Appeal challenges Nestlé’s unrestricted water siphoning from San Bernardino National Forest on expired permit during historic drought

LOS ANGELES — Today, the Story of Stuff Project, the California-based Courage Campaign Institute, and the Center for Biological Diversity formally noticed their intent to appeal a federal court’s decision that allows Nestlé to continue to remove an estimated 36 million gallons of water from Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest, based on a permit that expired 28 years ago.

 This notice comes after a US District Court ruling in September that allows Nestlé to continue its annual removal of tens of millions of gallons of water each year without restriction.  Plaintiffs intend to challenge this misunderstanding of what the law requires.
 “This appeal is absolutely necessary in order to assure that the U.S. Forest Service does not continue to allow precious water to be siphoned off our public lands without any limits or conditions to protect wildlife, water, and other public trust resources.  After nearly three decades since the permit expired and now with California entering its sixth year of drought, this situation must be remedied now. ” said Ileene Anderson with the Center for Biological Diversity.
 The lower court ruling allows Nestlé’s four-mile pipeline that siphons water from San Bernardino National Forest’s Strawberry Creek to its Arrowhead bottling operations in Ontario, Calif., to remain in operation despite the fact that the permit to do so expired in 1988. In exchange for allowing Nestlé to continue pulling water from the creek, the Forest Service receives a mere $630 a year — less than the average Californian’s water bill.
 “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,” said Michael O’Heaney, executive director of the Story of Stuff Project. “The court’s bad ruling forces us to appeal the decision.”
 “The Forest Service has been enabling Nestlé to destroy the delicate ecosystems of Strawberry Creek for 28 years, and it has to stop.” said Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign Institute. “This appeal challenges a justice system that lets massive corporations play by a different set of rules than the rest of us.  Taking a public resource and selling it at an obscene profit without the legal right to do so is unacceptable.”
 Earlier this year more than 500,000 people signed a petition calling on Nestlé to stop bottling water during the drought, and a poll found that a majority of people in the United States believe Nestlé should stop bottling in California.  Despite the clear public outcry, when asked about the controversy, Nestlé CEO Tim Brown remarked that he wished the multinational corporation could remove more water from the drought-stricken land.
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 The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
 CourageCampaign.org fights for a more progressive California and country. We are an online community powered by more than 1,000,000 members.
 The Story of Stuff Project, a California-based nonprofit organization, (www.storyofstuff.org) facilitates a global online community of more than 1 million members working to transform the way we make, use and throw away Stuff.

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