Tag Archives: Governor Kitzhaber

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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Meeting With Governor Kitzhaber

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.

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Celebrating Our Activists’ November Contribution

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:

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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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