Nestle Adds Premium Brand in Still Water Arena

New York Times

By ANDREW ADAM NEWMAN
Published: June 9, 2013

DRINKING tap water is essentially free, but even during the economic downturn, consumers have sprung for bottled water, with sales in the United States increasing 6.7 percent in 2012, to $11.8 billion, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Americans on average drank 30.8 gallons of bottled water, 5.3 percent more than in 2011.

Ads for Resource, which are being introduced on Monday, are aimed at a stylish, higher income woman.

Now Nestlé Waters North America, the top producer with about a third of the domestic bottled water market, hopes to make a splash with a new brand it is introducing nationally, Resource.

Larry Cooper, group marketing manager for Resource, said the brand, which was introduced in Whole Foods in 2009, then Southern California in 2012 before its national rollout early this month, is intended for the most discriminating water drinker.

“We look at bottled water as being at a more value, mainstream or premium level,” Mr. Cooper said. “And we have incredibly good coverage in those first two tiers, but we haven’t in all these years had a premium entry to compete with the Smartwater, Fijis and Evians of the world,” he continued, referring to the Glacéau, Fiji Water Company and Danone Waters of North America brands.

While Nestlé owns premium sparkling water brands like San Pellegrino and Perrier, Resource is what it calls its first domestically sourced premium brand of still water, meaning noncarbonated and noneffervescent.

Nestlé Pure Life has a narrow lead in the bottled still water category, with a 10 percent share, followed by Dasani, a Coca-Cola brand, with a 9.7 percent share, and Aquafina, a PepsiCo brand, with a 9.4 share, according to data for the 52 weeks ending May 19 from SymphonyIRI Group, a market data company. Other Nestlé brands include Poland Spring, with a 6.3 share, Deer Park, with a 4.4 share, and Ozarka, with a 3.4 share.

Resource is being aimed primarily at “a woman who is a little more on the trendy side and higher-income side, and the bull’s-eye is 35 years old,” Mr. Cooper said.

New print ads show the bottle in lush woodland settings, and highlight “100 percent naturally occurring electrolytes — for taste, never added” and that the bottle has 50 percent recycled plastic content.

“It’s more than hydration, it’s total electrolytenment,” says the headline in the ads, which will be introduced on Monday in publications including People, Vanity Fair, In Style and Fitness. The campaign, which includes online advertising, is by McCann, New York, part of the Mediabrands division of the Interpublic Group of Companies. Public relations efforts for the campaign are by Cone Communications in Boston.

Nestlé, which declined to reveal expenditures for the new campaign, spent $51.5 million in 2012 on domestic advertising for its bottled water brands, according to Kantar Media, part of WPP.

Environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council generally discourage drinking bottled water because of resources required to source, bottle and ship the water, not to mention the impact on the waste stream. But Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, commended Resource for using bottles that contain 50 percent recycled plastic.

“The fact that they are using recycled content in their bottles is something that all beverage companies should emulate,” Mr. Hershkowitz said.

In the United States, Coca-Cola brands use an average of about 5 percent recycled content in plastic bottles and PepsiCo soft drink brands average about 10 percent, the companies said.

As for promoting electrolytes, David G. Schardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, noted that Resource stopped short of explicitly claiming they benefit health.

“They’re trying to stay away from F.D.A. interference but it also allows them to leave it up to the consumer to imagine the benefits that might come from electrolytes,” Mr. Schardt said.

With the exception of distilled water, all water contains some naturally occurring electrolytes like sodium and potassium, he said, adding that the added electrolytes in sports drinks are necessary only for extreme exertion.

“Replacing your electrolytes is only an issue for endurance athletes sweating for hours, not a jogger going out for a half-hour,” Mr. Schardt said.

Electrolytes and recycled content aside, Mr. Cooper said the real goal for Resource is to transcend mere beverage status.

“We want to raise it to the level of a lifestyle brand,” he said, “where she’s proud to carry around Resource as her bottled water accessory, so to speak.”

In a deal with “Project Runway,” the reality show on Lifetime, Resource will be featured throughout the 12th season, which will begin on July 18. In one episode the water will be integral to the theme of a design challenge, when fashion designers will be taken to a pastoral setting and challenged with reflecting elements of the natural environment in their designs.

Resource also has signed endorsement deals with Bobbie Thomas, the style editor on the “Today” show on NBC, Aida Mollenkamp, the host of “FoodCrafters” on the Cooking Channel, and Brett Hoebel, a fitness trainer who starred on “The Biggest Loser” on NBC.

It also will participate in fund-raising events for Dress for Success, the organization that provides professional clothing and confidence training to woman struggling to join the work force.

“As we’re trying to reach this new target, the brand is saying we’ve got to come at what their interests are and support their endeavors and causes,” said Leslie Sims, an executive creative director at McCann. “You have to be more interesting than just touting product benefits.”

Source:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/business/media/nestle-adds-a-premium-brand-in-still-water-category.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1370959302-fdHWUOe8cno5xPontB9p3A

Just Say No to Multinationals? For Rural Communities, It’s Not Always That Simple

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 00:00 By Alissa Bohling, Truthout

The people of economically depressed Cascade Locks, Oregon, are divided about a proposal by Nestle to go into business with the city to extract spring water from its cherished watershed, bringing jobs and sorely needed revenue.

 

Nestle Water North America’s makeshift office in Cascade Locks, Oregon, is two doors down from the post office. Most people on their way to get their mail on a rainy Thursday morning at the end of February pass the same tableau, if they bother to look. And they might not have looked, because so many of the storefronts in Cascade Locks are empty these days, have been for years. But framed in one of the twin picture windows of the building he shares with a vacant ice cream parlor is Dave Palais, behind his desk in a plaid shirt, communing diligently with his computer, looking for all the world like a still life and nothing like the storm cloud of multinational doom he could be said to symbolize in certain environmentalist circles.

 

For a few days every couple of weeks, Palais makes the seven-hour trip from Redding, California, on business for Nestle, where he works as a natural resource manager. Cascade Locks, about 40 miles east of Portland in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, has a lot of natural resources: salmon in the Columbia River (where dams have cut their habitat by more than half), timber on the craggy hills unfolding from Mount Hood 50 miles away, to the cliffs backdropping the town (where the logging industry all but died decades ago) and water that melts off the slopes of the mountain and flows into town in creeks known for their excellent fishing and hiking.

 

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Palais and the Nestle Company – purveyor of Pellegrino, Perrier and 10 other brands of bottled water – are here for Oxbow Springs, which flows onto a mossy tumble of rocks above a fish hatchery a few miles out of town. But before that water can be sealed in a plastic bottle and slapped with a label (“Arrowhead ® Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water”), there are three legal challenges to face, all compliments of environmental organizations Bark, and Food and Water Watch. The legal hurdles are expected to delay a proposal by the company for two or three years, if they don’t kill it altogether.

 

The challenges stem from an unconventional proposal that Nestle, the city and the state’s business development agency put to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) back in 2009.  Nestle is proposing to gain access to the spring via a water exchange with Cascade Locks. Through the exchange, the city would supply the state hatchery with municipal well water in exchange for about five percent of the spring’s volume, which the city would in turn sell to Nestle.

 

ODFW tends not to dabble in trade – it’s got its hands full raising the next generation of endangered salmon, for starters – but the state’s former governor said it should go ahead and look into the deal; jobs are jobs, and Cascade Locks needs them. And about that municipal water? Nestle would buy it too, to market under its Pure Life brand. Nothing in the deal has been finalized, and the environmental challenges get pretty technical; suffice it to say that selling public water to a private company is not as popular with conservationists as it is with Nestle, which managed to pull in over $4 billion with its 2010 bottled water sales.

 

Considering the vocal opposition that has rallied over the years, Palais’ office is remarkably quiet. Maybe that’s because much of the pushback is unfolding silently in briefs being filed before the administrative law judge expected to hear the first challenge in June. And maybe it’s because much of the opposition is from outside Cascade Locks.

 

Palais says nearly 90 percent of the town’s residents want his company to set up shop here. He admits it’s a ballpark number, and what he says next would sound like standard PR, except that it’s also true: “They’re extremely frustrated that outside activists are trying to control this.” Maybe not everyone, and maybe not 90 percent – but yes, they are. In the words of one local person, “The people who are opponents are from Portland, and that really pisses everybody in this town off.”

 

Rich in Resources, Economically Poor

 

Martha La Mont has worked hard to improve the Cascade Locks food bank since she moved to town four years ago from Southern California after retiring from a career in real estate. She’s proud that people can now get milk and eggs with their monthly supplies, and her no-nonsense manner waxes almost ecstatic over a recent donation of olive oil and top-shelf jelly. She’s got plenty of energy left over to say what she thinks of the out-of-towners who oppose the Nestle project. “How about each of you fork over $5,000 a year and then we can take Nestle away?” said La Mont. “We’ve got people here who need food.”

 

Nestle has been criticized for targeting economically depressed rural communities, and Cascade Locks certainly fits the bill. In the town of about 1,150, the unemployment rate was reported at 16 percent this year. Over 50 families use the local food bank while others travel the 20 interstate miles to another one in more prosperous Hood River. In 2009, fewer than 10 percent of adults had four-year college degrees, less than half of the state average. The municipal government is desperate for revenue. The chief of the city’s fire department resigned in 2011 from his post as the sole paid staff member in the wake of cuts to the department’s budget and his salary; now, a single paramedic does double duty as fire chief while the rest of the department remains volunteer. The city’s museum and youth recreation programs were recently put on indefinite hold. The town’s main street is checker-boarded with empty storefronts. Its volunteer mayor also works as a riverboat captain, park maintenance person and ski lift operator, depending on the season.

 

Tom Cramblett was elected to the mayoral seat in January after five years on the City Council. He’s lived in Cascade Locks all his life, and he remembers it as a different town before the 1988 closure of the sawmill that sat on part of the oak-dotted swathe of land that is the town’s mostly vacant industrial park, where Nestle would build its bottling plant. The mill closed along with hundreds of others around the country in the wake of new protections for wildlife habitat and was key in funding the city’s power, sewer, water and cable services. Nestle says it would create about 50 jobs, and the city estimates the operation would add about $50 million in property tax and utility fee revenue to Cascade Locks’ current budget of $70 million.

 

While Cascade Locks’ dire economic straits may be convenient for Nestle, the town’s draw for the company is also a matter of basic logistics.

 

“The good spring water is out in the rural regions,” says Palais. At the fish hatchery just below Oxbow Spring where Nestle wants to build its pipeline, fish outnumber people by the hundreds. (The spring also happens to emerge mere feet from the national forest boundary, where Nestle would have been subject to a stricter set of environmental regulations.) It pours from a mossy concrete block in silver ribbons flashing underneath a crown of white spray. Sipped from a cupped hand it tastes slightly metallic and more like air than water. The hatchery is deserted at the lunch hour, and a buzzer sounds across the property in time with the ring of an unattended phone, overtaking the sound of the miniature waterfalls feeding the runways where fish dart back and forth.

 

Hatcheries can be a divisive topic in conservation circles, where some maintain the operations are a Band-aid for more systemic problems like dams and pollution, and studies have raised questions about genetic viability. But, at least for these fish, they seem to be a good thing. The bigger fish are silver-blue, and they swim fast, scattering and disappearing, turning turquoise when the light is right. The younger ones are a duller color and they move like they’re just waking up, their short bodies barely bending. ODFW says it will only go through with the exchange if it’s best for the fish, and there’s been talk that the swap could supply the agency with extra water in the summer and allow it to raise more sockeye, one of the most stressed species of the embattled salmon populations.

 

An Easier Place to Raise Fish Than People?

 

Back in town, Cassie Madrid answers the door with her 1-year-old. The rainbow-lettered banner from his birthday party still hangs behind the television. Marcos Madrid flips through a catalogue, expertly ignoring the dog growling under the couch. He and his wife are hospitable and easygoing, warning visitors to watch their step on the rain-slick ramp up to the entrance of their trailer home. They say raising their children in Cascade Locks has been a slippery prospect, too. Marcos was laid off around the holidays when the pub he worked for came under new ownership, and Cassie, who cooked for two years at the local drive-through and another restaurant across the Columbia River in Washington State, is enrolled in a class for job-seekers.

 

Marcos loved Cascade Locks when Cassie took him to see where she spent her summers growing up. He’s an ex-gang member, and he liked the idea of raising his kids away from the city life that cut his childhood short. But since the high school closed in 2009, and the middle school followed the next year, graduating elementary school here means an interstate commute to class. Plus there’s that hold on the youth recreation program.

 

The Madrids say drugs are a problem with young people here in a way they weren’t when Cassie was young, and they blame the lack of opportunities and sheer boredom. Cassie has no qualms about snatching cigarettes straight out of the mouths of other people’s kids when she catches them smoking, but she’s not waiting around for her own to pick up the habit.

 

The Madrids plan to move as soon as they can. While they’re not exactly apathetic about the Nestle project, their take on the debate, which has risen and fallen in time with the slow march of public meetings since Nestle approached city leaders in 2008, is on the dispassionate side. “I have nothing against it,” Cassie says evenly. If small towns had diplomats, she would make a good one. Bottled water sounds a lot better to her than a casino, another candidate for industry in town that ultimately fell flat, but not before years of false hope for a cash infusion and worries from people like Cassie, who feared it would bring prostitution and a hard-partying clientele.

 

When her daughter calls from her after-school program, Cassie answers her phone on the first ring; she needs her mom’s help filling in the blanks on her family tree project. Growing up, Cassie says, she only had to go as far as the grocery store to be introduced to another long-lost relative, but things are different now. At least her daughter seems to like the after-school thing, and what kid wouldn’t love to build a robot out of a toothbrush like she did last week? But besides that, “There’s nothing for them to fall back on,” Cassie says, shaking her head for the sake of her own kids and everyone else’s. It’s easy to follow the dismissive wave of her hand out the window, where playing outside looks pretty unappealing as the rain pours down in sheets.

 

Cascade Locks gets over 75 inches of rain a year. (By comparison, nearby Portland averages 39 inches annually.) The impressive number is not lost on Mayor Cramblett: “What we feel good about is that we have an abundance of water. There’s a lot of places in the world that are hurting for that, and they’re fighting over that.” So as far as the Nestle proposal goes, “We look at it as a way to help people out with their water issues.” Cassie also figures all that water could do some good closer to home. After all, Nestle is already showing its support for the community. At the going-away party she attended for the two women who staffed the suspended youth recreation program, the company made sure everyone had enough bottled water to drink.

 

In a small town, a little corporate goodwill goes a long way. Martha La Mont says Nestle has donated $3,000 to the food bank in the past two years. In 2009 and 2010, according to a company fact sheet, the company gave $3,500 to the Port of Cascade Locks for a tourism festival, another thousand dollars or so to sailing organizations, plus close to 20,000 bottles of water for local sporting events.

 

Cause for Skepticism

 

The company is clearly good for a few grand here and there. But Kate Stuart is not impressed.  “All we’re going to get out of this is one large water customer and the taxes,” she says. “I think we should get more from a multinational corporation.”

 

Stuart moved to town from Sonoma County six years ago. Her group of friends first came together to organize against the casino, and now they have their eye on Nestle.

 

Stuart is a lively skeptic and the fleece bandana wrapped around her head seems like the only thing holding her features on her face as they dance in time with the argument she’s mapping out at a diner booth overlooking the Columbia River.

 

The waterway is basically an interstate for barges and the trains that run on the banks on both sides, but from this height it’s easy to imagine it’s pristine.

 

“I have breast cancer, so I obviously have a reason not to like plastic,” says Stuart. But the fact that the illness she’s spent nine years battling has been linked to certain plastics by some studies is more of an addendum to another concern: “I don’t like water leaving watersheds.”

 

The Oregon law placing strict limitations on removing state waters from their basin of origin acknowledges that messing with a natural water network can be risky for ecosystems. Now environmental groups say the state is endangering the Herman Creek watershed that feeds both Oxbow Spring and the municipal well.

 

“We don’t know what a sustainable long-term withdrawal [from the municipal well] looks like for Cascade Locks,” says Food & Water Watch’s Julia DeGraw. She said the amount of well water Nestle plans to pump was even redacted from the documents the government provided in response to a public records request about the proposal. Without more details, who knows? If the aquifer is drained too low, says DeGraw, “the Columbia could infiltrate the groundwater system.”

 

As far as the spring water, DeGraw says the swap would set a “dangerous precedent” by creating a “de facto partnership” between the state and Nestle. ODFW makes a point of emphasizing that its agreement to consider trading water with Cascade Locks is between the two governments and does not include Nestle. But DeGraw isn’t swayed by the technicality; ultimately, she says, the deal would “give away public water resources for a water bottling company’s gain.”

 

In the inexact science of local word of mouth, the pro- and anti-Nestle camps split down a line between dyed-in-the wool old-timers and relative newcomers like Stuart. But on the subject of kids, she doesn’t sound that different from Cassie Madrid. She has a protective streak, and she makes a point of keeping friendly tabs on the young people in town. “It makes me feel like everybody’s kids are just a little bit of mine,” she says, her eyes for once leaving her notebook to look down at the river. “I don’t know what we’re going to leave them.”

 

Privatizing Water on a Warming Planet

 

Olivia Schmidt with Bark, the organization joining Food & Water Watch on the legal challenges to the water swap and the wider campaign against Nestle, shares Stuart’s concern. “Selling off access to clean water resources is absolutely not what we need to be doing from a public policy perspective at a time when we have begun to feel the effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest,” says Schmidt. “That’s like a small island in the South Pacific saying, ‘Well, the water isn’t drowning us now, so we’re going to be fine forever’ – and now those communities are all climate refugees. It’s irresponsible to be looking at what’s happening right now without looking at the population growth that’s going to be happening in this area because of this climate change.” A 2012 report by Oregon’s transportation agency acknowledged that some of the state’s projected population increase is expected to come from people fleeing areas more vulnerable to drought and other climate change impacts.

 

But some things have a way of focusing the mind on surviving the present, and poverty and unemployment make the top of the list. Palais says bottling plant jobs will pay in the upper half of the wage scale for similar jobs in the region. That sounds good to Debbie Gunter. Her husband has been out of work for two years since he was laid off from his job at Wal-Mart in a Portland suburb about 40 miles away, where he worked the 3-to-11 shift and got home around 1 AM. That was hard, and then gas prices went up. And Gunter is a little more familiar than she’d like to be with the city’s funding challenges. A health problem caught up with her during a gap in emergency services that followed the fire chief’s resignation. Despite her medication and a new Jazzercise regimen, she found herself in need of an ambulance. The closest one took 45 minutes to get to her from across the river in Washington. Gunter says she almost died. These days, the Gunters are considering a move to Portland.

 

People stay in Cascade Locks for a reason. Property is relatively cheap, and the landscape is stunning. The river has earned a reputation as a world-class sailing destination, and a hiking trail that stretches from the Mexican border all the way to Canada runs right through town. The Outdoor Industry Foundation estimates that outdoor recreation contributes $4.6 billion in revenue via retail and service statewide and supports 73,000 Oregon jobs, but Cascade Locks isn’t seeing enough of that money. The town’s tourism council is trying to change that, but efforts like a new mountain biking trail and extending the beach near the sailing club are works in progress with no clear payoff yet. “Things are getting tougher here; it’s not getting better,” says La Mont. “I think too many people were planning on that casino.” So maybe it’s not surprising that the campaign groups like Bark and Food & Water Watch are waging against Nestle is regarded with some suspicion. “It becomes a fundraiser for them just as the casino became a fundraiser for organizations that didn’t like casinos,” says Cramblett.

 

Bark and Food & Water Watch both say that’s not true. (In fact, Bark’s internal bylaws forbid taking public positions solely for fundraising purposes.) And while Food & Water Watch might not be putting 50 jobs on the table, DeGraw says her organization does have something to offer low-income communities. “In Oregon and throughout the US, we have been very involved in the movement to increase public investment in water infrastructure, which benefits low-income consumers who are often hit the hardest when water systems fall into disrepair and who often cannot afford the very water that’s being pumped from the ground and sold back to consumers at an exorbitant markup.” Nestle says most of its bottled water is sold in multipacks that pencil out to about 22 cents a bottle, but the company has come under fire for trying to strike deals like one that ultimately failed in McCloud, California, in which it would have bought water for .000081 cents per gallon.

 

Cascade Locks officials are still poring over science and case studies while they wait for the state side of the deal to shake out. “I admit Nestle is one of those things that to us seems like a no-brainer, but obviously in this world, nothing’s a no-brainer anymore,” says Cramblett. “We’re trying to attract people but it seems like every time we attract somebody, it’s the wrong person.”

 

His words go to the heart of the struggle of many rural and small town communities, which must often choose between welcoming a corporate giant in exchange for modest or meager jobs or fighting an increasingly difficult battle to survive. Cramblett’s father was a hunter, trapper and fisherman from Cascade Locks; he even foraged for cascara bark, an ingredient in natural medicine. There’s nothing new about counting on the land for a living in a place like this, but in a globalized era, the line between subsistence and exploitation has come into sharper focus – even for those who would rather look away.  (That isn’t lost on Nestle: The glossy info packets overflowing the table at the front of Palais’ office are an object lesson in sustainability-as-selling-point: “Our second generation Eco-Shape bottle uses 25 percent less plastic than the previous Eco-shape bottle”; “The amount we use is far less than the water needed to produce other beverages, such as beer and soft drinks.”)

 

But Schmidt is not convinced. “When white settlers came into the Pacific Northwest, it was really well-forested, and now, it’s not,” she says. “If our policymakers are subsidizing this kind of extractive development, we need them to shift; we need them to focus on other things than making it easier to take our resources,” she says. “Part of getting us as a global community moving toward that direction is being a stopgap toward extraction.”

Source: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/13e3df31f933e564?compose=13e3d42dd205f2f5

Nestle Chairman says Water is Not a Human Right

Link to Article with Video

In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.

Nestlé is the world’s biggest bottler of water. Brabeck claims – correctly – that water is the most important raw material in the world. However he then goes on to say that privatisation is the best way to ensure fair distribution. He claims that the idea that water is a human right comes from “extremist” NGOs. Water is a foodstuff like any other, and should have a market value.

He believes that the ultimate social responsibility of any Chairman is to make as much profit as possible, so that people will have jobs.

And just to underline what a lovely man he is, he also thinks we should all be working longer and harder.

Consequences of water privatisation

The consequences of water privatisation have been devastating on poor communities around the world. In South Africa, where the municipal workers’ union SAMWU fought a long battle against privatisation, there has been substantial research (pdf) about the effects. Water privatisation lead to a massive cholera outbreak in Durban in the year 2000.

The Nestlé boycott

Nestlé already has a very bad reputation among activists. There has been a boycott call since 1977. This is due to Nestlé’s aggressive lobbying to get women to stop breastfeeding – which is free and healthy – and use infant formula (sold by Nestlé) instead. Nestlé has lobbied governments to tell their health departments to promote formula. In poor countries, this has resulted in the deaths of babies, as women have mixed formula with contaminated water instead of breastfeeding.

Tell Nestlé they are wrong – water is a human right

There is Europe-wide campaign to tell the European Commission that water is a human right, and to ask them to enact legislation to ensure this is protected.

If you live in Europe, please sign the petition.

Original article published by Union Solidarity International.

Nestle chairman says water is not a human right

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In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.

Nestlé is the world’s biggest bottler of water. Brabeck claims – correctly – that water is the most important raw material in the world. However he then goes on to say that privatisation is the best way to ensure fair distribution. He claims that the idea that water is a human right comes from “extremist” NGOs. Water is a foodstuff like any other, and should have a market value.

He believes that the ultimate social responsibility of any Chairman is to make as much profit as possible, so that people will have jobs.

And just to underline what a lovely man he is, he also thinks we should all be working longer and harder.

Consequences of water privatisation

The consequences of water privatisation have been devastating on poor communities around the world. In South Africa, where the municipal workers’ union SAMWU fought a long battle against privatisation, there has been substantial research (pdf) about the effects. Water privatisation lead to a massive cholera outbreak in Durban in the year 2000.

The Nestlé boycott

Nestlé already has a very bad reputation among activists. There has been a boycott call since 1977. This is due to Nestlé’s aggressive lobbying to get women to stop breastfeeding – which is free and healthy – and use infant formula (sold by Nestlé) instead. Nestlé has lobbied governments to tell their health departments to promote formula. In poor countries, this has resulted in the deaths of babies, as women have mixed formula with contaminated water instead of breastfeeding.

Tell Nestlé they are wrong – water is a human right

There is Europe-wide campaign to tell the European Commission that water is a human right, and to ask them to enact legislation to ensure this is protected.

Source: 

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http://keithpp.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/nestle-chairman-says-water-is-not-a-human-right/

Unanswered questions fuel contentious meeting over east-west highway

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff | April 02, 2013

Link to Article and Video

BANGOR, Maine — Uncertainty surrounding the route of a proposed 220-mile highway across Maine sparked vehement questioning and opposition during a Tuesday morning meeting at the historic Penobscot County Courthouse.

Cianbro Corp. CEO Peter Vigue, the leading proponent of the east-west highway, spent much of the meeting with commissioners trying to dispel what he called rumors and misconceptions about the proposed private $2.1-billionproject. Many of the more than 100 residents of Penobscot and Piscataquis counties in attendance weren’t satisfied after nearly two hours spent posing questions and concerns to Vigue.

Vigue argued that such a roadway would help Maine’s struggling economy grow and thrive. Residents voiced concerns that their towns and properties might lie in the path of the proposed highway, putting rural, agrarian ways of life at risk.

Cianbro, a Pittsfield-based construction company, has yet to release information about the corridor’s proposed route because its plans are fluid and changing on a regular basis, company representatives have said. That has left residents to speculate about whether it will cut a path through their communities or properties.

Penobscot County Commissioner Peter Baldacci said during the meeting that uncertainty among property owners about the path of the highway could lead to “condemnation blight,” a legal term referring to a reduction in property value that results from potential eminent domain claims. While Cianbro has repeatedly said that eminent domain will not be used, its decision to map out a route behind closed doors is causing uncertainty among residents who are left to speculate about the future of their land, Baldacci said.

Residents vehemently questioned Vigue, mostly on where the highway would be placed. Some attendees shouted out in disagreement or scoffed when Vigue provided uncertain answers or said he didn’t have or wasn’t prepared to release information related to the private project or its partners.

During his presentation and in answering questions that followed, Vigue vowed that there would be no public-private partnership between Cianbro and the state, that eminent domain would not be used to acquire land, and that tar sands and oil pipelines would not be run along the corridor in the foreseeable future.

The meeting came less than two months after a commissioners meeting during which more than a dozen Penobscot and Piscataquis County residents blasted the highway proposal. Commissioners asked Vigue to provide Cianbro’s perspective on the idea.

TransCanada pitches west-east pipeline

Proposed project would bring crude to refineries in Quebec, Saint John

Link to Article with Videos

CBC News | Apr 2, 2013 9:28 AM ET 

TransCanada Corp. is seeking firm financial commitments from companies seeking to ship crude oil from Western Canada to refineries in Eastern Canada.

The Calgary-based company announced on Tuesday morning a bidding process that will allow interested producers to make binding commitments for space on the pipeline. Companies will have from April 15 to June 17 to enter into long-term commitments to use the pipeline.

The open-season process follows a successful expression-of-interest phase and talks with potential shippers.

TransCanada said if the next phase is successful, it plans to start seeking regulatory approvals later in 2013, and the oil could start flowing to Eastern Canada by late 2017.

The proposal would be to convert 3,000 kilometres of the company’s natural gas pipelines to allow for crude oil to be transported. The company would also be looking at building 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline from Quebec into Saint John.

The pipeline could carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the eastern refineries, according to the company.

Premier David Alward called the west-east pipeline proposal an historic initiative. Alward made the comments in front of the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John on Tuesday.Premier David Alward called the west-east pipeline proposal an historic initiative. Alward made the comments in front of the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John on Tuesday. (Robert Jones/CBC)

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Tuesday TransCanada’s announcement was a “positive step.”

“We welcome such proposals, because they can generate thousands of Canadian jobs and long-term economic prosperity — particularly in Quebec and the Maritimes — for generations to come,” Oliver said.

The federal minister said the proposed pipeline project must meet a series of regulatory reviews.

If the project moves forward, Oliver said it would be an important piece of energy infrastructure for Canada.

“Pipelines moving oil from Alberta to Quebec to New Brunswick would be among the most expansive and ambitious stretches of energy infrastructure in the entire world and would contribute to the energy security of Canada and all of North America,” he said.

Officials from the Saint John-based Irving Oil Ltd. have said in the past their refinery could handle western crude oil.

The Irving Oil refinery is the largest in Canada and can process 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Saint John also has a deep-water port and a liquefied natural gas facility.

Oliver said he has recently toured the Irving refinery and the Ultramar refinery in Levis. The federal minister said he plans to tour Suncor’s refinery in Montreal in the coming weeks.

3 days in Alberta

New Brunswick Premier David Alward responded to TransCanada’s announcement on Tuesday morning during a news conference held at the Irving Oil headquarters, calling it an “encouraging step forward.”

The New Brunswick premier said the pipeline proposal is a “historic initiative” for both the province and the country.

“We envision New Brunswick as Canada’s next energy powerhouse and Saint John as the anchor of that powerhouse,” Alward said in front of more than 30 Irving Oil employees.

“If we proceed, this project will strengthen our national and provincial economies and create jobs and economic growth today and for generations to come,” he said, suggesting the project has the potential to be as important to Canada’s economic future as the railway was in the past.

Alward said the pipeline will create high-paying jobs in New Brunswick and will keep workers in the province instead of heading to western Canada to find employment in the oilsands.

“I want to see the day when the mother or father, the son or daughter leave their New Brunswick home in the morning to go to work in the development of natural resources, they will return for dinner that night, not three or four weeks later,” he said.

Alward spent three days in Alberta in February talking to Alberta Premier Alison Redford and oil executives about the possibility of the west-to-east pipeline.

The project has the possibility of creating 2,000 jobs during the construction phase of the pipeline and a few hundred refining jobs after, according to some estimates.

Alberta has been interested in the project, because oil from that province is now being shipped to the United States, where there is a glut. That means oil producers are getting $20 to $40 less per barrel than the world price.

Those lower prices translate into lower royalties for the provincial government, and that is causing a potential multi-billion dollar deficit in Alberta. A pipeline to the Irving Oil refinery would allow Alberta producers to charge the higher world price.

A new pipeline would also alleviate Canada’s dependence on foreign oil and increase the value of Canada’s crude oil through shipping to world markets from the deep-water port of Saint John, said Alward.

Port Saint John president and CEO Jim Quinn welcomed the prospect of playing an integral role in bringing Canadian crude to global markets.

“This opportunity for Saint John and our port is phenomenal,” Quinn said in a statement.

The port, which for 50 years has been handling petroleum cargo for both import and export, currently handles the largest oil tankers in the world, as well as the largest crude carriers, he said.

TransCanada Corp. may build 1,400 kilometres of pipeline, extending its capacity into Saint John. TransCanada Corp. may build 1,400 kilometres of pipeline, extending its capacity into Saint John. (Courtest of TransCanada)

Democracy School in Dover-Foxcroft

This democracy school by CELDF was brought to Dover-Foxcroft by members of Stop the East-West Corridor.  There will be another school on April 5 and 6th, followed by a rights-based-ordinance workshop on April 7th.  Visit our calendar for details.

Citizens and Activists Learn About U.S. Government System

by WABI-TV5 News Desk | March 8th 2013

View Original Article.

Dover-Foxcroft - Concerned citizens and activists had a chance to learn more about the United States government system.

The Daniel Pennock Democracy School was held at the Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft earlier this week.

This was the third time the course has been taught in the area by members of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Folks come here to learn about the legal structure. How it’s set up and what they can to do to actually take local democracy back and actually make those decisions for themselves”
“It’s about giving them an avenue to follow to be able to get that kind of community established and in place.”

Nat Pop: “So were going actually move now and take a look at the constitution of the United States of America.”

Participant Matthew Newman was paying close attention throughout the session.

“I came here specifically to learn how to write legislation or ordinances for towns along the route so that they can self govern”

In particular, he is concerned with the East West Corridor proposal.

“we should have the right as the community to to say as a community that we don’t want this”

But not everyone is here for the same reason as Matthew,

“We’ve had elected officials folks from all different political backgrounds. Folks come to this school when they either would like to say no to something coming into their community that they don’t want to see that’s going to harm…Or they would actually like to implement a positive policy ”
“I very rarely know what political leanings the people who participate in these democracy schools are. I seldom ask and I seldom find out. It’s really about those members of the communities who see that they perhaps are somehow being restricted from really obtaining the goals they have for their children or their grandchildren”

Caitlin Burchill. WABI TV 5 News. Dover-Foxcroft.

Workers removing oil from cars after train derails near Penobscot River

By Nok-Noi Ricker and Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff | March 07, 2013

Link to Article and Video

MATTAWAMKEAG, Maine — Emergency workers will be handling crude oil a few yards from the Penobscot River overnight Thursday after 13 full 31,000-gallon train tanker cars derailed and tipped over, spilling just 3 gallons, officials said.

The Pan Am Railways tanker cars, which were among 15 that derailed on the 96-car train, went off the tracks near Route 2 and the Winn town line about 5 a.m. Thursday. No injuries were reported. Thirteen of the 15 cars tipped over but none ruptured, said Pan Am Railways Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano.

Scarano described the oil spill as that which typically accumulates around the two hatches atop the tank when tanks are filled or emptied. About a gallon of oil came from three overturned tankers, Mattawamkeag Fire Chief Robert Powers said.

“Three gallons — that’s amazing [when you] have the cars laying on their sides, a couple of them in trees,” Powers said. “They’ve built the rail cars to sustain derailment. We are very thankful that that’s where we are at right now.”

Maine Department of Environmental Protection crews and a private contractor will be working with Pan Am to transfer oil from the 13 tankers to 20 smaller tankers. The work likely will continue for two or three days, said department spokeswoman Samantha Warren, who said the spill could have been “disastrous.”

Workers emptied the first car at about 9:15 p.m. The offloading went well, but the work “will be delicate,” she said.

“There are still hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil in derailed cars within sight of the Penobscot River,” Warren added, joining a chorus of voices from the state Legislature and environmentalist community that called the accident’s lack of environmental damage a miracle.

Scarano said a severe leak into the river was never very likely. The train was on a stretch of track from Waterville to Canada that is rated Class 1, which means suitable for traffic moving no faster than 10 mph.

The Federal Railroad Administration investigation of the accident is continuing, but it appears that the train was moving no faster than the speed limit. Firefighters said train workers told them it was traveling 8 mph when the derailment occurred.

A slow speed would be logical, Scarano said, given that the train was approaching a switch in town. Its cargo was to be transferred to New Brunswick Southern Railway for eventual arrival at a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. She said the train had three engines pulling it.

The tankers were filled in the Baaken oil fields in North Dakota, and were heading to Canada.

The accident occurred just west of 10 Main St. in what is almost the backyard of Dave Markie and his family, but didn’t wake them, Markie said. He and several other residents said that trains go through the area often and minor train derailments, in which cars leave the tracks but don’t tip over, are common occurrences.

“All I heard was the [train] engines running,” Markie said.

Emergency workers gathered along Route 2 and in Markie’s long driveway, just south of Markie’s Garage, for most of the day. A freight engine pulling three freight cars was stopped along the track about a half-mile south of the scene. A long line of tanker cars, possibly to be used for oil transfers, replaced the engine just before dusk.

Maine Department of Transportation crews came to help Federal Railroad Administration investigators determine the accident’s cause, DOT spokesman Ted Talbot said.

“We will follow their lead,” Talbot said. “We are trying to, if we can, identify what went wrong based on what we are seeing now. When the tankers are turned upright and able to move, we will take a second look to see what went wrong.”

An FRA investigator at the scene declined to comment.

This is the second time in less than a year that a Pam Am derailment threatened the Penobscot River, Warren said. Four cars derailed, with two going into the river, near the Bucksport-Orrington town line last May. The cars carried nonhazardous clay slurry used in papermaking.

Trains pulling tankers north to Canada have become a much more common sight along this rail line in the past year as oil drilling operations in the Northwest increase shipments into Canada and overseas, several residents said.

Of the more than 220 million gallons of oil that crossed Maine in 2012, Pan Am hauled about 105 million gallons, Scarano said. Pan Am has 900 workers in the U.S. Northeast and expects to hire 35 to 40 new train/engine crews this year, she said.

Mattawamkeag resident Timothy Coombs said he wasn’t surprised at the accident. The track’s recent heavy use, often punishing weather conditions and the track’s degraded condition along some stretches made the accident inevitable, residents said.

“It is just something that happens all the time,” Coombs said. “They usually don’t lay on their sides like they did today, but it happens down here four or five times a summer. They usually just derail.”

Scarano said the track was in excellent condition for a Class 1 line, though Class 1 is the slowest-speed track. A Class 5 track can handle 79 mph traffic. The Mattawamkeag stretch of tracks is rated Class 1 more for its use than condition, Scarano said.

Federal Railroad Administration workers inspected the track last fall and found no significant defects, Scarano said. Pan Am, which typically inspects its tracks at least once a week, inspects the Mattawamkeag-area tracks four times a week, she said.

Pan Am does regular maintenance and upgrades on its rail lines and “did a big project from Mattawamkeag south replacing ties” and other repairs recently, Scarano said.

Once the tipped tanks are emptied, Pan Am will use large cranes to right the tanker cars if possible, Scarano said.

Maine DEP will observe the oil transfer and other work overnight and Friday. A heated tent has been set up for emergency workers, Warren said. DEP handles about 3,000 oil and hazardous chemical spills annually.

“This still remains a very active emergency response,” Warren said. “We still have a ways to go, but we are optimistic that the recovery effort will proceed as things have thus far, with no apparent environmental damage.”

“I think it is incredibly fortunate,” Warren said, “that we measured the amount of discharge in drops instead of hundreds of thousands of gallons.”

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story said the derailment occurred in Winn. The derailment occurred in Mattawamkeag near the Winn line. Incorrect information was provided to the BDN.