Tag Archives: water bottling plant

Nestle Considering Exiting McCloud Watering Bottling Plant Deal

We knew that Nestle Waters of North America’s just-announced water bottling plant in Sacramento, CA, might have an impact on their long-delayed McCloud bottling plant.

From the Mount Shasta Herald:

“In four to six weeks, we will let McCloud know if we will continue with our McCloud plans,” company representative Dave Palais said Monday night, noting that a recent article incorrectly stated that the company would be dropping its McCloud proposal.

Speaking during Monday night’s McCloud Community Services District meeting, Palais told the board that the company would be looking closely at how the Sacramento facility would impact their regional market and ultimately affect their plans to pursue a McCloud water bottling facility. He cited numerous issues as factors that will be explored, including the current lackluster economy and transportation costs.

The timing is more than interesting – announcing they’d be “looking closely” at the effect their own plant will have on another proposed plant seems… well, dumb.

One would assume a mutlinational the size of Nestle would have already have considered the impacts of another plant (I believe the same project manager was responsible for both).

Do we interpret Nestle’s operative’s statement (““In four to six weeks, we will let McCloud know if we will continue with our McCloud plans,”) as “we’re giving you a few weeks to come crawling to us with the deal we want, or we’re leaving”?

Perhaps.

Nestle has used exactly these negotiating tactics with other small towns in other places.

Another subcontext is worth exploring. First Nestle’s bottled water market is shrinking as outlined in this Huffington Post article by Lisa Boyle.

(Amusing note about the HuffPo story – IBWA spokesman Tom Lauria pops up in the comments section (page 2), mouths the bottled water industry line, but never discloses the fact that he’s being paid to shill. Nice work from the man who fronted the Tobacco Institute for nearly a decade.)

Nestle maintains the market will return when the economy does, but that’s guesswork at best, and if it doesn’t, what happens to all the jobs Nestle has promised to rural towns?

Are those towns – many already suffering from the loss of mill/timber jobs – about to experience a second “hard landing” when an industry leaves?

Perhaps it’s time that small communities started focusing on sustainable economic growth solutions instead of looking to heartless corporations in declining to solve their problems.

via Nestlé says it’s reconsidering pursuit of McCloud facility – Mount Shasta, CA – Mount Shasta Herald.

“Secret” Water Bottler Building Plant in Orland, CA? How Does Secrecy Serve the Public Good?

While California remains in the grip of a three year drought – and the worst water crisis in decades – one company wants to build a water bottling plant in Orland. The catch?

They don’t seem to want anyone to know about it.

From the Chico Enterprise Record:Bottled water company proposes to build plant in Orland

ORLAND — A bottled water company is looking to build a bottled water facility in Orland and pump groundwater, and is working its way through the permit process.

A hydrologist working as a consultant for the company gave a presentation to the Glenn County Water Advisory Committee earlier this month and submitted an application to the city of Orland June 17, said Nancy Sailsbery, director of community services for the city.

She said the item will come up at the Glenn County Water Technical Advisory Committee meeting July 15.

While a consultant has met publicly with local leaders, the actual name of the company seeking to build the bottled water company has not been disclosed.

The application is under the name PLP Limited Liability Company (LLC), out of Mammoth Lakes, in care of Triad/Holmes Associates. Triad/Holmes is a civil engineering and land survey firm in Mammoth Lakes.

The environmental consulting firm working on the project is Malcom Prinie Inc. of Emeryville.

Sailsbery said the total water proposed to be bottled would be 160 acre-feet a year, which is about the equivalent of the water needs of 50-60 acres of orchard crops.

We don’t know what company is behind this, but they’ve certainly learned their lesson from Nestle Waters of North America (for the record, I doubt this is Nestle).

Their project people have been working local government for some time before the project becomes too public (bottling plants are suddenly encountering opposition everywhere – even formerly “safe” regions), though the veil of secrecy surrounding this project is beyond the pale.

Exactly how does this kind of secrecy server the public process?

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More on Nestle’s Proposed Cascade Locks Bottling Plant

Inevitably, early media coverage of proposed Nestle plants is positive – a reflection of the company’s habit of quietly working to court small towns before the general public is aware of their presence.

In this case, the reporter gets it partially right – Nestle has been having a tough time finding towns willing to partner with it (apparently its reputation precedes it).

Still, the suggests the reception accorded the company has been “anything but hostile” – yet if you read the comments beneath the story (there are 54 of them), an overwhelming majority are hostile to the proposed plant (which will bring 110 trucks per day through the town’s single entrance).

In the reader poll, 84% voted “no” to the Nestle project.

Nestle eyes Columbia Gorge spring to bottle water – OregonLive.com

When it comes to getting rights to bottle spring water in pristine places in the West, Nestle Waters North America has had some tough going of late.

Enumclaw, Wash., said no thanks last summer, citing environmental concerns. Nestle dropped attempts in two other Washington towns, Black Diamond and Orting, on logistical grounds.
Scott Learn/The OregonianThe spring that would supply a potential Nestle Waters bottling plant in Cascade Locks pops out at three wooded spots on a hill just above a state of Oregon fish hatchery.

And Nestle’s efforts in McCloud, Calif., near Mt. Shasta, have sparked a 6-year battle, with California’s attorney general railing last year at the evils of shipping and selling water in petroleum-based plastic bottles.

But Nestle’s latest proposal for its first Northwest bottling plant is for Cascade Locks, in the verdant Columbia Gorge, where the logistics appear favorable — and the reception has been anything but hostile.

It appears that Nestle Waters of North America no longer has the ability to sneak in under the radar – every project is fast becoming a battle for the Swiss multinational.

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Letters to Editor Decry Nestle Plant in Cascade Locks

Three letters to the editor at Oregon Live are indicating what Nestle surely didn’t want to see: A surprising amount of opposition to a Nestle water bottling plant in Cascade Locks:

Before city leaders in Cascade Locks decide whether to allow the massive infrastructure, land use and water use changes sought by Nestle Waters North America, they would do well to check up on the welfare of similar communities hosting Nestle plants (“Bottler seeks to tap spring water in gorge,” June 12).

Excerpt #2:

If Nestle is allowed to build a bottling plant and pump water in the Columbia River Gorge, it will most definitely do more harm than good.

Pumping huge amounts of water from rivers harms the environment, changes the balance of ecosystems, and mostly works to benefit the company.

In Mecosta County, Michigan, where Nestle has a bottling plant, the effects on the community have been
devastating. Nestle has made it virtually impossible for the community to have a say in how it pumps the water and runs the operation.

Excerpt #3:

After reading about Nestle Waters North America’s proposal for a $50 million bottling plant in Cascade Locks, (bringing a whopping 45 jobs) all I can say is “No! No! No!”

Cascade Locks should not let Nestle anywhere near its supply of pristine spring water. That could begin the slippery slope of corporate ownership of the water supply.

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Chaffee County Delays Nestle Extraction Decision (Now Nestle’s Not Paying its Bills)

Nestle’s water extraction plan in Chaffee County (CO) ran into a buzzsaw of local opposition – including a couple of county-hired consultants who shot Nestle’s proposals full of holes (especially the economic “benefits” to the area, which were shown to be hugely overstated (if nonexistent).

The County Commissioners were supposed to hold a vote on the Nestle permit process, but delayed because the huge Swiss multinational – a hugely profitable company – hasn’t yet paid its bills to the county (specifically, the cost of hiring consultants to debunk its “erroneous” permit application):

County delays vote on Nestle’s plan to tap springs – Examiner.com

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Map, News) –
Chaffee County commissioners have delayed voting on Nestle’s plan to draw and ship water from along the Arkansas River because the food and beverage giant hasn’t paid its bills.

The commissioners said Tuesday that they’ve spent $140,000 to review the company’s application to draw the water from area springs, but Nestle Waters North America has paid only $33,000 so far.

No doubt Nestle will eventually pay the money it owes the county, but this delay can’t help their cause in Chaffee County, where Nestle’s questionable conduct in other small towns quickly became an albatross around the company’s neck.

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Nestle Targets Small Northwestern Town: Reader Comments to Story Overwhelmingly Negative

We reported on Nestle Waters of North America’s interest in Cascade Locks a while ago, and it appears Nestle’s moving along with preliminary work on the project.

Nestle’s clearly interested because the town fits the ideal Nestle profile so perfectly; it’s a small town facing dire economic straits. Nestle wanders in, and in exchange for a promise of jobs, gets the water rights for next to nothing – and foists most of the infrastructure and non-negotiated costs on the community.

After all, we’re talking about a handful of jobs – most of which traditionally go to people outside the community – and 110 trucks on the roads every day.

That, of course, ignores Nestle’s shameful track record in other small towns when it doesn’t get what it wants.

Opposition remains light, yet – as Nestle discovered in Colorado – engaged citizens can make a difference in a hurry. For example, the following story is blandly pro-Nestle, but if you read the posted reader comments under the story, you’ll discover overwhelmingly negative feedback on the idea (I’ve cut and pasted a couple examples below the story).

Is gushing spring a well of hope for town? | KATU.com – Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional

The spring feeds a fish hatchery right now. The city would swap water rights, and the hatchery would get well water. Nestle would pay the city about a fifth of a cent per gallon for the water; it’s bottled water products sell for about $1.40 per gallon. The company plans to draw 100 million gallons a year from the spring, filling its Arrowhead and Pure Life water bottles.

“We started out, I understand, with about 90 businesses in the late 60s, and now we’re down to about a dozen and a lot of us are just hanging on by sheer will so anything that comes will be good,” said Mayor Brad Lorang.

The plant would double the town’s tax base, the mayor said.

But not everyone likes it.

“I don’t necessarily oppose it,” said Katelin Stuart. “I’m just the most outspoken person around here evidently.”

She worries about the environment and truck traffic.

“I agree that we need jobs,” she said. “I don’t necessarily agree this is the way to get it. It’s only 48 jobs. There’s no guarantee it just goes to people in Cascade Locks.”

Sample Reader comments:

Well, I don’t know very many businesses that are able to reap 70,000%
profit on thier raw meterials, so why not. Nevermind that Nestle has no
intention of paying the city anything beyond it’s base taxes for the
spring, or that 50 jobs is not a very big plant and many of those will
be filled by current nestle people brought in from out of state. It’s a
great deal, for nestle. For Oregon, we would be better served by just
letting the spring flow free into the Columbia. It would be one of the
few truly clean tributaries going into the river.

And…

Let me add quickly, I find KATU’s slant offensive in this article. “Is
gushing spring a well of hope for town?” Perhaps “Is Cascade Locks
about to be ripped off by corporation?” a more honest headline

And…

The Dutch multinational corporation Nestle is NOTORIOUS for setting up
these ‘pumping rights’ arrangements, giving nothing back to the
communities whose water they appropriate, and massively abusing their
position once in place.

We’re moving into a time when a clean
water source like this spring could well be worth its weight in gold.
Do we really want faceless, profit-driven corporations to own that
resource?

Everyone concerned with this issue should watch the
documentary “FLOW”, which investigates the worldwide efforts of
corporate powers to claim and control fresh water wherever it still
exists. One section details the Nestle corporation abusing their water
rights in Michigan, draining the surface streams dry, and giving
nothing back to the people of the area. Alarming stuff, and they have
their sites set on Oregon.

And…

The money and jobs are tempting. But Nestle will screw this town ounce they have secured the revinue source (water rights).
It seems easy, but folks, you will regret it. and so will your children, and thier children.
Don’t sell your soul.

And…

Letting in Nestle would “shower” the entire area with bad…

If
you have not followed their failed attempt in other areas, try these
google search terms “Nestle water Enumcla” & “Nestle water
McCloud”.

Nestle has been trying to get a west coast town
convinced to take them in for some time & failed. All that is left
is a wake of disgruntled neighbors who were once friends.

Ouch. Apparently, Nestle’s reputation precedes it – and it’s fast becoming impossible for the rogue multinational to sneak in under the radar.

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Nestle Waters of North America Backs Away From Orting, WA Bottling Plant Deal

Nestle Waters of North America has announced it won’t be building a water bottling plant in Orting, WA, leaving industry watchers wondering where they’re planning to locate their “we-want-to-break-ground-by 2010” Northwestern water bottling plant.

From the Seattle-Tacoma news site:

Nestle Waters North America is no longer exploring Orting as a site for its first bottling plant in the Pacific Northwest.

The company was considering Orting’s three mountain springs as sources for a plant that would bottle 100 million gallons of water a year.

Officials in the East Pierce County city announced Wednesday afternoon that Nestle would not locate its plant in the city, ending talks that started in June.

The company’s only West Coast plant north of California is in Hope, B.C.

David Palais, Nestle Waters’ natural resource manager, said Wednesday that the company’s decision was based on a variety of factors. He said there weren’t any specific problems with Orting’s water volume or supply.

“We have a whole list of factors, such as land and infrastructure requirements, and certain ones look like they’d be better for us at other locations,” Palais said. “As a company, we obviously have limited resources. We have to focus on a location where the group of factors appears more promising.”

One potential new Nestle bottling plant is Cascade Locks (OR), where one resident has written in frustration; she’d rather not see Nestle do there what they did in Calistoga.

Florida Citizens Fight Back: More on Gilchrist County’s “NO” to Water Bottling Permit

Bottled water is taking lumps at every point of the compass – from McCloud to Maine to Michigan to Florida, where local residents have beaten back yet another proposed water bottling plant.

From Alternet, here’s another Gilchrist/Santa Fe River article in its entirety:

Florida Fights Back Against Bottled Water Extraction

Over 200 residents from Gilchrist, Alachua, Columbia and Suwannee Counties in Florida came out on Tuesday to demonstrate their opposition to a proposed bottling facility along the Santa Fe River. After six hours of public testimony the County Commission voted 4-1 to deny a “special use” permit to allow Blue Springs Properties Inc. to extract water from a spring on the river. The new bottling facility would have pumped a minimum 500,000 gallons of water a day. Coca-Cola already operates a facility 5,000 feet from the proposed site that can pump up to 1.2 million gallons of water a day.

Local residents expressed concern over the environmental impacts of the facility, as extracting large volumes of water from the Santa Fe River could decrease its flow and water levels. As of September 30, the area’s water management district had not completed an environmental impact study on how the proposed facility might affect the Santa Fe River. The facility also would have increased traffic in the area, with over 100 hundred trucks a day entering and leaving the area, adding a significant amount of pollution and noise, while compromising the safety of local roads.

The County Planning Commission cited an incompatibility between the facility and its own goals of containing development within the area and protecting its natural resources. In March the Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the proposed plant, citing a lack of compatibility with the area, insufficient public infrastructure and safety concerns associated with truck traffic. Minutes from that meeting also reveal that as of March, a number of issues such as light pollution, storm water management, site ingress and egress, site coverage, determination of water recharge areas, buffer zones and wetlands delineation had yet to be determined.

The area’s economy relies on the river and its springs, which are major tourist attractions. While the precise extent of the facility’s impact on the area’s tourism industry is unknown, taking significant quantities of water from the springs would deplete their levels and natural beauty, making them less attractive to visitors.

Presently, the Santa Fe River is a tributary to the famous Suwannee River and both are listed as impaired rivers by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). It is necessary to maintain the historic flow from the springs to support the delicate balance of the water ecosystem.

“We are very pleased that the Gilchrist County Commission has decided to deny this permit,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, one of the groups that opposed the permit. “If approved, this permit could have ignited a domino effect where future extractions are sanctioned with little regard for the consequences they may have on the area’s ecosystem and communities. Once a permit has been obtained, a bottler can request at any time for more water to be extracted. The bottled water industry is notorious for its lack of regulation. Few quotas exist to limit the amount of water a company can extract as they are self regulated in the state of Florida.”

“Tuesday’s hearing and vote is emblematic of the power that people everywhere have to speak up in protection of vital natural resources,” said Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, board member of Our Santa Fe River, Inc., a local citizen group opposed to the extraction of water for the bottled water business. “Public interest prevailed because citizens showed up and lent their voices to this extremely important public dialog.”

This battle in Florida is just one part of a national endeavor to fight corporate efforts to bottle water from local supplies. Earlier in the year, activists in Wells, Maine halted a plan by Nestle to open a well to extract more water for its Poland Springs brand. Similarly, in McCloud, California activists mobilized to cancel a contract with Nestle to pump water from nearby Mount Shasta Springs. “What’s happening on the Santa Fe River is not an isolated incident. Communities around the country are mobilizing to stop the confiscation of their water by corporate interests. They want control of their water for their own purposes, not to see it commoditized and sold back to them at over 250 times its actual value,” said Hauter.

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