Last week, Nestlé Waters North America Chief Sustainability Officer Nelson Switzer published an opinion column in a Southern California newspaper. He said a few things that really raised some eyebrows among those fighting to protect the San Bernardino National Forest from Nestlé’s water bottling. That’s probably not too surprising, but take a look at what he said:
“At Nestlé Waters, we focus on maintaining an open dialogue and close, long-standing relationships with the communities in which we live and work."
Wait, what? Maybe you remember from my last email update, Nestlé just dodged the public at the most recent community meeting where its representatives were specifically invited to attend. Mr. Switzer stated that this was due to the ongoing permitting process, however there is no reason that a permit application with the Forest Service should prevent the company from fostering its “close relationship” with this community, especially when there are 120 years of history that remain open for discussion.
So we’re going to invite Nestlé to meet with us again.
Many in the community are most concerned with Nestlé's claimed right to the water in Strawberry Creek, something Mr. Switzer was also quick to address. He assured readers with a tired line about the company’s water rights stemming from its corporate predecessors.
Based on our own ongoing investigation of the public record, we believe that the history of the company’s water right is far more complicated and nuanced than Nestlé would like us to believe. Indeed, the California State Water Resources Control Board is investigating this very question.
If you haven’t already, sign this petition asking Nestlé to attend our next community meeting and present the documentation proving its water right.http://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/nestle_California_water_right/?utm_source=ProveRight2&utm_medium=email&t=3&akid=6326.45607.vpjiWg
We hardly need to read between the lines to see that public pressure is working.
While Nestlé is pitching these PR pieces in local papers, it’s dragging its feet through the Forest Service’s permitting process behind the scenes. Documents we recently received under a Freedom of Information Act request show Forest Service officials' frustration caused by Nestlé's slow and often incomplete responses to their requests for information. We’ll address this and the question of Nestlé’s water right at our next community meeting.
Show your solidarity with the thousands of people demanding that Nestlé prove its water right, and let Nelson Switzer know we're holding him accountable!
Miranda Fox, Campaigns Manager
1. Read Mr. Switzer's column here.http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/opinion/20170321/answering-some-questions-about-arrowhead-springs-guest-commentary