Water rights activists concerned over sale of Poland Spring

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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“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.



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