The Nestlé Corporation is under the gun for continuing to siphon millions of gallons of California water using an expired U.S. Forest Service permit.
The lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service was filed by The Story of Stuff Project, the Courage Campaign Institute, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
The lawsuit is meant to challenge Nestlé’s continuing use of a four-mile pipeline that takes water from Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest to its bottling facility in Ontario, California.
The reason for naming the U.S. Forestry Service in the suit is an obvious one: the bottled water company has continued its removal of water from the record drought-stricken state despite using a permit that expired in 1988.
The U.S. Forest Service receives about $524 a year from Nestlé, less than what most California residents pay for their water in the same year.
Eddie Kurtz, the executive director for the Courage Campaign Institute said, “Nestlé’s actions aren’t just morally bankrupt, they are illegal. In the spring, we asked Nestlé to do the right thing, and they threw it back in our faces, telling Californians they’d take more of our water if they could.”
Kurtz went on to say that “The U.S. Forest Service has been enabling Nestlé’s illegal bottling in the San Bernardino National Forest for 27 years, and it has to stop. Our government won’t stand up to them, so we’re taking matters into our own hands.”
With California in the middle of an epic drought, organizations like the Center for Biological Diversity have stepped up to the plate.
Spokeswoman Ileene Anderson said; “…wildlife that rely on Strawberry Creek, including southwestern willow flycatchers and numerous amphibians, are seeing their precious water siphoned away every day.”
In 2014 Nestlé took some 28 million gallons of water, about 68,000 gallons a day, from the San Bernardino National Forest.
Michael O’Heaney, executive director of the Story of Stuff Project said it best:
“We Californians have dramatically reduced our water use over the past year in the face of an historic drought, but Nestlé has refused to step up and do its part. Until the impact of Nestlé’s operation is properly reviewed, the Forest Service must turn off the spigot.”