One of the many bills passed by the Senate in Washington back in 2018 prohibits using water from the Cascade mountains in bottled water operations. So companies in search of fresh water would have to look for some other place.
Washington would be the first state in the whole country to ban such an operation. This state has all the natural resources that make them irresistible to companies looking to plunder the resources and acquire more wealth.
Tribune News Service mentioned that this was the first in a series of laws that the Senate had proposed in this state. The main objective was to prevent the groundwater from getting drained by MNCs.
As the bill was signed, things started picking up as this would be applied to every permit signed post 1st January 2019. The director of Food and Water Action’s public water for all campaign spoke about how Washington State was actually spearheading a change which would soon be followed by most states in the USA. The Director, Mary Grant stated that the passing of this legislation would actually help negate this abuse of power wherein giant companies were simply siphoning off water to be sold at much higher prices.
Tribune News Service has reported that the Senator who actually passed this bill in Washington State, Senator Reuven Carlyle couldn’t believe the depth of the problem, seeing the water levels get depleted as private companies were siphoning it off and channelling it as bottled water. He lamented that there weren’t enough policies in place that could help prevent such a major catastrophe.
The entire debacle came to the forefront after a bunch of emails from Crystal Geyser got leaked where they had proposed a plan to establish a site at Mt. Rainier. The locals living there were quite worried that their plan would mean the loss of potable water for themselves. After that, as the MNC decided to sue the local opposition through emails, those got leaked too. In the end, this company decided to organize an underground campaign for public relations to bring in support.
Craig Jasmer of Lewis County Water Alliance spoke up about how bottling local water and putting it out of the state was not, in any way, in the interest of the public. His alliance protested against the installment of a factory and actually moved forward with the statewide ban.
Crystal Geyser has had a long history of scandals. A couple of years back, they were found guilty of storing waste-water that contained arsenic in California. Shockingly, they had delivered this water to a treatment plant, without informing the plant of the hazard of using this water.
The legislation was accelerated with the presence of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, which involved groups like Audubon, Americans Rivers, and Sierra Club Washington State. Common Dreams mentioned how the basic proposal was to stop these MNCs from establishing their units here and help the small agrarian population along with the salmon population with essential water.
The Centre for Environmental Law And Policy dictated that the water of Washington would belong to the state. It also spoke about how there had been a spike in bottled water, as there were several companies desiring to build units inside the state.
But things have slowly been changing since then, as Guardian notes several states bringing forth bills of their own, like Maine, and Michigan to protest against bottled water. You can find the current status of the Washington Bill here.