Sarlo’s Sneaky Sewer Privatization Bill a Gift to Private Water Industry
Privatization bill would lead to rate hikes and weaken democracy
On Thursday, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on S 3870, a bill sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo that seeks to eliminate the public’s right to weigh in on the sale of publicly-owned sewer systems. The bill would also set up a “fair value” process that weakens regulatory oversight of purchase prices and typically results in higher rate hikes after privatization.
Similar legislation that passed in Pennsylvania in 2016 is credited with a recent uptick in water and sewer privatizations in that state. Sen. Sarlo, who received more than $13,000 in campaign contributions from private water companies and their employee PACs during his 2017 reelection, has also called for Newark’s water system to be privatized.
Food & Water Action New Jersey Director Matt Smith released the following statement:
“The greedy private water industry, bolstered by allies like Senator Sarlo, wants to get its hands on more publicly-owned wastewater systems. But they know that in order to do that, they need to gut our democratic processes and upend voters’ right to decide the future of these essential assets. This bill will remove the public’s ability to control the resources that belong to them. The industry sees easy profits to be made in buying up water and sewer systems and jacking up rates on families and local businesses.
“Instead of standing with New Jerseyans who are fighting for a more accountable and transparent democracy, Sarlo is doing the bidding of the corporate interests that put profits over people.”