Nestlé subsidiary Poland Spring set its sights on the tiny town of Fryeburg, Maine, USA nearly a decade ago, pushing to build a huge bottling plant and take long-term control over the town's spring water. Nestlé has sued the small town multiple times, arguing that its right to grow market share is more important than the town's right to self-determination.
Nestlé wants to lock up its control over Fryeburg’s water with a contract that -- including extensions -- lasts until 2057. This lifetime contract would be unprecedented in the United States, and would be a major victory for water privatization companies. Tell Nestlé and Poland Spring to stop bullying the people of Fryeburg.
Nestlé has tried every trick of the trade in fighting Fryeburg, relentlessly working to grind down and bankrupt opposition in the town with a wave of lawsuits. The corporation has found itself shut out of fifty-year contracts, so it is pushing a 25 year contract -- with four five-year extensions -- to test the limits of how long it can lock up water before people fight back.
Nestlé has also sunk deep into Maine politics, but local activists have been fighting back and are winning victories. Earlier this year, it was revealed that every single member of the Maine Public Utilities Commission -- the body that would rule on Nestlé's Fryeburg fight -- had connections to the corporation, forcing the Commission to recuse itself from the case. This month, the entire membership of the Fryeburg Water District resigned under threat of recall. This relentless pressure is having an effect, and we need to keep it up.
If Nestlé sees that its bullying is hurting its global brand, the company will rethink its strategy of taking Fryeburg's water. Nestlé is trying to retell the Story of water, saying it's a good up for sale to the highest bidder. This way, Nestlé gets it for a steal, pumps aquifers dry, and then moves on to the next town. In places like Fryeburg, people are taking a stand and saying "Not here. Not anywhere." Please join them today.
Conway Daily Sun: Fryeburg water company seeks long-term agreement with Nestle for water extraction, August 23, 2012
Al Jazeera America: Conflict of interest claims persist in Nestle waters case, September 27, 2013