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Letters to the Ed. on Wells’ rights based ordinance

Three Letters to the Editor, April 16, 2009, SeacoastOnline.org

Open letter to Selectman Spiller

I took your suggestion to go to www.celdf.org. The information I found has re-enforced my conviction that the citizens of the town of Wells have every right to bring the “rights based ordinance” before the people for a vote. This site has inspired me to support the “SOH2O” group to move forward and do everything it can to bring this protection to our town.

We need a Rights Based Ordinance in place that will protect all of our water. An ordinance that will hold in the public trust as a common resource to be used for the benefit of the residents and of the natural ecosystems.

We know that water is essential for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The ecological systems, which give life to all species, must be protected for everyone. It is our duty to safeguard the water both on and beneath the Earth’s surface. We must protect out precious watershed system for the future of our society.

What’s more I found no information to support your vote to deny the people the right to vote on the proposed warrant article that was petitioned. You were elected to serve the will of the citizens not the will of an international corporation. There has been no court decision on any rights-based ordinance to declare it unconstitutional. You do not have the right to so declare the proposed ordinance as unconstitutional. That is a decision for the courts.

Thanks for the tip about this site. You were right to urge everyone to check out this site. It is very enlightening. And I, too, urge everyone to make use of the information found there.

I remain in support of calling for a vote on the petitioned article.

Marion Noble

Who decides on water rights?

To the Editor:

Frequently, the www.soh2o.org Web site gets e-mails from people across the country who share their stories about experiences with the Nestlé Waters corporation. This past week, Marie from Black Diamond, Wash., e-mailed with a report that is all too familiar.

Her community was caught by surprise when it learned that local officials were involved with closed-door negotiations with Nestlé Waters for a long-term contract to extract water from the local aquifer, for very little financial benefit to the community. The local people were outraged that they were disenfranchised and are just beginning to organize an opposition.

As Fryeburg, Maine, has learned, and the story is repeated throughout the country, Nestlé is not deterred by community opposition. Even in drought-stricken states like California, Colorado and Florida, Nestlé is not deterred by community opposition.

With very deep pockets, they can hire a team of public relations experts to spin their story and an army of lawyers and highly paid lobbyists to influence legislators. The local communities hardly stand a chance against the assault.

While Nestlé and others are aggressively seeking to secure long-term contracts for aquifers, there is a converse trend worthy of our attention. The water bottling industry figures which were reported in Business Week magazine in January, indicate that Nestlé’s water bottle sales were flat in the U.S. and down 3 percent globally in 2008.

There is a cultural shift happening in this country. People, especially youth, are thinking more about our planet and climate change. They are making more thoughtful purchases. Sustainability is “in” and impulse buying and purchases of convenience are “out.” This is about a change of consciousness, aided by the recession. Colleges and university as well as municipalities all over the country are banning the bottle and in Maine even the Common Ground Fair has committed to going bottle free.

When the consumer trend is moving away from bottle water, why do you think the Nestlé corporation is aggressively attempting to expand, even in the face of opposition in communities in Maine and in states like drought-stricken California?

Do you think that their interest is only in filing plastic bottles? Think again!

As T.Boone Pickens has said “Water is the new oil.” With climate change and the world water scarcity crisis getting worse, there is a handful of multi-national corporations which includes Nestlé Waters which are poised to have their hands on the faucet.

Nestlé is thirsty for profits and is not in the business of being benevolent partners with the community.

Some excellent books to read: Maude Barlow’s books, “Blue Gold” and “Blue Covenant;” “Thirst” by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow; “Inside the Bottle” by Tony Clarke, and “Bottlemania” by Elizabeth Royte. After reading a book or two, please ask yourself who will you trust to be a good steward of our water for generations to come? A multi-national corporation or local people making democratic decisions about our precious water resources?

Bob Walter

Must be something in the water

To the Editor:

First there were two, now there are three that want to sell your water. At the April 7 Town Hall meeting, the people brought before the selectmen and woman a rights-based ordinance. This ordinance comes with a lawyer who would handle and challenges pro bono. The water boys were well aware of it. I collected 500 signatures myself. It was no surprise to me when the Nestlé twins showed whose side they were on. It did come to me as a surprise when Richard Clark pointed out the many flaws in the rights-based ordinance. Now Nestlé won’t need a lawyer, they have Richard Clark. He did say there is a better ordinance only he forgot to tell the voters what it was. Again, Poland Spring Nestlé was better represented than the people of Wells. Selectmen Spiller, Chase and now Clark are well aware the people do not want to sell our water. The people spoke out on the KKW contract, they spoke out when they voted for a moratorium, they spoke out when they called for a rights-based ordinance. I and others worked hard and when it came time to show his loyalty, he picked Nestlé and dumped on the people of Wells. Thanks for nothing, Richard.

Tom Walton

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