Saturday, September 28, 2013

Explaining Nestle/Fryeburg water controversy on Al Jazeera America

I was the in-studio guest on last night's The Stream on Al Jazeera America, the new, much talked about cable television news channel owned by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network. Alas, I didn't get to see the station's new New York studios, as the show is produced in Washington, D.C., but to get a sense of the channel's budget and ambitions, consider that the host who interviewed me, Lisa Fletcher, was poached from ABC and has won both a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow Award. Soledad O'Brien is a special correspondent for the network.

We were discussing the controversy surrounding food-and-beverage giant Nestle's proposed 25-to-40 year contract with the local water utility in Fryeburg, Maine, the subject of an in-depth Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram story published earlier this month, and the related controversy over the conflicts of interest of the regulators who are supposed to evaluate the contract.Two Fryeburg residents and the head regulator, PUC chairman Tom Welch, joined us via the magic of the interwebs. Nestle declined to participate.

The full episode isn't up online, but as soon as it is, I'll add it here.[Update, 10/8/13: So far, the best I've found is this fragmentary form of a clip at Internet Archive.]

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