Letter to Senators Van Hollen and Cardin

July 9, 2020

Dear Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen,

We at Our Revolution Maryland strongly oppose the Duckworth-Braun Voluntary Water Partnership for Distressed Communities Act and urge you to vote against it. 

This legislation incentivizes communities to sell or lease distressed water systems to for-profit corporations. Under the Act, communities with substandard water systems, can avoid any accrued fines as well as the required maintenance if the community cedes control of the system through a sale or lease. In addition, the purchasing entity incurs no obligation to repair the system for three years.

The impact is obvious. Because communities can dodge fines and obtain an above-market price for an “underwater” system merely by selling it, they will. While this might appear to be a reasonable solution, study after study has shown that for-profit water corporations are less likely to deliver clean safe drinking water than publicly owned ones. They spend less on maintenance, cut their workforce, and take fewer steps to prevent contamination while charging an average of 59% more per gallon of water delivered.

The National Association of Water Companies has spent years lobbying for this or similar legislation that affords its members greater control over our drinking water supplies while shielding their actions from the public. Their “solution” unfairly burdens black, brown, indigenous, and poor communities which are the ones most likely to be served by financially distressed public water utilities. 

The real solution is clear. The federal government must work with states to identify financially strapped and underperforming water systems and provide necessary financial support and expertise. Ultimately, this is a far less expensive proposition when you factor in the lost lives, health impacts, and contaminated water that result when private operators take control of a critical resource that is the very elixir of life.

For these reasons Our Revolution Maryland is urging you to vote against Senator Duckworth’s Voluntary Water Partnership for Distressed Communities Act.

Bob Muehlenkamp, Chair
Our Revolution Maryland

Hal Ginsberg, State Organizer
Our Revolution Maryland

Carlos Childs, Activist
Our Revolution Maryland

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1 Response to Letter to Senators Van Hollen and Cardin

  1. Merrill Miller says:

    I stand against the Voluntary Water Partnership for Distressed Communities Act. Water is a necessity and should be a human right. It should never be meant for profits, and it stood be publicly owned and distributed. Please keep our water safe, clean and available for all comunities.

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