Washington mayor resigns amid bottled-water dispute

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WAITSBURG, Wash. (AP) — The mayor of the tiny southeast Washington town of Waitsburg has resigned amid controversy over a potential water-bottling plant.

Walt Gobel told the Union Bulletin he had the city’s interest in mind when he and the city administrator met confidentially with Nestle Waters North America. The company was exploring a water-bottling plant in this town of 1,200 people north of Walla Walla.

Some council members were upset to learn in July that the two city officials had met with Nestle several times since February without their knowledge and that Nestle contractors had also been scoping out the city’s springs to determine whether a project was feasible.

The mayor said they brought the issue to the City Council after refusing a second request by Nestle for continued confidentiality.

In May, voters in the Cascade Locks, Oregon, imposed a ban on commercial water bottling, killing a plan in which Nestle would have built a water-bottling plant there.