URGENT UPDATE: In a rare move the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is blocking the public’s voice in its upcoming Commission meeting in Portland.
After learning that anti-Nestlé activists planned to testify at the December 7th Commission Meeting in opposition to the ODFW’s involvement with Nestlé, the Commission decided last week to bar us from speaking by canceling the public forum on the meeting agenda. We will not let them silence us! Take action today. Help us ensure that the Nestlé Water Bottling Plant is included in the ODFW Commission’s February meeting agenda and plan to join us in February 8th to hold ODFW accountable for its role in the Nestlé proposal.
Go to www.bark-out.org and click on “Anti-Nestlé activists blocked from meeting” to learn more and take action.You should also call the ODFW Commission to express your disappointment and to demand they put us on the agenda for their February meeting: it’s high time they listened to us (dial ’0’ to talk to a person):
Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW 
Facebook Event Page
Join us at the ODFW Commission Meeting
Tell them “Don’t take Nestlé’s bait.”
Friday December 7th, 7:30am-9am
Airport Holiday Inn
8439 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland
Nestlé is trying to bait the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) into “exchanging” publicly owned water (our water) so that Nestlé can bottle it and make millions.
The ODFW Commission is the boss of the agency’s director Roy Elicker, and can stop Nestlé by simply withdrawing the permits that would allow Nestlé to profit off of public water.
Join us to stand in solidarity as individuals testify to the Commission with this message: Nestlé Waters is NOT welcome in our state and ODFW should NOT get into the bottled water industry.
Bark will provide coffee and donuts and is organizing a carpool. RSVP at this link for more info or to help!
Spread the word on Facebook!
On Wednesday, August 1st, a group of 20 ultra-runners trekked through the 50-mile width and over 4,000-foot depth of the Columbia River Gorge to support the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Campaign. The run was organized by some amazing individuals who felt passionate enough about the issue to use their physical endurance to raise awareness about Nestlé’s plans to bottle and sell water from the Gorge. They believe the Gorge is a sacred place and should be protected from the exploitation of the water-bottling giant.
The runners began their trip at approximately 7:00 am in Cascade Locks and followed the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon up to the Chinedere Mountain. As they came back through Cascade Locks, a group of 40 supporters was there to cheer on their efforts near the Bridge of the Gods. The runners took a short break to have their pictures taken with the supporters holding signs and a 40-foot “Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge” banner discuss the issue with their allies, refuel on some snacks and refreshing tap water before heading back up the Washington side of the Gorge to the summit of Table Mountain. The run ended in Cascade Locks around 7:30 pm and the ultra-runners, along with some of the supporters, gathered in Stevenson Washington to celebrate their feat.
Run participants also sought to raise awareness about the many products owned by Nestlé including two running staples: bottled water and PowerBar. Bringing their own water, which they occasionally filled up in the springs of the Gorge, they proved that bottled water is, indeed, unnecessary for major run events.
The Keep Nestlé out of the Gorge Coalition hopes to continue supporting unique efforts by Oregonians opposing Nestlé’s water bottling plans. Groups will continue targeting Governor Kitzhaber, demanding that he put a stop to the potential giveaway of Oregon’s water.
The Rally was a big success! On Tuesday, June 26th, 300 Oregonians gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza to tell Governor Kitzhaber that no stance is not an option when it comes to Nestlé’s proposed water bottling facility. The protesters represented over 30,000 Oregonians who have demanded that the Governor protect our water by using his influence to halt the water exchange that would allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to give away our public water for Nestlé’s profit.
Terry Swier, a lead activist on the campaign to fight Nestlé in her Michigan hometown, traveled to Oregon to attend the rally and encourage Oregonians to continue their fight. “From my own experience, I would tell the residents of Oregon to ask hard questions of Nestlé and their elected officials,” said Swier. “Don’t take Nestlé’s word on anything. Even though we’re winning in Michigan, irreparable harm has been inflicted by Nestlé on our water system. Our lakes and streams will never be the same.” Other speakers included:
- Barbara Willer—a former County Commissioner who was instrumental in getting the “Take Back the Tap” resolution passed in Multnomah County
- Tim Norgren—a resident of The Dalles representing Columbia River Gorge residents opposing Nestlé
- Sister Brigid Baumann—A representative from the Sisters of the Holy Names who advocates for Oregonians’ free access to good water, believing it is is a sacred right
Present at the rally was a 40-foot “Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge” banner on which activists pinned cloth water droplets with their messages to Governor Kitzhaber. Julia DeGraw, of Food and Water Watch, led rally attendees in a chant which was left on Governor Kitzhaber’s answering machine: “Water is a human right! Don’t let Nestlé win this fight!” To close, local bluegrass band Cedro Willie led activists in a sing-along featuring the songs “Roll on Columbia” and “This Land is Your Land,” with special lyrics and new lines written just for this campaign.
Through out the rally participants were encourage to call the governor’s office to ask him to protect our water from Nestlé, you can make your call to Governor Kitzhaber today at: 503-378-4582
The Coalition groups who organized the rally include Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club, Bark, Occupy Portland, Oregon AFSCME, Portland Alliance for Democracy, Sisters of the Holy Names, and Resources for Health.
Tuesday, June 26th at 4pm
We need to tell Governor Kitzhaber: Either you stand with Oregonians or you stand with Nestlé!
Stand in solidarity with a diverse coalition of groups and over 30,000 Oregonians who are demanding that Kitzhaber protect our water from a Nestlé water bottling plant in the scenic Columbia River Gorge! Join us for activities for all ages, music, special guest speakers, to add your own message to our banner and much more.
Guest speakers include:
- Terry Swier – an activist involved with a group famous for fighting Nestlé’s damaging water bottling in Michigan.
- Sister Brigid Baumann, from Sisters of the Holy Name
The event is brought to you by the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition including: Food & Water Watch, Bark, Sierra Club, Oregon AFSCME, Occupy Portland, Sisters of the Holy Names, Resources for Health, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environment Oregon, Oregon Wild and others.
Terry Schrunk Plaza
Southwest 3rd and Madison Street
Portland, OR 97204
Did you know that Mother’s Day originally began as an activist’s call to end the American Civil war, led by mothers seeking to protect their children? Keeping with tradition, Bark and Food and Water Watch co-hosted a Mother’s Day of Action against Nestlé on Saturday, May 12th. Campaign supporters, including mothers and children, gathered at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland to create messages to Governor Kitzhaber, asking him to halt the water exchange plan.
Following the event, members of Bark, Food and Water Watch, and Resources for Health gathered at the State Capitol on Monday, May 14th to deliver these messages for water protection to Governor Kitzhaber’s office. Joining them was an awesome group of motivated children who were also concerned about Nestlé’s plan to bottle water in the Gorge. These children launched the H2Origami Project, in which they collected over 1,000 pieces of origami containing messages asking the Governor to respond to the issue from kids all over the state. They delivered their origami to the Governor’s office alongside those delivering the messages from the Mother’s Day of Action. You can view KOIN news’ coverage of the event here:
The Mother’s Day was just the beginning of the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition’s effort to increase public pressure on the governor to say ‘no’ to Nestlé. Keep checking in to find out what we’re doing next to show Governor Kitzhaber that not taking a stance on this issue is not an option: either he stands for Oregonians or he stands for Nestlé. We need to show him that he must stand with Oregonians!
Here is a brief explanation on where Nestlé stands in the permitting process, what the applications and permits mean, and how the public can stop Nestlé from taking and bottling our public water:
On February 29th, the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) approved two of the three necessary OWRD permits for the Nestlé Water Bottling Plant. These two “housekeeping permits” are one step in a process for Nestlé approval and have initiated a 30-day protest period for public appeal of the permits. Bark and the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition plan to protest the decision.
The clearest way of understanding the recent approval by OWRD for the first two permits is to think of the permits as “housekeeping measures.” In 2010, when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) applied to exchange its water with the City of Cascade Locks so that the city could then sell that water to Nestlé, the OWRD discovered that ODFW had unknowingly been drawing its water from the wrong source for many years. OWRD couldn’t rightfully approve an application to transfer water being withdrawn from a location not indicated in ODFW’s original water right, so it required ODFW to apply for a change to the Point of Diversion (POD) for the hatchery so that the current operations by ODFW would match the design listed in its water permits. In other words, before ODFW could transfer its water right to Cascade Locks, it needed to have its paperwork in order. Housekeeping was required.
The permits granted by the OWRD in February were the conclusion of the housekeeping process. Transfer applications T-11108 and T-11249 changed the current water permit for ODFW to reflect where water is actually being withdrawn from Oxbow Spring for the agency’s fish hatchery. Why would the agency need two permits instead of just one to address this problem?
The answer is simple: The application was divided into two to make it even easier for Nestlé to get its hands on the water down the road. Instead of filing one housekeeping application to reflect where ODFW takes its water, it split the application into two separate quantities: one for 9.5 cubic feet per second (CFS) of water and another for 0.5 CFS. This separation will make it easier for the planned water exchange with Cascade Locks as it will allow for only the 0.5 CFS to be exchanged – the exact amount requested by Nestlé.
What Comes Next
The approval of the two permits by OWRD in February initiated a 30-day protest period during which the public has the right to challenge the approvals within OWRD. While any member of the public can protest the permit, many individuals have identified that the fees for filing such appeals are prohibitive, with each of the two permits requiring a $600 filing fee and additional hidden costs associated with seeing the protest through. Food & Water Watch and the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition will file a protest before the March 29th deadline. The process for resolving that appeal may take anywhere from two to five months and will include a contested case hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. After that point, Bark and our coalition partners have the option of appealing the decision by that judge. Subsequent permits, specifically the water exchange between ODFW and Cascade Locks cannot move forward until that protest is settled. Once the protest is resolved, the next application will be processed by OWRD. That application is for the exchange of water between ODFW and Cascade Locks with the intent of selling the water to Nestlé for their proposed bottling plant.
What you can do
• While the protest is in the process of resolution, members of the public can be contacting Governor Kitzhaber to urge his administration to take a stand against the commodification of our water by Nestlé (click here handout on how to contact Governor Kitzhaber).
• Support Food & Water Watch with a donation.
• Spread the word to your friends about this proposal! Contact Food & Water Watch with questions or offers to help.
Filed under News, Updates
At the last Oregon Water Resources Commission on Friday, January 27, the agenda was full of administrative issues including a rule change regarding the way people who submit public comments will be notified that their comment has been received. Food & Water Watch and its coalition partners were at the meeting to ensure that everyone who commented on the Department of Water Resources water transfer applications pertaining to the Nestle water bottling proposal be properly notified of the Water Resources Department’s decision on those transfer applications. In the end we were assured that those who submitted comments would be appropriately notified.
What wasn’t in the agenda was the Nestle water bottling issue, yet, Dave Palais, Nestlé’s Natural Resources Manager, broached the subject asking for the Water Resources Commission’s approval of a water exchange that would lead to a proposed Nestlé water bottling plant in the Gorge. Palais went on record urging the commission to support the water exchange, while also highlighting that the Cascade Locks bottling plant would be good for the entire state of Oregon. This unexpected pronouncement by a representative of Nestle at a public meeting caused some confusion among the Water Resources Commission members since Palais’ testimony was out of context and caught the commission off guard.
Filed under News, Updates
On November 8th, 2011, Food & Water Watch and a coalition of groups met with the governor’s Department of Natural Resources staff to discuss Nestlé’s intention to build a water bottling plant in the Columbia River Gorge town of Cascade Locks and to unveil the findings of the economic study on the issue. Food & Water Watch commissioned Ecotrust to conduct an economic study on the potential impacts from Nestlé’s proposal to build a water bottling plant in the Columbia Gorge. In the meeting, Food & Water Watch and our allies succeeded in setting a deadline of the end of the year for Governor Kitzhaber to stop Nestlé. Armed with the new information from the study, along with massive grassroots support on our side, we hope that is enough to convince the governor to say no to Nestlé.
November was a fantastic month for us here at Food and Water Watch, and it’s largely because of supporters like YOU! We would like to take a moment to thank and celebrate our coalition of groups and activists continuing the fight to Keep Nestlé Out of The Gorge. It is with everyone’s support to keep Nestlé’s hand off of Oregon’s water that we are on the cusp of a potential victory. Governor Kitzhaber has until the end of the month to stop Nestlé – but more on that in the next post. For now here’s a quick rundown of activists we would like to celebrate: