Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nestle Goes After Trout Stream in McCloud California

Nestle Corp.'s proposed water plant in McCloud, California is yet another example of its unrelenting quest for new sources of spring water. In an outrageous marketing coup, Nestle and other multinational corporations are reaping huge profits from bottling and selling the public's own water. Americans are annually buying over 10 billion bottles of water that costs 1,000 times more than tap water.

In general bottled water is not any healthier than tap water, and in some cases, less so. The manufacture and transport of these single-use plastic bottles require enormous energy, while releasing toxic chemicals both in their making and disposal in landfills or litter. Sure, drinking water is vital for good health. But every citizen in the U.S. is entitled to clean water. If tap water quality is at issue, then the municipality should clean it up; or the homeowner can simply install a filter.

The Nestle project would drain water from the McCloud River system. The famous McCloud River, a California Wild Trout stream, is dependent on the exceptionally cold spring water. Its strain of rainbow trout is world renowned. Who can say whether or not pumping these springs will not damage the McCloud River and its main tributary Squaw Valley Creek? Who can say whether or not water quantities in the aquifers today will be there tomorrow? How can any governmental body sell rights to a precious, limited natural resource for 99 years to a profit-driven corporation responsible mainly to its shareholders? If the project goes forward, will the amount of water that Nestle pumps be rigorously capped with strict enforcement? Who knows. Yes, good jobs are important, but not at the cost of sacrificing the health of our waterways. The stakes are too high for any more mistakes.

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