Protesters Raise Concerns, Call For Local Jobs At Niagara Bottling Plant. Though one of the frequently used arguments for offering bottling companies water and tax breaks is "JOBS", the Niagara plant's steel frame was being erected by out of state iron-workers. Louisiana workers, staying in local hotels and earning less than the area standard wage and benefits, were at work at the site. Meanwhile, union workers from Bloomfield and the Hartford area stood by and protested.
Water; Advocates Will Continue the Fight for Strong Legislation
Hartford, CT- SaveOurWaterCT announced today that with little time remaining in the legislative session, it is unlikely that a bill to protect Connecticut’s public water supply will move forward in the House, but advocates are not giving up. SB 422 AN ACT CONCERNING RESIDENTIAL WATER RATES, PUBLIC DRINKING WATER SUPPLY EMERGENCIES AND SELLERS OF BOTTLED WATER was withdrawn.
This fight started in Bloomfield CT when the Niagara Bottling Company got approval to take 1.8 million gallons of water per day from our State water reserves. Loopholes in Connecticut state law allowed this deal to go forward without any public input, state oversight, environmental review, cost-benefit analysis, traffic study, or any regard for Connecticut's future water needs. There are few protections for residents in times of drought to curb the withdrawal of water to be bottled and shipped out of state.
SB 422 cleared enormous obstacles, and passed the Senate with strong bi-partisan support.
Privatization sale of public water for corporate profit is a national problem that has landed right here in CT. The Niagara deal in Bloomfield placed a spotlight on the completely inadequate way that we manage our state’s public water supplies and this must change,” stated Anne Hulick, State Director of Clean Water Action.
“Despite dozens of industry lobbyists hired to confuse and defeat this bill, we were gaining votes in support of SB 422 every day. With more time we have no doubt the bill would have passed with strong bipartisan support,” said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director.
We learned that the MDC, in another quiet boardroom deal, had enticed Niagara with a large volume discount on water and clean water project charges and thereby opened up the state to additional corporate water raids. And we learned that water policy in CT is complicated, insufficient, and outdated.
“The passion of the thousands who have joined us is a testament to how much Connecticut citizens care about their water and their environment,” said Val Rossetti of Save our Water CT. "We view water as a public trust, and our most important natural resource, not as a corporate asset. We are determined to see our water protected now and for future generations.”
Citizens and advocates from around the state will be back in the legislature, even more determined to battle for the future of Connecticut’s water and environment.
See the Hartford Courant 4/29/2016 http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-niagara-water-bill-dead-0429-20160428-story.html
•Save Our Water CT is a citizen Advocacy Group formed to protect Connecticut’s precious water resources.
•Clean Water Action is a national citizens' organization working for clean, safe, and affordable water, and prevention of health-threatening pollution.
•The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters is a statewide advocacy organization working to pass laws that protect our environment and hold lawmakers accountable for their votes on key issues.
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.