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Nestle Bottling Plant Plans Under Attack

California’s Attorney General said he will sue to block a proposed water-bottling operation unless its effects on global warming are evaluated.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Attorney General Jerry Brown on Tuesday said he will sue to block a proposed water-bottling operation in Northern California unless its effects on global warming are evaluated.

Nestle Waters North America wants to pump about 200 million gallons of water a year from three natural springs that supply McCloud, about 280 miles north of San Francisco. Brown's office said that's enough to fill 3.1 billion 8-ounce plastic water bottles.

The water would be bottled at a 350,000-square-foot facility on the outskirts of the former lumber town.

The Swiss-based company scaled back its plans in May after years of opposition from environmentalists and a group of McCloud residents. It originally sought to pump more than double the amount of water.

David Palais, Nestle's Northern California natural resource manager, said the company already was planning studies on air and water quality, hazardous materials, traffic conditions and climate change for a new environmental review of the bottling plant.

"We appreciate the attorney general's letter and share his commitment to ensuring that new projects in California do not negatively impact the environment," Palais said in a statement.

He said the company will conduct environmental studies over the next two or three years. Afterward, Siskiyou County will prepare a new environmental impact report for the project.

Brown said the company must put its revisions into a new contract with the town of McCloud. He wants proper study of the environmental consequences of the bottling operation, saying the previous draft review had "serious deficiencies."

He said it failed to include an examination of whether the operation will contribute to global warming through the production of plastic bottles, the operation's electrical demands and the diesel soot and greenhouse gas emissions produced by trucks traveling to and from the plant.

"It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States," Brown said in a statement. "Nestle will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles."

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