Tag Archives: rural economic development

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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Nestle Manuevering for Chaffee County, Colorado Water: Is Opposition Mounting?

This comment from a StopNestleWaters.org reader is referring (I think) to the same extraction site we wrote about here on StopNestleWaters:

Nestle is currently contracting with a local rancher in a rural county in Colorado for the rights to bottle the water from a high yielding spring. This greatly affects the recharge into the Arkansas river as well as the underlying aquifer which is already being innundated with wells.

The folks at Nestle are at least being candid about job creation in the County (none) and because they are simply taking the water out they are avoiding county taxes while their trucks would tear up county roads and create a dust problem where local livestock is raised. Water is like gold in Colorado because there is a very finite supply and I could see this causing issues for many years to come.

As the reader pointed out, Nestle has got to be crossing their fingers on this one; with no promise of local economic benefit to hold over the heads of the community, a little opposition to the truck traffic, pollution, noise and related issues would probably go a long ways.

You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to realize this is the worst kind of economic development for a rural area; a precious resource is extracted and leaves the area – along with any potential profits or benefits from the sale of the resource.

Thus, while the area suffers the indignity of truck traffic (noise, safety issue, pollution, unrecompensed wear & tear on roads), there is economic benefit, except to the one person selling the water (and that’s probably being sold too cheaply).

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