How the Private Water Industry Is Teaming Up With ALEC
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“Drinking water systems need information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities, as well as the amount and sources of water to be used, in order to address potential impacts on communities and their drinking water supplies,” Knight said.
NAWC has worked closely with ALEC on issues relating to privatization.
At ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting, NAWC executive director Michael Deane participated in panel called “Tapping the Private Sector to Save Money and Improve Performance,” according to documents obtained by the group Common Cause.
The panel was moderated by Geoff Segal, an expert on privatization who previously worked at the libertarian Reason Foundation. Segal currently sits on Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring, whose mission includes seeking out “means to more effectively and efficiently perform core state functions, including potential privatization of government operations where appropriate.”
According to minutes from the ALEC meeting, public- and private-sector ALEC members unanimously adopted model legislation called “Establishing a Public-Private Partnership (P3) Authority Act.” The bill would establish “a state Partnership Committee and an Office of Public-Private Partnerships to identify and establish public-private partnerships and approve qualified bidders, requests for proposals, and template contracts.”
Promoting public-private partnerships is a top policy priority for the NAWC.
According to the NAWC, Deane’s participation in the ALEC panel was limited to discussion of public-private infrastructure partnerships and was not related to hydraulic fracturing, and Deane did not vote on what model legislation should be adopted.
NAWC’s involvement in ALEC is not the only example of the private water industry’s entanglement with groups whose interests are seemingly at odds with the protection of drinking water resources. Two of the country’s biggest private water utility companies – American Water and Aqua America – are dues-paying members of a powerful industry coalition in Pennsylvania that lobbies to expand fracking. Both companies are on the NAWC’s board of directors.