In the shadow of Glacier National Park, on a peaceful, pristine bend of the Flathead River, someone has applied for and will soon be granted a permit to plop down a factory that will truck in plastic, turn it into water bottles, fill 2 billion of them every year, truck them back out to sell, then output all chemical and geothermal waste on the banks of the river as well as back into the surrounding environment.
I am a local resident who has water rights, but like most others in the area, Lew Weaver (owner of the Montana Artesian Water Co.) has seniority on the water right totem pole, making it impossible for us to fight his permit request for millions of gallons more for use in this plastic water bottling plant.
The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has stated that no adverse effects are in store for residents as far as sucking millions of extra gallons from the aquifer that lies under the valley, but they have, in the same statement, admitted that well depths could go down by as much as 20 feet. When we have to drill down further for our precious resource, that is indeed an adverse effect. With the top news story being the recent waste spill in Big Sky, that is our crystal ball. Waste ponds fail! I do not want to be handed a water test kit because of the failure of waste areas near rivers in The Last Best Place.
Rinsing the factory-made plastic bottles requires chemicals. In California’s Crystal Geyser plant, the soil tests reveal toxins such as barium, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel, chromium, thallium and sulphate.
I wonder why a longtime resident of beautiful Montana would even consider this bottling factory a good idea? Possibly there is a corporation who has done their homework and sought out the property owner with the oldest water rights?
How sadly ironic that should this manufacturing plant be introduced to the area, many residents may be forced to buy bottled water.
Let’s stop this madness and also speak for the wildlife in and around the river and look past the initial jobs this could provide for a few. Fish, waterfowl, and fauna have rights too.
Plastic water bottles are not something for Montana to be proud to produce.
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