Tag Archives: nestle water of north america

Local Citizens Groups Forming to Prevent Nestle Extraction Projects, Foster Local (Sustainable) Economic Growth

Nestle Waters of North America has long been in the practice of imposing their water extraction business template on small rural communities, typically without much protest. And in truth, water and resource laws rarely offered residents the ability to say “no” to corporations like Nestle.

That reality is changing fast, and in fact, Nestle’s projects across
the United States are coming under fire from residents are agitating
for more local control (and local benefits) from the extraction of
their resources.

Maine Ordinances

As noted in a recent NPR story, Maine’s small town residents are collecting signatures, forcing special town meetings and saying “yes” to ordinances which retain local control of water:

The Alliance For Democracy – Wells, Maine, residents vote this weekend on local versus corporate power

In a recent story on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Defending Water for Life organizer Emily Posner defended the ordinance and the thinking behind it: “This type of approach is reflective of a paradigm change that’s happening in our society and our culture around how we want to interface with the economy and the environment and the future,” she said. “We’re seeing people moving away from big box stores and trying to revitalize their local economy, and this is a similar type of approach that’s happening through the political sphere, where we’re trying to re-localize our political infastructure so that we as communities have the right to decide what will actually happen within our town borders.”

Nestle tries to pretend it’s a “local” company by offering up a refrain of “we’re Poland Spring – a local company,” others have noted that Poland Spring isn’t even a corporation in the state of Maine.

Chaffee County’s Sustainability Group

In Chaffee County (CO), Nestle’s water extraction project – which initially promised nothing more to the community than free bottled water to the school – is now facing determined opposition, and to avoid an embarrassing (and precedent-setting) defeat in their first attempt at an extraction project in Colorado, Nestle’s whipping out the checkbook.

Still smarting from a embarrassing series of “errors” in their 1041 application which grossly overstated the economic benefits to the area, Nestle’s also being confronted by a Chaffee County Sustainability Group, who realize that Nestle’s tapping an important resource, delivers few benefits, and could likely harm the formation of local, sustainable businesses.

Suddenly, the “we’ll do what we please” multinational is making noises about a community endowment and announcing local construction contracts right before meetings, and even if Chaffee County’s residents lose the fight against Nestle’s water extraction project, it’s interesting to note how far Nestle’s willing to go (or needs to) just to stay in the ballgame.

McCloud’s Local First Group

Meanwhile, the long-suffering former timber town of McCloud (CA) is still being intentionally factionalized by Nestle’s attempts to build a water bottling plant there, and in fact, Nestle’s operative Dave Palais marginalized opposition at a nearby Rotary Club meeting by saying “There is a small group that is opposed to the project and many are from out of town.”

The “wealthy San Francisco fly fishermen” refrain has been trotted out numerous times by Nestle’s operative, and it’s a pattern that repeats itself often enough elsewhere (including Maine) that it must be simply considered a divisive part of the Nestle playbook.

Belying that claim is the recent formation of a McCloud Local First group whose goal is:

The McCloud Local First Network is dedicated to strengthening McCloud and the local economy by promoting, preserving, and protecting local, independently owned businesses.

We’d humbly suggest that’s not the manifesto you’d expect from a bunch of “wealthy” out-of-towners.

Sustainable Use of Local Resources

While Nestle’s water bottling operations are under assault on both the economic and environmental fronts, it’s likely their biggest fear is playing out right before their eyes: We’re seeing the formation of local citizens groups dedicated to the development of sustainable businesses.

Multinationals which tap local resources (essentially for free) and send all the profits overseas aren’t exactly a part of that picture, and we can expect Nestle to deny that reality with a wave of PR-driven “community” projects.

Those, sadly, will not alter the fundamentally unsustainable nature of Nestle’s water bottling business (extract, truck, bottle, truck, truck, sell, throw away) – nor the multinationals impacts on local communities.

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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?

Nestle Water’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Gives $48,000 in 2008 Election Cycle

Nestle Waters of North America’s Political Action Committee gave $48,000 to candidates and political parties in 2008. Anyone you know on it?

Republican Party of Florida $5,000.00
Shays for Congress $5,000.00
Victory ’08 $5,000.00
Democratic Congressional Camp Cmte $2,500.00
Larson for Congress $2,500.00
Maine House Democratic Cmte $2,500.00
Maine Senate Rep Victory Fund $2,500.00
Mitch for Governor $2,500.00
Reuniting Our Country PAC $2,500.00
Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte $2,500.00
Villines for Assembly 2008 $2,500.00
Collins for Senator $2,000.00
Bill Nelson for U S Senate $1,500.00
Cmte to Elect David Cappiello $1,500.00
Parra for Senate 2010 $1,500.00
Charlie Dent for Congress $1,000.00
Dave Camp for Congress $1,000.00
Friends of Carl Marcellino $1,000.00
High Hopes PAC $1,000.00
IN House Republican Caucus Cmte $1,000.00
IN Senate Majority Campaign Cmte $1,000.00
Business Minded Democrats $500.00
Bill Diamond for State Senate $250.00
Cebra for State Representative $250.00
Committee to Elect Bill Diamond -$250.00
Hannah Pingree for State Legislature -$250.00

First Newsletter Ships: What’s Next at StopNestleWaters.org

The first of our StopNestleWaters.org e-newsletters went out this morning, and while our email list has grown gratifyingly quickly, there’s always room for more (you can sign up in the left-hand sidebar, or by clicking here).

In addition to highlighting the past month’s most significant stories, the StopNestleWaters.org e-newsletter also offers a glimpse at what’s coming – in this case a couple of important stories about Nestle’s souring relationship with the citizens of McCloud, and Nestle/Poland Spring’s need to run advertising in Denmark to counter the rising anti-Nestle tide.

Plus we’re working on a perspective piece that gets right to the root of the Nestle problem: despite their protestations that they’re a good corporate neighbor, Nestle’s largely dismissive of local citizens, local businesses, local values and local needs.

That will be published first to our e-Newsletter list, and then on the site.

Don’t miss it.