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.
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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.