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Citizens Of Woodstock, NY Are Water Rockstars - Leading Charge Against Bottled Water Plant

by Leslie Gabriel February 04, 2015 1 Comment

 Grassroots Opinions Showing Up On The Roadways In Woodstock

The town of Woodstock, NY - mostly known for rock music and the namesake of the world famous music festivals - is now at the epicenter of the bottled water battles. And the citizens of Woodstock, NY are not lying down - in fact they are taking this important H2O fight to the enemy - the water bottling company called Niagara Bottling.

What Is The Tussle ?

As Mark Twain once said, "Whiskey is for sipping and water is for fighting." - and the folks of Woodstock, NY are fighting.

There is a proposed water bottling plant being planned in Ulster County, NY, and the people of the town of Woodstock aren't taking it sitting down. They have banded together to form a non-profit group called Save Cooper Lake. Save Cooper Lake is working hard to make sure the proposed Niagara Bottling plant does not come to their community.

Right now, Niagara Bottling wants to build a bottling plant that will extract 1.75 million gallons of water a day from Cooper Lake, which is Woodstock's main source of municipal water. The project doesn't just affect Woodstock; it will impact twelve communities in Ulster County that depend on Cooper Lake for their water.

The amount of water Niagara Bottling wants to remove from the lake each day is more than a quarter of the daily capacity of the lake. Scientists have recently warned that the lake may not even have that capacity, and if the bottling plant is allowed to move forward with its plans, local wells may run dry, especially if drought conditions come to the area.

To add insult to injury, the local committee of local representatives who have been working with Niagara Bottling to get the plant built and running are doing much of their work in secret.

Several people on the committee have signed non-disclosure agreements with Niagara Bottling, which ensures any decisions that are made about the plant are not divulged to the public. The people of Woodstock believe this is counter to the proper democratic process under which their county and local governments are supposed to operate.

Some of Save Cooper Lake's objections to the Niagara Bottling plant include:

  • Using so much of the local water supply would impede quality job creation in the area and hinder community re-development.
  • Niagara Bottling only promises 120 jobs to the region when the plant is built, with maybe only 40 being added in the first five years the plant operates. The creation of jobs will not be enough to offset the environmental impact of the activities of the plant.
  • The production of plastic water bottles at the plant will release chemicals into the local environment that are damaging to the ecosystem and linked to health issues such as cancer and asthma, among other things. Worse, the chemicals will be released near two schools and a large family neighborhood.
  • The water collection and bottle production activities of the plant would flush 342,500 gallons of waste into the Lower Esopus Creek every day, contributing to erosion along the edge of the creek and damaging the health and wellbeing of local wildlife.

These are just a few of the many objections Save Cooper Lake has against the proposed Niagara Bottling plant. The group is currently conducting community outreach programs to urge citizens of Woodstock to band together and let local leaders know they do not approve of the plant or its planned use of the area's water supply.

The group wants to send a clear message through community activism that their water is not for sale, and they are doing an excellent job so far. The plant has not yet been officially approved or built, so the group is having success in the promotion of their mission.

The group believes the sale of municipal water for resale by a large corporation is morally wrong, and may be legally wrong. They have lawyers on their side to help prove the legal aspect, and a whole host of united citizens who believe the moral aspect and are setting about letting the area's elected officials they will make sure the democratic process is respected in Woodstock.

Do we really want to bottle the pristine water of Cooper Lake ??

Leslie Gabriel
Leslie Gabriel


1 Response


February 04, 2015

Leslie, thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on our situation. There are so many things wrong with this proposal… water right theft, watershed endangerment, committing 30% of municipal water to a private corporation, manufacture of plastic water bottles, 500 trucks per day on our local highways and traffic circle, $1 billion per year in profits… all because of a Water Board that’s been derelict in its duty to maintain the system. I hope you’ll continue to follow us and make more valuable contributions like this one. Best, Kevin

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