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‘Expert’ murky on water issue; Fight extraction; Eggs but no issues (letters, Wells, ME)

‘Expert’ murky on water issue

To the Editor, Seacoast Online:

I was surprised to see a letter from Walter Anderson (from Yarmouth), former state geologist and Maine geologic survey director — a bona fide expert — in June 10th York County Coast Star.

He assured us that there is plenty of water and always will be. He also states that “Poland Spring has been a solid example of how protecting the environment can create good jobs.” Bringing in tanker trucks and pumping an additional 432,000 gallons of water per day is an example of protecting the environment? But he is the expert, so I guess we should believe him.

Anderson also states in his letter, “during a typical July, approximately 3.7 billion gallons of water evaporates from Sebago Lake. That’s more than five times the total amount of water Poland Spring uses in one year.” You know, I’m not an expert like Mr. Anderson, but I do remember first-grade science when we learned about how water that gets evaporated comes back to us in rain and snowfall! I’m sure we’ve gotten a few million gallons of water back in the rain we’ve been getting this month.

The point is, water that gets evaporated comes back, water that get sucked out by Poland Spring is gone forever — it’s not ever coming back!

How can anyone compare evaporation with extraction? How stupid does he think we are, anyway?

Google up this expert’s name and you’ll find that, in addition to his impressive resume, he was outed as a Nestlé consultant in a 2007 article by Jim Wilfong, “Who Owns Maine’s Water — Nestlé or the People?” To my knowledge, that assertion was never refuted.

I guess there’s more than water for sale here!

Linda Dumey, Wells


Fight extraction

To the Editor:

There’s a knock on your door. A guy muscles his way in, attaches a hose to your kitchen tap, and fills a huge truck with your water, for which you pay. As you begin to complain, another truck pulls up and the water extraction continues, day and night. You try to complain to the town fathers, but they just smile and shrug their shoulders.

Sound like a nasty nightmare?

If the town of Wells gives up its soul — and its water — to Poland Spring/ Nestlé this scenario turn into an awful reality for everybody’s water supply.

Let’s fight — and fight now — against our town giving water extraction rights to some giant Swiss corporation, or anyone else, before it’s too late.

Gail Cettei, Wells


Eggs but no issues

To the Editor:

Once a month, there is a public breakfast meeting in Wells called Eggs & Issues, where local business people and other folks get together to have breakfast at 7:30 a.m. then listen to a speaker talk about a pertinent issue, followed by questions and answers.

The presenter this month was Mark DuBois, Nestlé Waters’s resource manager for the Poland Springs label. I attended the meeting, along with several others, with the expectation that we would hear about the proposed water extraction issue in Wells and have the opportunity to ask him some important questions.

Instead, we got the eggs, but not the issues! Participants could have missed the program and slept in that morning, as Mr. DuBois gave his standard PowerPoint presentation with information which we could have easily read on their Web site. He would NOT discuss the relevant water extraction issue that people were clamoring to hear about. After his totally one-sided dog-and-pony show, Mr. DuBois stated that he would take individual questions “outside.” A question-and-answer session has traditionally been a part of each program, so people were visibly disappointed and some were quite upset.

Fortunately for Mr DuBois, attendees kept their shoes on, but he ended up leaving with egg on his face!

Perhaps Mr. DuBois’ reluctance to answer questions had to do with the fact that there were two videographers present and he was advised by his publicist, who was in attendance, not to answer questions in front of the cameras, least he might be caught off guard in an unscripted moment.

After he left the podium, I thought I would go up to him and ask my question. As a cameraman followed me, his publicist put her hand in front of the camera and blocked me from speaking to him directly. Then, like a news clip from the Bernie Madoff coverage, Mr. DuBois started to skirt around the tables to avoid being asked any questions.

Then I attempted to ask him why he was so afraid to answer our questions, and then in a stranger-than-fiction moment, his publicist shoved me back, as the jaws of on-lookers dropped, while the scene was caught on camera. Then he swiftly left the room, and ran to his vehicle with a cameraman trailing.

Why can’t the representative from Poland Springs/Nestlé honestly answer the tough questions from concerned citizens in front of rolling cameras? What could the corporate headquarters of Nestlé be afraid of?

To answer that question we only need to Google Nestlé Waters to understand why people may pose some difficult questions, which could prove embarrassing.

Mr DuBois repeatedly recites the mantra, “Poland Springs is a good neighbor,” but if I invited one of my neighbors to have breakfast and to talk afterwards and the person suddenly ended our visit and ran out the door, I would feel insulted. However, let’s give him another opportunity to redeem himself.

Since Mr DuBois scurried out of town without answering any questions, I suggest that we send him another invitation to speak. Next time he should make his presentation and speak after dinner, not after breakfast, so the average person in the communities of the Branch Brook Aquifer can attend.

Since Nestlé/Poland Springs is so eager to do business in our communities we must hold Mr. DuBois, and the Select Board, for that matter, accountable! Citizens’ concerns should be addressed at a large public venue such as the elementary school auditorium and questions should be taken from the floor ON CAMERA for the record!

Now that the KKW Water District is politically no longer a viable option for Nestlé, we know they are actively working on Plan B. This may involve the purchase of private property and piping the water out to Route 99. Citizens in Wells, Sanford and beyond, have questions which need to be answered by the Nestlé/Poland Springs representative and his allies on the Wells Select Board , for that matter! Let’s hold these people accountable!

If Mr. DuBois and his allies decline our invitation, then we should all take ISSUE with that!

Jamilla El-Shafei, Kennebunk

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