OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state, land of sprawling rainforests and glacier-fed rivers, might soon become the first in the nation to ban water bottling companies from tapping spring-fed sources.
The proposal is one of several efforts at the state and local level to fend off the fast-growing bottled water industry and protect local groundwater. Local activists throughout the country say bottling companies are taking their water virtually for free, depleting springs and aquifers, then packaging it in plastic bottles and shipping it elsewhere for sale.
“I was literally beyond shocked,” said Washington state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, who sponsored the bill to ban bottling companies from extracting groundwater. It was advanced by a Senate committee last week.
“I was jolted to the core to realize the depth and breadth and magnitude of how they have lawyered up in these small towns to take advantage of water rights,” the Democrat said. “The fact that we have incredibly loose, if virtually nonexistent, policy guidelines around this is shocking and a categorical failure.”
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