Nestlé Balks Over U.S. Forest Service Overstepping Their Water Rights
May 10, 2016 09:29 PM EDT
Nestlé balks to the U.S. Forest Service's terms for issuing a new permit to keep getting water out of a national forest, stating that the agency is transgressing its authority and encroaching on the company's water rights.
For the first time, Nestlé Waters North America elaborated its concern publicly for the first time in a 79 page document presented to the Forest Service. The company being the biggest maker of bottled water in the country has long been piping out water from the San Bernardino National Forest to make Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.
In March, the U.S. Forest Service released its plan of issuing the company a new permit to operate its wells and pipelines for five years in the nearby mountains of San Bernardino. The agency picked up the issue after an investigation revealed that the company was allowed to keep using the water from the national forest has an expiration date of 1988, USA TODAY reports.
In a statement, Nestlé said that while it "shares a number of goals with the Forest Service" it is "concerned that the action proposed by the Forest Service would disrupt established water rights and the long-standing legal process of regulating water use in the state of California."
According to The Press Enterprise report, the plan calls for the permit to be given except the environment study suggests Strawberry Creek's water flow is being jeopardized by those operations, said a San Bernardino National Forest hydrologists. And part of the plan is San Bernardino National Forest's initiation of its National Environmental Policy Act analysis of Nestlé Waters North America's special-use permit.
Nestlé claimed it has history on its side and based on their documents, the company brings forward a historical pattern dating back to 1882 stating its water rights have not been challenged since 1931. It also emphasized a "possessory claim to the waters" from 1865. As California became a state in 1850, makes Nestlé claim to historical water rights in the said area "among the most senior water rights" in California, as reported by Food Dive.
A hearing will be scheduled on May 16 to be handled by Judge Jesus G. Bernal in U.S. District Court in Riverside.