Tag Archives: McCloud

Why Did Nestle Leave McCloud? Nestle’s “Truth” Isn’t Necessarily Mine

On a nice blog run by a seemingly very nice Nestle employee, the writer suggested he was “surprised” at some of the reasons he’d read as to why Nestle Waters of North America pulled their proposed water bottling operation out of McCloud.

In an effort to air the “truth” he offered up Nestle Waters CEO Kim Jeffries’ letter, and while I agreed that Jeffries’ letter was true as far as it went, I also said that it was far from the whole truth. My response to the gentlemen’s post is below.

I always get a little nervous when I see the word “truth” in relation to anyone’s press materials.

For what it’s worth, I believe that Mr. Jeffries’ letter is largely true – that fuel costs and changing market conditions made the switch to a Sacramento plant largely seamless.

Still, it’s far from the “whole” truth, and I think asking us to accept it as such is a little disingenuous.

I don’t know which of the theories and speculation surprised you, but I’d guess you’re referring to the “locals send Nestle packing” stories and posts.

You might feel that’s not true, but I think it’s an entirely factual statement to say that Nestle would be pumping, bottling and trucking water out of McCloud right now if a group of committed local residents hadn’t challenged Nestle’s first contract with the McCloud Services District in court.

That same group pointed out that Nestle’s first environmental impact report was entirely bereft of flow studies downstream of the water extraction point, and therefore didn’t measure a key environmental impact at all – which largely forced Nestle to abandon the first (and incomplete) EIR.

This is a simple truth.

I appreciate your willingness to entertain comments on your post, and I recognize I can’t know your perspective on this issue. For example, I can’t know if you experienced this whole process from a distance or from ground zero.

I’ve seen it unfold firsthand, and feel there are several other “truths” at work here that aren’t mentioned in Mr. Jeffries’ letter.

First, it’s true that Nestle is leaving the tiny town of McCloud in a divided, polarized state. It’s a painful thing to see neighbors (and even families) pitted against each other over this issue. Mr. Jeffries won’t refer to it as such in his letter (why would he), but I feel it’s part of a lingering reality about Nestle’s impacts on small, rural communities.

For example, it’s true that Nestle’s own representative repeatedly demonized plant opponents by characterizing them as “wealthy, out-of-town (San Francisco) fly fishermen” or as non-contributing newcomers to the area – terms guaranteed to fire up an “us vs them” mentality in a small community.

It’s also 100% true that Nestle repeatedly maintained they weren’t going to interfere in the local election process (I’m referring to the 2006 elections), but then wrote a check for $2500 to the pro-Nestle slate of candidates the day before the election – in one fell swoop dwarfing the amount of money raised by all other candidates (both pro and con). This largely put the sword to Nestle’s contention that it wasn’t going to “interfere” in the election.

It’s also “true” that Nestle’s legal council did attempt to gain access to the private financial records of opponents of Nestle’s bottling plant (some of whom were friends of mine). We can argue about the “truth” behind Nestle’s motives in that instance, but from here, it looked a lot like legal intimidation.

The above are all verifiable facts, and all led to my decision to found a Web site that attempts to hold Nestle accountable for its actions in small, rural towns.

In the twilight between verifiable “fact” and what is “probably” true lies a whole raft of messiness on both sides. This hasn’t been a pretty process, and while I hold Nestle 100% accountable for a fair amount of unsavory behavior, I also cringed at some of the wilder accusations leveled by opponents.

Nestle’s CEO says the company is leaving because of market conditions and fuel costs. Opponents claim a victory, and suggest Nestle was sent packing by a ragtag group of citizens. And just to muddy things further, I’ve read press releases from national organizations suggesting greater involvement than seemed to be the case.

Where is the truth here?

Like always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I know for a fact that Mr. Jeffries’ letter – likely the product of a gifted PR department – is hardly a complete vision of the truth – especially once you consider the simple fact that a new contract with the town of McCloud had become a very, very uncertain thing.

Did local citizens send Nestle packing? Is the bottled water market taking a plunge (and affecting capacity decisions)? Are transportation costs up? Does Nestle have a long, long ways to go to actually become the “good” neighbor it says it is?

I believe all the above are true.

If anyone has anything add, perhaps you could do so on his blog. After all, I didn’t delve into less “provable” concepts – like McCloud’s becoming a PR nightmare for Nestle, who at one point wanted to know what it would take to make the opposition “stop.”

Again, he created a simple post and seems like a nice guy, so any comments should be respectful. After all, if you worked for Nestle – and found yourself located a continent away from McCloud – your perspective on this would be very different from mine.

I would suggest that the remote perspective is a flawed one, especially if it’s informed largely by Nestle’s own official flow of information, but there it is.

More Reaction to Nestle’s Sacramento Water Bottling Plant (Hint: It’s Not Pretty)

Cosmo Garvin of the Sacramento News & Review has been monitoring the Nestle water bottling issue in McCloud, and – given the company’s track record elsewhere – didn’t exactly extend the welcome mat to the news that Nestle’s building a water bottling plant in Sacramento.

Here are a few choice breaks from his article:

And what an international company it is!

Nestlé has a track record of pissing people off wherever it chooses to stick its great big water-sucking straw. For years the company was involved in a nasty fight 230 miles north of here, in McCloud, Calif., where residents worried the company would suck their aquifer dry for a fraction of a cent per gallon. And Nestlé has been heavily criticized for privatizing water supplies in the developing world.

What do we get? Forty jobs and $14 million invested in the new plant. And why wouldn’t Nestlé think Sacramento is desirable? After all, they’re going to buy our tap water for cheap and sell it back to us in plastic bottles for 1,000 times what they paid for it. Why wouldn’t they love us?

The company is going to bottle about 150 acre-feet of water every year at its south Sac “microfactory.” If you’re not sure how much an acre-foot is, imagine a high-school football field in Natomas, under a foot of water. Some of that water will be trucked in from springs in the Sierra foothills, to be bottled and sold under the Arrowhead brand. But most of it, about 90 acre-feet, or 30 million gallons, will be bottled and sold under Nestlé’s Pure Life brand.

Nestlé will pay the city’s industrial rates for water: $.9854 for every 748 gallons, according to Kemp. Down at the local Safeway, a 24-pack of half-liter bottles of their water-flavored water fetches $3.99. That works out to about $38 million paid by consumers for about $37,000 worth of tap water, with some packaging, shipping and press releases thrown in.

Nestle is encountering stiff opposition in almost every new water bottling and extraction venue it’s in right now (witness the unexpectedly fierce opposition they encountered in Chaffee County, which discovered Nestle was offering up wholly misleading economic analysis alongside its permit).

Are they now due for a beating in Sacramento? Does this signal a retrenchment from the company regarding its rural bottling activities?

via SN&R > Columns > Bites > Something in the water > 07.30.09.

Nestle Considering Exiting McCloud Watering Bottling Plant Deal

We knew that Nestle Waters of North America’s just-announced water bottling plant in Sacramento, CA, might have an impact on their long-delayed McCloud bottling plant.

From the Mount Shasta Herald:

“In four to six weeks, we will let McCloud know if we will continue with our McCloud plans,” company representative Dave Palais said Monday night, noting that a recent article incorrectly stated that the company would be dropping its McCloud proposal.

Speaking during Monday night’s McCloud Community Services District meeting, Palais told the board that the company would be looking closely at how the Sacramento facility would impact their regional market and ultimately affect their plans to pursue a McCloud water bottling facility. He cited numerous issues as factors that will be explored, including the current lackluster economy and transportation costs.

The timing is more than interesting – announcing they’d be “looking closely” at the effect their own plant will have on another proposed plant seems… well, dumb.

One would assume a mutlinational the size of Nestle would have already have considered the impacts of another plant (I believe the same project manager was responsible for both).

Do we interpret Nestle’s operative’s statement (““In four to six weeks, we will let McCloud know if we will continue with our McCloud plans,”) as “we’re giving you a few weeks to come crawling to us with the deal we want, or we’re leaving”?

Perhaps.

Nestle has used exactly these negotiating tactics with other small towns in other places.

Another subcontext is worth exploring. First Nestle’s bottled water market is shrinking as outlined in this Huffington Post article by Lisa Boyle.

(Amusing note about the HuffPo story – IBWA spokesman Tom Lauria pops up in the comments section (page 2), mouths the bottled water industry line, but never discloses the fact that he’s being paid to shill. Nice work from the man who fronted the Tobacco Institute for nearly a decade.)

Nestle maintains the market will return when the economy does, but that’s guesswork at best, and if it doesn’t, what happens to all the jobs Nestle has promised to rural towns?

Are those towns – many already suffering from the loss of mill/timber jobs – about to experience a second “hard landing” when an industry leaves?

Perhaps it’s time that small communities started focusing on sustainable economic growth solutions instead of looking to heartless corporations in declining to solve their problems.

via Nestlé says it’s reconsidering pursuit of McCloud facility – Mount Shasta, CA – Mount Shasta Herald.

Nestle PR Spin of the Day: Protecting Water Resources a Priority in McCloud

Nestle’s taken to running a carefully controlled series of public meetings in the town of McCloud, CA – managed by a “facilitation” company and attended by a few Nestle execs.

It’s a step forward in terms of talking to the community, though we can’t escape the knowledge that their newfound concern for the residents of McCloud came only after their first (and largely rapacious) contract with the town went belly up.

Today’s PR effort? Here’s an excerpt from the Mount Shasta Herald:

“Protecting the water resources in McCloud is a priority for our company and the community and these studies will provide valuable and reliable information to use in evaluating our project and managing water resources for the long-term,” added Palais.

Does Nestle assume we’re so memory challenged that we’ll forget these studies were forced on them through the adroit work of the McCloud Watershed Council, CalTrout & Trout Unlimited?

You don’t have to be a detective to realize that Nestle originally pursued their contract with the town without conducting a single flow monitoring study. Not one.

As we’re seeing in Chaffee County (CO), Nestle’s “concern” for a community’s resources seemingly only appears after they’ve suffered a setback.

In McCloud, they’re finally being forced to do the studies they should have done initially.

In Chaffee County, they’re whipping out their checkbook and suddenly promising the community a $500,000 endowment (though initially with some ominous strings attached).

Initially, they only promised to support the community with free cases of bottled water (giving them their own water??), but after their highly inflated claims of economic benefit to the community were exposed – and began to threaten their water extraction project – they suddenly grew more “concerned” for the area’s economic well being.

This leaves us with two inescapable conclusions:

  1. It’s difficult to trust Nestle Waters of North America, who are seemingly a lot better at PR spin than they are real concern for rural towns and water resources
  2. The first offer from the company is probably a sucker deal

It also leads us to wonder if the McCloud Services District – if they deal with Nestle at all – should negotiate a similar endowment for the town?

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Bottlemania Author Elizabeth Royte Visits Site of Proposed McCloud Water Bottling Plant

I spent Friday touring McCloud with Underground Fave writer and Bottlemania author Elizabeth Royte (her Web site), who wanted to see ground zero in the Nestle water bottling plant wars.

While the McCloud Services District has no contract with Nestle Waters, it’s clear Nestle’s knocking at the door; they want to sign a new contract before 2009 is finished (after stepping out of the old one, apparently without warning the board).

The tiny rural town – which was just starting to breathe a little in the last nine months – has been plunged righ back into the Nestle Water Wars by the multinational, which heard repeated requests from residents for a “little breathing space.”

Nestle shows every sign of being willing to simply grind this one out, and why not? The potential profits from a McCloud bottling plant are huge, which explains the kind of money they’ve been willing to sink into the project.

More to come on this one.

McCloud Watershed Council Offering Free Pizza Dinner Prior to 2/18 Nestle Meeting

This was forwarded to me from the McCloud Watershed Council:

***********

We’d like to share details with you about the upcoming February 18th Nestle Community Meeting and our Free Pre-Meeting Dinner.

You may have seen ads in the Mt. Shasta Herald about Nestlé’s second community meeting in McCloud. Dave Palais announced at the February 9th McCloud Community services District meeting that Nestle has hired a second third-party facilitator, Joan Chaplik, from a company called MIG, Inc. (www.migcom.com)  to facilitate this meeting.

Dave Palais and his manager Brendan O’Rourke (Director of Natural Resources for Nestle Waters North America) will be in attendance to present the company’s revised project proposal, followed by a public comment period.  According to Nestlé’s ad, “The purpose of these meetings is to provide the public information about the proposed project and to receive direct feedback from the community on the proposal.”

Recently the Services District Board has decided to move forward in talking with Nestle about a potential water bottling plant.  This public meeting offers all citizens a golden opportunity to give their input regarding a possible bottling facility, and to pose meaningful questions to Nestle representatives.

Please help us spread the word and encourage our community members to participate in this important meeting; every voice counts!

Nestle Community Meeting
What: Community Meeting About Nestlé’s Proposed Water Bottling Plant in McCloud
When: Wednesday, February 18th, 2008 at 7p.m.
Where: McCloud Elementary School Gymnasium, at 332 Hamilton Way, McCloud


McCloud Watershed Council’s Pre-Meeting Pizza Dinner
When: 5:30- 7:00 pm
Where: MWC Office at  424 Main St. (entrance is on California Street near Colombero Drive).

To encourage attendance, and in an effort to bring McCloud residents together, we will be hosting a FREE “Pre-Nestle Meeting” Dinner from 5:30-7pm on the 18th. If you don’t have time to cook and make it to the meeting or if you’d like to join us for some spirited conversation, please attend our free pizza dinner at 5:30pm.

Thank you for your support and we hope to see you there!

McCloud Watershed Council
www.mccloudwatershedcouncil.org

Letters Critical of Nestle Appear in Advance of 2/18 McCloud Meeting

Nestle’s upcoming Dog & Pony show in McCloud promises to be an interesting one; it’s been preceded by national broadcast of a popular fly fishing show critical of Nestle Waters’ reluctance to study the impacts on the McCloud river, and residents have been writing letters to the local paper.

I’m highlighting three letter here (including my own) – one  of which is a welcome effort from an Orting (WA) resident who outlines why the town’s interest in a Nestle bottling plant seemed so foolish.

Here’s an excerpt from McCloud resident Tina Ramus’ letter (you can read the entire letter here):

Their [ed: Nestle’s] decision to hold a meeting has raised a lot of questions.

Is Nestle so desperate to get a foot in door that they are ignoring the message from the community that this process will take more time?

The water science is underway, but it took five years of concerted effort from the community to get those studies started.

The project description should be base on the science, and right now, not even phase 1 is completed. How could Nestle be so bold as to propose a project without that and other critical information?

McCloud residents need to be cautious about what they hear Nestle saying.

Here, Orting resident Philip Heldrich pens an “Open Letter to McCloud

I live in Orting, Wash., fifteen miles outside Tacoma near Mt. Rainier. Nestle came here after near-by Enumclaw got wise and told Nestle to leave. But our mayor saw only dollar signs, placing her trust in corporate America.

Dave Palais made Nestle sound marvelous, promising 50 jobs and millions in utility and development dollars. We’re a small town (population 6,000) best known for our endangered salmon. The deal seemed too good to be true, and it was.

The Nestle water lease wanting its own private pipeline, consultants said, sought 22.21 percent of our city’s total water rights.

Nestle planned 24/7 trucking adjacent to three schools. There would be air and effluent pollution from plastic bottle production. Nestle planned to use more water in the summer during our yearly May to October drought.

What was our mayor thinking?

Finally, my own letter to the editor hasn’t been published, so I’m including it below in its entirety:

Nestle Doesn’t Understand Our Rural Values, Desire for Local Control

With Nestle conducting another meeting on February 18, I wanted to ask the Swiss-based mutlinational corporation about local control – or why it disappears whenever Nestle’s lawyers appear in small rural towns.

In Fryeburg, Maine, the tiny rural town’s planning commission has repeatedly said “no” to Nestle’s desire to build a 24/7 truck loading station in a residential area, yet in a clear attempt to circumvent Fryeburg’s right to say “no,” Nestle’s lawyers filed a suit and four appeals (the last was just argued at the Maine Supreme Court).

In Mecosta County (MI), Nestle’s pumping damaged a watershed, but Nestle fought to maintain their water extractions even as residents’ watched a wetlands dry up and docks no longer reached the water in an affected lake.

Under threat of an injunction, Nestle finally reduced pumping, then promptly filed suit to end the right of Michigan’s citizens to file lawsuits like those that Nestle lost.

And don’t forget that Nestle did zero environmental study on the impacts of their water mining on the McCloud River (perhaps McCloud’s #1 tourist draw) until it was forced to by citizens.

Finally, at their last (and disastrous) public meeting, Nestle didn’t bother to hire a local firm to facilitate, but instead spent those thousands of dollars on the services of a mega-corporate PR firm that clearly had no clue about our rural values or lifestyle.

Which brings us to the rub; despite the pretense, Nestle’s only a “good corporate neighbor” when they get what they want. When they don’t – as in Fryeburg – their lawyers crawl out of the woodwork and local control of streets, noise, water and economy simply disappear. They don’t care about us, our values, or our lifestyle.

Let’s look elsewhere for an anchor business – one that won’t try to usurp local control.

This meeting could be a turning point in Nestle’s pursuit of the tiny town of McCloud, and with the buildup trending largely anti-Nestle, should prove to be interesting.

Television Show Highlights McCloud River, Nestle’s Threat To It in Advance of 2/18 Meeting

The Friday night broadcast of Trout Unlimited’s “On The Rise” episode focusing on the McCloud River – and Nestle’s cavalier approach to the river and the town of McCloud – has already generated a spike in traffic to StopNestleWaters.org. (The show is being re-broadcast Saturday 2/14 at 1pm PST)

More importantly, it exposed yet another layer of people to the problems inherent in bottled water – and to the somewhat predatory nature of Nestle Waters of North America.

Curtis Knight of CalTrout deftly outlined the threats to the river, and while it’s a fly fishing show – so he only had time to hit the high points – the information was passed along to an audience that I’ve heard numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

It’s more pressure on Nestle to start playing fair with rural towns, and while this is another small victory, it’s a shame that every town facing Nestle can’t get its own TV show.

I’d love to see Nestle’s depredations in Fryeburg detailed so all the little rural towns thinking of making a deal with Nestle will know what can happen if the predatory multinational doesn’t get what it wants.

In Advance of Nestle’s February 18 Meeting

The timing of the broadcast was excellent; it comes in advance of Nestle’s community input meeting of February 18, where Nestle make yet another corporate sales pitch presentation about their proposed McCloud project, and invites “community input.”

Keep up the good work, everyone.

February StopNestleWaters eNewsletter Sent: Expect Another Soon

I just sent the February issue of the StopNestleWaters.org eNewsletter, and if you haven’t signed up for it yet, consider doing so (simply use the sign-up box in the left sidebar).

Those who haven’t signed up can see the February eNewsletter here.

This issue’s a short one, and profiles what lies ahead for Nestle-affected communities like McCloud, Shapleigh, Fryeburg and others.

Also, it makes note of an upcoming broadcast on a popular fly fishing show focusing on the McCloud River – and Nestle’s threat to the blue-ribbon trout fishery (full disclosure; I appear in the episode, as does some footage from Nestle’s disastrous “community” meeting in McCloud). It should be fun (Outdoor Channel, Friday 2/13; 9:30 PM).

Nestle Waters Seeking New Negotiation With McCloud; Town Says “Not So Fast”

Nestle’s proposed water bottling plant in McCloud has been the subject of two recent meetings of the McCloud Services District (MCSD), and while the outcome remains unclear, what is apparent is McCloud’s ardor for a Nestle water bottling plant has cooled.

Little wonder; after five years of Nestle’s fractious, town-dividing interference in local politics, the residents are simply suffering from Nestle Fatigue. At the most recent McCloud Services District meeting, the directors spoke of proceeding cautiously (if at all), and prevaling public opinion was to take a long breather, or dump Nestle entirely.

In fact, the only real decisive action was to ask to speak to someone higher up the Nestle food chain, Nestle operative Dave Palais apparently having worn out his welcome. Witness this from Charlie Unkefer of the Mount Shasta Herald:

After almost three hours of board discussion, a review of communications – letters submitted to the board prior to the meeting, expressing a myriad of opinions – and public comment, the board passed a motion 5-0 to “address the issues with higher level Nestle executives.”

Though the issue listed on the meeting agenda cited “discussion/action regarding a request… to enter into new contract negotiations,” the motion passed focused only on continued dialogue, with  a tone of caution prevailing.

Director Tim Dickinson, who first brought the issue to the table in his opening comments on the project, noted,  “What I need is a conversation with the executive level of Nestle to find out what direction they are going in… I would hate to go six months or one or two  years and then have the contract dropped. My idea is to have that contact and have discussion.”

Farther down the story, the idea of a “community survey” reared its head, though director Schoenstein should be commended for resisting Nestle’s pressure negotiating tactics (that have worked so well in other rural towns):

Schoenstein also expressed his interest in conducting a thorough survey of the community’s desires around the issue. “We need to know where the public stands,” he stated, emphasizing that this information would better inform the board as they continue their discussions with Nestle.  However, Schoenstein remained cautious. “There is no need to hurry or fear that if we don’t (re-negotiate now) that Nestle will leave.”

Clearly, Nestle’s attempts to speed back into negotiations for a water bottling plant aren’t working. Moreover, the whole McCloud fiasco has cost them bitterly in terms of time, bad press, and yes – money. In the past, I’ve commented on Nestle’s unwillingness to alter their business template to meet the needs of small rural communities. That seems true in the current situation; they’re not offering the town any incentive to enter into negotiations, and to their credit several of the MCSD Board of Directors seem to recognize it.

McCloud Services District Takes Up Nestle Bottling Plant Issue Again

At the last McCloud Services District meeting (MCSD), a majority of the community spoke out against immediately entering into new contract negotiations with Nestle Waters of North America.

A majority wanted some “breathing room” from the predations of the multinational, and while the MCSD board temporarily punted, it’s unclear what will happen when the subject comes up for a vote at the January 26 McCloud Services District (MCSD) meeting.

After five years of fighting and Nestle-fostered factionalism (the multinational used its cash to interfere in the last election, and employs hired “consultants” to spread the word), most every person in the tiny rural town of McCloud expressed a desire for a little “breathing room” – something Nestle simply won’t give.

The problem, of course, is one of trust; after the board negotiated the first Nestle contract behind closed doors (and delivered one of the worst-negotiated contracts the world’s ever seen), Nestle continually interfered in the town’s affairs, including funding a slate of pro-Nestle candidates in the 2006 election.

In that case, they maintained they weren’t interfering, then delivered a sizable check (equal to 2/3 of the total spent) to the slate the day before the election.

Locals were also hired to serve as “consultants” and they spread Nestle’s gospel, often without attribution (letters to the editor didn’t identify the writer as a paid consultant, just a citizen).

In addition, Nestle’s legal bullying of opponents has been seen in communities across North America, though it evidenced itself here with an attempt to subpeonea the private financial records of plant opponents.

Given the litany of abuses, legal bullying, misleading statements and lack of responsible resource stewardship (no flow studies were conducted in McCloud until Nestle was forced to), why is the MCSD still hewing to a Nestle-driven schedule for negotiations?

At the very least, the MCSD should give the town – which is finally showing signs of healing – a little breathing room.

Unfortunately, that’s not in the Nestle playbook.

What’s unclear is how the votes on the board will fall; the complexion of the board has changed, and at least one of the members has soured on Nestle after the company stepped out of its last unworkable contract without warning any of the MCSD first.

Trust is hard to come by when one of the negotiating parties treats the other the way a dog treats a bone – which Nestle has done to small rural communities in pretty much every part of the country.

I urge the McCloud Services District – at the very least – to tell Nestle to back off while the town of McCloud figures out what it really wants.

McCloud Lukewarm to Nestle Advances, Puts Off Vote for Two Weeks

The much-anticipated January 12 McCloud Services District (MCSD) meeting – where Nestle Waters wanted the board to enter into new negotiations with the company – found Nestle receiving a tepid welcome from the board, and a largely negative response from residents.

Ultimately, the MCSD board decided to put off making any decisions for two weeks, and many residents (and board member Brian Stewart) even questioned the need to deal with this issue within two weeks (a commenter on the Siskiyou Daily Web site asked why the MCSD was once again letting Nestle set the agenda).

The Siskiyou Daily News offered its take on the meeting here. (UPDATE: The Mount Shasta Herald story looks to be more complete) Highlights include:

After the directors had their say, many members of the audience stood up to speak. The first speaker began by saying that the MCSD should “think about what is best for McCloud, not just the MCSD.” She went on to say that she believes that there are other economic opportunities in McCloud’s future, adding that she believes that the people of McCloud don’t have enough information to make an informed decision on the issue.

The speaker said that she ultimately wants the MCSD to tell Nestlé, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” which met with applause from one half of the room.

After many speakers in opposition to moving forward with negotiations or simply opposition to having a bottling plant, some stood up to speak either in favor of the project, or at least keep it as a viable option.

Brought up at the meeting was a recent California Supreme Court Decision which mandates an Environmental Impact Review before a contract is signed on any project having an appreciable impact on ecosystems, watersheds or other environmental systems.

While the MCSD could certainly negotiate a contract with Nestle without signing it until the EIR was complete, because Nestle did zero flow monitoring and environmental review prior to this year, the EIR won’t be complete for some time.

This leaves us asking the MCSD – what’s the rush? Why decide to enter into negotiations in two weeks when there simply won’t be any clear idea how much water is available?