If you’ve been listening to the radio lately, you may have heard an advertisement promoting the economic benefits of Poland Spring and urging residents of Wells to vote against a local ordinance that would ban commercial water extraction in the town.
Wells voters will decide at a Saturday town meeting whether they want to join the communities of Shapleigh and Newfield in adopting the so-called “rights-based” ordinance that supporters say gives the environment more rights than corporations.
A key battle in Maine’s ongoing war over water will be decided in Wells on Saturday. Voters at a town meeting will decide whether theirs will become the latest community to ban water extraction by companies like Poland Spring.
Editor’s note: These are the first in a series of articles that will, over the coming weeks, explore the issue of water rights and resources in our local communities, in light of the ongoing debate over whether Poland Spring/Nestlé should be allowed to extract water from the region for bottling.
Groundwater is at the heart of the debate over whether the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District should sell its water to Nestlé/Poland Spring, but experts say the issue is far from crystal clear.
I took your suggestion to go to www.celdf.org. The information I found has re-enforced my conviction that the citizens of the town of Wells have every right to bring the “rights based ordinance” before the people for a vote. This site has inspired me to support the “SOH2O” group to move forward and do everything it can to bring this protection to our town.
WELLS — There are two schools of thought on how water extraction should be governed in town — rights- and regulatory-based — but sentiment expressed by the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday made it clear there are uncertainties with each.
In a 3-2 vote, the board narrowly rejected a citizen’s petition to place a rights-based water extraction ordinance on the June warrant, despite some reservation shown from at least one of the selectmen who turned the measure down.
By Emma Bouthillette, Kennebunk Post, Nov. 21, 2008
During the Nov. 4 election, 68 percent of Wells voters voted to enact a 180-day moratorium on all water extraction activities allowing time to develop a town ordinance in regard to water extraction.
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“There is a virulent strain of optimism among activists as community after community has resisted Nestle. There is definitely a movement ‘bubbling up’ around the state to protect groundwater resources from corporate exploitation,” Save Our Water organizer Jamilla El-Shafei said in a Nov. 6 press release. Continue reading →