Wells water too precious to sell

In response to your editorial that appeared April 6 (“Water use battles play out in rate hike talk”), I would like to point out the following. First, you point out the falling demand for water in our district. The sole reason demand is down is the present slow economy.

The economy is presently in a recovery, suggesting normal demand for water will soon follow. Indeed, given recent building activity in Wells, only one example of which is the Riverside development under way on Braggdon Road, demand will not only recover but will exceed previous levels.

The local water district has already admitted that the district will be required to import water in the not- too-distant future to meet our needs. Why would any sensible person desire to sell our relatively inexpensive, locally available water (indeed at a price that would be theft, not purchase), when in the future we will have to import more expensive water?

Second, for you to connect an only possible and modest increase in water rates to the citizens of Wells second-guessing their vote last year demonstrates your ignorance of both the depth of sentiment in town as well as the wisdom of the people of Wells.

I, along with many concerned citizens, conducted door-to-door surveys and canvassing of Wells citizens over the course of last year. I personally talked with over 150 citizens. I can attest that overall sentiment in town is strongly against any large-scale extraction of water from our supply. The 2-1 rejection of the proposed ordinance is indicative of this sentiment; a sentiment that does not stem from an anti-corporate or anti-Nestle feeling, but from the wise realization that pure, clean water is a vital resource and is not of unlimited supply.

Your suggestion that persons might be re-thinking their position is condescending. The people of Wells deserve better respect. If you would take the time to conduct a non-biased, scientific poll in Wells asking whether those polled “favor large-scale water extraction,” I believe you’ll find a strong rejection to allowing water extraction a pro-water, not an anti-corporate, stance.

Dick Fowler
Wells

 

Recent debate in the editorial section of this paper shows that the movement against multinational water-bottlers continues to gain momentum in Wells, and all over Maine. The word is spreading that Nestle/Poland Spring is not a friend to Maine communities.

It is, in fact, a Swiss-based multinational corporation that hires lobbyists to defeat water bills in our state Legislature, buy full-page ads in newspapers and stack our town board meetings with their attorneys and their experts.

When Nestle puts their big straws in our aquifers, local communities have less control over water resources — and we all know that without water there can be no future growth and development. Watersheds may suffer from groundwater pumping, causing underground water levels to drop in nearby wells, streams, lakes and wetlands.

The voters of Wells understood these dangers when they voted to keep Nestle/Poland Spring from their community. If the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District needs funds to upgrade and improve the municipal water system, it should ask Congress to institute a dedicated source of federal funding to support publicly owned and operated water systems.

A Clean Water Trust Fund would provide a permanent source of funding to ensure the integrity of these vital resources now, and for generations to come.

Nisha Swinton
Food & Water Watch
Portland

 

I hope Annette Phillips’ salary at Nestle’s Hollis plant (letters, April 26) is on par with Fortune’s top 2 percent because those few jobs come at a high price to Mainers.

Nestle touts “investment” in Maine communities. Mainers, we pay for this so-called investment through huge tax breaks under the Municipal Tax Increment Financing Program and the Business Equipment Property Tax Reimbursement.

Not only does Switzerland’s Nestle (brand-name Poland Spring) get capital expenses subsidies, they get the raw material — water — for free. Production costs range from 6-11 cents per gallon and retail prices are roughly $3 per 24-ounce-bottle six-pack. Better than oil!

Not to mention the truck traffic hauling out all that water, the oil used to make the bottles and the billions of empties not getting recycled (75 percent of all bottles) that end up in dumps and the ocean. There is nothing green about bottled water.

Today Nestle mines over 700 million gallons per year of Maine’s water. Nestle says, “Well, Hannaford is a foreign company.” But, buying a bag of groceries is not comparable with giving up control of our water to a multinational corporation and allowing foreign trade agreements (which trump state and local regulations) to rule.

At Wells’ November referendum, Nestle (a truly outside entity) spent tens of thousands on TV and newspaper ads. Their publicist even wrote sample opinion letters for the fake grassroots group, “Voices of Reason.”

Nestle has everything to gain from more extraction and Maine has everything to lose. Mainers, this is not good business. Don’t let them have any more.

Linda Dumey
Wells

 

How to improve Cape race? Put most runners in lottery

 

Now that things have quieted down at the Beach-to-Beacon registration office, it’s time to suggest a couple of changes in the method by which runners become eligible to take part in this wonderful annual road race.

I’m no runner myself, but I have many friends who are, and they tell me that the current formula is a recipe for frustration.

Here’s how to fix it: Instead of simply opening up the registration website at 8 a.m. on the day and letting everyone go at it, jamming the lines and giving the edge to anyone with superior computer knowledge, then shutting things off after less than a hour and placating the unsuccessful with a “lottery,” why not run a true lottery for all the available spaces?

Reserve spots for elite runners and Cape Elizabeth residents, of course — but then enter everyone else in a lottery, charging a small fee to take part. It’s fair, it’s impartial and it doesn’t give the edge to the more computer-literate.

If you need an example, look at Maine’s moose lottery: For more than 20 years, Maine has sold permits, by lottery, to in-state and out-of-state applicants and made money all the while. It works fine, it’s fair and it’s profitable.

And if you were picked this way for the Beach-to-Beacon, you wouldn’t need a gun or an orange hat!

David D. Platt
Yarmouth