Nestlé Faces Lawsuit for Illegally Bottling Water

Three advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service on the premise that the drought-stricken State of California was allowing Nestlé to bottle water illegally even though their permit had expired. Although Nestlé isn’t named in the suit, the groups allege that Nestlé has been piping water to their plant through a four mile pipeline while residents have been placed under rigid restrictions on the use of water.

Nestlé’s Permit Allegedly Expired in 1988

nestleAccording to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are demanding that a review be implemented by the Forest Service which should consider impacts on the environment. As stated by the plaintiffs, Nestlé’s permit had expired in 1988. The plaintiffs include the Courage Campaign Institute, the Story of Stuff Project and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Suit Alleges Unfair Discrepancy between Residents and Corporations

The historic four year drought in California has been big news and not only are residents and local businesses restricted on water use but fires have been burning out of control due to drier-than-usual conditions. The lawsuit argues that big business shouldn’t be allowed unrestrained use of water while regular people are forced to cut back usage.

Nestlé’s Actions Morally and Legally Questionable

pic_4According to the Courage Campaign Institute’s Executive Director, Eddie Kurtz, the actions of Nestlé are not only immoral but they are also illegal. Since the advocacy group feels that the government won’t go up against such a large corporation, they (along with the other two groups) are taking matters into their own hands.

Nestlé Responds to Allegations via Email Statement

Nestlé Waters released a statement that contends their permit is still in “full force” and that it is in effect as per the federal Administrative Procedure Act. This, according to a company spokesperson, Jane Lazgin. In a statement released via email, she further states that Nestlé is diligently working with the U.S. Forest Service on renewing their permit. Ms. Lazgin says that Nestlé continues to abide by all regulations and laws that are relevant whether they are local, state or federal and relate to the company’s operations.

California Drought of Historic Proportions

California_-_Outline_and_Flag_-_SolidThe State of California has been experiencing a drought of historic proportions that has lasted for the past four years. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only is it drier than usual but the 2014 and 2015 Water Years ending the last day of September respectively were also the hottest years recorded. Furthermore, when measured by the California Department of Water Resources, the Sierra snowpack water content on a statewide basis was at 5%. This is lower than at any time recorded dating back as far as 1950.

For the previous two years the state has been declared by Governor Jerry Brown to be in a state of emergency due to the drought. He made the declaration on the 17th of January in 2014 and the state of emergency has yet to be lifted. This gives cause for many to wonder why Nestlé has not been named in the lawsuit to this point but the advocacy groups are not done fighting. Will Nestlé be the next to be named in a lawsuit? Only time will tell.