In Montana, Citizen Muscle vs. Water Bottlers

Residents and activists in Flathead Valley, Montana, are one step closer to stopping a water bottling plant proposal in their scenic community! After locals learned that Montana Artesian Water Co. was working toward the construction of a new bottling plant with plans to withdraw over 230 million gallons a year from their local aquifers, they came together and decided to take action.

The group Yes! for Flathead’s Farms and Water successfully collected the signatures needed from 15 percent of the county’s registered voters to take the question of the plant’s future to the ballot. Now, voters can decide whether or not they want to change the county’s zoning to prevent bottling in next year’s county election.

The Daily Inter Lake reports: “Flathead County voters will decide whether to expand a zoning district in an agricultural area near Creston, after a petition secured enough signatures by Tuesday to place the question on a future county-wide election ballot.”

Many worry that a larger bottler, like Nestlé Waters, could be behind the plans and have been working diligently despite adversity.

“The proposal is identical to one that was unanimously struck down by the Flathead County commissioners last year, and is being advanced by a group of landowners and volunteers concerned with the potential impacts of a planned water-bottling plant that would fall within the boundaries of the proposed Egan Slough Zoning District expansion.”

This issue is important to many who are concerned about the future of Flathead Valley, and they weren’t deterred by the commissioners’ decision last year. One of those volunteers commented to the Daly Inter Lake:

“It’s an investment in our future, as the Flathead Valley,” Larson told the Daily Inter Lake in an interview last month. “If we can stop it, I think that would be a positive for the whole Flathead Valley. We don’t want any further industrial changes to that area, we want to keep it farmland.”

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