Water rights activists are denouncing the possible sale of Poland Spring and saying that the buyer identified in the news reports represents a “new threat” to Maine’s water resources.
FRYEBURG, Maine – Water rights activists on Saturday condemned the possible sale of the Poland Spring bottled water brand, saying the buyer identified in news reports poses a new threat to state resources.
A crowd that the organizers estimated reached about 100 gathered for the rally sponsored by Community Water Justice to voice their concerns.
Nickie Sekera, a co-founder of the group, said she is concerned that a private equity firm may be less responsive than Nestlé, relieving the company of any responsibility it promised to Maine communities.
Nestlé has not been a good neighbor, “but at least a corporation like Nestlé to some extent will be sensitive to bad public image,” he 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 concerned by news reports suggesting that the Swiss company was negotiating the possible sale with One Rock Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm.
Nestlé declined to comment on the negotiations. A spokesperson for One Rock did not return a message.
Brands to be sold include Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills and Arrowhead, in addition to Poland Spring.
Maulian Dana, tribal ambassador for the Penobscot Nation, said the people of Penobscot “know how precious and vital water is to our tribal communities and the entire state.”
“We oppose the action proposed by Nestlé and One Rock Capital Partners, and we remind our friends and neighbors that water is life,” he said in a statement.