Tribe hopes to build bottled water plant in Maine

December 1, 2013 • Business

FILE-In this file photo made April 2, 2012, Michael Dugay, a consultant for the Passamaquoddy tribe, left, and Chief Joseph Socobasin, lead a group visiting a spring water well site on tribal land in Indian Township, Maine. The tribe hopes is planning to build a bottling plant with the goal of bottling 10 million cases of water by the third year of operation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

INDIAN TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) — Tucked in the nation’s northeastern corner, the Passamaquoddy tribe’s ancestral land remains as it was centuries ago: Rugged and teeming with natural beauty and wildlife. Snow-covered in winter, springtime warmth reveals a rolling landscape, lakes and ponds — and dozens of bubbling springs.

But there is an ugly reality inside this idyllic community: Joblessness is rampant, making it hard for residents to feed their families. The tribe also needs more money to bolster public safety and other tribal services.

The leadership has been working on a bold plan to address these issues: Capitalize on the land’s pristine spring water by building a 123,000-square-foot bottling plant and selling the water to customers outside of the tribal land.

The tribe is working with an investor and hopes to complete a deal early next year. Planning has been underway for several years, and there appears to be broad support among the 1,300 tribal members in Indian Township.

“People are struggling, especially with the cold weather Login to read more

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