This is interesting, not least because it lines up so perfectly with what Chelsea Green’s own Riki Ott (Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill) has been trying to do with her call for a 28th Constitutional Amendment to strip corporations of personhood.
The citizens of a small town in Maine have decided to stand up for their rights and—this is important—the rights of the environment. The citizens of Shapleigh have passed a unique ordinance that, in essence, blocks Nestle Water (and others) from piping away the water under their town, which they sell as bottled spring water.
Legal challenges from the deep-pocketed Nestle Corporation will doubtless follow. If there’s justice, the rights of citizens and the environment will prevail over corporate interests.
From After Downing Street:
Today the citizens of Shapleigh, Maine voted at a special town meeting to pass a groundbreaking Rights-Based Ordinance, 114 for and 66 against. This revolutionary ordinance give its citizens the right to local self-governance and gives rights to ecosystems but denies the rights of personhood to corporations. This ordinance allows the citizens to protect their groundwater resources, putting it in a common trust to be used for the benefit of its residents.
Shapleigh is the first community in Maine to pass such an ordinance, which extends rights to nature, however, the Ordinance Review Committee in Wells, Maine is considering passing one in their town. These communities have been under attack by Nestle Waters, N.A., a multi-national water miner that sells bottled water under such labels as Poland Springs.
Communities have opposed the expansion by Nestle Waters, but the corporation will not take no for an answer. The town of Fryeburg, Maine has been in litigation with Nestle for six years. Nestle wants to expand and the town’s people say no to the tanker trunk traffic which has disrupted their quiet scenic beauty, so Nestle’s tactic is to wear them down, and break their bank.
Nestle is the world’s largest food and beverage company and has very deep pockets. However, we won’t back down, we are the stewards of this most precious resource water, and we want to protect it for future generations.