When it comes to water are your interests being heard? (letter)

To the Editor (Seacoast Online, published June 11, 2009)

“Last time I checked Nestlé is in fact an outside group with an agenda, so why then are they writing the rules for our town. Are we to regulate them, or are they regulating us?”

After an overpowering vote of NO on the May 16 rights-based ordinance that would have prevented large-scale water extraction here in Wells, many residents and business owners that opposed the rights-based ordinance agreed that they were also opposed to the pumping and bottling of our town water.

The ordinance was turned down leaving the town to now rely on a regulatory ordinance, an ordinance that will require anyone who wants to obtain more than 5,000 gallons of water on any given day to apply for a permit from the town. At the Town Meeting on the 16th, the selectmen promised that a better ordinance would be written by the people of Wells and not by outside interests. Ron Collins recently said to the editor, “the final ordinance will be ours and NOT language dictated to us by some outside group whose agenda is nothing more than to take away our rights as U.S. citizens.”

Well, I have to say I was disappointed to discover that at the May 27 Ordinance Review Committee meeting a representative and lawyer for Nestlé were present. They were provided with a copy of the regulatory ordinance before the meeting and were allowed to and encouraged by the town attorney to make provisions that they saw fit. I am asking you to consider who’s language this new ordinance is being written? Is this the voice of the town? Last time I checked Nestlé is in fact an outside group with an agenda, so why then are they writing the rules for our town. Are we to regulate them, or are they regulating us? Can we trust that this new legal document will actually control water extraction or is it merely an illusion so the town feels protected?

The local residents of Maine should control the economic development of the town and the state, but a large corporation such as this has an obligation to its shareholders not the residents of Maine and certainly not to the residents of Wells. We may debate and discuss the local water supply adequacy and the demand the population growth puts on our aquifer, but the real question is who has the control of your water and what does this commodity mean to a international market? When you look at the big picture, we are the little guys but we do not have to be blind to the truth. If you do not want water extraction, I urge you to let the town selectmen know and attend the ORC meetings.

Colleen Forde

Wells