The local newspaper recently ran a lengthy interview with Dave Palais – Nestle Waters of North America’s operative in McCloud. In that interview, Palais (sadly) took the low road by suggesting that opposition to Nestle’s plant is coming from non-permanent residents and San Francisco fly fishermen.
It’s an astonishingly divisive statement, especially given that Palais himself doesn’t live in McCloud, and as far as we know, Nestle’s headquarters remain in Switzerland, not McCloud.
The Mount Shasta Herald recently published an interview with CalTrout’s Curtis Knight and Debra Anderson (President of McCloud Watershed Council), and while we’ve excerpted key parts below, it’s worth a read.
The relevant passages? First, CalTrout’s Knight immediately attacks Nestle’s oft-repeated (and largely disproved) claims of exemplary environmental stewardship:
Curtis Knight: California Trout’s work on this issue started with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report in 2006. We had never reviewed a more deficient document and were concerned about the lack of specifics potential project impacts and the lack of baseline information. For example, there was no attempt to collect stream flow and temperature data on Squaw Valley Creek.
California Trout’s goal has always been that if this project gets sited in McCloud that its operations do not harm the health of the McCloud River watershed. The lack of information in the DEIR raised a huge concern that Nestle, despite their public statements to the contrary, were not going to be good stewards of the water.
We have said all along that a responsible contract can only be drafted once we understand how a plant might impact the watershed and what mitigation measures might be implemented to protect the region.
You can read the entire interview here, but we’ll leave you with this response to a question about why Nestle’s encountered so resistance in other towns:
DA & CK: Reasons range from Nestle operations negatively impacting area water resources to legal bullying. In Michigan, a court ordered Nestle to halt operation after damages to area water resources were found. Nestle refused to fully comply and continued litigation activities including arguing to the Supreme Court that the citizens didn’t have standing to sue them.
In Maine, Nestle operates a plant in Hollis and wanted to expand with new wells in a nearby town, including a truck loading station. When the nearby town refused Nestle sued and argued before the Maine Supreme Court that Nestle’s right to grow market share superceded the town’s right of control. These examples suggest that once Nestle gets a foot hold in a community they are not always a ‘good neighbor’ and show a history of using their considerable legal clout to punish rural towns.