After the battering Nestle Waters took over its proposed 100-year McCloud water bottling plant contract – the one negotiated in secret and signed without any public or environmental review – it wasn’t a complete surprise to see them stagger out from under it, citing the need for a “clean slate“:
Nestle officials said the cancellation does not end its interest in the project, which at one point included plans to draw nearly a half a billion gallons of water from the McCloud River.
“We remain very excited about our project proposal in McCloud and would like to commence discussions with the District on a new contract,” the letter states. “We see the formal cancellation not as an end to the relationship but as the beginning of a new phase of that relationship.”
Sadly, Nestle apparently thinks “clean slate” means moving ahead on a new contract before they’ve answered the questions surfaced by the first one.
The question we ask is simple: How can the town of McCloud and Nestle come to any sort of agreement on the quantity of water removed from the area without knowing how much water is in Squaw Creek – or the impacts Nestle’s extraction will have on the watershed?
It’s not a complicated question.
It does, however, remain unanswered.
Negotiating now – given the war-zone atmosphere Nestle created in the formerly tranquil town of McCloud – seems premature, especially given the information that’s come to light:
- Environment: Despite their pretense of environmental responsibility, three courts say Nestle damaged a watershed in Mecosta, Michigan by overpumping
- Jobs: Nestle promised 300 jobs at its Florida plant, but never employed more than 240 (they now employ 205)
- Pollution: Nestle’s business model usually involves tapping other sources near its plants, and trucking the water in – potentially adding several hundred truck trips per day to the area’s narrow roads
Now that it’s free of its awful contract, McCloud should look to other, less disruptive economic opportunities.