Nestle Takes Big Hit in Maine

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The Board members of the Protecting Our Water and Wildlife Resources in Shapleigh Maine, York County are pleased to report that they have won a resounding victory against Nestle – Poland Springs Water to perform drilling and testing in this town for the eventual extraction of groundwater.  The vote against Nestle and the Board of Select Persons was overwhelming. 

            The first vote was for a moratorium against any and all attempts or acceptance of an application to conduct large scale water extraction until a strong water ordinance, approved by the residents, was in place that would protect the town, its water and its residents. The vote was 204 YES in favor, 38 NO, against the moratorium (84% Yes).  The Moratorium lasts six months and can be renewed for another six months.

             The other warrant was to decide whether test wells could be placed by Nestle in the town at this time to determine water quality, volume and other characteristics.  The vote was 183 against and 44 in favor (81% No).   

            The effort by local citizens to resist the plan to extract water started in middle to late March by three people, then expanded to the current sixteen members, with help from additional volunteers.  Nestle spent, according to calculations based on advertising space (black and white and multi-colored) almost $45,000, and the POWWR spent less than $3,000.  Nestle sent a first class letter to every resident of the town, sent teams of Nestle persons door to door in groups of two, showered the town with flyers, hired two additional attorneys, hired a geologist to assist with various informational duties, employed two other geologists to walk on nearby State land that would be affected by water extraction, as well as other activities by two of the three selectpersons that suggested they would welcome Nestle.  Our group used door to door efforts, one mailing, informational meetings, personal conversations, flyers, signs, and the like to inform citizens of the truth about Nestle.   

            This is not the termination of the work against Nestle.  Other activity will be related to whether the town can prepare a suitable ordinance.  Town officials had every opportunity to prepare an ordinance; they were given on two occasions one that would serve their town, but they chose to not use it. They were even offered, but declined, help to write it.  

            Our members appreciate the support and encouragement given to us by nearby groups who are also working against Nestle. We also thank those from greater distances who sent their good wishes to us on numerous occasions.  In a similar way, we extend our encouragement to all of you who know, just as we know at this moment, that a small group of people can stand up to a powerful international corporation and can effect, in one way or another, the outcome of a Nestle “surge.”  It also demonstrates that citizens, when given accurate data and the truth about massive-scale water removal and the massive-scale extractors, can carefully weigh and select the best approach to protect their natural resources. 

            September 20, 2008                                                                                         

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