Hearing on Pre-Empting Water Extraction

HANCOCK — A public hearing will be held at Town Hall at 7 p.m. April 22 for comment on a proposed ordinance that would place a moratorium on any commercial water extraction on public, private and state land in Hancock.

Selectman Gary Hunt said there recently had been inquiries about water extraction from out-of-state businesses asking about zoning and other issues.

He said none of the queries was by Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestle Waters of North America that pumps water from more than 20 wells in eight Maine communities and has bottling plants in Hollis, Poland Spring, and Kingfield.

Hunt said. “The folks on the Planning Board had been hearing a lot about controversies in other towns and were alarmed about this.”

He said the ordinance, which would be added to the warrant for Town Meeting May 11, would prohibit any type of water extraction activity for 180 days in order to give the town an opportunity to draw up regulations, or a land use ordinance, that would regulate or limit the activity.

Two towns in Maine, Newfield and Shapleigh, have voted for the same ban on water extraction.

In the meantime, the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing last month on two bills that would give towns more control over groundwater extraction.

The Maine Supreme Court on March 19 upheld a decision by the Planning Board in Fryeburg to allow Poland Spring to build a water pumping station in that town.

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Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]