Water Infrastructure Financing Act Benefits Corporations at the Expense of Taxpayers | Food & Water Watch
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Luana Conley
May 14th, 2009

Water Infrastructure Financing Act Benefits Corporations at the Expense of Taxpayers

Contact:

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500

Water Infrastructure Financing Act Benefits Corporations at the Expense of Taxpayers
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved S.1005, the Water Infrastructure Financing Act. The bill contains language that would, for the first time, allow private wastewater utilities access to funding from the Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF). This proposed change to the law would essentially allow private wastewater utilities to benefit from public funding. The burden of this modification, however, would ultimately fall on consumers, because private wastewater utilities charge customers as much as 80% more than do their public counterparts.  Under this bill, consumers would be left to subsidize these utilities through both taxes and higher user rates.

“Privatization is not an efficient means of rejuvenating ailing wastewater systems. From high costs and inefficiency to unaccountable and irresponsible operators, a deluge of problems has swamped communities that have turned their wastewater systems over to the private sector. This is because corporations prioritize earnings over quality and stockholders over consumers. They seek returns by cutting corners and hiking rates, and further pad investor pockets by downsizing workforces and stripping away worker benefits. Inflated prices, higher household bills and lost jobs are the last thing families need in these challenging economic times.

“Congress should reject language in the Water Infrastructure Financing Act that subsidizes and incentivizes such corporate abuse. If taxpayers front the money for these programs, they should be the primary beneficiaries.”

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Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.
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