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Environment, Energy and Transportation

After Years Of Protests, Crystal Geyser Abandons Bottling Facility Plans In Siskiyou County

Liam Moriarty
A long-dormant water bottling facility owned by Crystal Geyser Water Company outside of Mt. Shasta, CA. In May the company announced it would no longer pursue plans to operate the facility.

Fierce and persistent local opposition was at least one factor in the company's decision to back away from plans to bottle and sell Mt. Shasta's famously clean water. The announcement came during a Mt. Shasta city council meeting last week.

Crystal Geyser bought the nearly 145,000 square foot bottling plant in 2013. Since then, it’s been the target of protests by local activists and members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Opponents say if it ever started operating, it would draw down too much water, and cause air and noise pollution.

“It’s what we’ve been working for diligently for seven-and-a-half years, and we’re happy to see them go,” says Raven Stevens with the group W.A.T.E.R. or We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review.

They are in the midst of suing the beverage company in an effort to get a new environmental impact report. She says they’re relieved by the news, but worries about what she calls lax water-use regulations that allowed it to be built in the first place.

“It does feel like a victory however we’re all very much aware that in California with the rules the way they are it’s a little like whack-a-mole,” Stevens says.

Before the plant was operated by Crystal Geyser it was a Coca-Cola bottling facility. Stevens says her group would like someone to buy the plant for a different use that benefits the community.

A representative from Crystal Geyser did not respond to a request for comment.

Siskiyou County and much of California are already struggling with water shortages and severe drought conditions.