Photo Modified: Flickr/Steven DePolo
Three environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the United States Forest Service for allowing Nestlé to draw water from a national forest in California, using a permit that expired in 1988.
Nestlé, which has continued to draw water from California despite a severe drought, has been the subject of much public scrutiny for its actions, particularly after Nestlé’s CEO Tim Brown said that, instead of ceasing operations, his company would draw even more water if it were possible to do so.
“If I stop bottling water tomorrow, people would buy another brand of bottled water,” the mercenary CEO said at the time.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Story of Stuff Project, and the Courage Campaign Institute, accused the Forest Service of violating federal law by allowing the company to continue operations without the proper permits. A series of investigations by The Desert Sun also found that the Forest Service consistently failed to follow through on necessary permit reviews that would have required an environmental study.
“Right now, it really feels like the primary emphasis is letting Nestlé take water,” said Rachel Doughty, a Berkeley-based environmental lawyer representing the Courage Campaign Institute and the Story of Stuff Project.