From Heart of the Rockies Radio (Joe Stone):
The Chaffee County Commissioners approved a contract for Denver-based Harvey Economics to conduct an economic impact study of Nestlé Waters North America’s local operations.
In corresponding moves, the Commissioners voted to extend Nestlé’s existing 1041 permit to Aug. 4, 2021, and voted to continue the permit hearing to Jan. 19, 2021.
The existing permit allows Nestlé to pump up to 196 acre-feet of water per year at Ruby Mountain Spring, and Nestlé has applied for a 10-year permit extension.
The Commissioners have temporarily extended the original permit by more than a year, and this most recent extension will allow Nestlé to continue its operations while the economic study is conducted.
The extension also allows time for county officials, Nestlé and members of the public to review and comment on the economic study.
In discussing the timeline for the ongoing 1041 hearing, the Commissioners indicated they expect Harvey Economics to complete the study in approximately 3 months, after which Nestlé will have the study reviewed by a consultant.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to review the study, review Nestlé’s response, and comment on both documents, with Commissioners expecting to render a decision on Nestlé’s permit application by early June.
If the Commissioners deny the permit extension, Nestlé would have until Aug. 4, 2021, to phase out its Chaffee County operations.
Commissioners Chairman Greg Felt raised the issue of plastic bottles and asked Nestlé Natural Resource Manager Larry Lawrence about the feasibility of converting an existing bottling plant to use biodegradable bottles.