Nestle Waters Gets Huge Favor From Judge In California Water Taking Case
There is no shortage of signals that humankind and especially Americans have gone looney.
Continued greenhouse gas releases even in the face of record breaking temperatures being reached every month, continual war against an amorphous enemy that only grows stronger each time we attack it through resentment and recruiting, overfishing continuing apace despite the clear evidence that we are losing ocean species as well–we seem to be on a runaway train hurtling toward our own doom, and we are unable to stop it.
Well we can add a new example of our upside-down values and lunatic logic, coming to us from California via a court ruling in favor of Nestlé’s water division.
A federal judge has thrown out a complaint brought by a coalition of environmental groups alleging that the U.S. Forest Service has illegally been allowing Nestlé to take water from the San Bernardino National Forest using a permit that expired in 1988.
The suit was filed jointly in October 2015 by the Courage Campaign Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Story of Stuff Project, alleging that the agency was improperly allowing Nestlé Waters North America to pipe water from public lands on a permit that had long expired.
In his decision, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal wrote that since the Forest Service received a request to renew the permit in May 1987, the effort was considered a “timely and sufficient application for renewal,” and that this means the original permit could still be considered valid.
The environmental groups who filed the suit–and indeed, people who are concerned about corporate rapacity destroying our water supplies in a drought-stricken state–were of course disappointed with the ruling.
“The court has just confirmed what many Americans fear: massive corporations play by a different set of rules than the rest of us,” said Eddie Kurtz, executive director of Courage Campaign Institute. “Nestlé has been pulling a fast one for nearly 30 years, taking a public resource, depriving plants and animals of life-sustaining water, and selling that water at an obscene profit without the right to do so, but apparently our justice system is OK with that.”
and again, it can’t be emphasized enough: Nestlé is taking this water from a state in its fifth consecutive year of drought. In 2015 alone, the company took an estimated 36 million gallons of water, selling it for hundreds of millions of dollars–all in exchange for a $524 annual permit fee.
But however infuriating the decision is, the argument is not finished yet.
“We’re shocked by the court’s decision to let Nestlé continue its operations, and we will continue to stand with hundreds of thousands of Californians and people across the nation to take back control of this public water,” said Michael O’Heaney, executive director of the Story of Stuff Project. “This fight is far from over.”