Target: Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
Goal: Call on the Governor to reject legislation that would ease water privatization while eroding environmental protections
Access to clean drinking water is widely considered to be a human right. When private companies take control of municipal water supplies the result is often higher prices, increased pollution and restricted public access. In this time of widespread drought, putting a huge strain on water supplies to increase corporate profits is clearly irresponsible. It is also becoming more and more common.
In 2010 Food and Water Watch published an extensive report on New Jersey’s historical troubles with water privatization, and it would seem that state officials haven’t learned their lesson. The non-profit estimated that privatization added 64% to the average household water bill. Companies have also sold contaminated water to consumers, and sold for development land that was set aside to protect drinking water supplies.
A bill awaiting Governor Chris Christie’s signature would make the state even more attractive for privatization. Th law would eliminate a public vote now required before the sale of a public water utility can go through. The bill’s supporters in the State Senate claim that taxpayers and the government simply don’t have the “know-how” to deal with infrastructure updates and other emergencies. Yet Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club Jeff Tittel was right in criticizing the proposed changes as “dangerous” and “undemocratic.” In an open letter to the Governor he warned that the bill will let “corporate profits replace meeting the needs of consumers and the environment.”
Call on Governor Christie to reject the so-called “Water Infrastructure Protection Act,” which threatens the long-term sustainability of a resource his constituents depend upon for survival.
Dear Governor Christie,
New Jersey is known as being particularly fond of water privatization. Indeed, with your creation of the New Jersey State Privatization Task Force you made clear your fondness for private versus public operation of all manner of essential services. Yet despite your preference, public ownership and investment in infrastructure are still the best way to ensure a sustainable utility system.
You claim that increased privatization can help reduce the state’s budget shortfalls, yet history has shown that privatization of utilities rarely results in the savings promised. Instead, rate payers are left with inferior service, reduced accountability and oversight and a significant increase in cost.
I urge you to prioritize the human rights of your constituents rather than the greed of multinational corporations, and to reject the Water Infrastructure Protection Act.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kristiaan via Wikimedia Commons