Friday, March 9, 2007

Kucinich Takes Steps to Protect Public Control of Great Lakes Water

Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich's congressional website posted the following press release.

Kucinich Takes Steps to Protect Public Control of Great Lakes Water

Washington, Mar 8 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 8) — In an effort to protect Cleveland’s drinking water from profiteering, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today used the amendment process to bring attention to the growing problem of water privatization.

“Every human being has the right to clean water. The essentials of life, like water, must be accessible by people before corporations. When access to the essentials is threatened by excessive private gain, I will stand firmly in defense of the public every time,” Kucinich stated on the floor of the House.

Kucinich’s district relies on Lake Erie for its drinking water. In 2005, an agreement was reached between the Great Lakes states that laid out the conditions under which water could be withdrawn. The Bottled Water industry managed to insert language that gave them a special exemption.

Congressman Kucinich continues to oppose that exemption by working to keep Great Lakes water as a public trust.

“In communities all across the country, constituents are increasingly finding themselves fighting bottled water companies for access to local supplies.

“The loophole could be challenged under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution or the under the World Trade Organization, which would give those who want to privatize our public resource virtually unlimited top priority access. We would not just be back to square one; we would take giant steps backward.

Kucinich received a commitment from Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) on the floor of the House of Representatives to work with Kucinich to help protect these communities from privatization. Oberstar is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“I made a pledge to begin to raise the profile of water privatization as public policy. I intend to explore this issue more deeply as the Chair of the Domestic Policy Oversight Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.”

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