From press conference statement:|
These two permits must be approved by OWRD before a water exchange application can be considered that would lead to a giveaway of Oregon's public water resources for Nestle's profit.
In February the OWRD approved the permits that cleared the way for Nestle' to secure the spring water that it wants to bottle and sell. The spring is on state property and is currently being used by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) for a hatchery for threatened salmon. In order for Nestle' to bottle spring water in Cascade Locks, OWRD must ultimately approve a third application that would allow ODFW to exchange water with the town of Cascade Locks so the town can in turn, sell the spring water to Nestle'. "It is the State's job to safeguard Oregon's public resources, especially our precious water for the benefit of all Oregonians, not multinational corporations. Allowing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to move forward with this water rights exchange would permit a state-owned resource to be used for a private business model that is unsustainable," said Jackie Dingfelder, Oregon State Senator for District 23.
"AT a time when local governments in Oregon are discouraging wasteful plastic bottles, why are our state agencies encouraging Nestle/ to develop a plant that could produce over 200 million plastic bottles every hear? We should know better," said Barbara Willer, former Multnomah County Commissioner.
The coalition has been calling on Governor Kitzhaber to stop the controversial water exchange by advising ODFW to pull out if the water exchange process. Kitzhaber has heard from over 10,000 Oregonians urging him to stop the exchange and his Natural Resources Department staff has met with the coalition to get the facts on this controversial issue.
Additionally, the governor has received Ecotrust's economic study that outlines why extractive industries like water bottling are not the best path forward for economic development in Oregon.
The Keep Nestle' Out of the Gorge Coalition includes Food and Water Watch, Oregon AFSCME, Bark, Oregon Mission Centres of the Sisters of the Holy Name, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environment Oregon, Alliance for Democracy and Sierra Club.