrote in 2004 that the initial capital financing was “over $100,000.”

“Fryeburg’s water had the right geological recipe for Poland Spring,” said Mark Dubois, Nestle Waters’ Maine-based natural resource manager. “But it also had entrepreneurs who saw the spring and invested in their business and started selling that water to us. Here was a willing seller; we were a willing buyer.”

Cliff Hall, a longtime opponent of Nestle’s operations who served on Fryeburg’s Board of Selectmen from 2007 to 2010, takes a dimmer view of the situation. “They set up a nepotistic arrangement which bypassed the (utilities) laws that say if you take an excessive amount of money, you’re supposed to reinvest it in infrastructure,” he said. “It seems to me this was a dummy company set up … to take the money and put it back in the Hastings’ trust.”

Others share these concerns. “A public utility is supposed to do the best they can for the customers, the public and the municipality,” adds Bill Harriman, one of four Fryeburg-area residents who have formally intervened in the current PUC case. “And if you look at what these guys were doing back then, they weren’t looking out for the people of Fryeburg.”

Which brings us to the heart of the issue. Nestle — one of the world’s largest (and most distrusted) corporations — is a lot better at watching out for itself than the small towns it preys on.

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.

News Flash from Maine: Town of Fryeburg Loses Right to Local Zoning Control to… Nestle/Poland Springs

I just got off the phone with a resident of Fryeburg – the town that’s been under legal assault by Nestle/Poland Spring for the last six years. The news isn’t good.

After a lawsuit and four appeals, Nestle’s legions of legal talent finally succeeded in overturning the citizen appeal of the town’s original planning commission permit (written largely by a lobbyist for the trucking industry who later recused himself from the board and was caught passing information to Nestle via email).

You can download a .pdf file of the court’s decision here (look for the Nestle vs Fryeburg cast in mid-page).

I can’t tell you if this is the end of the road for Fryeburg’s citizen partisans, but I can tell you that where Nestle Waters goes, local control of water, roads and zoning seemingly disappears. More to come.

New Report Outlines Nestlé’s Pursuit of Community Water (and Profits)

Nestle’s treatment of rural communities won’t qualify them for any “good neighbor” awards anytime soon – a sad fact chronicled in a new Food & Water Watch report on water extraction activities in North America.

From their site:

Food & Water Watch’s report, “All Bottled Up: Nestlé’s Pursuit of Community Water,” reveals the loss  communities experience when a plant shows up in a small town.

Consider that…

Bottled water is overpriced, it’s no purer or safer than tap water, Nestlé is profiting off of communities and their precious resource — groundwater, and water bottles end up — by the millions — as worthless trash.

Did you know that…

Nestle takes the groundwater for next to nothing and makes extraordinary profits from the community’s loss? Communities are taking on the food giant — AND WINNING. Empty Nestlé bottles are piling up in landfills? Communities are getting smart about Nestlé and passing legislation to stop harmful water extraction from their towns?

Food & Water Watch and activists favor the efforts of policymakers to…

Develop comprehensive groundwater protection and conservation laws and regulation, require labels about the sources of bottled water and contaminants, adress environmental harm from producing bottled water and disposal of empty bottles, and assist residents and communities in protecting their groundwater from Nestlé.

Read more at: All Bottled Up: Nestlé’s Pursuit of Community Water — Food & Water Watch.

Fryeburg Faces Nestle Lawsuit Yet Again: Local Control of Streets at Issue

The folks of Fryeburg aren’t enamored of the idea of a 24/7 truck loading station in a residentially zoned area, but when Nestle Waters of North America is involved, local control over water, streets and lifestyle dies not with a bang, but with a lawsuit.


As is often the case, the argument ultimately doesn’t revolve around what’s right or reasonable (I’m suggesting a 24/7 truck loading station in a residential area – running 50 trucks per day – isn’t a particularly reasonable land use).

Instead, it revolves around interpretation of of ambiguous passages of the law – a practice similar to divining the future via goat entrails.

What’s clear is Nestle’s “good corporate neighbor” PR spin is a facade; a truck loading station returns little to the town of Fryeburg save a small bump in property taxes. Yet the downside is clear; Fryeburg “enjoys” trucks rumbling along at all hours of the day or night, diesel fumes, the noise, etc.

Nestle knows this, and it’s treating Fryeburg in the same manner it treats other small, rural towns who don’t roll over and play dead – they release the legal hounds, who are better funded than their citizen counterparts.

No matter how the decision goes in Fryeburg, the real lesson has already been learned.

Nestle/Poland Spring’s Fryeburg Lawsuit Argued Before Maine State Supreme Court

Nestle Waters/Poland Spring continued their campaign against the tiny Maine town of Fryeburg, arguing the town had no right to block the permitting of a 24/7 truck loading station in a residentially zoned area.

While the outcome of the arguments won’t be known for some time, the effects of Nestle’s suit (and four appeals) are already being felt; Fryeburg’s plight has been cited by many who contend Nestle isn’t the good corporate neighbor they suggest they are – especially when it comes to usurping local control of planning and water decisions.

This story via the iStockAnalyst:

Anderson, an attorney for the group Western Maine Residents for Rural Living, said the Planning Board made a mistake when it granted the approval in 2005.

Anderson said the proposed pumping station clearly does not conform to the comprehensive plan for that section of town, which calls for low-impact uses such as in-home businesses.

“This is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year trucking operation,” Anderson said. “The company was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.”

Our best to the citizens of Fryeburg.

Big Days for McCloud, Fryeburg as Nestle Saga Continues for Both

It’s a couple of very big days for Nestle Waters of North America (and those who oppose them).

Tonight (the 12th), the McCloud Services District’s agenda includes an item from Nestle proposing the district once again enter into contract negotiations with Nestle (at the end of this post, we included the statement presented by the Save Our Waters Coalition).

Despite the fact that Nestle has completed no flow studies and almost no environmental monitoring, they’re trying to rush back into negotiations for water – when nobody knows how much water is really available.

The problem, of course, is that Nestle believes the water that enters Squaw Creek and the world-renowned McCloud River is “wasted” – the kind of thinking guaranteed to make a real fisheries biologist soil his shorts.

After Nestle’s disastrous public meeting in McCloud (to read about that nightmare on wheels, click here), Nestle announced they weren’t going to bother with any further meetings, a move which suggests Nestle’s newfound “committment” to community involvement in the negotiation process is – like its committment to stewardship of the watershed – largely illusory.

Big Day for Freyburg

Tomorrow (the 13th), Nestle’s suit against Fryeburg – where Nestle’s trying to force its 24/7 truck loading station into a residentially zoned part of Fryeburg – will be heard again in Maine’s State Supreme Court.

Those who are counting along at home just ran out of fingers; this is the fourth appeal of the original lawsuit (that adds up to five), and we can only guess that Nestle’s aim wasn’t so much to win the legal case as it was to bankrupt their opponents, winning not by being right, but by default.

You’ve got to believe a loss for Nestle here would be the end of the line for their loading station, but they’ve made some mind-boggling moves in the past (in a prior suit, they argued their right to grow market share superseded Fryeburg’s right to say no).

In truth, Nestle’s incredibly heavy-handed legal maneuvering in Fryeburg has become something of an embarrassment for the company – a recent ad in a nearby newspaper largely pretended the whole affair simply wasn’t taking place – yet another triumph of Nestle’s PR over reality.

Hopefully, we’ll hear from folks at both events, and as soon as we know anything, we’ll pass it along.


Oops, forgot to post this after I said I would:

Statement the Protect Our Waters Coalition to be read at the January 12th 2009 McCloud Community Services District Board Meeting

Honorable Board Members,

Tonight I urge you to think about what is in the best interest of McCloud. We all want prosperity and a thriving community without sacrificing our area’s magnificent natural resources. Fortunately we now have a clean slate and can determine what is truly best for McCloud.

Good things are happening in McCloud right now. In the past few months while we’ve had the chance to breath we’ve started talking to each other and working together. We are coming up with good ideas and real economic opportunities. From the Chamber hosting Willits, to the Michael Shuman community meeting, to the Business Idea Contest to JEDI’s survey–good things are happening.

But then we come back to the Nestle issue and with it the feeling of our community being divided.  While the Kearns and West meeting was uncomfortable, the statements from the meeting, and their meeting summary show that our community does not have enough information to begin negotiations on a new contract with Nestle now.  How could we make a commitment to contract details right now?  We don’t know any more now about the impacts of a plant on our community than we did 5 years ago.

McCloud has a second chance to explore whether the idea of a Nestle plant in our community is a good one, and a second chance to do it the right way – with real public process, good science, and sound economic analysis of its likely impact on our community. We have other economic opportunities for this town’s future as well.  Saying No to Nestle now would enable us to build upon those opportunities as a united community.

Going into a negotiating process with Nestle now is premature.  Nestle should complete background studies on our water, air quality, historic preservation, and traffic among other issues, and let those studies inform the project description they present to the community.  We shouldn’t waste MCSD time now on discussing a contract negotiation process with Nestle when we lack so much information.

If it were me, I would just say ‘no thanks’ to Nestle now, like other communities have across the country, because mistrust of Nestle is the big ‘elephant’ in the room. Considering Nestle fired Kearns and West and is planning to host their own meeting about their revised project description it seems they are going back to business as usual.  It is hard for me to see the trust issues going away.

But at least, I would give our community time to discuss what we want, and tell Nestle “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Nestle Lawsuit Against Fryeburg To Be Heard in Supreme Court on January 13

Nestle Waters of North America’s ongoing lawsuit against Fryeburg – the small Maine community that doesn’t want Nestle to build a 24/7 truck loading station in a residential area – opens its next saga on Tuesday, January 13.

After filing a lawsuit and four subsequent appeals, Nestle’s never prevailed against the town, but clearly that hasn’t stopped them from trying, and on Tuesday, the case returns to the Maine Supreme Court.

It’s an example of Nestle’s heavy-handed legal approach to small rural towns – one that belies their frequent protestations that they’re good corporate neighbors (via the Water in the News blog):

Jan. 13 (Portland, ME) Nestle Waters v. Fryeburg

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
142 Federal Street, Portland, ME
Oral Argument Schedule
Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 3:00 pm
Nestle Waters North America v. Town of Fryeburg et al. (Oxf-08-419)
Maine Supreme Judicial Court – Clerk’s Office

Matthew Pollack, Esq., Clerk (207) 822-4146
Sally A. Enoch, Esq., Staff Attorney (207) 822-4266

Nestle’s profit motive here must be sizable; not only have they incurred a lot of legal expenses (this is their second trip to the Maine Supreme Court on this issue), they’ve also created the bottled water equivalent of the Alamo – a very real warning to other small rural towns about the risks of involving yourself with the world’s largest food & beverage company.

The long and tortured history behind the Fryeburg mess is covered in Elizabeth Royte’s excellent Bottlemania book, though you’ll have to fill in the more recent events right here on the Internet.

It’s not a pretty picture; at one point Nestle’s lawyers argued their right to grow market share superceded the town’s right to say no:

Like the citizens of Fryeburg – especially those who don’t adore the idea of trucks driving through residentially zoned areas all day and night – we anxiously await the outcome.

UK Bottled Water Execs (Including Nestle’s) Fear “Bottlemania,” Consumer Backlash

Elizabeth Royte’s book – titled Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought it – isn’t making bottled water executives very happy (not if UK’s Financial Times is any indication): / UK – Bottlers of water try to turn off the tap

Elizabeth Royte’s book, Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, is causing waves.

The book, which describes bottled water as “the biggest scam in marketing history”, was held up as serious cause for concern at the annual conference of the British bottled water industry this month.

Industry executives fear the work, which was published in May, could be as influential on public sentiment as Eric Schlosser’s early 1990s investigation into the American fast food industry, Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal is Doing to the World .

For those who haven’t read it, Royte’s well-researched book travels around North America, looking at drinking water issue, though it’s primarily focused on Fryeburg – the small Maine town that’s been the subject of so much Nestle controversey (as well as the victim of a five lawsuits/appeals filed by the multinational).

Bottlemania’s been one example of the growing chorus of dissent over bottled water, and yet if anyone was feeling complacent about the victories so far, I’d urge them to hold onto their hats.

Huge, profit-hungry corporations are not about to give in without a fight:

Leading bottled water brands such as Danone and Nestlé have been slow in addressing their dwindling sales. As Danone says: “We’ve been a little bit late out of the blocks in pushing back.” But now they are fighting back.

All companies are impressing on consumers that they can drink bottled water with a clear conscience if they recycle the packaging. Coca-Cola, the owner of the Dasani water brand, is opening what it claims is the world’s largest plastic bottle recycling plant in South Carolina early next year.

Companies are also trying to position themselves as guardians of the public health by arguing that their bottles of water can help defeat the obesity epidemic.

“Our product is probably the healthiest beverage when you consider the growing concern of obesity,” claims Nestlé.

Expect a tsunami of greenwash, misinformation and the kind of odd perspective only a corporate PR person can bring to the table. Nestle’s already starting to play more aggressively on the Internet (both directly and via proxies), and we’ll continue to keep tabs on their more outrageous efforts.

The good news? Even corporate branding types think bottled water might be on the way out:

Don Williams, chief executive of London-based brand consultancy PI
Global, says the concept of bottling and branding a natural and free
commodity now seems “incongruous”.

“Inevitably the plug is being
pulled and consumers, urged on by a crescendo of dissent and disgust,
are turning towards their taps once more,” he says. “The more you think
about it, the more daft it is. Isn’t it about time someone set up a
factory in the Swiss Alps bottling clean, fresh, pure air? I’m sure
there’d be a market for it.”

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Nestle Spokesperson Goes Public on Maine Blog, Misrepresents Fryeburg Fiasco

It’s rare when a Nestle Waters of North America spokesperson speaks in a public forum where their conclusions can be questioned, but Nestle/Poland Spring operative Mark Dubois posted several comments to this Maine blog – including one where Nestle’s spin plays out in all its glory.

He positions Poland Spring as a Maine company (it’s been a Nestle “brand” since the company was purchased by Nestle), and mischaracterizes opposition to the Fryeburg loading station thusly:

Any suggestion that Fryeburg has repeatedly said no to a truck loading station ignores the fact that the planning board approved our application in 2005 after a lengthy process and thoroughly written decision after numerous public hearings. The appeal of that decision by
a small number of opponents in town is what has triggered the series of appeals since that time. The matter is now pending in the Maine Law Court and everyone is hoping that the Court’s decision will put this matter to rest.

My response to Nestle’s spin?

First, the original permit was issued in a way that suggests poor public process (which follows Nestle around like a shadow). It was written by one person on the planning commission – the same person who later secretly advised Nestle what was happening in the town via email – a relationship Nestle/Poland Spring (wasn’t it you, sir?) denied even
existed before a reporter produced the emails.

The original appeal was hardly the work of a “small number of opponents” (the same characterization used by Nestle elsewhere to minimize opposition). Those opponents “won” that appeal because a truck loading station doesn’t belong in a residentially zoned area, and further, that victory didn’t somehow “trigger” a string of appeals – Nestle/Poland Springs filed a lawsuit and four subsequent appeals (the fourth is being heard right now).

And yes, Nestle has lost every one.

If anyone wishes to see YouTube video of Nestle/Poland Spring’s lawyers arguing before the Maine Supreme Court that their right to grow market share superceded the town’s right of local control, then simply go here.

Finally, Mr. Dubois, as for your statement that: “The matter is now pending in the Maine Law Court and everyone is hoping that the Court’s decision will put this matter to rest.”

This could have been put to rest a long time ago if Nestle hadn’t tried bully the town of Fryeburg through legal means, and yet you act as if your multinational corporation somehow has no choice in the matter.

This could all end right now, Mr. Dubois – if only Nestle/Poland Spring would drop its lawsuit. Nobody’s forcing your multinational to continue its lawsuit, and what’s clear is that Nestle is willing to use extraordinary legal means to deny Fryeburg the right to say “no” to a truck loading station in residentially zoned areas.

If anyone has anything to add to Mr. Dubois’ perspective, feel free to visit Seavey’s blog, read the string of comments, and leave one of your own (respectful) comment.

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An Open Letter About Denmark’s Nestle/Poland Spring Hearing (And Some Good Ideas)

This was forwarded to from a Fryebrug resident (city next to Denmark), and touches on a recurring theme: how do small towns write ordinances capable of protecting themselves from extractive industries like Nestle/Poland Spring.

It asks tough questions that every town should answer when they’re being courted by Nestle/Poland Spring.


This is an open letter to all the citizens of Denmark who will be attending the “Open Town Meeting” on November 22nd at town hall.

The purpose of this meeting is for Poland Spring/Nestle to gain the approval for the renewal of their “Permit Application for Water Extraction” and to amend this permit to include an additional borehole and well house. There are many concerns and questions about this permit renewal and our current water ordinance. Since our ordinance is a work in progress, we feel that it would be a great opportunity to share with you some thoughts and ideas for improving our ordinance.

  • We need to move the authority for this ordinance and permitting process back to, our voter elected, Planning Board where it rightfully belongs. Every other town water ordinance we reviewed squarely gives responsibility to their Planning Board. We are the only town where the selectmen have taken control of the ordinance and water permitting application process.
  • We need to add language to address and protect the environmental issues and ecological systems. Our current ordinance addresses neither of these.
  • We need to have a bond or other security posted prior to approval of a water extraction permit, so residents can know the amount of coverage.
  • Alert and Action levels need to be clearly defined and set prior to approval of any permit. Exactly what water levels indicate an adverse effect?
  • If we hit a pre-determined Action level and the applicant refuses to stop extracting water, what is our recourse? Should we be assessing a monetary penalty in our ordinance?
  • Our code enforcement officer should not need to make an appointment to visit the extraction site.
  • We need to know where the load out facility will be located prior to the renewal of the permit. Will it be in Denmark?
  • We need to have effective, strong language in our ordinance that would govern hours of operation, noise levels, and glare from lights, increased traffic, and similar potential for nuisance. Our ordinance currently says that these nuisances are unlikely, but since we don’t know where the load out facility will be located, these may be very likely.

Our town officials have developed a great ordinance. However, in three years time, things have changed. Many towns have used Denmark’s water ordinance as a starting point. They have added stronger language to their water ordinances. Since our ordinance is a work in progress, we need to make some additional changes to our ordinance as well.

Please come to the hearing Nov,22 at 9:00 am held at the Denmark Town office.

— Natural Resource Defenders

Nestle Running Another Misleading Ad in Denmark Paper

In an attempt to protect its up-for-reneweal well permit in Denmark, Maine (the town next to Fryeburg and the source of the water Nestles wants to pump to a Fryeburg loading station), Nestle/Poland Spring have taken to running regular advertising, a close look at which is illuminating:

Note the use of “local” throughout the ad. It’s a recurring theme with Poland Springs: “We’re a Maine company” or “we’re a local company” messages abound, ignoring the fact that Nestle is the world’s largest food and beverage corporation.

Make no mistake; the profits from the sale of the water extracted in Denmark don’t stay local – they flow directly to corporate headquarters, and the town’s water resource is practically given away in return for… well, not even jobs in this case (it’s a well).

Defining $26,000 as “significant” tax revenue is a stretch, even by
small town standards. In truth, wells and loading stations deliver few
benefits to local economies (unless you define truck traffic, noise and
diesel pollution as “benefits”).

Our pick for “Nestle’s Most Astonishing Doublespeak of the Day?”

“We are committed to being a good neighbor and that means contributing to local needs and respecting local control.”

Given that one town away – in Fryeburg – Nestle/Poland Spring are actively trying to usurp local control through extraordinary legal means (they’ve sued/appealed the Fryeburg Planning Commission’s “no” decision five times).

At one point they argued that their right to grow market share superseded the town’s right to say “no.”

Respecting local control?

Only when it’s Nestle pulling the strings.

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