Thursday, January 2, 2014

Maine PUC and Nestle Waters: a fix is in

For those following the saga of Nestle Waters North America, the western Maine town of Fryeburg, and the state Public Utilities Commission, there's been a new development.

Nestle Waters, a division of the world's largest food and beverage company, Nestle SA, had been seeking approval for a new 25- to 40-year contract with Fryeburg's water utility, which is a private entity controlled by a family with past conflicts of their own. But that process came undone in October, when the chairman of the state PUC became the second of three commissioners to recuse himself due to past work for Nestle Waters. Unable to rule on the case for lack of a majority, the contract remains in limbo.

But as I reported New Years Eve in the Portland Press Herald, the state legislature will soon be considering a bill to fix the recusal problem, one that has the support of its liberal Democratic sponsor, the PUC chair, and a key official in Gov. Paul LePage's administration. Read on if you're interested.

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