Tag Archives: sterling

Nestle/Poland Spring Water Battle Tops Sterling News 2008 Wrapup Too

In another look back at 2008, the Sterling News also led their wrap-up with a Nestle Waters/Poland Spring story – this one about the very contentious Wekepeke aquifer.

On the water front, much of the year was devoted to the Wekepeke Aquifer, and an effort by Nestle Waters to use the resource for bottled water. Clinton officials signed an agreement in June to resist Nestle’s advances, but Sterling officials did not immediately sign on.

A local group, the Committee for Informed Citizens, implored the Selectmen to make a similar stand and close off the aquifer to Nestle. Finally, in October, the Selectmen released a statement taking a stand against commercial use of the water.

“The purchase and re-sale of water of the Wekepeke aquifer by any private company, such as Nestle Waters, should not be encouraged or permitted,” the Selectmen said in the Oct. 1 statement. “The sale of public water from the Wekepeke aquifer does not represent sound public policy nor is it in the spirit or intent of the original and subsequent enabling legislation.”

This was classic Nestle/Poland Spring; the deal was halfway to finished before the citizenry found out, and only a strong response got it tabled – especially after questions about the saleability of the water were raised.

“Tabled” Nestle Contract Topic of Discussion Among Clinton Selectmen… Again

Though everybody said it was a dead issue, the idea of Clinton selling Wekepeke water to Nestle was raised again at the Clinton Selectmen meeting.

Like a zombie rising from the grave to eat the brains of the living, this is a bad idea that simply won’t go away:

From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News:

The loss of $250,000 in state money to fix deteriorating earthen dams at the Clinton-owned Wekepeke Reservoir in Sterling last night prompted a discussion among selectmen of revisiting selling Wekepeke water to Nestlé Waters North America for bottling.

A contract between the town and Nestlé allowing the bottling company access to the 564-acre parcel for testing will expire in March.

The idea was initially an unpopular among Sterling residents, where the Wekepeke reservoir is located, and there are some significant legal questions about Clinton’s right to sell the water.

Some even felt the Clinton Selectmen misrepresented the extent of the negotiations with Nestle, and given all the questions and opposition, the whole project was apparently put to rest.

Still, it appears several of the selectmen don’t want to re-open the negotiation, which will hopefully (and finally) put this issue to bed:

After much opposition in Sterling and some legal questions, the town earlier this year turned down a deal with Nestlé that would have included money to repair the four dams, two of which were considered in danger of collapsing. The Wekepeke, with five reservoirs, was once Clinton’s public water supply, but has not been used since the 1960s.

Some Sterling residents have contended all along that Nestlé has not given up on buying Wekepeke water.

Selectman Anthony M. Fiorentino suggested that with the state money for dam repairs cut, the town might look again at the Nestlé proposal.

But Selectmen Mary Rose Dickhaut, Kathleen A. Sheridan, and James J. LeBlanc were against it.

“I think there are too many consequences,” Ms. Dickhaut said. “I thought we had put this to rest.”

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Clinton Paper is Running Poll on Nestle & Wekepeke; Invest Ten Seconds and Be Heard

The Wicked Local Web site (Clinton) is hosting a poll suggesting Clinton should give Nestle a second shot at the Wekepeke watershed (the Sterling/Clinton mess), and if you can find 20 seconds in your day, why not pop over and let your voice be heard?

The poll’s titled: “Should Clinton solicit another Wekepeke water bid?

Sadly, the poll shortchanges the reasons why you wouldn’t want a profit-hungry multinational mining your water, including:

  • Almost none of Nestle’s enormous bottled water profits return to the community
  • Few – if any – local jobs are created by a pumping station
  • Clinton may not even have the legal right to sell the water
  • Truck traffic (and the attendant noise & pollution) have a significant negative impact on nearby communities (like Sterling)

To vote, visit this page, and vote in the box to the left of the story. Right now the poll’s running 65%/35% in favor of giving Nestle another shot at the Wekepeke water – and this despite all the unanswered questions.

Let ’em know how you feel.

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