Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project: Commissioners approve 1041 permit

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From the Salida Citizen (Lee Hart):

The approval includes 40 conditions, totaling 11 pages and addressing what the commissioners considered some of the most controversial aspects of the proposal, namely water and economics.

However, it was a seemingly minor issue that proved to be the day’s most contentious. Citing private property rights and potential adverse impact to wildlife, Commission Chair Frank Holman adamantly objected to requiring Nestle to provide overland fishing access to the Arkansas River. Commissioner Tim Glenn was just as adamant that the easement was “not overly burdensome” to Nestle and provided very desirable public shoreline fishing access in a county where recreation is such an important part of the economy. Commissioner Dennis Giese was on the fence. In the end, the commissioners agreed to let the local Division of Wildlife determine if and where overland fishing access would be appropriate on the Nestle property.

Nestle had hoped to have the overland fishing access condition deleted from the final list of conditions writing in a memo to county staff that to do so would “unacceptably increase risk to security and spring water quality” and created an “unwarranted and significant business risk” to the company…

Sam Schabacker of the national non-profit Food and Water Watch said Colorado’s battle with Nestle is being closely watched around the country and is considered pivotal to the nationwide fight against the privatization of water. “This is the first battleground in the Rocky Mountain West – the arid West – and CCFS has shown great leadership in this national struggle.” Schabacker said the intelligence and dedication CCFS has shown through the application review process puts the organization in a good position to recalibrate and take the fight to the next level, joining the ranks of citizens in Maine, California, Michigan and Flagstaff, AZ.

More Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project coverage here and here.

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