Saturday, November 7, 2015

Good News for the Environment (Nestle Loses Water "Rights")

I'm pasting below the entire text of an e-letter I just received from Bark, a local environmentalist group I belong to:

No, never mind, I tried that, and it was unreadable. So I'll summarize the gist of it here:

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has told the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to withdraw the application to transfer a state-owned water right that would have enabled Nestle to build a water-bottling plant along the Columbia River.

(My personal note: Nestle was planning to make this water-bottling plant in a town that is a sweet little backwater, pun intended, a place you enjoy seeing along the river between the beautiful waterfalls on the Oregon side. They would have put publicly owned water from a natural resource and one of the great rivers of North America into plastic bottles which they would sell. The company claimed it would bring in 1,000 jobs to the town but not negatively affect the infrastructure, traffic, and so on.)

Back to the summary of the letter:  Gov. Brown said she stopped the permitting process because of a desire for a more "transparent" process. Good for her! People have been clamoring for that for years now in Oregon.

(Another personal note: Yes, I live in Washington, not Oregon, but all the people in this part of Washington, much closer to Oregon than we are to any big city in our own state, including the capital, have the same concern Oregonians have for keeping the water clean and preserving the river and its water for future generations. Not to mention for current generations:)

Back to the summary of the letter: Gov. Brown's announcement follows closely on a large Native American led rally on the Capitol steps in Salem. Native salmon fishermen have treaty rights on the Columbia River, and they, as well as Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs and the Umatilla have demanded a stake in the process.

(Final personal note: How fitting that the treaty rights and fishing rights of people who have had their lands and livelihoods taken away as white settlers moved in, farmed, and built dams, are finally being acknowledged. All of us will benefit.)

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