For Immediate Release
Ted Lechterman, Corporate Accountability International, 617-695-2525
Shelly Gobeille, Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources, 207-608-1979
Maine Community Rebuffs Nestlé, Demonstrates Power of the Grassroots
Statement by Leslie Samuelrich, Deputy Director
MAINE - After an extended grassroots campaign, Nestlé is finally removing 23
bottled water test wells from a wildlife management area in Shapleigh
and Newfield, ME.
Shelly Gobielle and her neighbors first discovered the wells a year
and a half ago, three years after Nestlé’s under-the-radar
installation. Upon realizing that Shapleigh was likely one of the next
site for Nestlé’s water extraction for its Poland Spring brand bottled
water, residents approached town officials with their concerns about
what bottling would do to the local ecosystem. Their words fell on deaf
ears, as Nestlé had already lobbied for and secured the support of the
Shapleigh town officials.
The only option was for residents to take matters into their own
hands, forming the group Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources
(POWWR). Members hit the streets and went door to door educating the
public and signing enough petitions to call a town meeting, held four
months ago. Residents in both Shapleigh and the neighboring town of
Newfield passed ordinances that asserted the right of townspeople to
control their own water and to prohibit commercial water extraction, a
reality that can at last be assured.
A heartfelt congratulations are due to Shelly, POWWR members, and
the residents of Shapleigh and Newfield who volunteered their time and
immense energy to protecting their water resources.
This is a watershed moment, so to speak, in the effort to restore
local control over water. Earlier this month another community group,
the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, secured a major court
victory against Nestlé after nine years of legal battles and Nestlé
appeals. The settlement requires Nestlé to dramatically reduce pumping
during summer months at a critical well site in Northern Michigan, and
prohibits the corporation from increasing pumping levels in the future.
Corporate Accountability International has been waging winning campaigns to challenge corporate abuse for more than 30 years. We were there at the beginning of this movement to demand direct corporate accountability to public interests and have been at its forefront ever since.