Special Alert: Anti-Nestle activists blocked from public meeting

Dear Barker,

In a rare move the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is blocking the public’s voice in its upcoming Commission meeting in Portland.

After learning that anti-Nestlé activists planned to testify at the December 7th Commission Meeting in opposition to the ODFW’s involvement with Nestlé, the Commission decided last week to bar us from speaking by canceling the public forum on the meeting agenda.  We will not let them silence us! Take action today. Help us ensure that the Nestlé Water Bottling Plant is included in the ODFW Commission’s February meeting agenda and plan to join us in February  8th to hold ODFW accountable for its role in the Nestlé proposal.

Take action, mark your calendar for February 8th, and read on for more information.

Background:
The ODFW Commission is the boss of ODFW director Roy Elicker and has the power to withdraw the permits that would allow Nestlé to proceed with its plans to bottle public water currently used at the ODFW Oxbow fish hatchery in Cascade Locks. The Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge Coalition has been planning for months to testify at the December 7th Commission Meeting, alongside other concerned Oregonians. Public testimony on any item not on the meeting agenda is reserved for a ‘public forum’ at the start of the meeting, which is exactly when we were planning on speaking – until we discovered that in a last minute move the public forum had been  eliminated, effectively shutting us out of the meeting. This would not be a problem if ODFW would include Nestlé permits on its agenda, and allow meaningful public participation. But, despite three years of pushing Nestlé’s permits and receiving thousands of public comments asking ODFW to withdraw the water exchange permits, the ODFW Commission has yet to include a discussion of Nestlé permits on its agenda, preferring instead to do Nestlé’s dirty work behind closed doors.

We are respectfully choosing to cancel our presence at the December Commission Meeting to allow ODFW the necessary space to address the controversial issue of gillnetting in Lower Columbia fisheries. However, it is unacceptable for ODFW to continue to ignore another controversial issue that also affects Columbia fisheries: Nestlé’s plans to bottle public water from Oxbow Spring. It is well past time that we get answers about why the state is pushing to be the first in history to cede public water for Nestlé's corporate profit. We demand that ODFW include a meaningful discussion of Nestlé permit T-11109 on its agenda for the February meeting. For more information call Meredith at 503-331-0374, or meredith@bark-out.org.