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NEWS: Nestle chairman’s comments about Alberta water exchange prompts denial about water exports

Alberta environment minister Diana McQueen and federal environment minister Peter Kent. Photo by David Bloom/ QMI Agency.

Alberta environment minister Diana McQueen and federal environment minister Peter Kent. Photo by David Bloom/ QMI Agency.

This evening, the Edmonton Journal reports, “In 2011, the chairman of Nestle said that his company was actively dealing with the government of Alberta to think about setting up a water exchange, where water could be bought and sold like a commodity. The province denied any negotiations to create such a formal exchange. At the time, several groups, including the NDP, raised serious concerns about the potential for a water exchange, saying that it could be the first step toward exporting water to the U.S.”

Today, “The province’s environment minister (Diana McQueen) told an audience of political leaders from across rural Alberta (that) Alberta’s water will not be for sale outside of its borders…”

But, “NDP environment critic Rachel Notley said that she still holds those concerns, despite McQueen’s pledge that the province’s water will not be for sale south of the border. ‘To some extent, our water exchange in certain basins is already commodified,’ said Notley, MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona. ‘If you’re exchanging on the free market in the province in Alberta then NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) pretty much at that point reaches in and compels you to sell to buyers who aren’t local to Alberta.'”

“The government announced its plans for Alberta-wide consultations on the future of water management in Alberta last month.”

The article can be read http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Water+sales+table+upcoming+talks+environment/7543380/story.html. Council of Canadians campaign blogs on water markets in Alberta can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22alberta%22+%2B+%22water+markets%22. The campaign blog (from May 2011) noting the Nestle chairman’s comments about a water exchange in Alberta is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6826.