Note: I have written about Nestlé time and time again. I will continue to do so until we defeat Nestlé’s plans to bottle spring and municipal water in Oregon. If you want to read more about this issue, start here, here, and here.
Would A Nestlé Bottling Plant Be Such A Bad Thing?
I was asked on my Facebook page recently if Nestlé’s plans for a bottling plant in Oregon is really a bad thing. Because it will create jobs, right?
Actually, it is.
It is a bad thing as it stands now. If you look at the history of water privatization by corporations, it always benefits the corporation. Some may argue that this corporation would then be investing in the community through jobs or other measures. Unfortunately in Nestlé’s case, and many other large corporations, their track record speaks volumes to what benefit Oregon would see.
That is to say, no real benefit at all.
Nestlé is infamous for targeting rural communities that are economically depressed, as Cascade Locks is. Nestlé claims there will be jobs, yet bottling water creates few jobs — each plant typically has 24 employees and of those, only 10-40% will be offered to local residents.
The prospect of the proposed 50 jobs in Cascade Locks is compelling, but (1) These jobs will also low wage, especially in comparison to other similar jobs, all dangerous, (2) Nestlé promises, yet often fails to deliver those jobs and (3) The 5 to 20 jobs potentially offered locally will do little to help this struggling community.
Water is already scarce on every continent and Oregon has already seen its share of water wars due to scarcity. We are offering to give away our precious resource for a tiny fraction of a penny on the dollar. I have to ask if it is worth it?
The negative impacts on the local watershed, roads, wildlife, and recreation could be vast and I certainly don’t trust Nestlé to prevent negative consequences. On the first day Nestlé tested their plan for fish, they killed all the fish. In that area, this should be especially worrisome. It seems that
The change in truck traffic (more than 200 trips a day at peak) on the roads will require heavy upgrades and maintenance, both of which Nestlé has stated will be the Oregon taxpayers’ responsibility. All of these things tell me that this bottling plant is most definitely not worth it, and that is even if they decide to keep a handful of jobs local.
This has turned into a serious debate for those paying the slightest bit of attention. There has been plenty of political rhetoric bandied about and if you would rather believe that all environmentalists hate jobs, rural folk and urban hipsters can never agree, or Nestlé really has mended their ways and those against this plant are a bunch of hypocrites then I suspect nothing anyone can do or say will invite discussion.
This issue is about Nestlé. It is about water. It is about Oregon. It is about all of us.
Want to voice your opinion? See my tips for contacting Governor Kitzhaber about Nestlé in Oregon.