Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Washington, D.C. — “Today the Obama administration announced a slew of proposals that will endanger our water systems by promoting and facilitating the management of critical drinking water resources by companies that often have a poor track record. Through the creation of a new Water Finance Center at the EPA to foster water privatization deals, and through new tax breaks on bonds for privatized projects, the Obama administration seeks to pave the way for big Wall Street firms and foreign water corporations to take control of our essential water resources. These misguided proposals will not benefit the average American, or our public water utilities, but will merely pad the pockets of those who seek to profit off the provision of water and sewer services.
“Public-private partnerships are not a practical or effective way to meet our water infrastructure crisis. The American people cannot afford the price tag or environmental threats that are well documented after private companies make decisions based on their bottom lines.
“Public water is the American way. More than 80 percent of the U.S. population receives water and sewer service from a publicly owned and operated utility. The public sector is responsible for more than 90 percent of drinking water and wastewater investments, mostly through tax-exempt municipal bonds. Instead of undermining our municipal utilities, the federal government should increase its support for public water and sewer systems.
“The federal government must step up and renew its commitment to our public water and sewer systems. The Obama administration and Congress can more effectively bolster our local government and rural water utilities by fully funding the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, preserving tax-exempt status on general obligation and revenue bonds and authorizing Building America’s Future bonds.
“Responsible public provision is the most effective way to ensure that every person has access to safe and affordable water service.”