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.
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:
- 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
- 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?