Nestlé Waters appeal filed (Sacramento, CA)

Sacramento Press, Nov. 24, 2009

Save Our Water Sacramento filed an administrative appeal involving the Nestlé water-bottling plant on Monday, Nov. 23.

Davis attorney Don Mooney has agreed to take the case if the issue goes to court. Mooney represented McCloud residents in their six-year fight against a Nestlé Waters North America water-bottling plant near Mt. Shasta. The company abandoned plans for the plant in September.
Save Our Water Sacramento is appealing the city’s designation of the Swiss company’s $14 million construction project as ministerial, rather than discretionary, in an effort to win an environmental assessment of the plant. The group e-filed an appeal with the city clerk’s office and sent a paper copy through registered mail.

Under the California Environmental Quality Act, a discretionary designation of a project that could possibly harm the environment triggers a requirement for an environmental assessment.

“The appeal was filed as a way to encourage the city to perform its legal obligations under CEQA without the need for court action,” said lifelong Sacramento resident Loran Sheley, one of the leaders of Save Our Water Sacramento.

Attorney General Jerry Brown threatened to sue Nestlé in 2008 over an inadequate environmental review for its plan to bottle spring water in McCloud.

On Sept. 10, Nestlé Waters Chief Executive Officer Kim Jeffery said the company was building a plant in Sacramento to replace the plant proposed for McCloud.

On Sept. 14, the head of the city’s Department of Utilities sent a letter to Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council that CEQA does not apply to the plant here because the requested building permit required ministerial rather than discretionary action.

Nestlé has said the appeal has no legal merit and that the company has followed the process established by the city.

Mooney has agreed to represent Save Our Water Sacramento if an administrative appeal doesn’t lead to an environmental assessment and the group decides to file a lawsuit, Sheley said.

“We’re sort of doing this as a last effort to handle the situation administratively,” she said. “We feel we’ve done everything else.”

For more information, see: Save Our Water Sacramento