Maine water rights activists are concerned about the potential sale of the Poland Spring bottled water company to a private equity firm.
Over the weekend, more than 70 people turned out to oppose the sale during a rally in downtown Fryeburg, which is one of the towns where Poland Spring extracts water.
Protest organizer Nickie Sekera of Fryeburg, a longtime opponent of the bottled water industry and a founder of the group Community Water Justice, said the transfer of Poland Spring to a private investment firm would only make it harder for Maine communities to monitor and control their local groundwater supplies.
"Our fight for water is our fight for our democratic process, transparency and dignity," Sekera said.
Some of the protesters held up signs with phrases such as "Poland Spring = Stolen Spring" and "No Nestle, No Wall Street." Throughout the rally, they rang bells and hooted in agreement with various speakers.
Poland Spring was founded in Maine more than a century ago and still sources its water from springs scattered across the state.
But it's now owned by Swiss food giant Nestlé, which is reportedly looking to sell all its bottled water brands to One Rock Capital Partners, a firm based in New York City, according to Reuters.
Representatives from Nestlé and One Rock didn't respond to requests for comment.
Correction: The name of Nickie Sekera's organization is Community Water Justice, not Maine Water Justice.