It’s clear so far that the Trump transition has been a disaster: the appointments of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and infamous climate change denier Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency signal just how serious this administration is about dismantling the important regulations meant to protect our environment, and instead putting our safety in the hands of corporations.
It’s not hard to find examples of outrageous policy proposals that sell our safety off to the banks. Case in point: Trump’s infrastructure plan, touted as a job creator and economy grower, will give more power to private investors. Worst of all, our most urgent needs, like our water systems, receive no help from the plan—it only incentivizes privatization of our public resources. In essence, Trump wants to hand over our public water to Wall Street.
The problem with privatizing water, as Food & Water Watch has researched and reported on, is that it often leads to higher water bills, worse service and a loss of local jobs. Look no further than the ongoing dilemma in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where residents saw their water bills skyrocket, to see what can happen when communities lose local control of water, and when we put our water systems in the hands of outside officials who want to run them like a business.
It’s critical that any plan to update our infrastructure include dedicated federal funding for publicly owned water systems—and, crucially, that the plan does not incentivize privatization. That’s why Food & Water Watch worked with Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) to introduce the WATER Act, a piece of legislation that would provide billions in dedicated funding a year to modernize U.S. water infrastructure.
Everyone deserves safe, affordable drinking water—it’s a basic human right. Under Trump’s infrastructure plan, we face a serious threat to accessible and affordable water for many of our most vulnerable citizens. We can’t let this happen: we need to let our legislators know they must keep our public water systems free from privatizations.