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Lee, Massachusetts

Water Barons Lose Another One

Massachusetts Community Rejects Privatization Scheme

Corporate proponents of privatizing public water systems suffered yet another blow in September when the town representatives of Lee, Mass., voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposal from Veolia Water to take control of the public water and wastewater system.

Lee town representatives voted 41-10 against granting Veolia a 20-year monopoly contract. The vote came on the heels of dynamic grassroots organizing in the Lee community.

Serious concerns were raised about Veolia's track record in other communities; the company's effort to push the scheme through establishing financial ties with powerful community leaders; doubts that Veolia's promised savings, even if achieved, warranted the risks of privatization; and the reliability of the company's promise that current system employees would be retained and treated fairly.

The Lee vote is not only another example of how profiteering water corporations can be kept at bay by an informed, engaged citizenry. Lee's rejection of privatization also serves as a lesson for other small communities that might be targeted by the big water companies, and is an inspiration to citizens in those communities who know that water should not be ceded to private interests for profit.

In the News:
March 9: Lee group pushes petitions

September 24: Water Barons Lose Another One: Massachusetts Community Rejects Privatization Scheme
September 15: Water contract almost finished
September 10: Water debate gets hot in Lee
September 6: Lee residents questioning need to privatize plant
September 3: Opponents of Lee water system plan pack auditorium
September 2: Lee protesters decry privatization
August 1: County settles with former water utility management firm
July 05: Veolia proposes to replace rather than rebuild 
July 02: Lee, MA considers Veolia as only proposer 
May 19: Veolia only one to seek Massachusetts water and sewer systems 
March 26: Lee plans meeting on water-sewer privatization

    » cmep | Water | us | municipal | lee

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