Category Archives: Updates

UPDATE: Tell ODFW: Let us speak

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 [6339]

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Food and Water Watch to Protest Oregon Water Resources Department’s Decision

It is now official: the Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition will appeal the Oregon Water Resources Department’s (OWRD) approval of permit applications that inch Nestlé closer to bottling Oregon’s water. The coalition, representing labor, religious, environmental, public health and consumer advocacy groups, maintains that this water exchange is not in the public’s best interest. This is a stance they have steadfastly maintained over the last two years in their opposition of the Nestlé water bottling plant.

“It is the State’s job to safeguard Oregon’s public resources, especially our precious water resources for the benefit of all Oregonians, not multinational corporations. Allowing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to move forward with this water rights exchange would permit a state-owned resource to be used for a private business model that is unsustainable,” said, Jackie Dingfelder, Oregon State Senator for District 23.

Kitzhaber is the one person that could advise the ODFW to pull out of the water exchange process. The coalition has been calling on Governor Kitzhaber to stop the controversial water exchange. Kitzhaber has heard from over 10,000 Oregonians urging him to stop the exchange and his Natural Resources Department staff has met with the coalition to get the facts on this controversial issue. Additionally, the governor has received Ecotrust’s economic study that outlines why extractive industries like water bottling are not the best path forward for economic development in Oregon. Even with all of the calls and letters from Oregonians desiring protection of their water and his Natural Resources Department meeting with the coalition to discuss the issue, Kitzhaber remains quiet. 

The Nestlé water bottling plant proposal is, as stated earlier, not in the best interest of the public or for Oregon. In fact, it is in direct opposition of Kitzhaber’s desire for a greener and more sustainable Oregon. “At a time when local governments in Oregon are discouraging wasteful plastic bottles, why are our state agencies encouraging Nestlé to develop a plant that could produce over 200 million plastic bottles every year? We should know better,” said Barbara Willer, former Multnomah County Commissioner. Allowing the transfer applications to go through and the bottling plant to be build would make a mockery of the state’s pledge to discourage wasteful practices (i.e. use of plastic water bottles).

Lastly, Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge will continue to oppose the water exchange proposal in conjunction with Crag Law Center, and also ramp up efforts to gain Governor Kitzhaber’s support in protecting Oregon water resources from Nestlé. Said Julia DeGraw, Food and Water Watch’s Northwest Organizer: “Nestlé’s search for water has stirred up controversy in California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states… [T]ime and time again, Nestlé has demonstrated that it does not have the communities’ best interest in mind when it comes to bottling public water resources.” It is now time to show once again that Nestlé and their water bottling plant is not in the best interests of Oregonians and not in the best interest of the state of Oregon.

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Nestlé Update: What comes next?

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.

Housekeeping Permits

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.

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On Record, Nestlé Asks For State Agency’s Support on Its Water Bottling Plan

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.

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Roots & Shoots Kids to Use Art to Fight Nestlé!

Children who designed and are organizing the H2Origami campaign to Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge pose with Jane Goodall at the Pacific Northwest Roots & Shoots Summit 2011 at Willamette University in Salem.

The Pacific Northwest Roots & Shoots had their 2011 summit at Willamette University on October 9th, with founder Dr. Jane Goodall in attendance. Roots & Shoots, a program founded in 1991, is geared toward making positive change happen by informing and empowering young people worldwide. The mission of Roots & Shoots is, “to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.” Founder Dr. Jane Goodall had this to say about the connection between the name of the organization and reaching out to youth to spread change:

Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots and shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.

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Food & Water Watch Continues to Build Movement to Stop Nestlé at the Muddy Boot Organic Festival!

Last week, Food & Water Watch had a table at the Muddy Boot Festival as we continue to gain support for and discuss the “Keep Nestlé out of The Gorge” campaign. Unfortunately, the festival this year coincided with the heat wave and the hottest temperatures experienced in our late Oregon summer and while the turnout was low, Food & Water Watch wants to thank those of you that did come out to visit. It was an incredible treat to continue engaging in so many conversations (many of which were extremely profound) on stopping a give-away of our water by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife so that Nestlé can bottle and sell it for profit. For the entire weekend, Food & Water Watch had, in addition to myself, 5 volunteers that ran the table collecting signatures asking Governor Kitzhaber to not allow Nestlé to bottle our water.

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