The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

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 Nestle, Demonstrates Power of the Grassroots

Statement by Leslie Samuelrich, Deputy Director


After an extended grassroots campaign, Nestle 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 Nestle's under-the-radar
installation. Upon realizing that Shapleigh was likely one of the next
site for Nestle'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 Nestle 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 Nestle after nine years of legal battles and Nestle
appeals. The settlement requires Nestle 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 stops transnational corporations from devastating democracy, trampling human rights, and destroying our planet.

(617) 695-2525