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Attorney General Slams Nestle's Bottled Water Aspirations

Another big win for those hoping to keep the beverage giant out of McCloud, California.
 
 
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As many of you already know, we've been covering the situation in McCloud, California where food and beverage giant Nestle is trying to build a massive water bottling plant there -- much to the dismay of the majority of local residents.

Now Nestle has got even more opposition.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. warned Nestle that "California will challenge the environmental plan for a bottled water plant in Siskiyou county if the company does not revise its contract to pump water from the McCloud River."

Here's what a statement from the AG's office said:

"It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States," Attorney General Brown said. "Nestle will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles," Brown added.

Although Nestle publicly offered to reduce its annual water take to 195 million gallons of spring water per year -- enough to fill 3.1 billion 8-ounce plastic bottles -- the company has not yet agreed to change the terms of its contract with the McCloud Community Service District. The current fifty-year contract permits the company to draw 520 million gallons of spring water each year and also to pump unlimited amounts groundwater.

...Brown also said the environmental analysis fails to consider the global warming impacts of producing and transporting millions of gallons of water including: greenhouse gases from producing the plastic bottles; electrical demand for the project; and the diesel soot and greenhouse gas emissions from truck trips.

Attorney General Brown has asked the County of Siskiyou to revise its environmental impact report and circulate a new draft of the environmental impact report.

This is just the latest in a round of setbacks for Nestle, which announced recently that it would scale down the size of the plant.

The pressure groups who have been fighting Nestle on the issue had many accolades for the AG, as expected.

One of the main groups involved in the issue, Food and Water Watch, applauded Brown's announcement and added, "In the worst cases, Nestle's water grab ruins streams, ponds, wells and aquifers. And in all cases, Nestle's practices raise serious questions about who should be allowed to control water, our most essential resource, and to what end. Will corporations like Nestle or the communities that rely upon this most essential resource for their health, livelihood and well-being control water resources?"

Stay tuned as we continue to cover McCloud's fight against Nestle.

Tara Lohan is a managing editor at AlterNet.

 
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