Shapleigh citizens have spoken once again by banning large scale water extraction for resale outside of Shapleigh. By our vote on Saturday, February 28, 2009, we also rejected the Board of Selectmen’s support of Nestle Waters/Poland Springs over that of it’s citizens.
Residents have consistently made it clear that they want their Constitutional Rights to take precedence over a Swiss conglomerate (Nestle/Poland Springs). We believe Nestle/Poland Springs is completely and exclusively responsible for causing this year-long distress to our town’s residents. By its behavior Nestle has shown us, in Shapleigh, what other small towns in the U. S. already know (e.g. Fryeberg) about this foreign corporation whose values are not those of Maine people. They use our regulations, or lack of, for their financial gain. Town officials have shown that they do not understand they are suppose to represent the people who elected them to public office.
York County Journal Tribune, March 3, 2009
In seven minutes Saturday, the residents of Shapleigh made history.
Regardless of one’s views on industrial water extraction for commercial purposes, the 114 to 66 vote to establish Maine’s first rights-based ordinance was aggressive and remarkable.
We are so proud to be counted among Shapleigh’s Citizens, and especially among those voters that were at the Citizen’s Town Meeting this past Saturday, February 28, 2009.
Residents ignore the Board of Selectmen’s position and vote to stop Poland Spring – and others – from harvesting their water.
By Edward Murphy, Portland Press Herald (March 1, 2009)
Portland Press Herald, February 16, 2009
After the citizens of Shapleigh overwhelmingly voted to deny Nestle the right to “test” for water on town-owned property, this newspaper weighed in with an editorial implicitly chiding citizens for their decision (“Poland Spring deserves its warm welcome,” Feb. 4).
By Barbara Britten in the Waterboro Reporter, February 12, 2009; also submitted to the Register and Biddeford Journal.
Read letter to the Editor here.
One can readily find information concerning the science, the economics, and the legalities of water extraction. Within each of these disciplines one can extract data supportive of one’s agenda, irrespective of which side of the argument he or she stands. It is also quite easy to locate historical information about the companies which extract water and how each has interacted with the local populations where the water is extracted. Again, the information comes in both positive and negative varieties. Maybe the final decision for some will not be the hard evidence, but perhaps the ‘ethics’ of water extraction.
I honestly believe that when people enter into public life, they do so with the desire to make their community, county or state a better place in which to live. These people soon find themselves entangled in a jungle of legal paperwork, having to refer back and forth between sections, sub-paragraphs, and limiting titles of law, just to determine which authority governs on a particular topic. Asked to write ordinances and laws pertaining to subjects unfamiliar to them, these well meaning public figures turn to ‘professionals’ for advice. Unfortunately for the public, these ‘professionals’ often advise in a manner giving corporations control over the public. This is the situation I believe Shapleigh and other small Maine towns are in at the moment.
I am writing to express our concern regarding more trucks and traffic generated by Poland Spring. We have read with interest the articles regarding the legal battle that Western Maine Residents for Rural Living is fighting against more Poland Springs activity.
Almost all the publicity that we have seen is focused on Fryeburg and its immediate surrounding area. My husband and I live on Rte. 11, Steep Falls, Cumberland County. When Poland Springs tanker trucks are using this route to the Hollis bottling plant, we have trucks passing at least every half hour, 24 hours a day. In the summer, when I assume water demand is greater, we have at least one truck pass by every 15 minutes, occasionally every 5 or 6 minutes, 24 hours a day.
By David Harry, Sanford-Springvale Register 1/22/2009
Although temperatures have rarely been warm enough to thaw it, water remains a hot topic in the New Year in York County. Specifically, questions on how to regulate commercial water extraction are the basis of a bill submitted by freshman legislator Ed Legg (D-Kennebunk), and the subject of a workshop scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 28, by Shapleigh selectmen to consider creating a town ordinance.