Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Water work in Maine: State agencies may bypass the bottle, and opposition to the E/W Corridor continues

Even in Maine where Nestle seems to reign supreme with its Poland Spring bottled water brand topping all spring water brand sales in the country, there has been legislative pushback against bottled water. In late February, Chris Buchanan, AfD’s Maine coordinator for Defending Water for Life, testified at a state legislative hearing on LD 315: An Act to Ban the Purchase of Bottled Water by State Agencies. Her testimony in favor of the bill was very well received and she has been asked to return for the work session on the bill. It would still be very surprising if the bill becomes law, but having the discussion is an important step forward.

Meanwhile, organizing against the East/West SuperCorridor continues full steam ahead. On March 2, the town of Dexter held a forum on the Corridor with two hundred people in attendance. Chris and others with Stop the E/W Corridor were on the panel. Once again, Cianbro, the corporation proposing the Corridor, declined an invitation to attend.

The proposed corridor is generating strong local opposition, with interest growing in taking a rights-based approach for local self-governance which denies corporations court-conferred constitutional rights and protects the rights of nature. Defending Water helped with scholarships so local activists could attend two 2-day Democracy Schools in early March where they are delving deeply into this approach. The Alliance set a national precedent when we worked with Barnstead NH which passed the first rights-based ordinance to protect their water from corporate takings. We hope to see this approach expand in Maine which already has two Barnstead-style local laws in Shapleigh and Newfield.

For more information go to www.defendingwater.net/maine and www.stopthecorridor.org.

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