Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water

Stand Together

In opposition to the renewal of the Nestle Waters permit

Click to Rally with us!
Watch the March 18th Rally on YouTube

The next meeting regarding the 1041 permit extension request is Tues, April 20th, 2021 at 1pm. Zoom link is on the county’s web page www.chaffeecounty.org . It is expected that Harvey Economics will be presenting analysis of the benefits vs. the losses of Nestle Waters operating in Chaffee County. It is also expected that public comment will be open to both the economic analysis and to Nestle’s 2020 annual report, and that live public comment (three minutes per person) and written comments for public record will be accepted. OF NOTE: Nestle Waters recently sold to a private equity firm (One Rock Capitol) and a billionaire investor (Dean Metropoulos). The new owners have changed the business name from Nestle Waters North America to Blue Triton. Section (4.6) in the permit requires the commissioners consent to transfer the permit. See resources tab on this page for detailed info of permit and reports. 

Watch presentations from the original Oct. 20, 2020 public hearing:  https://youtu.be/1bnmg4HcWM (2 hours of Nestle followed by one hour from the opposition).

What is this all about? Over ten years ago, concerned citizens of Chaffee County rallied and put up a fight when Nestle Waters of North America Inc. applied for a water mining permit to build a pipeline and extract up to 65 millions gallons of water annually from Ruby Mountain Springs.

Despite the great public outcry, the county commissioners at that time approved the permit.

Times have changed.

We know even more about climate change, and the effects of single-use plastic waste polluting water, filling landfills, and the difficulties associated with recycling it. We are in extreme drought and Chaffee County’s population has drastically increased over the last decade.

As the Nestle permit is now under continued deliberation, we hope the current commissioners will vote for the citizens’ interests, rather than for the interests of a multinational corporation. 

 

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Gallons per Minute

Truckloads of water per day

Million gallons of water per year

What can you do?

Stay Informed–Resources

Recent articles/letters regarding Nestle in Chaffee County 

 

Commissioners to discuss Nestle name change to BlueTriton at April 20 meeting (April 14, 2021)

Online Rally opposing Nestle (March 19, 2021)

Transfer of water to private equity firms stirs opposition in US and Canada (Feb. 17, 2021)

Nestle Waters to Sell North American Water Business (Feb. 17, 2021)

Nestle and the Commissioners Discuss Recycling (Jan. 22, 2021)

County approves economic study (Dec. 23, 2020)

Nestle Saga Continues (Nov. 19, 2020)

County Commissioners re-open public comments (Nov. 6, 2020) 

Community has spoken – No Renewal! Letter to the Editor (Oct. 31, 2020)

 Nestlé’s plan stirs contentious fight – The Colorado Sun (Oct. 26, 2020)

 Majority of Comments Oppose Nestle Permit Extension (Oct. 23, 2020)

Nestle 1041 Hearings Begin (Oct. 21, 2020)

Chaffee County Stands up to Nestle (Oct. 18, 2020)

The Real Cost of Extending Nestle’s permit (Oct. 14, 2020)

Nestle’s slick spin

 Ark Valley Voice Nestle Series – Part 1

 

Notice of Public Hearing for Nestle Waters 1041 Permit Renewal (Sept. 18, 2020)

Nestle Seeks More Time in Chaffee County as Locals Ask to be Unbottled (Sept. 9, 2020)

Leave the Water, Tell Nestle to Leave. Letter to Mountain Mail Editor (Sept. 04, 2020)

Nestle 1041 permit public hearing set for Oct. 20 (Aug 17, 2020)

Conservancy district consultant discusses water law issues (May 19, 2020)

Nestlé opposition raises conflict of interest concerns (May 12, 2020)

Nestle Waters clarifies its Chaffee County 1041 Permit Process (May 8, 2020)

Disappointed in lack of public comment opportunity for Nestle 1041 permit renewal (Apr 29, 2020)

Letter to Colorado Central Magazine Editor – No New Permit for Nestlé (APRIL 4, 2020)

Local residents oppose Nestlé permit extension (April 3, 2020)

County Commissioners may postpone Nestlé hearing (March 31, 2020)

Nestlé submits 2019 report (March 19, 2020)

Letter to the Mountain Mail Editor Criticizes Nestlé Waters (March 11, 2020)

County reports Nestlé has been ‘exceedingly responsive’ (Mar 4, 2020)

Nestlé 1041 Permit: Company meets conditions for community giving, river access (Feb. 25, 2020)

Nestle Water public hearing re-set for April 2020. (Dec 31, 2019)

County sets January hearings for Nestle (Dec 9, 2019)

Nestle Water 1041 permit decision delayed six months (Oct 16, 2019)

Rio Frio Minor Subdivision approved (Sept 26. 2019)

Historic articles/letters regarding Nestle in Chaffee County

Background on the Hagen exception and controversy. (See related reports under land/water tab).

Must our water always flow uphill toward money? High County News (April 2, 2009)

Pressure builds over bottled water – Christian Science Monitor (Oct. 22, 2009)

A new kind of water war springs up – LA Times (April 2, 2009)

Nestle plan sets off water war – Denver Post (March 22, 2009)

Nestle water deal rained down cash on key Chaffee County locals (Aug. 12, 2010)

Nestle to begin draining millions of gallons of Arkansas River water (June 16, 2010)

Nestle OK’d to turn Arkansas River springs into bottled water product (July 27, 2010)

Nestle water plan approved – High Country News (Aug. 24, 2009)

Nestlé begins reclamation project near Ruby Mountain (May 8, 2012)

Dates set for Nestle meetings (Feb 19, 2009)

Nestlé begins reclamation project near Ruby Mountain (May 8, 2012)

Nestle water details outlined by Nestle Rep. (Jun 30, 2008)

Articles about Nestle in other communities:

San Bernardino CA

Fryeburg Maine

In Florida, Troubled Waters As Nestlé Pushes for More – New York Times (March 9, 2020)

Nestle Waters leaving Canada is a community success (July 2020)

Subcommittee Chairman Rouda and Vice Chair Tlaib Launch Investigation into Bottled Water Industry Practices (Mar 3, 2020)

Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo named top plastic polluters for the second year in a row (October 23, 2019)

States look at banning, restricting bottling firms from tapping local groundwater -Washington Post (Feb. 17 2020)

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation vs Nestlé Waters North America/Ice Mountain (December 1, 2016)

How Nestlé Gets Away With Pumping California’s Water for Next to Nothing Los Angeles Magazine (August 12, 2016)

A Town Torn Apart by Nestlé. Business Week. (April 16, 2008)

Nestle continues stealing worlds water during drought (March 20th, 2015)

 2009 economic analysis and reviews

 

2020 County hydrology consultant (Wheeler) Report based on Nestle-provided data

 

2020 Nestle-provided sustainability report – notice footnote

 

Final 2009 ecology report after Prof. Hagen influence

 

Draft 2009 ecology report before Prof. Hagen influence
 

Conservation Easement Baseline report (missing exhibit e) 

 

Ruby Mt Land Mgmt Plan

No Ruby Mountain Springs monitoring report for 2020

2019 Ruby Mountain Spring Monitoring Report

2018 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report

2017 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report

2016 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report

2015 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report (see pages 56-98)

2014 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report

2013 Ruby Mountain Springs Monitoring Report

No Ruby Mountain Springs monitoring report for 2009-2012 

 

Bighorn Springs Land Mgmt Plan

2010 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2011 Big Horn Springs Monitoring report (see pages 167-194)

2012 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report (see pages 163-192)

2013 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2014 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2015 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2016 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2017 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2018 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

2019 Big Horn Springs Monitoring Report

No Big Horn Springs monitoring report for 2020

 

2010 Grazing Management Plan (see letter on page 32-33)

2011 Grazing Management Plan

2012 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 27-54)  

2013 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 29-47)

2014 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 32-50)

2015 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 30-50)

2016 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 30-54)

2017 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 28-40)

2018 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 25-52)

2019 Grazing Management Plan (see pages 23-53)

2020 Grazing Management Plan (see letters on page 23 and page 58) 

 

1. Operating on land of state-wide interest requires a 1041 permit

Chaffee County commissioners can choose to deny Nestle Waters’ permit if they don’t find that the “benefits accruing county and citizens outweigh loss of resources or losses of opportunity to develop resources.” [1041 regulations 3-303 (1)(k)(vi)]

The permit could also be denied if they don’t find that “the need for the project can be substantiated.” Is Nestle’s operation beneficial or needed? [1041 regulations 3-303 (1)(a)]

2. Nestle’s “philanthropy” is mandatory

Nestle’s community giving is a condition of their permit to mitigate the company’s impacts. How much does it cost to silence opposition from local organizations? Compared to the profits this multi-billion-dollar company makes from the water extracted here, is the approximately $270k given to area schools over the span of a decade nearly enough?

3. Plastic Pollution issues have increased locally and globally

According to their annual reports, Nestle has contributed 292,596 plastic water bottles to the community since their permit was approved in 2009. Plastic pollution and global awareness of the issue has drastically increased over that ten-year term. Although Nestle requests another 10-year 1041 permit, such long terms are not necessary. Now days the county is subsidizing community recycling efforts. Should Nestle’s donations of single-use plastic water bottles still be considered an asset, rather than an impact?

4. Non-Compliance and conflicts of interest

As part of the original permit agreement, Nestle offered to put their land (located next to what is now Browns Canyon National Monument) into a permanent conservation easement “concurrent with construction of the project.” Over ten years have passed, and yet Nestle still has not done this. The company did, however, trade off the most valuable property, maximizing river frontage for the soon-to-be built Rio Frio Minor subdivision. A Nestle-paid consultant, who simultaneously served on the Chaffee County planning commission for 9 years, voted to approve the minor subdivision in Sept. 2019, before resigning from the county position this year.

Should an offer by Nestle to now put a conservation easement on their land, which surrounds the subdivision, still be considered fulfillment of their original agreement – despite the land swap? Nestle is floating a proposal to have Colorado Parks and Wildlife manage the land under a conservation easement if their permit is renewed. Is this seemingly philanthropic offer actually out of necessity because Nestle has not been in compliance with their land management plans (i.e. noxious weed management and grazing requirements)?

5. Sustainability and climate change

Nestle is currently allowed up to 200 gallons of water per minute, 65 million gallons per year, and up to 25 trucks per day. They have been taking less than half of that, so we can expect that impacts on the aquifer and traffic will more than double when they take the maximum amounts. Why wasn’t increased production or climate change factored into a Nestle-provided report which determined their operation here “sustainable?”

Colorado water law requires Nestle to augment the water they extract. But does the “replacement” water, which comes from the drought-stricken Colorado River watershed, that is released into the Arkansas River, mitigate all that is lost from the aquifer where Nestle’s wells are located? And although the replacement water is deemed drinkable, is it the same quality as the “spring water” that Nestle sucks and trucks out of the Upper Arkansas River Valley?

6. Lack of transparency

Nestle, a Swiss company with a global reputation of humanitarian and environmental abuses, self-monitors and self-reports with little review by Chaffee County professionals. And Nestle has requested to do even less monitoring (technical revision #12).

Nestle spells out in their request for renewal that they wish to quickly renew their permit as-is and will request revisions later (when not under the scrutiny of a public hearing).

For this extension request, the county has hired a hydrologist to review Nestle-provided data and an economist, but not an ecologist. The company recently sold to private equity companies and will be operating under a new name – Blue Triton. 

7. Lack of local employment

Nestle failed to meet the permit requirement to hire at least 50% percent of their truck drivers from Chaffee County, despite relocating some drivers here. The company employed only 5 in 2019. The county expected far more local residents could be hired and those economic benefits were a factor when approving Nestle’s permit in 2009. How will the difference between the economic benefit that was expected and the economic reality be recovered?

Back to point #1, Do benefits accruing county and citizens outweigh the losses? Is Nestle’s operation needed here?

Nestleave--In opposition to the renewal of the Nestle Waters permit