RadioActive 2/26/09

Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco and Amy Browne

Topic: The issues of democratic power and local citizen input concerning the parceling out of natural resources to corporate enterprise are central to the issue of water extraction in Maine.

Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, who now owns Poland Spring water, currently extracts from 8 wells in Maine, and has designs on many more sites through out the state, most currently in western and southern Maine.

Town residents who object to the commodification and sale of their aquifer resources by their town governments , find themselves in positions of limited recourse within current regulatory processes. These limitations have opened up a movement towards instating constitutional “rights based” ordinances in towns where residents seek to institute restrictions on the impacts natural resources shared by the community .

In Hancock County, the town of Lamoine’s conservation committee held an educational forum earlier this month. No water extraction permits are being applied for there, but the forum was set up to highlight the experiences of communities confronted by corporate extraction proposals in Maine.Two speakers also attended from New Hampshire. One from the town of Barnstead, where the first water rights based ordinance was passed in the country that specifically recognizes the rights of community self government. In Maine, the towns of Newfield and Shapleigh will be voting on similar ordinances on March 14th and February 28th, respectively. Today we hear some of the stories and perspectives from the Feb 6th presentation starting with Gail Darrel from Barnstead, NH.

Guests: Gail Darrel, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Barnstead, NH resident; Denise Carpenter, Newfield resident & Shelly Goibelle, Shapleigh resident, both of Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources (PWWR); Henrietta Clewes, nurse midwife at Blue Hill Hospital