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Petition to Gov. Brown: Shut Nestlé Down

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018 9:00 am

An on-line petition, asking Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene and stop Nestlé Waters North America from continuing to withdraw water from the Strawberry Creek headwaters, is now available for signatures. The Story of Stuff Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization with more than 1 million “changemakers” worldwide, is circulating the petition at Miranda Fox is the campaigns manager.

“The Story of Stuff Project is committed to protecting water from corporate exploitation and privatization in California and beyond,” Fox explained. “We are collecting 10,000 signatures asking Governor Brown to protect Strawberry Creek from Nestlé by ordering a cease and desist until the State Water Board definitively determines the company’s water rights and the stream is restored. As attacks on our public resources go unchecked by the federal government, it is up to the state to do what’s best for our people and public lands.”

The impetus for the petition stems from a preliminary decision by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which investigated Nestlé’s water extractions in the San Bernardino National Forest.

In December 2017, the SWRCB announced its preliminary conclusion that Nestlé has been taking more of California’s water than is allowed under Nestlé’s purported water rights. This has been going on for decades.

The board told Nestlé that the corporation lacked valid water rights and had unauthorized water withdrawals, and instructed Nestlé to immediately cease any unauthorized water withdrawals and uses. To date, that still hasn’t happened. Nestlé continues taking the water and piping it down the mountain for bottling as Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.

Nevertheless, the state and the forest continue to lose millions of gallons of water while Nestlé bottles water and sells it back to the public, despite severe drought.

The Story of Stuff Project is calling on Gov. Brown to intervene and to protect California’s precious water supply. The state of California has control over all water rights and diversions in California, including within our National Forest. Nestlé has been taking millions of gallons of the forest’s groundwater at the headwaters of Strawberry Creek in our San Bernardino National Forest. The upper creek bed is dry with diminished flows downstream.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that this area is in a severe drought. There is no extra water to divert from the forest.

“We are asking Gov. Brown to intervene and stop Nestlé from taking any more water from our drought-stricken San Bernardino National Forest until the State Water Board issues its final ruling, the severe drought is over, and the upper Strawberry Creek ecosystem is restored,” declared activist Amanda Frye in an email on Sept. 21.

More than 7,400 individuals have already signed the petition, according to the Story of Stuff website, with a goal to get 10,000 signatures. Mountain residents, homeowners and visitors all are asked to take a moment to sign the on-line petition and to share it with others by Facebook or Twitter.

The petition begins by stating to Gov. Brown: “On behalf of all Californians and our state’s treasured natural environment, we ask for your help to stop the federal give away of our public water to Nestlé, a Swiss multinational corporation. Nestlé is withdrawing millions of gallons of our water from the headwaters of Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest and bottling it for huge profit under the Arrowhead brand. Nestlé pays nothing for this water and, despite severe drought and wildfire conditions, the corporation has not reduced its water withdrawal.”

It goes on to explain how the SWRCB is in the process of issuing a final ruling to determine if Nestlé has legitimate water rights, and how the organization’s extensive research shows that Nestlé has no legitimate water rights in the SBNF. As Nestlé takes millions of gallons of groundwater from borehole wells and tunnels that tap the water hundreds of feet into the mountainside, the forest’s and local community’s groundwater levels are depleted, and wells are drying up.

“The United States Forest Service has recently decided to issue Nestlé a new permit, allowing it to continue its water extraction,” the petition explains. “With the severe drought conditions in the San Bernardino Mountains and no proven water rights, this decision is illogical and immoral.”

In addition to the online petition, paper petitions are available upon request for anyone who wants to further help collect signatures.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • mikela posted at 2:23 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2018.

    mikela Posts: 1

    Ummmm, Nestle's water goes for drinking purposes. What's the big deal?  We all need water to survive and the cheapest water in the markets are Nestle' products.  

    Maybe the protests should be directed towards those washing their cars in their front yards.