16 Dec 2008

Me and My Opinion

This video was shot for YouthNoise (an activist group) when I was attending the anti-Corporate water footprinting meeting:

Besides one problem (widehead!), this video is mostly accurate. I think I said more about aid for developing countries, but "No" was my answer.

Bottom Line: Neither private nor public water systems are better -- both can have problems.

Addendum: Noah Hall sent me this video debunking the "evil Nestle" case described in the movie FLOW, which I disliked. (In the clip above, I say that Nestle Waters NA made a big mistake in McCloud -- that was because they paid too little, not because they were taking too much.) I asked Noah if Nestle paid for it. He says "Yep. Nestle paid for it, but I didn't take (or was offered) a penny. I did it for free the same way I currently represent the Sierra Club fighting coal plants, and for the same reason, namely good policy."


  1. The Nestle video you reference (referred to you by Noah Hall) made a startling claim about "no impacts" in the Mecosta County, MI case, and I think it's important to point out that if are no impacts at Nestle's current pumping levels, it's because a judge decided their original pumping levels (happily OK'd by the former Michigan resource head featured in the video) were damaging the watershed, and ordered them to stop.

    Nestle's current pumping levels (about half the originals) might indeed be OK, though it's pretty clearly a case of Nestle being caught doing the wrong thing, being forced to do the "right" thing, and then crowing about it.

    That seems par for them, and perhaps Mr. Hall would like to comment on Nestle's original pumping levels.

    As for Nestle in McCloud, I must respectfually disagree with what I feel is your gross oversimplification (they paid too little instead of taking too much).

    Nobody knows if Nestle was "taking too much" or not (in the original McCloud contract) because not a single flow study was conducted on the downstream watershed.

    In that state of ignorance, how could anyone know what was too much or too little? When a blue-ribbon fishery is at stake, that's a question that should have been answered.

    Finally, as a local living through Nestle's protracted McCloud nightmare, I'm frankly unwilling to overlook Nestle's many predatory behaviors (intimidating opponents by subpoenaing personal financial records, the use of its checkbook to unduly influence the 2006 MCSD election while maintaining they weren't doing exactly that, and a long, long list of others).

    After witnessing Nestle at work in McCloud, and after taking a deeper interest in their oft-questioned activities in Maine, Florida, Michigan and other parts of California, I decided - like Noah Hall - that good public policy demanded some kind of response, though I made the opposite decision, and founded the StopNestleWaters.org Web site.

    Debunking the "evil Nestle" riff would require a lot more than a Nestle-produced video that takes credit for things Nestle was forced to do by the legal system.

  2. Tom -- good points. In this post, I mention that Nestle was planning to pump/export 1,540AF/year from McCloud. That's NOT too much water, but -- as you say -- it could make a difference to local flows.

    Nestle's other "dirty tricks" are indeed not helpful...

  3. David: I stumbled across a post made by Jim Olson (Michigan attorney who won the court cases against Nestle's pumping operation), and he pretty clearly knocks the stuffing out of the Nestle corporate video aimed at "debunking" flow.

    (You can read Olson's comment in the midst of this post: http://stopnestlewaters.org/2009/01/04/nestle-produces-rebuttal-video-to-damaging-flow-movie-neglects-to-mention-one-fact-theyre-lying/419)

    I'm concerned that the Nestle video has gotten multiple mentions among blogs, apparently without any critical review of its somewhat fact-challenged nature.

    I'd love to ask Noah Hall directly about his suggestion that Nestle's video was "balanced" when it's so clearly misleading, but his blog doesn't allow comments.

    Do you still stand by your statement that Nestle's video somehow "debunks" FLOW?


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