Protest planned to target Nestlé water bottling operations in San Bernardino Mountains
Protest planned to target Nestlé water bottling operations in San Bernardino Mountains.
A diverse group of environmental activists, involved citizens, students and mountain residents are coming together for a planned protest Sunday afternoon against Nestlé Waters North America’s controversial water bottling operations in the San Bernardino National Forest.
In 2016, bottled water sales exceeded traditional soda sales for the first time in the United States, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a research and consulting firm.
The protest is an offshoot of a Jan. 29 meeting in Twin Peaks of the League of Women Voters for the San Bernardino Area and the Rimforest-based Save Our Forest Association and one held the next day at San Bernardino Valley College, said Longville, who will be among those driving protesters from the high school to the empty lot.
Nestlé Waters North America says its Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water “has been sustainable bottled from the springs in Strawberry Canyon, in what is now the San Bernardino National Forest, for more than 121 years.” “We take our responsibility as a California water steward seriously and our ability to operate for more than a century points to our commitment to long-term sustainability,” said Christopher Rieck, a Nestlé Waters North America spokesman.
Loe’s statements and those of others prompted the group to look deeper into the issues, Mandell said.
After seeing several water collection sites on that March hike, U of R senior Maddie McNerthmey, 22, said, “I gained a better understanding about what this issue is about.” Much of the Nestlé controversy swirls around a special use permit, which Nestlé pays the Forest Service $524 annually for its piping and other hardware necessary for water extraction, under a permit which expired in 1988.
From 1947 until 2015, nearly 4.3 billion gallons of spring water have been taken from pipes in Strawberry Canyon, under several different ownerships of the Arrowhead bottled water brand, according to a recently released League of Women Voters position paper on a proposed renewal of Nestlé’s special use permit.
“We are very excited about the demonstration Sunday.
Officials with the State Water Resources Control Board have said an investigation into Nestlé’s ownership rights may be complete this month.