Nestle’s long had a reputation for using its powerful legal resources to bend small rural towns to its will.
When they lose, they simply revamp their arguments and come back for another round, and if you think that’s simply stubborness, consider this water-rights ordinance exchange from Maine’s Seacoastonline.com site:
Joan Mooney, Chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen and a supporter of prohibiting extraction, said the issue is having an ordinance that could stand up to legal scrutiny.
“The fear is that other towns have been taken to court by Nestlé (parent company of Poland Spring) because their laws have holes in them,” Mooney said. “The Ordinance Review Committee can write a regulatory one or one that’s rights-based. The latter doesn’t have any holes in it.”
Town Planner Mike Huston raised questions about the rights-based approach, however.
“When people have talked about this, it’s like the ultimate thing that keeps you out of court and prevents a company from running roughshod over the town,” he said. “But if I’m a large company and I want water and you put roadblocks in my way, I’m going to court.
Apprently, Nestle’s legal bullying is working; communities are discussing ordinances based not on what they want or how to retain local control, but from the perspective of what might and might not land them in legal hot water with Nestle Waters of North America.
If you’re a multinational whose concern for local communities extends only as far as their contribution to your bottom line, then using extraordinary legal means to make sure locals are too fearful to challenge you is probably an effective tactic (though a morally bankrupt one).
Read the entire story here: Restrictions on water extraction debated in Wells.