Community members and supporters for the people of Weed, California, brought a complaint again the the Forest Stewardship Council for it’s “Responsible Timber” certification for Roseburg Forest Products production facility in the city of Weed.
The Water for Citizens of Weed, California, community organization filed the complaint with the council on Feb. 27.
The council is an international body that certifies timber companies’ sustainability practices. The certification verifies that the company makes efforts to prevent excessive logging, protects at-risk species, supports community rights, protects rivers and streams, minimizes erosion from roads and conserves vulnerable habitats.
The complaint filed by the group alleges the company “has been violating the human rights of the people of our community.”
“It is simply wrong and unethical for a private company to take a vital public resource,” the complaint reads. “RFP is exploiting the fact that its predecessor did a poor job of documenting the transfer of water rights. Beyond the point of whether or not all of RFP’s actions in pursuit of our community’s water are legal, they are certainly unethical.”
Senior vice president Stuart Gray said in a statement the company bought the Beaughan Spring and the water rights in 1983, but it is working with the city while it works out its water needs. The statement was released by the company after the group protested outside of the company headquarters in Springfield in December.
Gray called the spring a small portion of the city’s needs, but the complaint calls it the city’s “most important source of municipal and domestic drinking water. While the company has not explicitly announced plans for the water, other media outlets reference the company’s existing sales to CG Roxane which owns Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring bottled water company that has a plant in the city.
“We do not belong in this story,” CG Roxane President Ronan Papillaud told the New York Times. “We are not depriving anyone of anything.” CG Roxane has bought water from the company since the late 1990s and dedicates one of its production lines in its Weed plant to bottling water bound for Japan.
The company has 13 sites registered with the council, including the site in Weed. The certificate is valid until April 2023, as are all of company’s other sites.