Water rights activists concerned over sale of Poland Spring
Water rights activists denounced the potential sale of a brand of bottled water on Saturday Poland Spring, claiming that the buyer identified in the reports poses a new threat to state resources.
A crowd that organizers say has reached around 100 gathered for the Community Water Justice-sponsored rally to voice concerns.
Nickie Sekera, co-founder of the group, said she was concerned that a private equity firm might be less responsive than Nestle, relieving the company of any responsibility it promised to communities in Maine.
Nestlé has not been a good neighbor, “but at least a company like Nestlé to some extent will be sensitive to a poor public image,” she said.
Nestlé announced in June that it was considering selling its bottled water brands in North America. In Maine, Nestlé has more than half a dozen water sources and two bottling plants, employing 860 people.
Rally participants are worried about reports suggesting the Swiss company is negotiating the potential sale with One Rock Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm.
Nestlé declined to comment on the negotiations. A One Rock spokesperson did not return a message.
Brands for sale include Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, and Arrowhead, in addition to Poland Spring.
Maulian Dana, Tribal Ambassador for the Penobscot Nation, said the Penobscot people “know how precious and life-giving water is to our tribal communities and the state as a whole.”
“We oppose the action proposed by Nestlé and One Rock Capital Partners – and remind our friends and neighbors that water is life,” she said in a statement.