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Letters to the Editor (Wells, ME)

SeaCoast Online, October 08, 2009

  • Water extraction no benefit to Wells
  • Ordinance is a license to steal
  • Star in Poland Spring’s pocket?

Water extraction no benefit to Wells

To the Editor:

I correctly understand that the Town of Wells will receive nothing in return from the extraction and sale of water from the water supply this town relies on. This has been pointed out with the reason for such several times by our Board of Selectmen. Nestlé has made claims that a contract with it to extract, bottle, and sell water from Wells will provide jobs. I facetiously ask the following: “Domestic well owners, do you employ a staff in your cellar to insure your water will arrive at your faucet?” Of course you don’t. The same will be true of a pumping station; basically a pump and electricity are all that’s needed. Heck, in today’s world the station could be operated and monitored from a remote location by computer.

But wait! Wells does gain something. Wells will gain a large increase in truck traffic with coincident noise and disruption. We will gain increased maintenance of our roads and bridges at our, the taxpayer’s expense. We gain the “privilege” of contributing to the tons and tons of plastic waste that accompanies bottled water. We gain the prospect of domestic well failure as has happened in the past in Wells. We gain a 30- to 50-year commitment to the threat to our water supply. We gain decreased flow from Branch Brook with the resulting environmental damage. Yes, Wells gets something in return, ALL BAD. To allow large scale extraction to begin would border on madness. We must not allow it, we need not allow it. We must defeat the proposed ordinance that would allow it.

I urge you, citizens of Wells, cast your ballots Nov. 3. If you are not registered, do so. If you will not be in town, obtain an absentee ballot at Town Hall or avail yourself to early voting available after Oct. 5. I urge you to vote to defeat this proposed ordinance. I urge you to protect our water. I urge you to vote “no” on question 1 on the town ballot.

Dick Fowler


Ordinance is a license to steal

To the Editor:

At a joint Planning Board/Board of Selectmen meeting which put the finishing touches on the so-called “regulatory” ordinance, two of the selectmen compared the large-scale water extraction regulatory ordinance to insurance. According to Ekstedt and Foley, “you’d never go one day without insurance!”

The “regulatory ordinance” is not insurance. When thieves break into your house and steal your belongings, you can make a claim on your homeowners policy and get compensation for your loss. The “regulatory” ordinance, on the other hand, gives you the privilege of standing out in front of your house and directing traffic while the thieves take everything away.

What this thief is taking is something we can’t live without — water.

The water district will find a source of water for the municipal customers, but for those of us out in the Branch, our wells may not fail completely; but we face the possibility of waking up every day and having to choose between showering and flushing.

The possibility of water shortages and living on a Poland Spring tanker truck highway would affect real estate values. Homes out in the Branch would be much less attractive than homes in Kennebunk or Ogunquit. A “partnership” with Nestlé is a defect that would have to be disclosed on a purchase-and-sale agreement. Home values would decrease and homeowners’ insurance would be more expensive. Not to mention the safety issues of dealing with a tanker truck every 10-15 minutes on Branch Road.

No matter how the pro-Nestlé “voices of reason” try to dress up this foolish ordinance, the fact remains that we’re asked to sacrifice 158 million gallons of water a year for nothing in return, while Nestlé trucks it off and sells it for billions! And how have our selectmen and the Ordinance Review Committee been working to protect our rights and our resources? Good question. They gave us the “regulatory” ordinance.

Wells voters, if we work together, we can do this — we can run Nestlé out of town. We can say “no” to Nestlé. Vote “no” on Question One — the so-called regulatory ordinance — that’s the first step.

Linda Dumey


Star in Poland Spring’s pocket?

To the Editor:

Regarding the paper’s coverage of Poland Spring’s push into York County:

The meeting called by Ogunquit’s selectmen, to Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells officials, is newsworthy. Selectmen are calling each other out, to discuss a vital subject which permanently affects residents in our towns and could stand to hurt many regional townships.

The movie “Tapped,” which they were invited to watch, is an important movie for residents to watch also, since it shows the potential for harm we face by allowing the ordinance to even come to an open vote in its present form.

I hope you will thoroughly report this, since it shows the level of seriousness some selectmen are giving it. I haven’t seen in print anything that clearly shows this is being pushed hard by some Wells selectmen who stand to directly benefit from the ordinance.

The ordinance itself is the issue; not against Poland Spring itself per se. The selectmen may be doing something that could verge on outright corruption. Whether by appearance or reality, the ordinance could permit them to profit to a degree they haven’t before due to their current land holdings.

By allowing this ordinance to come to a vote, the selectmen have exposed our entire area to danger, by its allowing the kind of extraction that could surely damage the drinking water supply and quality, and could require extraction from non-local sources to meet demand.

The Wells selectmen, by being called up by their counterparts in the other towns, are not meeting the seriousness of occasion that this warrants. Instead, they are heavily promoting an ordinance that allows the large-scale extraction of water without any caveats or protections for residents.

Even though large numbers of people have objected, they refused to alter this flawed ordinance which they have pushed from the beginning.

The Star is indirectly giving Poland Spring the edge on this by treating the concerns that people have raised about the allegations of conflict of interest dismissively. The implications are important to the area selectmen at least and I hope this paper will follow suit, despite your clear benefits for hedging these subjects.

The paper could show objectivity by discontinuing to benefit from full page ads and online ads from Nestlé Waters. You would be more objective and have a cleaner place from which to call attention to irregularities happening around the Wells ordinance and the benefits they stand to gain if the ordinance passes.

Their ordinance’s precedence would show when you start to see the degradation around the state as communities start doing large-scale water extractions.

You will also see a beehive of activity in Wells, as Poland Spring stands to make a ton of money in Wells, since they desire our water clarity, since it is in a sandy aquifer, more valuable water but also more fragile soils capable of contamination.

Nestlé Waters, aka Poland Spring, will want to extract much more from our area than any others since we are so close to their bottling company in Framingham, Mass., and our water is so good. We will see countless trucks, degrading our air quality also, not just our water, and bottling up the traffic that is already too heavy on our streets and back roads.

We are already deluged and saturated and polluted by the lack of careful planning and our towns lands and shores are overdeveloped. Look at all the empty storefronts in Kennebunk and Wells, not to mention the for sale signs. So now the selectmen want to sack what little we have left of our homesteads — the water we drink to live. Enough!

Laurie Dobson


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