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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Veolia Water Contract: Media Blitz Marks Second Phase of Dispute

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Page 2 of 2

Over the weekend, a letter to the editor appeared in the Post-Dispatch, penned by Michael Deane, executive director of the National Association of Water Companies (and former Veolia executive):

The elected officials of St. Louis, including Mayor Francis Slay, should be applauded for both exploring options to improve the water services of the citizens they represent and recognizing how the expertise of the private sector can help them achieve that goal. Today, nearly 73 million Americans receive water service from systems that work with the private sector. It's an old practice: Private water companies have been providing quality service to their customers across the country since the 1800s.

An op-ed also appeared recently in the St. Louis Beacon, written by David Gadis, executive vice president of Veolia Water North America.

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Dump Veolia member Michael Berg answered with his own letter, "St. Louis shouldn't let Veolia run water division," in today's P-D:

Don't believe the hype of the well-funded PR campaign by Veolia to sell St. Louis on its plan to profit from our water division.

Veolia isn't just looking for a short-term consulting job. According to a recent review by the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, the proposed contract between St. Louis and Veolia would effectively eliminate to ability of the city to run the water division in the future. It would cede this power to Veolia.

The contract is currently stuck at the gates of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which will not hear it until a representative of Slay's office, Eddie Roth, has met with all opposition groups. Though there is an E&A meeting scheduled for this Thursday, it appears Dump Veolia will not be calling a rally (as it has in the past as a show of numbers). Alderwoman Dionne Flowers is expected to spearhead public hearings on Veolia as the chair of public utilities (assuming she retains the title after the BOA does its chairmanship assignments after the April 2 general election).

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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