ACTION ALERT: TELL PUC NO DEALS WITH NESTLÉ IN FRYEBURG

We’ve just learned that the private Fryeburg Water Company wants to seal a
deal with Nestlé/Poland Spring to guarantee that Nestlé buys at least 75
million gallons of spring water per year for the next 25 years with the option
to extend for up to four additional five-year terms – a total of 45 years.According to a news story in the Conway Daily Sun on Friday, “The two
companies have had a state-approved agreement since 2008, but the proposed
changes mean the agreement will need to be reviewed by the Maine Public
Utilities Commission.”The newspaper reports:  “The PUC announced it is currently accepting public
comment on the proposal. The comment period is open through Sept. 4.”

There are many reasons to oppose a private contract requiring Nestlé to buy
“at least 75 million gallons per year.”  Of particular concern, because it includes Nestlé drilling an additional well.  But the first step is to call for an extension of time for public comment and for a public hearing.

ACT TODAY!

Call PUC Attorney Matthew Kaply (207) 287-1368 who is in charge of this case
and demand that the public comment period be extended at least to the end of
September.  Also call for a public hearing.

You can also sign in as a registered public user on the PUC website and post
specific comments which will go to the staff and Commissioners.
http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/online/index.shtml  The case number is 2008-00052.

Here are a few talking points.
•       The public comment period must be extended at least to the end of
September. The original period of two weeks during peak vacation time and over
Labor Day weekend is totally unacceptable.

•       The issues need to be aired in a public hearing, not just hidden away
on the PUC website.

•       PUC Chairman Thomas Welch and Commissioner Littell should recuse
themselves from this case due to their past association with Pierce, Atwood
which has a long history of representing Nestlé.  Commissioner Littell was an
attorney at Pierce, Atwood from 1992-2003, the last four years as a partner.

•       Water is a fundamental right for people and nature.   Nestlé’s profit should not come before these fundamental rights. This agreement includes Nestle’s drilling of an additional well.

•       Only the Fryeburg Water Company will get to decide if there is a water
shortage in Fryeburg allowing less water to be sold to Nestlé, not the local
residents or businesses. Then only for 60 days! FWC has a financial interest
in denying there is any shortage.  Town residents and local businesses will
suffer while Nestlé will have its guaranteed 75 million gallons per year to
bottle and ship around the country.

•       This proposed 25-year contract would set a precedent for the state.
Nestlé could refer to this in future cases anywhere in the state.

•       The PUC must reject this proposed agreement.Here is the url for a pdf of the filed agreement.https://mpuc-cms.maine.gov/CQM.Public.WebUI/MatterManagement/MatterFilingItem.aspx?FilingSeq=72309&CaseNumber=2008-00052

Thanks! Ruth and Chris

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Here is an example letter submitted by Lisa S:

Water is a fundamental right for the people of Maine and their grandchildren, for the fish and other wildlife in our state, and for the farmers who feed us all.Fresh, potable water will surely become the scarcest resource on the planet during the 21st century. Allowing corporations to gain access to Maine’s incredible aquifer for profits to benefit their shareholders does not and should not come before these fundamental rights.The issues around allowing the Nestlé corporation broader access to pumping out and bottling Maine’s water as a consumer product are fundamental to life as we have known it here.

Therefore, the public comment period for Case 2008-00052 must be extended at least to the end of September, 2012. The original period of two weeks during peak vacation time and over Labor Day weekend is unacceptable. Further, it creates the impression that the Maine PUC is attempting to limit public input into this important decision.

Also, PUC Chairman Thomas Welch and Commissioner Littell should recuse themselves from this case due to their past association with Pierce, Atwood which has a long history of representing Nestlé.  Commissioner Littell was an attorney at Pierce, Atwood from 1992-2003, the last four years as a partner.

Under the proposed change, only the Fryeburg Water Company (FWC) would have the power to decide if there is a water shortage in Fryeburg allowing less water to be sold to Nestlé. Local residents and businesses would have no say in how to manage future water shortages.

Note that FWC has a financial interest in denying there is any shortage, so that town residents and local businesses could suffer water shortages while Nestlé enjoyed its guaranteed 75 million gallons per year to bottle for profit.

This proposed 25-year contract would set a precedent for the state. Nestlé could refer to this in future cases anywhere in the state. This suggests itself as a reason why the contract is being rushed through the PUC approval process.

Nestlé files augmentation plan for Arkansas River depletion

Joe Stone, Mail Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:33 am

A substitute water supply plan filed Thursday by Nestlé Waters North America requests approval to augment out-of-priority depletions to the Arkansas River resulting from operations at Ruby Mountain Springs near Nathrop.

The request applies to the period from March 22, 2012, to March 21, 2013, and states that Nestlé will pump 196.08 acre-feet of water from the springs at a maximum rate of 200 gallons per minute and 16.6 acre-feet per month.

If the plan is approved by the state engineer, Nestlé will replace depletions with water originating from the Colorado River basin and leased from Aurora Water through a 10-year lease agreement for 200 acre-feet per year.

This augmentation water would be released from Twin Lakes Reservoir to the confluence of Lake Creek and the Arkansas River in Lake County.

Concerned parties have 30 days to file comments on the proposed substitute water supply plan.

Comments must include any claim of injury or any terms and conditions that should be imposed upon the plan to prevent injury to water rights. The state engineer will not consider comments received after Feb. 3.

Any appeal of the state engineer’s decision must be made to the applicable division water judge within 30 days of the decision.

Comments should be sent to the attention of Heidi Frey at the Division of Water Resources, 1313 Sherman Street, Room 818, Denver, Colorado 80203. Comments may also be sent to heidi.frey@state.co.us or faxed to 303-866-3589.

link to article: http://m.themountainmail.com/mobile/news/article_8dc5a97c-3884-11e1-84bc-001a4bcf6878.html

World Bank Sponsors ‘Water Resources Group’ aiming to Privatize Water Services in Less Developed Countries

Chris Buchanan, DW4L, December 8, 2011

In 2007, the World Economic Forum Water Initiative was created to “raise awareness among governments, businesses, and the expert community about the challenge of managing future water needs, and on piloting public-private-expert platforms for reform.”  http://www3.weforum.org/docs/IP/MM/Water_Resources_Group_Phase2_4pager.pdf

Out of this initiative came the 2030 Water Resources Group.  Formed in 2008, the WRG was sponsored by the International Finance Corporation, a part of the World Bank Group, which “provides investments and advisory services to build the private sector in developing countries.”  http://www.2030waterresourcesgroup.com/water_full/Charting_Our_Water_Future_Final.pdf 

Then in October 2009, WRG published a landmark report, Charting our Water Future, which analyses the global water supply-demand gap to 2030 and economic options to close the gap. Detailed case studies considered in the report include China, India, South Africa, Mexico and the state of São Paulo in Brazil. http://www.weforum.org/issues/water#note

In short, the mission of this group was not only to analyze water access worldwide, but to create a plan for privatization.  Defending Water for Life is extremely concerned about how the worldwide privatization of water services, combined with this international approach to support water commodification, will impact the human right to access water for life, and the rights of communities.

Below is an article by Corporate Accountability International from November 3, 2011, summarizing this monumental attack on the right to water for people, and not for profit:

The World Bank has launched a new partnership with global corporations including Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Veolia. Housed at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the new venture aspires to “transform the water sector” by inserting the corporate sector into what has historically been a public service. The new partnership is part of a broader trend of industry collusion to influence global water policy.

The venture — called the 2030 Water Resources Group Phase 2 Entity — aligns global corporations that have major financial stakes in water governance with the World Bank, one of the world’s leading development institutions. Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has been appointed to chair the Water Resources Group, which has already received $1.5 million in IFC funding. Nestlé is the world’s largest water bottling corporation.

Advocates for people’s access to water point to this as the latest example of water corporations’ efforts to interfere in legitimate, democratic water governance. The Water Resources Group presents a conflict of interest to the World Bank’s goal of poverty alleviation. It also advances an approach to water governance that is in incompatible with the U.N. recognized human right to water.

‘This is an unmistakably activist campaign by the private water industry to gain funding and credibility for a radical power grab, with the help of the World Bank,’ said Corporate Accountability International’s Senior Organizer Shayda Edwards Naficy. ‘According to the World Bank, 34 percent of private water contracts are in distress or terminated before maturity. Last April, the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman reported that an astounding 40 percent of complaints received from all regions and sectors were water-related. This is evidence that water privatization has been fraught with a range of problems, including broken promises for expanded service, wasted public funds and threats to human rights, especially for the lowest income families. For the Bank to sanction this approach despite a track record of failure points to compromised decision-making at the Bank due to pervasive partnerships with and financial stakes in corporations.’

Currently, 90 percent of the world’s water-users access water through public delivery. Turning these systems over to private corporations would result in rate hikes, cutoffs and significant layoffs of water sector employees. Focusing on the private sector also distracts from the need to support governments in protecting human rights.

The Water Resources Group aims to ‘develop new normative approaches to water management,’ paving the way for an expanded private sector role into best and common practices, worldwide. In order to be eligible for support from this new fund, all projects must “provide for at least one partner from the private sector,” not simply as a charitable funder, but ‘as part of its operations.’ The group’s strategy is to insert the private sector into water management one country at a time, through a combination of industry-funded research and direct partnerships with government agencies. Currently, the Water Resources Group is formally working with the governments of Jordan, Mexico, and the Indian state of Karnataka, and discussions are ongoing with the governments of South Africa, China and several other countries slated for participation in the next phase.

‘Corporate Accountability International has consistently demonstrated the World Bank’s inherent conflicts of interest, acting as an investor, a government advisor, an arbitrator and a public relations vehicle in support of profiteering in the water sector,’ said Naficy. ‘Global water corporations must not be allowed to tap into public ‘development funds’ to promote their private agenda because case after case shows that profitability and fulfillment of human rights in the water sector are at odds.’

Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact) is a membership organization that has, for the last 34 years, successfully advanced campaigns protecting health, the environment and human rights. Through its Campaign Challenging Corporate Control of Water, Corporate Accountability International is playing a leadership role in the global movement to secure the human right to water, and people’s access to water; prevent corporate control of water; preserve and protect water resources and systems for the public good; and preserve water resources as an ecological trust.

link to the article: http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/77639

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tan Claro Como Agua Turbia (As Clear as Muddy Water)

This article is about Nestle’s targetting of Latino communities to market bottled water. The article is entirely in Spanish, but you can look up more information at: http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/node/1571

Empresas promueven producto con más energía entre los consumidores hispanos

Róger Lindo | 2011-11-06 La Opinión

Universidades, grupos comunitarios y líderes latinos han iniciado una campaña para contrarrestar lo que denominan las técnicas manipulativas de las compañías embotelladoras de agua para comercializarla entre los hispanos a precios muy superiores a los que costaría obtenerla del grifo, que es la fuente de la mayor parte del producto envasado.

Aunque dirigida a las grandes corporaciones que dominan el negocio del agua en botella, los organizadores han enfilado sus baterías especialmente contra el conglomerado suizo Nestlé, que según ellos está promoviendo el producto con singular energía entre los consumidores hispanos.

La campaña arrancó en el Bronx, Nueva York, donde se montó una demostración con personas de ese barrio que fueron invitadas a una prueba para ver si podían diferenciar entre el agua de grifo y la de botella.

La mayoría de ellos no pudieron distinguir entre una y otra, según Erin Díaz, organizadora nacional de Corporate Accountability International, el grupo que movilizó el esfuerzo. El congresista de Arizona Raúl Grijalva y la organización National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALAC) son participantes en este.

“El agua no debe ser una mercancía”, comentó Díaz, añadiendo que la campaña que se inició persigue educar a la población sobre el tema del agua, y apoyar la validez de los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento del líquido. Según ella las embotelladoras transnascionales han hecho muchos esfuerzos para cambiar la percepción que la gente tiene sobre el agua.

“Durante los últimos años estas embotelladoras han visto estancarse sus ventas, de ahí que Nestlé haga una campaña específica con la comunidad latina”. Un estudio reciente de la publicación Archivos de Medicina Pediátrica y de Adolescentes, que la campaña invoca, destacó que los padres hispanos y afroamericanos tenían triple propensión que el resto de la población a dar agua de botella en lugar de la del grifo a sus hijos. Detrás de esta costumbre se encuentra la creencia de que esta es más higiénica y saludable.

Jane Lazgin, portavoz de Nestle Water de Norteamérica, rebatió los alegatos de la campaña anticorporativa. “Nuestros productos son promovidos en todos los segmentos del mercado estadounidense y la inversión en mercadotecnia que hacemos en el caso del agua es mínima en comparación con lo que se gasta en promover las gaseosas o la cerveza”, respondió.

Enfatizó que la difusión que la compañía hace privilegia el consumo de agua por encima de otras bebidas, y fomenta su consumo. Esto es de particular importancia en el caso de los hispanos, dijo, cuyas tasas de obesidad son superiores a las de la población en general.

“Sustituir una bebida azucarada de 12 onzas y 140 calorías por agua al día te puede ahorrar 4,200 calorías al mes”, reza un anuncio desplegado en el sitio de internet de la compañía.

“Es cierto que las viñetas de nuestros producto dicen que esta origina en las fuentes públicas, pero también aclaran que se trata de agua purificada, pasada por estrictos controles de calidad que eliminan el claro y otros contaminantes”, dijo la representantes de la empresa suiza.

http://www.impre.com/laopinion/noticias/la-california/2011/11/6/tan-claro-como-agua-turbia-280989-1.html

Bottled water marketing tactic targets Latinos

By Alli Crook and Caitlin Krown, Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Tap That, a campaign of the Vassar Greens dedicated to reducing bottled water use on campus, commercial scams and unregulated corruption are expected of all major bottled water companies. From images of mountain springs and false promises of a healthier, cleaner product, bottled water companies have designed a product so cleverly that many are now convinced that they cannot live without it and are willing to pay for something that is literally free.

Recently, bottled water corporate king Nestlé has started a new kind of marketing tactic: targeting minorities. Depending on where you live in the country, you may know Nestlé bottles by a number of names such as Arrowhead, Calistoga, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills. Nestlé has a new brand of bottled water called Pure Life that takes water from a public water source, filters it, bottles it and sells it at thousands of times the price without releasing information regarding the quality of the product they are selling. Meanwhile, public water treatment facilities are required to release reports concerning the cleanliness of tap water.

But the injustices of this company go far beyond typical corporate nonsense. Nestlé uses a variety of tactics to target the Latino minority in their marketing. Underprivileged Latino families are especially vulnerable to such advertisement, as they often come from places that don’t have access to clean drinking water. Nestlé exploits this in a number of ways. They run campaigns that specifically target Latino mothers and utilize Latino celebrity endorsements.

Continue reading

Some question McCloud’s Squaw Valley Creek study

By Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Area Newspapers
Posted Nov 02, 2011 @ 10:15 AM
Last update Nov 02, 2011 @ 02:21 PM

McCloud, Calif. — Now that a study on the Squaw Valley Creek watershed is complete, members of the McCloud Community Services District and California Trout hope they can keep some of its sensors up and running.

“If we can continue the study, we’d learn more about stream flow,” said Curtis Knight of Cal Trout. “The more information we have, the better.”

In a press release from Nestle Waters North America, who funded the approximately $1 million study after the company halted plans to build a bottling plant in McCloud, the company could have taken as much as 3.2 cubic feet per second of water from the creek without diminishing water quality or harming the ecosystem.

Some in the community, however, believe the study isn’t entirely conclusive because the water diversion study was only conducted over six weeks. (The entire study took two years to complete.) MCSD board member Diane Lowe still believes such water extraction would have negatively impacted the area.   Continue reading

Bigger Than Nestlé

In Oct. 2010, Mayor Dean Maxwell of Anacortes, Wash., signed a water contract with Tethys Enterprises (a venture capital company) to build the largest bottled water/beverage and food production plant in the United States—bigger than the Nestlé bottled water plant in Hollis, Maine. The Hollis plant is entitled close to one million gallons of water per day. Tethys Enterprises is entitled to five million gallons of municipal water per day.

Anacortes, population 15,778, is located on Fidalgo Island in the northwest corner of Washington State. A colorful history of mills and manufacturing define the town’s growth from the 1890s to the 1960s. Citizens at one time proudly called Anacortes the City of Smoke Stacks, the downtown waterfront referred to as Mill Row.

Primary employment included a dozen fish processing plants, ten shingle mills and three sawmills, a pulp mill, a plywood mill, box mills and brick and glass factories and boat building. Eventually fish and lumber depletion and changes in consumer demand changed the face of employment. The plywood mill operated until 1990. Marinas appeared where canneries and mills had been located. Tour-based industries grew due to the island’s easy access to the San Juan Islands. Today, Anacortes is comprised of high tech, chemical, food, engineered wood products and marine-associated companies. Boat building successfully continues. Shell Oil Company and Tesoro Corporation built refineries in the 1950s where agricultural lands had once thrived.

Due to the concept of peak oil—when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline—the Anacortes City Council and Mayor are scared of the jobs outlook regarding the Shell and Tesoro refineries, in part due to declining Alaska North Slope oil production.

In order to guarantee future jobs, Mayor Dean Maxwell and the Anacortes City Council are seeking water-intensive industries. They regard the Skagit River, the region’s major potable water source, as a business recruitment tool. The City of Anacortes is the region’s largest water purveyor, and its entitled authority holds senior water rights. Anacortes serves about 56,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.

The City of Anacortes has calculated a 20-year municipal water demand that estimates residential, commercial and industrial use for the next 17 years to 2029, based on historical figures. A 17-year water calculation that does not include climate change studies is unacceptable. Complications include a prediction of 100,000 more people moving into the Skagit River Valley. Since changes in climate will influence Skagit River flows and Seattle City Light acquires 20-25 percent of it electricity from the Skagit River, who gets the water when the going gets rough? We have yet neither answers nor solutions due to a mindset that there is no urgency for long-term water conservation in a changing climate. A contract for the largest bottled water/beverage and food production plant in the United States that uses five million gallons of water per day is foolhardy.

        Defending Water is of the opinion that the City of Anacortes neglected due diligence. As evidence of Tethys Enterprises’ questionable business accountability, consider first its recently failed contractual one-year provision to acquire land by Sept. 30, 2011. The City of Anacortes extended this contract provision to Dec. 1, 2012. Second, Tethys Enterprises is a start-up corporation without a record of accomplishment. Third, Tethys allowed its Washington State corporate registration to expire on March 1, 2011. After Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin pointed out the failure publicly, Tethys reinstated its corporate registration to Nov. 30, 2011.

        Although the contract between the City of Anacortes and Tethys guarantees no number of local jobs, the Anacortes City Council is counting on Tethys’ questionable promise of 500 jobs in a highly tech, automated plant. Jobs are expected in exchange for the following:

  • Plastic bottles that plague our landfills and oceans.
  • Five million gallons a day of our potable water source.
  • Rail car traffic of 700-800 railcars per day through neighboring towns. (Anacortes itself will experience no rail car traffic.)
  • Future compromise of the Anacortes waste water plant.
  • Future unknowns of the Anacortes water treatment plant in connection with climate change.

         Anacortes can do better.

 Climate change, population pressures and pollution urgently mandate governments at all levels to manage and share the Skagit River in a sustainable fashion that meets the needs of nature, society and the economy. No single entitled authority need build its kingdom at the expense of others.

Over the past year, Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin has hosted educational presentations. Speakers included scientists from the Climate Impacts Group of the University of Washington. In addition, we have presented the award-winning documentary TAPPED and a virtual bottled water tour that addresses the processes, operations and scale of mega bottling plants.

        Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin is a grass-roots organization. We encourage communities to build water-sustainable businesses that provide good jobs. We encourage nationwide networking, so that we are all heard in one strong voice.

Sandra Spargo
Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin
Anacortes, Washington