Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Plug Pulled On Plans For Controversial Anacortes Bottling Plant

Sara Lerner

Plans to build an enormous beverage bottling plant in Skagit County, Wash., have been halted. The company behind a proposed facility has backed out of the project.

Three years ago, the City of Anacortes signed a deal with a company called Tethys to sell the company five million gallons of Skagit River water a day for the next 50 years.

Tethys planned to build the largest beverage bottling plant in the country. But the proposal was met with fierce debate within the community. There was no guarantee of jobs and many feared Tethys would transfer the water rights to a bigger company such as Coca-Cola or Nestle.

On Tuesday, Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell forwarded an undated letter from Tethys to city councilmembers. In the letter, Tethys CEO Steve Winter announced that his company would not proceed with the Tethys project.

“With the passing of time Tethys and its principals have been presented with alternate business opportunities that deserve attention,” Winter explained in his letter. “After much debate we have determined for various reasons that we will halt our efforts on the Tethys project in the City of Anacortes.”

Ryan Walters, an Anacortes city councilmember and  Tethys opponent,  wants to make absolutely certain that the city won’t transfer the water agreement to another company. He says the city has to kill Tethys’ contract.

“The city needs to clean this up,” said Walters. “We need to send them a letter thanking them for their time and indicating that the contract is terminated. If we don’t do that, then maybe there’s some possibility the contract might be sold to somebody else. That’s not in the benefit of the city.”  

Maxwell said the city has not been approached to reassign the water rights and he believes the deal is dead.