Please speak out today to protect Maine water

Maine Governor Paul LePage is in the process of appointing Mark Dubois, an executive with Nestlé/Poland Spring, to the state’s Board of Environmental Protection. We join with Maine water protectors in opposing this appointment, which represents a clear conflict of interest between water extraction and exploitation, and the long-term interests of people and environment.

We are asking our friends and supporters in Maine to write to the members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and say this appointment is unacceptable; it represents a clear conflict of interest and that the people of Maine need assurance that board members will represent the public good and not private profit.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing tomorrowWednesday, January 24, so please send your comments as soon as possible. The hearing is open to the public, and starts at 10:00am in the Cross Building, Room 216. Committe members’ emails are below:

Thomas.Saviello@legislature.maine.gov
amy.volk@legislature.maine.gov
geoffrey.gratwick@legislature.maine.gov
Ralph.Tucker@legislature.maine.gov
Bob.Duchesne@legislature.maine.gov
John.Martin@legislature.maine.gov
Jessica.Fay@legislature.maine.gov
StanleyPaige.Zeigler@legislature.maine.gov
Jonathan.Kinney@legislature.maine.gov
Richard.Campbell@legislature.maine.gov
Jeff.Pierce@legislature.maine.gov
Scott.Strom@legislature.maine.gov
Denise.Harlow@legislature.maine.gov
dylan.sinclair@legislature.maine.gov

In addition, please contact your state legislators to oppose the Dubois appointment. You can find your senator and representative at this link.

Our friends at Community Water Justice have highlighted instances of Nestle’s influence on state agencies and boards, and at the town level, writing “It’s no wonder the Center for Public Integrity gave Maine an “F” rating in a recent report, due to the state’s lax laws upholding ethics and accountability. Conflicts of interest such as the Dubois appointment are a huge obstacle to maintaining the integrity of our government in serving the people of Maine.”

Maine, its people and its water deserve better. Please take action today!

Nestlé bottled-water company seeks to take more Michigan water

by Keith Matheny and Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

Nestlé Waters North America’s plans to increase its Michigan groundwater withdrawal by more than 2 1/2 times would unravel an accord reached with environmentalists seven years ago that was aimed at protecting the water table and wildlife.

Nestlé announced a $36-million expansion at its Ice Mountain bottling operations in Stanwood, in Mecosta County, on Oct. 31. The addition of two water-bottling lines — the first to begin operation next spring; the next opening by 2018 — is expected to add 20 jobs to the plant, which employs more than 250 people.

But the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has not yet approved the company’s request to increase its groundwater withdrawals by 167% — from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute — at White Pine Springs well No. 101 in nearby Osceola County. The DEQ has, however, recommended approval under the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation sued Nestlé in 2001 over the potential damage to lakes, rivers and streams that its bottled water plant’s groundwater withdrawals would cause. After years of court battles, the two sides reached a settlement agreement in 2009, reducing Nestlé’s siphoning to 218 gallons per minute from 400, with additional restrictions on spring and summer withdrawals. The litigation cost the nonprofit more than $1 million, which was covered by supporters.

Now, the proposed permit from the DEQ would take the bottled-water plant’s groundwater withdrawals back up to the level that prompted the lawsuit.

“I’m not sure if there is a reasonable amount of water that should be allowed to be taken from an aquifer,” said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the nonprofit Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. “But 400 gallons per minute seems more than a bit too much.”

The controversy highlights the sometimes-contentious balance between protecting Michigan’s most important, abundant natural resource — its fresh water — and using it as an economic commodity. It’s particularly heightened after the months of fierce debate this year over a Wisconsin community, Waukesha, which lies just outside the Great Lakes Basin, being approved to use the basin for its water supply by Great Lakes Compact member states — over howls of protest from local governments throughout the Midwest.

The DEQ requires use of its Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool, an interactive, online evaluation of proposed water withdrawals in the state that looks at impacts to fish and stream flows through comparative data and modeling, prior to any proposed large-quantity water withdrawal.

“When Nestlé ran the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool” last December, “they didn’t pass,” said Jim Milne, the shorelines unit chief in the DEQ’s Water Resources Division.

But as state regulations allow, the company then requested a site-specific review by DEQ staff. That review, which included looks at the geology in the area and Nestlé’s own compiled stream-flow information, led the DEQ to determine the increased pumping “is not likely to cause an adverse resource impact,” in January, he said, meaning it won’t impact populations of fish in the Chippewa Creek watershed, a tributary to the Muskegon River, or decrease stream flows to the point of natural resource impacts.

It’s not unprecedented for DEQ staff to override the findings of the agency’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. From July 2015 to July of this year, the DEQ authorized 123 withdrawal requests rejected by the computerized modeling after site-specific reviews, Milne said.

The Stanwood plant receives its water supply “from diverse sources that we manage in a sustainable manner,” said Christopher Rieck, a spokesman for Nestlé Waters North America.

“The increase would also allow us the ability to balance the use of our water sources to ensure long-term sustainability and support future growth.”

The DEQ notified the public of its impending decision on the Nestlé permit via its biweekly environmental calendar, a little-read regulatory notices clearinghouse, and announced that public comment on Nestlé’s request would close Nov. 3, sparking outrage from many because of the short notice.

“The MDEQ’s handling of the Nestlé application is as lax as the handling of the Flint water crisis. Nothing has changed,” said Jim Olson, an environmental attorney and founder and president of the environmental nonprofit For Love of Water, or FLOW.

“Rights to public notice, public information, hearings and public participation in government decisions over water and quality of life, health — even our economy — have been diminished to the point of absurdity. MDEQ didn’t even post the underlying documents to the application summary online for interested people to review before public comment, and the notice was so hidden and late in the game that no meaningful comments can be made by Nov. 3.”

Added Ostahowski : “I think they were trying to slip it through. It’s disappointing but not uncommon.”

Responding to such criticism, the DEQ has announced it would extend the public comment period 30 days, and will make available the documents it used to recommend approval of the Nestlé application. A public hearing will also be scheduled in the area during the 30-day period, with a date and venue yet to be determined, said Carrie Monosmith, the DEQ’s Environmental Health Section Chief in its Office of Drinking Water.

One reason the Nestlé operation in Michigan has been controversial is that Deb Muchmore, a lobbyist and public relations consultant who has served as a Michigan spokeswoman for the company, is the spouse of Dennis Muchmore, who until January was chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Free Press reported in February that in March 2015, Dennis Muchmore proposed spending $250,000 to buy bottled water for Flint from either Nestlé or Absopure, a competitor.

“How about cutting a deal with Ice Mountain,” which is bottled by Nestlé, “or (Absopure Water board member) Bill Young and buying some water for the people for a time?” Muchmore asked in a March 3, 2015, e-mail. He added that “$250,000 buys a lot of water, and we could distribute it through the churches while we continue to make the water even safer.”

Neither deal happened, officials said.

Nestlé’s large-scale withdrawal of low-cost Great Lakes water while Flint residents have not had clean tap water to drink has not sat well with many in Michigan.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said Nestlé has increased the amount of water it’s pumping over time and that he feels the company’s permit application shows the latest proposed increase would negatively impact the environment. Nestlé said its plans would only “minimally” affect the levels of nearby creeks, when it should be having no impact on surface waters, he said.

“Nestlé is essentially appropriating what is a common good for their personal corporate utility,” he said.

Given the track record of the DEQ under Snyder’s administration, it’s reasonable for people to question whether a decision will be made based on the environment and the public good, or on corporate interests, Irwin said.

“Michigan citizens need to understand that part of the legacy we have is the unusual amount of fresh water we have. It’s not a given that it’s going to be around forever. With a company like Nestlé, it appears there is no end to what they think they can sell,” Ostahowski said.

Written comments on Nestlé’s proposed increased water withdrawals can be submitted until Dec. 3 to the DEQ via e-mail at deq-eh@michigan.gov or mailed to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, Mich., 48909-7741.

Source: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/11/20/nestl-bottled-water-company-seeks-take-more-michigan-water/93175144/

Nestle: A Defeat and a Victory

On May 12 after a nearly 4 year battle, Fryeburg, Maine lost its appeal in the Maine Supreme Court to Nestle Waters North America, confirming the Maine Public Utility Commission’s initial approval of a 45 year contract for the bottled water giant to mine water from the small White Mountain community, despite overwhelming opposition among area residents.

For more information on this battle and the court case, follow‪#‎WaterJustice‬ ‪#‎WaterIsLife‬ ‪#‎Nestle‬ #Water, like Community Water Justice on Facebook,

and check out these articles:

Maine high court allows Nestle’s Fryeburg water deal to stand

Nestlé Just Gained Control Over This Town’s Water for the Next 45 Years

On the other side of the country, Hood River County, Oregon, handily defeated Nestle’s proposal for a bottling plant.  Here is the press release from David Delk, President of the Alliance for Democracy, Portland, OR and co-chair of the national Alliance for Democracy:

 

Oregon voters Tuesday in Hood River County delivered a stunning defeat to Nestle.

In the epic battle between Nestle and people around the world to protect their access to water, little Hood River County in Oregon just achieved a major and unique victory. And Alliance for Democracy was a part of that, having provided volunteers and financial support over the course of eight years.

Nestle had proposed building a bottled water plant in the Columbia River gouge town of Cascade Locks, using over 100 million gallons of publicly-owned water a year, and creating more than approximately 1.6 billion plastic water bottles each year. Cascade Locks, hoping to develop its tourist industry, would have suffered over 200 daily truck trips on their roads. Cascade Locks is located at the western edge of the nationally renowned and protected Columbia River Gouge. Opponents to Nestle’s plans also stressed the detrimental effects extracting this pure cold spring water would have on salmon, considered a bellwether species by Native Americans.

 

Nestle promised up to 50 low-tech jobs and an increase in the town’s tax base.

 

But a coalition of residents, farmers and Native Americans organized in opposition and today were successful in saying “No to Nestle, the water belongs to the people, not a water privateer.”

 

On an initiative question, Hood River county voters were asked to approve a novel measure to ban the commercial bottling and transport of water in quantities greater than 1000 gallons daily. And today they voted 69-31% to approve the initiative measure.

 

“Today victory at the ballot shows that when the people organize to stop corporate domination, we can win,” said David Delk, President of the Alliance for Democracy, Portland, OR and co-chair of the national Alliance for Democracy.

 

 

 

 

COURT RESCHEDULED! Maine’s Groundwater: Day of Reckoning NOW March 1, 2016

Update: COURT RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 1 

MAINE’S GROUNDWATER: Day of Reckoning on March 1, 2016. Come bear witness – this is it!

The Maine Supreme Court will be hearing final oral arguments at the Cumberland County Courthouse (205 Newbury St Portland, ME 04101) regarding the 45 year contract between Nestlé and the Fryeburg Water Company on Tuesday March 1 at 1:30pm. Be sure to arrive early as you will have to pass through security to enter the courtroom.Over 3 years ago, in August 2012, it came to light that Nestlé (for their Poland Spring brand) was pursuing a precedent setting ’45 year’ exclusive contract with the Fryeburg Water Company (FWC). The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) commanded this case with conflict-of-interest commissioners at the helm. Our community did not get adequate administrative relief in this case. Ultimately, after a long struggle, the MPUC approved the case but is not yet final because we filed this appeal.If this appeal fails, Nestlé will have unfettered access to our community’s groundwater, which gives this multinational corporation an upper-hand over our life-giving resource for decades to come. ALL OF MAINE is at risk. We do not have adequate groundwater laws protecting us from bulk water mining which entitles Nestlé to exploit and compromise our resources. This is especially concerning with new international trade agreements being considered as the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) that would affect us.Please come to the courthouse and join us in observation of the process to which our water rights in Maine may be encroached upon by a global water predator… however, NOT WITH OUR CONSENT!!
A lot can happen in 45 years. With prolonged drought and other meteorologic conditions due to a changing climate, the inevitable changes in the water market or with the sustainability / quality of the water supply, we have great concern. Such predatory features of this contract have great potential to harm the local rate payers, the FWC and all others depending on the aquifer to sustain themselves.
Here are some examples of (though not limited to) some facts of the contract under appeal:CONTRACT FACT: The length is for 20 years, with option for 5, 5-year extensions for a total of 45 years with NO public input. There is no process outlined in granting the extensions.CONTRACT FACT: The annual MINIMUM extraction is 75 million gallons. There is no upper limit in the terms.CONTRACT FACT: Nestlé can terminate this contract in 2 years while the Fryeburg Water Company must give 5 years notice.
Consider: Imbalanced; giving advantage to the more powerful party.CONTRACT FACT: Nestlé’s bulk extraction can not be reduced or suspended for “no greater duration and to no greater extent, than what Fryeburg Water Company suspends or reduces its water sales to (local) commercial and industrial customers”.
CONSIDER While Nestlé can easily extract water from its other worldwide sources, where will Fryeburg’s businesses get their water? This deal grossly favors Nestlé, which does not reside locally, over the local businesses the Fryeburg Water Company is supposed to serve.

CONTRACT FACT: Nestlé will pay the same tariff rates as the local customers. Additionally, they are on a prorated pay scale – the more they pump, the less they pay per unit.
CONSIDER: Nestlé gets its water from all of well #1 and most of well #2. These wells are designated “spring water”. The local rate payers can get some water from well #2, and all of well #3. Well #3 is not designated as spring water and is near old industrial sites. There is obvious economic value to spring water and Nestlé has to receive significant value from advertising and using this asset. The local rate payers are subject to the same rate scale, but don’t get valuable “spring water”. For example, if a micro brewery wanted to start up in Fryeburg it could not gain the economic benefit of advertising that it brewed with “spring water” but it would be subject to the same rate structure as Nestlé.
(*The public advocate made the point that under the new payment structure Nestlé would be paying only $1.00 per thousand gallons, half of what they were previously paying).

CONTRACT FACT: Nestlé is the only allowed purchaser of bulk water in the proposed contract.
CONSIDER: By being tied to Nestlé for 45 years, the FWC has lost a very valuable competitive advantage. In most other states water is becoming scarcer which the FWC could use to its advantage in negotiating bulk water sales with other large purchasers.

CONTRACT FACT: It permits Nestlé to locate a new water source for the town of Fryeburg off it’s own aquifer.
CONSIDER: How will that affect the rates and infrastructure maintenance in the future if we have to move the town to a different aquifer? Why should Nestlé be permitted to over-pump so that we no longer have access to our own aquifer? Is this not legalized theft of our water resources?

Our water commons need protection and not exploitation.
We need our life-giving resources under a public trust to never be privatized.

Thank you. Please pass this on to spread the word.
With questions or to get involved, contact Nickie: nickiesekera(at)gmail(dot)com

Rail / Water ties with Nestle: update from Western ME

from Nickie Seckera of Community Water Justice

August 31, 2014

 

Hello everyone,
Update from Western Maine –

It pleases me to hear that gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud has vocalized a lack of support for an East-West Corridor.  YES.  Michaud has however expressed interest in exploring / supporting rail options for the transport of natural resources.  Here is Western Maine, things are becoming more serious now in discussions of resurrecting the Mountain Division rail line from Montreal to Portland through a high point of Crawford Notch in the White Mountain National Forest just over the border in New Hampshire.  Industry besides oil that may be pushing for this very expensive privately-funded project is a new $80 million wood pellet processing factory (300,000 tons of pellets per year) that was built recently for export to Europe.

Additionally, Maine’s water is at risk for further exploitation by Nestle (Poland Spring brand).  Nestle is planning on building ANOTHER bottling plant in Fryeburg, though the world’s largest water bottling plant lies a mere 35 miles away.  Currently, business people in Fryeburg are looking to industrialize a very large area right alongside the rail route and records indicate that Nestle has secured permits for railroad access.

This article appeared in a local paper last week about the proposed rail route:
http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/115938-passenger-rail-from-portland-maine-to-montreal

**Keep watch – a decision could be handed down from the MPUC in as little as 6 weeks for an approval for a precedent setting 25-45 year contract for Fryeburg’s groundwater.  We just received notice that they will not be opening a new docket and the Commission will be upholding a ruling set by our conflict-of-interest ridden commission.  Communities of Maine simply do not appear to be able to fight Nestle’s deep pockets and ability to intercept our democratic process.  You can view the case file at the Maine Public Utilities Commission website:

CASE NUMBER: 2012-00487
Utility/Industry Type: Water
Utility/Industry Subtype: Water

To keep abreast of the water situation in Fryeburg, Maine and beyond, feel free to connect to Community Water Justice on Facebook for updates.
Thank you all for your diligence, concern and willingness to create a positive vision for the future of Maine – the way life should continue to be!
Nickie

 

LePage, utilities commissioner conflict over PUC recusal standards

Link to Original Article

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | By Naomi Schalit ©Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

A conflict over ethics between Gov. Paul LePage and a member of the state’s Public Utilities Commission has been settled in the short term, but threatens to produce more controversy over the long term.

The conflict was resolved when Gov. Lepage recently appointed former Superior Court Judge John Atwood to substitute for commission member David Littell on a high-profile case from which Littell recused himself because of a conflict of interest. That was a reversal of LePage’s earlier position, in which he refused to appoint a substitute for Littell, saying he didn’t believe Littell’s reason for recusing himself was legitimate.

The three members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decide how much Mainers pay for water, telephone, electricity and natural gas service.

But LePage also said if Littell is going to recuse himself on this case, the governor has a list of eight other cases he thinks Littell should remove himself from because of similar conflicts of interest, including a prominent case mounted by citizens opposed to the use of so-called “Smart Meters” at their homes.

“The public deserves to have commissioners that do not selectively avoid cases,” wrote LePage in a letter to Littell that was accompanied by the list of cases.

In response, Littell accused LePage of improperly interfering with the PUC, an independent government agency, and “attempting to direct or influence whether a Commissioner … sits on a particular case.”

If the governor wanted to continue the discussion about his participation in cases, Littell wrote, he should raise the issue through proper Commission channels.

“I do not intend to continue this correspondence,” wrote Littell, “and suggest your office follow the legal requirements for participating in Commission cases and communicating with Commissioners on cases in front of us.”

No bias allowed

A variety of laws and rules govern the behavior of PUC commissioners. The rules are meant to prevent situations in which a commissioner appears to, or actually does, favor a former employee, family member, friend or business associate during proceedings.

The state’s Administrative Procedure Act requires that “Hearings shall be conducted in an impartial manner.” The state’s conflict-of-interest laws state that, “Every executive employee shall endeavor to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest by disclosure or by abstention.” If a commissioner is an attorney, state Bar rules regarding conflicts apply, and the ethics code of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners also apply to all commissioners.

The argument between LePage and Littell began on May 5, when Littell recused himself from a case involving the multinational Nestle Waters corporation, saying his past association with Pierce Atwood, a prominent law firm involved in the case, created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Littell was formerly a partner at the law firm, which represents Nestle and the Fryeburg Water Co., and he worked there on legal matters for Poland Spring before the brand was acquired by Nestle.

Nestle and Fryeburg Water Co. want commission approval of a 25-year contract allowing Fryeburg to sell water to Nestle. The proposal is opposed by some residents and national water-rights advocates, who say the price Nestle will pay for the water is too low and that the deal could put Nestle’s claim on Fryeburg water ahead of residents’ right to it.

Littell was the third commissioner to remove himself from the case because of conflicts related to ties to a company or law firm. His recusal came seven months after he initially said he did not need to recuse himself, and he said his change of heart came after his potential conflict of interest was featured in news stories in the Portland Press Herald about the conflicts faced by PUC commissioners in the case.

After the first two commissioners, Mark Vannoy and Thomas Welch, recused themselves because they had each previously worked for Nestle Waters, the commission was left without a quorum of two to decide the case, and PUC consideration of the deal couldn’t go forward.

That led lawmakers to join with LePage in passing legislation this past spring that allows the governor to appoint retired judges as substitute commissioners. LePage then used his new power under the legislation and appointed retired Maine Supreme Judicial Court judge Paul Rudman to sit as an alternate commissioner with Littell on the case.

But then, when Littell recused himself, LePage responded that an appearance of a conflict wasn’t enough to disqualify Littell from participating in the case.

“By applying the standard you outlined in your memo, as Commissioner you would be unable to participate in cases ranging from telecommunications to wind development,” wrote LePage in a May 13 letter to Littell.

LePage said that he wouldn’t appoint another judge to replace Littell.

LePage’s rejection of Littell’s recusal rationale has prolonged a discussion among lawmakers and agency personnel of state policy regarding conflicts of interest at the Public Utilities Commission.

That discussion was prompted by public concerns about conflicts of interest in the Nestle case, which led, in part, to a study by the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. That study, released in October 2013, concluded that the “PUC should take additional steps to minimize risk of actual or perceived bias in its regulatory activities.”

LePage began his part of the discussion by threatening not to appoint a substitute commissioner and then, once he withdrew that threat, by challenging the appropriateness of Littell participating in similar cases to the Nestle-Fryeburg one.

Littell’s response was to tell the governor, “The decision to recuse myself … is my responsibility, and I continue to believe I am making an appropriate and correct decision.”

And Littell threw down his own challenge to LePage: If the governor wants Littell to recuse himself from additional cases because of conflicts between his past association with Pierce Atwood and present cases represented by the law firm, why is he not “asking the same” of the other two commissioners at the agency. PUC Chairman Welch, for example, was an attorney at Pierce Atwood before he joined the commission.

But in between the volley of letters between the two, others have weighed in, suggesting that clarification of recusal standards may be in order.

On July 8, Sen. John Cleveland, D-Auburn and Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, wrote to LePage, saying that “we are committed to work to make changes, if necessary, to further refine the legislation” that gave the governor the power to appoint replacement commissioners in the event of a recusal.

LePage agrees that something should be done, and in his letter appointing Atwood to replace Littell, told the PUC that, “I will be submitting legislation in the next session that ensures that this does not occur again and recusal standards are consistently applied.”

And despite his boss’s confrontational approach, LePage’s top energy staffer, Patrick Woodcock, took a more conciliatory tack.

“I think the governor was concerned that perhaps a new standard was being used to explain this specific recusal and there are a lot of controversial cases before the PUC, lots of cases involving the former law firm that the commissioner worked at,” said Woodcock. “I think everybody, all of us, should work to create a consistent and clear and understandable recusal standard.”

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is a nonpartisan, non-profit news service based in Augusta. Email: pinetreewatchdog@gmail.com. Web: pinetreewatchdog.org.

 

 

Companies proclaim water the next oil in a rush to turn resources into profit

Nestle leads the way as…

Companies proclaim water the next oil in a rush to turn resources into profit

Mammoth companies are trying to collect water that all life needs and charge for it as they would for other natural resources

….This summer, however, myriad business forces are combining to remind us that fresh water isn’t necessarily or automatically a free resource. It could all too easily end up becoming just another economic commodity.

At the forefront of this firestorm is Peter Brabeck, chairman and former CEO of Nestle.

In his view, citizens don’t have an automatic right to more than the water they require for mere “survival”, unless they can afford to pay for it.

Link to full article

 

Terrifying Worldwide Water Privatization Strategy

Back in 2011, we were made aware of this article which links the World Bank with several transnational corporate entities, including Nestle, to private water worldwide, but especially targeting countries with a lower socioeconomic status.  I was then informed by an expert source that it was not being spearheaded by the World Bank, but rather the World Economic Forum.

Then the other day, Nickie Seckera of Community Water Justice, who has been resisting Nestle’s expanding empire over the water in Fryeburg, sent along this information:

The Alliance for Water Stewardship offers a partnership with founding members as Nestlé, Unilever, Veolia and many more to help secure the multinational corporate agenda of controlling groundwater resources.

Beware of organizations as this who claim to protect global water resources. For whom are they protecting it? Corporate-backed organizations as this are out for protection of their future profits in securing water sources all over the world for their dominance over local people. The prospects of commodification and control could change how we access drinking water for all future generations. As we know, they are not out for the common good but for profit – and the highest bidder will win access to life.

“The Alliance for Water Stewardship is a partnership of global leaders in sustainable water management who are dedicated to promoting responsible use of freshwater that is socially, economically and environmentally beneficial. AWS drives collective responses to shared water challenges through its stakeholder-endorsed international Water Stewardship Standard. AWS’s Founding Partners are American Standard, CDP, Centre for Responsible Business, Centro del Agua para America Latina y el Caribe, Ecolab, European Water Partnership, Fundacion Chile, Fundacion FEMSA, Future500, General Mills, The Gold Standard Foundation, Hindustan Unilever Foundation, Inghams, Marks & Spencer, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Nestle, Pacific Institute, Sealed Air, United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, The Nature Conservancy, The Water Council, Veolia, Water Environment Foundation, Water Footprint Network, Water Stewardship Australia, Water Witness International, WaterAid and WWF.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-global-organizations-pledge-to-support-water-stewardship-2014-04-08?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Thank you Nickie for your outstanding work.

Maine’s Bottled Water Industry Taps into $11.8 Billion Dollar Trend.

Mainebiz – Monday, January 27, 2014

Sales of bottled water are on track to top those of carbonated soft drinks by 2020, driven by health-conscious, on-the-go consumers. That thirst for water has cascaded throughout the country over the past two decades. Maine alone has 18 bottled water plants. Perrier bought Poland Spring in 1980 when the Maine-based operation was almost bankrupt, and then Nestlé purchased Perrier in 1992. Nestlé sells Poland Spring, Perrier, S. Pellegrino, Pure Life and Arrowhead among its dozens of worldwide water brands.

Read More:    http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20140127/CURRENTEDITION/301239999