Thursday, September 6, 2012

Public comment period extended on potential Maine water deal; but a public hearing is needed too

Attention Maine residents... Yes, the good news is that the Maine Public Utility Commission has extended the comment period on the proposed new deal between Fryeburg Water Company and Nestlé/Poland Spring. The new deadline is September 24. You can read our previous alert here.

Thanks to everyone who took action to let the PUC know that the public has a right to more time to speak! We are pleased that the Public Advocate’s office called for an extension and give a special shout out to Nisha Swinton with Food and Water Watch who formally petitioned the PUC for an extension.

Now we have to demand a public hearing to force open the door and let the light shine on the backroom deal that the Fryeburg Water Company has struck with Nestlé/Poland Spring.  We know that a public hearing is not a part of the formal record used to decide the case, but neither are decisions made in a vacuum.  The PUC Commissioners need to know that there is widespread objection to this deal.

All three Commissioners have been far too cozy with Nestlé. In our first alert, we called out PUC Chairman Thomas Welch and Commissioner David Littell who both previously worked at Pierce, Atwood which has a long history of representing Nestlé. We should have also mentioned that the third commissioner, Mark Vannoy, worked as an Associate Vice President in the infrastructure and civil practice group at Wright Pierce where he had close associations with Nestlé.

Nestlé has no right to the water for the next 45 years. Fryeburg Water Company has no right to guaranteed profits from selling the spring water to Nestlé.

As a nun once said to a VP of NWNA when we were invited inside after protesting outside,  “Nestlé Water North America….who says the water belongs to you?  It belongs to God.”  Some might say the water belongs to all life.

Water is a fundamental right for people and nature.  Nestlé’s profit should not come before this fundamental right.

ACT TODAY: Call PUC Attorney Matthew Kaply (207) 287-1368 who is in charge of this case. Thank him for the extension and insist on a public hearing.

You can also call or e-mail Karen Geraghty, PUC Administrative Director to whom formal requests are made.  Again, thank her for the extension and insist on a public hearing. Her phone number is  207-287-3831, or email karen.geraghty [at]

As before, you can sign in as a registered public user on the PUC website and post specific comments which will go to the staff and Commissioners.   Put in Case No. 2008-00052

The pdf of the filed agreement is here.

Thanks for all you do!
Ruth Caplan and Chris Buchanan
Defending Water for Life in Maine

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