Oregon voters Tuesday in Hood River County delivered a stunning defeat to Nestlé.

In the epic battle between Nestlé and people around the world to protect their access to water, little Hood River County in Oregon just achieved a major and unique victory. It's a win for the public water commons and the protection of water for nature. And Oregon Progressive Party was part of this victory having supported the initiative campaign.

Nestlé had proposed building a bottled water plant in the Columbia River gorge town of Cascade Locks, using over 100 million gallons of publicly-owned water a year, and creating more than 1.6 billion plastic water bottles each year. Cascade Locks, hoping to develop its tourist industry, would have suffered over 200 daily truck trips on their roads. Cascade Locks is located at the western edge of the nationally renowned and protected Columbia River Gorge. Opponents to Nestlé’s plans also stressed the detrimental effects extracting this pure cold spring water would have on salmon, considered a bellwether species by Native Americans.

Nestlé promised up to 50 low-tech jobs and an increase in the town’s tax base.

But a coalition of residents, farmers and Native Americans organized in opposition and on Tuesday were successful in saying “No to Nestlé, the water belongs to the people, not a water privateer.”

On an initiative question, Hood River county voters were asked to approve a novel measure to ban the commercial bottling and transport of water in quantities greater than 1000 gallons daily. And today they voted 69-31% to approve the initiative measure.

“Today victory at the ballot shows that when the people organize to stop corporate domination, we can win,” said David Delk, President of the Alliance for Democracy, Portland, OR and co-chair of the national Alliance for Democracy.

David Delk, Chair, Oregon Progressive Party

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