Tag Archives: cascade locks

Proposed Cascade Locks Water Bottling Plant Drawing Widespread Opposition (Nestle can’t be happy)

The proposed Nestle water bottling plant in Cascade Locks (the Colombia Gorge) is heating up again, and Nestle – perhaps the least-loved water bottling company on the planet – can’t be happy to see this:

The video caption:

On March 29, 2010, a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations, Keep Nestle Out of the Gorge, led by the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, (www.fwwatch.org) launched a coordinated campaign to prevent Nestle Waters North America from opening a water bottling facility in Cascade Locks Oregon.

The coalition gathered at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) offices to speak out against the plant, and to then deliver petitions to the ODFW signed by 4,000 Oregonians who oppose the proposed facility. Keep Nestle Out of the Gorge opposes the deal because a bottled water facility would lead to the commodification of Oregons public water resources, and potentially jeopardize local wildlife, especially native salmon and steel head species.

On First Day of Cascade Locks Water Test, Nestle Kills All The Fish (Oops)

Nestle’s Cascade Locks bottling plant proposal will take water currently being used to raise endangered fish species, replacing it with well water.

Given that Nestle’s never done more than the minimum testing needed to secure their pumping permits (their pumping test in Chaffee County was only 72 hours long, and initially performed no tests at all in McCloud), the following dead fish story shouldn’t surprise us:

On the first day of an intended year-long test to see if Cascade Locks well water was suitable for raising fish, well water pumped into a test pond contained chlorine due to an equipment malfunction, and all of the privately purchased rainbow trout fry in the pond were killed. Nestle says (see below) it is working to “ensure there are adequate protections to avoid this, or other potential problems, in the future.”

The loss of the fish on the first day and Nestle’s subsequent commitment to only “ADEQUATE [my emphasis] protections … in the future” are very revealing, especially when considered in the context provided by their behavior in other communities across the country (see my Sept. 2 post below for documentation and action suggestions).

Oppose this project now, and support other projects to create sustainable jobs and options in Cascade Locks and other communities.

via Economic Justice Action Group » All test pond fish killed on 1st day due to equipment malfunction: Nestle’s Cascade Locks proposal?.

Guest Opinion on Oregon Live Asks Why Resource Laws Don’t Apply to Water Bottling Companies

A guest opinion on the Oregon Live Web site touches on a host of water bottling issues that are not mentioned by bottlers themselves; what happens when all that waters leaves the state or county it was bottled in?

And why is it resource laws no longer seem to apply once water is put in a bottle?

Protecting Oregon’s water – OregonLive.com

The quest for water in the Northwest by Nestle is just one more indication that Oregonians need to step up to the plate and take seriously the stewardship of water in the state. By law, Oregonians own the water. But without a comprehensive state plan and vigilance on the part of citizens, we may soon be faced with an alarming amount of our water going out of state or even out of country.

Few are aware that three of the world’s largest private water bottlers are currently or soon may be taking our water and selling it for as much as 1,500 percent profit.

WalMart bottles artesian water from Cove to sell under its private
label across the country. CocaCola is in the middle of its plant
expansion in Wilsonville, where it will be bottling the Willamette
River as its Dasani brand. And now we may be faced with Nestle, the
Swiss multinational corporation, buying water as a municipal ratepayer
of Cascade Locks, bottling it and shipping it out of state.

It seems that these corporations have found a loophole in Oregon
statutes. ORS 537.810(1) states that “no waters of the state arising
within a basin shall be diverted, impounded or in any manner
appropriated for diversion or use outside the boundaries of that basin
except on the express consent of the Legislative Assembly.” Apparently,
once the water is capped in bottles, it becomes a product rather than a
natural resource.

Nevermind the private corporations and their 20-ounce bottles. What if
out-of-state interests come knocking, fill bladders that hold tens of
thousands of gallons of water and ship them by way of trucks or barges
to places for sale? Will these be considered products and therefore not
prohibited under Oregon law? We’ve heard that communities across the
Columbia River from Cascade Locks in Washington are running out of
water. And we’ve known for years that California has its eye on
Columbia River water.

As The Oregonian reported in 2008, U.S. District Judge Malcolm
Marsh, who has presided over Columbia River salmon disputes for years,
warned that other states might come after the Columbia as global
warming shrinks their water supplies.

“I don’t think those ideas have died,” he said. “I think they’re very, very much in sleep mode right now.”

He warned Northwesterners to settle their differences over fish and
water so they’re unified if other states with more political power come
calling. “You don’t want them to come up here in a situation of chaos,”
he said. “You want them to come up here in a situation of agreement.”

All of this indicates an immediate need for Oregon to draft a
comprehensive plan that addresses priorities and revisits state water
law. Its guiding principle must be to protect and provide clean water,
a human and watershed right, for current and future generations of
Oregonians. Oregon’s water shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder.
Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, Reps. Jefferson Smith and Bob Jenson are to be
commended for starting the work. Now, we must all participate in this
critical conversation.

Nancy Matela is co-host of “The Water Spot” on Cable Metro Community Access Channel 11 in Portland.

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More on Nestle’s Proposed Cascade Locks Bottling Plant

Inevitably, early media coverage of proposed Nestle plants is positive – a reflection of the company’s habit of quietly working to court small towns before the general public is aware of their presence.

In this case, the reporter gets it partially right – Nestle has been having a tough time finding towns willing to partner with it (apparently its reputation precedes it).

Still, the suggests the reception accorded the company has been “anything but hostile” – yet if you read the comments beneath the story (there are 54 of them), an overwhelming majority are hostile to the proposed plant (which will bring 110 trucks per day through the town’s single entrance).

In the reader poll, 84% voted “no” to the Nestle project.

Nestle eyes Columbia Gorge spring to bottle water – OregonLive.com

When it comes to getting rights to bottle spring water in pristine places in the West, Nestle Waters North America has had some tough going of late.

Enumclaw, Wash., said no thanks last summer, citing environmental concerns. Nestle dropped attempts in two other Washington towns, Black Diamond and Orting, on logistical grounds.
Scott Learn/The OregonianThe spring that would supply a potential Nestle Waters bottling plant in Cascade Locks pops out at three wooded spots on a hill just above a state of Oregon fish hatchery.

And Nestle’s efforts in McCloud, Calif., near Mt. Shasta, have sparked a 6-year battle, with California’s attorney general railing last year at the evils of shipping and selling water in petroleum-based plastic bottles.

But Nestle’s latest proposal for its first Northwest bottling plant is for Cascade Locks, in the verdant Columbia Gorge, where the logistics appear favorable — and the reception has been anything but hostile.

It appears that Nestle Waters of North America no longer has the ability to sneak in under the radar – every project is fast becoming a battle for the Swiss multinational.

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Letters to Editor Decry Nestle Plant in Cascade Locks

Three letters to the editor at Oregon Live are indicating what Nestle surely didn’t want to see: A surprising amount of opposition to a Nestle water bottling plant in Cascade Locks:

Before city leaders in Cascade Locks decide whether to allow the massive infrastructure, land use and water use changes sought by Nestle Waters North America, they would do well to check up on the welfare of similar communities hosting Nestle plants (“Bottler seeks to tap spring water in gorge,” June 12).

Excerpt #2:

If Nestle is allowed to build a bottling plant and pump water in the Columbia River Gorge, it will most definitely do more harm than good.

Pumping huge amounts of water from rivers harms the environment, changes the balance of ecosystems, and mostly works to benefit the company.

In Mecosta County, Michigan, where Nestle has a bottling plant, the effects on the community have been
devastating. Nestle has made it virtually impossible for the community to have a say in how it pumps the water and runs the operation.

Excerpt #3:

After reading about Nestle Waters North America’s proposal for a $50 million bottling plant in Cascade Locks, (bringing a whopping 45 jobs) all I can say is “No! No! No!”

Cascade Locks should not let Nestle anywhere near its supply of pristine spring water. That could begin the slippery slope of corporate ownership of the water supply.

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Nestle Targets Small Northwestern Town: Reader Comments to Story Overwhelmingly Negative

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).

Is gushing spring a well of hope for town? | KATU.com – Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional

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.

And…

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

And…

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
resource?

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.

And…

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.

And…

Letting in Nestle would “shower” the entire area with bad…

If
you have not followed their failed attempt in other areas, try these
google search terms “Nestle water Enumcla” & “Nestle water
McCloud”.

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.

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Nestle Abandons Plans for Water Bottling Plant in Black Diamond, WA

After Nestle Waters was unceremoniously kicked out of Enumclaw (after a citizen uprising), the company turned to he nearby communities of Orting and Black Diamond.

Now it appears that Nestle has ended talks with the town of Black Diamond, leaving us to speculate about the tiny town of Cascade Locks (OR), where Nestle was interested in a bottling plant (via the Enumclaw Courier-Herald):

Nestlé has been in discussions with the city of Black Diamond for a number of months, exploring the possibility of establishing a spring water bottling plant and becoming a commercial customer of Black Diamond’s spring water, but in a letter sent to the city of Black Diamond Thursday, the company has decided not to continue its pursuit there.

At this point, we can’t possibly know why Nestle abandoned their plans, though I suspect we’ll be hearing more about Nestle’s plans in the Northwest soon.

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Nestle Waters of North America Backs Away From Orting, WA Bottling Plant Deal

Nestle Waters of North America has announced it won’t be building a water bottling plant in Orting, WA, leaving industry watchers wondering where they’re planning to locate their “we-want-to-break-ground-by 2010” Northwestern water bottling plant.

From the Seattle-Tacoma news site:

Nestle Waters North America is no longer exploring Orting as a site for its first bottling plant in the Pacific Northwest.

The company was considering Orting’s three mountain springs as sources for a plant that would bottle 100 million gallons of water a year.

Officials in the East Pierce County city announced Wednesday afternoon that Nestle would not locate its plant in the city, ending talks that started in June.

The company’s only West Coast plant north of California is in Hope, B.C.

David Palais, Nestle Waters’ natural resource manager, said Wednesday that the company’s decision was based on a variety of factors. He said there weren’t any specific problems with Orting’s water volume or supply.

“We have a whole list of factors, such as land and infrastructure requirements, and certain ones look like they’d be better for us at other locations,” Palais said. “As a company, we obviously have limited resources. We have to focus on a location where the group of factors appears more promising.”

One potential new Nestle bottling plant is Cascade Locks (OR), where one resident has written in frustration; she’d rather not see Nestle do there what they did in Calistoga.