Poland Spring wins Fryeburg court case

Read Martin & Barbara Britten’s excellent letter to the Editor.
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MaineBiz March 20, 2009

The state’s highest court has ruled in favor of Poland Spring in a case over its efforts to build a water pumping station in Fryeburg.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday upheld a 2005 decision by the town’s planning board to allow the plan, according to a press release from the company. The decision disappoints members of Western Maine Residents For Rural Living, a group that opposed the pumping station based on concerns about heavy truck traffic and other local impacts, the Portland Press Herald reported. The station would fill up to 50 trucks a day with water piped underground from aquifers in Denmark.

The court victory comes on the heels of votes in two other Maine towns, Shapleigh and Newfield, banning large-scale water extraction in light of Poland Spring’s proposal to tap into an aquifer the towns share. The state Legislature also is considering more than a dozen bills targeting large-scale extraction of groundwater, including a proposed tax that would cost Poland Spring $7 million a year, the paper reported.

Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestle Waters North America, pumps water from more than 20 wells in eight Maine communities and has bottling plants in Hollis, Poland Spring and Kingfield.