Crystal Geyser Opposition

The property at 807 Peters Road in Randle has been purchased by Crystal Geyser, which intends to build a massive bottling plant along the Cowlitz River — a plan that has drawn fierce opposition from nearby residents in the rural area.

It’s not typical for a regularly scheduled meeting between the Lewis County Board of Commissioners and the prosecutor’s office to draw much of a crowd — but the dozen or so citizens sitting in on Tuesday’s meeting were enough for the assembly to be moved from its normal spot to one accommodating of more people.

The reason for the crowd was the agenda item reading “Crystal Geyser” on the lineup of topics of discussion — in reference to a proposed bottling plant on the Cowlitz River downstream from Randle that has drawn ire from area residents, tribal representatives and environmental organizations.

“I have been talking with citizens and the people of Lewis County — especially at the east end — for virtually every day, every day I’m talking to someone about it,” said Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper, whose commission district encompasses the property at 807 Peters Road, which was purchased by the company.

At the heart of the daily conversations, he said, are a consistent series of concerns — what a 100,000 square-foot facility would do to area traffic and noise, how the bottling plant would affect local wildlife and ecosystems.

Stamper, who attended the meeting telephonically — and who spoke with The Chronicle by phone following the meeting — said he wanted to address the prosecutor’s office, given the office’s personnel are the county’s legal representation. He wanted them to know that constituents have raised concerns with the prospect of the facility, in case an attorney’s input becomes necessary.

County Manager Erik Martin said he was contacted by Crystal Geyser via email the day before. He read the email and distributed copies to the crowd.

In the message, Page Beykpour, chief operations officer for CG Roxane LLC (another moniker of the Crystal Geyser company) highlighted that the project is far from set in stone and referenced a recent Chronicle article highlighting citizens’ concerns.

It reads in part: “We are aware of the recent Chronicle article and the growing excitement over this proposed project in Randle. While we have been trying to get the correct information out there even by speaking with the Chronicle, only partial information is being disseminated which has caused things to have gotten ahead of themselves.

“I wanted to let you know firsthand where we are on this project so that you can communicate status with County officials and staff. As you know, we have not submitted any building applications for this or any other site in the County and presently have no intention to do so. We have, and continue to, explore options both in the region and out of state.

“We purchased the parcel on Peters Road because our due diligence period had expired, but if it ‘s not the chosen site, we’ll sell it or convert it into another non-bottled water use.”

Stamper said that when news of the project broke, he heard some raise concerns, incorrectly, that construction had started and that the permitting process had been completed without any notification.

“I think that’s been pretty much dispelled,” he said. “I’ve been trying to communicate with (constituents) and I know the other commissioners have been sending the same message out.”

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(5) comments

hiccup1234

"Another non-bottled water use" could just be unlimited free water extraction & water mining & unlimited semi-trucks. Much Worse!!!!

Shoecker

I do not like the idea of this happening in our community and I am concerned about the effects to our aquifer and downstream effects on the Cowlitz River. I have to admit I am largely ignorant about what those effects could be. But this issue also brings up some conflicting things within me. I believe that we all have the right to purchase land and have the freedom to do on it what it is legally zoned for. I wouldn’t want to lose that right. I also believe (even if I don’t like it) that we can’t just blame an evil corporation without looking at our own (societies) contribution to the problem. Bottled water is being used by our society. If it wasn’t this wouldn’t be occurring. I don’t use it much but have on occasion bought bottled water so I can’t in good faith remove my own contribution to this problem. Companies like this would not exist if they were not supplying something that society at least perceives that it needs. Supply and demand. Remove the demand and the problem is solved. Like I said I don’t want this in the valley but for me that alone feels like a not in my backyard go find someone else’s backyard scenario. Sounds like that is what has been happening. They keep getting driven out to some other back yard. That is what brought them here to our community. So the problem just keeps getting pushed around and not really solved. If the need for bottled water is real and society keeps using it in the way that we currently are this problem will never be solved it will just keep getting pushed around to somewhere else. We will win the battle but what about the war? I of course don’t have any answer just conflicting thoughts. I guess if I knew for sure that there was a sustainable limit that would protect the aquifer, that there were rules and laws and enforcement in place to assure that those limits were not exceeded, that the company was committed to finding other ways to market its product in reusable containers it would be a different consideration. Unfortunately none of these things are likely true due to another problem that our society must someday own. Greed. Can't really say I'm immune to that yet either.

Alexchempion

People!!! Unite and Rise up and stand up for what is belong to you and your children against the greedy corporation, preserve peaceful rural-farming living and what is vital for it WATER! STOP! At all cost, this intention to build a plant, SPREAD information around thru local news and community, organize a meeting, check local authority whom they are loyal!!! I currently looking to purchase a property and build in Randle, this proposed development has stopped me from considering many pieces of land because of the threat of contamination and depletion of aquifer and industrial trucking in the area. Until this thing is stopped, I may be to abstain from buying a property and building my home. Why is to rob many people of their resources to benefit a few, why not going to the middle of nowhere and there extract water and deliver it to the people? Because of the location between two big cities Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, and they can save money on delivery! This is not about new jobs; it's about stealing for profit!

Alexchempion

Hello! Why didn't you post my comments? Have you censored it? or you support building Crystal Geyser plant?

Alexchempion

Thank you! for posting my comments, keep us informed!

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