The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles
Publisher and Editor 

Nestlé and the info netherworld

 


Where does The Sentinel stand on the issue of Nestlé bringing a water bottling facility to Goldendale? A reader wrote in and asked that question, and the immediate response was, we don’t know enough about it. Now, a week or so later, we can update our response: we don’t know enough about it.

When the anti- Nestlé bandwagon got rolling (with astonishing speed), the first thing we did was to ask some of the opponents where they got their information that so convinced them that Nestlé coming to Goldendale was so terrible. What we got from that request mostly were links to other already-existing bandwagon sites that seemed themselves to have little source information. It was kind of, “Well, they said so,” and then when you go to the “they” in question, that source says, “Well, they said so.” And on and on.

Finally we did get to a few sources with a feel of legitimacy. In particular was the claim of the Yakama Nation that Nestlé being here might cause cooling of waters feeding the Columbia, which could negatively impact fish life, in turn affecting the tribe’s fishing capabilities. We came across some information that suggested there could be some reality there—but the cause-and-effect chain of thought broke down when applied to this region; nothing in the tribe’s claims can be considered absolute proof that their fears would be realized in this situation. Still, one can see room for a cautious approach.

On the other side of the issue, and by contrast to the bandwagon sites, supporters of Nestlé point to a good deal of information that certainly sounds very scientifically based and credible. Chief among that information is how little water the bottling plant would actually use—and let us forewarn those who, after reading this last sentence, will be poised to write in saying their respective versions of “Oh, yeah?” If you do, you’ll need to provide the hard data and science behind your naysaying; we won’t print a refutation that doesn’t actually refute. But here’s the thing about all the ostensible science behind the supporters’ claims: who knows whether or not it’s true? We’re not scientists. There’s as much a challenge to vetting the supporting information, it seems, as there is the opposing information.

In the end, we suspect, the project will just atrophy away from Goldendale because the opposition is too noisy, whether they’re accurate or not. Granted, the current mayor and city council don’t have the cowardice that characterized the city’s governance in past years. Still, the sheer weight of this spotlight is likely to be more than today’s city council would be willing to bear.

 

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