California Drought 2015

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 5, 2015

California Drought 2015

No Water for California or for Nestle

If you didn’t know, Southern California has been in a drought…

In fact, Southern California has been in one of the longest droughts in its history and it becoming devastating to national forest and to its communities…

But last week Nestle came under fire for continuing to take spring water from a national forest in drought-plagued Southern California, bottling it and selling it.

Despite the protests, the Swiss-based company insists there’s nothing wrong with piping tens of millions of gallons of water out of San Bernardino National Forest every year — despite the fact that Nestlé’s permit to extract water from the park technically expired in 1988…

Wait… what?… And for a company making $14 billions in profit just last year, they only pays $500 a year to do it…

That’s right, despite an expired permit, Nestle is imbibing in bottled water nonetheless but that hasn’t stopped three environmental groups filed a suit in a California federal court against the United States Forest Service, demanding it stop Nestlé from taking the water…

“The company has no right to pipe out water since its permit expired almost 30 years ago,”  plaintiffs’ attorney claims.

They say that Nestlé’s operation is damaging the forest and the ecosystem of San Bernardino…

But the lawsuit is not just shedding light on the plight of forests across the nation but it is also bringing a long debated question of whether large corporations should be profiting from what is widely considered a shared and “necessary” public resource – WATER.

“This is exactly what happens when water is treated as a commodity and is sold for profit,” John Stewart, deputy campaigns director at the nonprofit Corporate

Accountability International, told The Huffington Post.

“It is forcing us all as a society to say, ‘Who is providing our water? Is it Nestlé or our own democratically governed towns and cities?'” Stewart’s organization is not a party to the suit but works on other water issues.

So why is this a big deal right now?

Besides the obvious and stressful drought for Southern California, the lawsuit comes at a time when there is enormous growth for the bottled water industry…Notice ALL the options lately?

Yes – according to Beverage Marketing Corporation data Americans bought a record 10 billion gallons of bottled water in 2014, spending nearly $26 billion!!

For Nestle this lawsuit is another blemish on their already questionable reputation including extracting groundwater from poor communities…

However, a spokeswoman from Nestlé emphasized that the company is not named in Tuesday’s lawsuit, but said it is operating lawfully in San Bernardino. “Our permit for the pipeline remain in full force and effect,” she said.

A press officer from the Forest Service’s regional office in California confirmed that the “permit was under review and that it was fine for Nestlé to continue to operate because it had requested a renewal and the agency hadn’t gotten to it yet.”


*Thank you to Huffpost Business for the original article


Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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