Appeal Challenges Nestlé’s Unrestricted Water Siphoning From National Forest Land

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2016

CONTACT: Michael O’Heaney | 510.684.6417 |
Ileene Anderson | Center for Biological Diversity (323) 654-5943 |
Brett Abrams, Courage Campaign | (516) 841-1105 |

The Story of Stuff Project, Courage Campaign Institute, and Center for Biological Diversity appealed a US District Court decision that allows Nestlé to continue drawing an estimated 36 million gallons of water out of California’s San Bernardino National Forest every year.

Nestlé has been taking water for bottling from Strawberry Creek in the national forest based on a permit that expired 28 years ago, and the September ruling allows this practice to continue without restriction. This appeal intends to challenge the misunderstanding of what the law requires.

“This appeal is absolutely necessary in order to assure that the U.S. Forest Service does not continue to allow precious water to be siphoned off our public lands without any limits or conditions to protect wildlife, water, and other public trust resources. After nearly three decades since the permit expired and now with California entering its sixth year of drought, this situation must be remedied now,” says Ileene Anderson with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Nestlé’s four-mile pipeline siphons water from Strawberry Creek to its Arrowhead bottling operations in Ontario, Calif., and remains in operation despite the fact that the required permit expired in 1988. In order to continue its operations on an expired permit, Nestlé pays a fine to the Forest Service of a mere $630 a year—less than the average Californian’s water bill.

“We Californians have dramatically reduced our water use over the past year in the face of an historic drought, but Nestlé has refused to step up and do its part,” says Michael O’Heaney, executive director of the Story of Stuff Project. “The court’s bad ruling forces us to appeal the decision.”

Earlier this year more than 500,000 people signed a petition calling on Nestlé to stop bottling water during the drought, and a poll found that a majority of people in the United States believe Nestlé should stop bottling in California. Despite the clear public outcry, when asked about the controversy, Nestlé CEO Tim Brown remarked that he wished the multinational corporation could remove more water from the drought-stricken land.

Learn more about the impacts of Nestlé’s water grab in the San Bernardino National Forest in our video, This Land is Our Land.

Take Action: Tell U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell and San Bernardino Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron to turn off the spigot on Nestlé’s unregulated water bottling in the San Bernardino National Forest.

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Courage Campaign fights for a more progressive California and country. We are an online community powered by more than 1,000,000 members.