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Mayor Recommends No Further Action On Nestlé Proposal

Goldendale Mayor Mike Canon has released his Nestle Report and recommendation to be presented to the Goldendale City Council on June 19, 2017.

His four page report “Research: Nestle American Bottling Plant; Goldendale, WA” includes:
The Nestlé Invitation background.
Preliminary numbers of a Nestle American proposal, including water resource needs, waste water production, trucking volumes, and projected employees ‘at full build out’.
Details of the Goldendale Municipal Water System.
Consideration of the steps to implement proposed plan.
Impact of the proposed project on the Goldendale economy.
The Report concludes with the following Recommendation to the City Council:

“Generally, the city has the capacity to meet the preliminary numbers outlined above, with the exception of the department of health chlorination requirement on the sale of water to its customer. Additionally, the development of the proposal with Nestlé, would require additional staff time and manpower, additional funding for increased manpower and consultant time which would overwhelm the City’s limited budget.

Based on the forgoing, I recommend the City take no further action.”
Goldendale Water Coalition welcomes Mayor Canon’s decision.

We also offer the following comments on his report:

Responding to the ‘Consideration of the steps to implement proposed plan’:
The Mayor lists the steps that are involved in Nestlé’s corporate approach to ‘owning’ public water:

Water rights analysis and sale/transfer would require evaluation.
Required federal, state, county and city permits on a range of requirements must be identified preliminarily.
The cost of additional water rights to replace what would be used by Nestlé American would need to be determined and satisfied.
Any amount of water sold to any bottling company would need to be offset by obtaining additional water rights for the city system.
The costly and legally-challenging factors that are involved in securing water transfer rights are a key issue. These are costs that would be borne not by Nestlé, but by the taxpayers, water users, and residents of the greater Goldendale area. Many of the concerns over water rights and transfers were raised by community members at the Nov. 7, 2016, Council meeting and in letters of opposition to the proposal.

Responding to the ‘Impact of the proposed project on the Goldendale economy':
The Mayor speculates on a best case scenario of 40-50 ’living-wage’ jobs, a often-repeated claim that is not guaranteed by Nestlé American as a component of all water resource purchases. He cites a positive improvement to local businesses, including restaurants, fuel and repair services, tire companies, etc., yet offers no data confirming these economic development claims. Nor does he include any verifiable research on the supposed economic benefits –or negative impacts– in other rural communities doing business with Nestlé.

Finally, there is no weight given to the community responses he received to the Nestlé proposal, which were overwhelmingly negative. Goldendale Water Coalition contends that a recognition of the importance of preserving our precious water resources for our community –not for a corporation– is a better path toward healthy, sustainable economic development.

We encourage the Goldendale community to join us at the City Council Meeting on Monday, June 19th, 7pm, for the Mayor’s presentation of his report.

And while we appreciate the activism and support expressed by our friends and colleagues outside the Goldendale community, as this issue appears to have been resolved for now, we suggest you help save our planet by Saving Some Gas and Celebrate this Victory Locally!

Thank you everyone for your support,
Our H20 • Goldendale Water Coalition
Public Water Resources for Our Communities – Not for Corporations!

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* The full Mayor’s report can be viewed here:

http://ci.goldendale.wa.us/images/2017-agendas-minutes/06192017%20Council%20Packet.pdf

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