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TAFTA: The European Union's Secret Raid on U.S. Public Water Utilities

TAFTA: The European Union's Secret Raid on U.S. Public Water Utilities

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The U.S. and the EU are secretly negotiating a trade deal that could make it easier for the world’s biggest water companies to privatize our public water systems.
The U.S. and the EU are secretly negotiating a trade deal that could make it easier for the world’s biggest water companies to privatize our public water systems.

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Published by: Food and Water Watch on Dec 02, 2013
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01/04/2014

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COMMON
RESOURCES
European Water Privatizers
The European Union is home o he world’s larges waer companies. The wo bigges are rom France: Veolia Envi-ronnemen and Suez Environnemen.
3
 Already, hree o he ive larges waer companies in he Unied Saes are rom he EU:
Veolia Environnemen operaes as Veolia Waer Norh America and is he second larges waer company in he counry, serving abou 10.5 million people in 32 saes.
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Suez Environnemen operaes as Unied Waer and is he hird larges waer company in he counry,
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 serving abou 5.5 million people in 21 saes.
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Severn Tren, a Briish company, is he ifh larges waer company in he Unied Saes, serving more han 3 mil-lion people in 22 saes.
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Foreign Power Grab
TAFTA could smooh he way or hese and oher European companies o conrol more U.S. public waer sysems. The deal could give privae waer companies a powerul arsenal o use agains local communiies. TAFTA could undermine com-muniies’ abiliy o hal hosile privaizaion effors, hinder atemps o reclaim waer sysems rom EU corporaions and make i harder o hold privae waer companies accounable. The deal could allow EU waer companies o challenge mu-nicipal decisions abou owning and operaing waer uiliies a secre inernaional ribunals. This nonransparen arbiraion sysem leaves litle room or appeal and has no respec or local and sae law. An EU company could even challenge an unavorable decision by a public domesic cour in his privae inernaional venue.
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 In effec, he ribunal would have he power o second-guess local rules and public saeguards on behal o EU companies.
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 An EU waer company could hike is cusomers’ waer bills by challenging sae oversigh o uiliy raes.
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 The compa-nies could also seek moneary damages i a local governmen sough o compel improved service or erminae a privae waer conrac premaurely.
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 This would make i much harder or U.S. communiies o exi harmul waer privaizaion deals or buy back heir local waer sysems rom EU corporaions.
U.S. Experiences With EU Water Companies
EU waer corporaions have a dreadul rack record in he Unied Saes. Communiies have experienced everyhing rom negligen cusomer service and sysem deerioraion o waer leaks and sewage spills.
Spilling sewage in he San Francisco Bay, Cali.
In a 2008 lawsui, he wachdog group San Francisco Baykeeper accused he Veolia-managed Burlingame wasewaer reamen plan o illegally dumping more han 10 million gallons o wase-waer ino he San Francisco Bay over he preceding six years and o ailing o repor violaions.
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 Baykeeper believed ha
TAFTA: The European Union’s
Secret Raid on U.S. Public Water Utilities
 
    
T
he Unied Saes and he European Union are secrely negoiaing a rade deal ha could make i easier or he world’s bigges waer companies o privaize our public waer sysems. The Transalanic Free Trade Agreemen (TAFTA) — officially called he Transalanic Trade and Invesmen Parnership — could allow EU corporaions o ake over local governmen services like waer and sewer sysems in he Unied Saes.
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 Privaized waer sysems — including noable akeovers by European waer companies — generally deliver worse service a higher prices.
2
 

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