The following is from Sam Bernhardt, the Long Island organizer for Food and Water Watch.
In blocking Nassau County's plan to privatize its sewer system, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) has taken decisive action to protect the pocketbooks of all county residents.
NIFA made clear its decision arose from the nature of this ill-conceived and ill-afforded privatization deal. This deal being pursued by County Executive Ed Mangano would effectively refinance the county's current debt at a higher interest rate, and pass that debt on to Nassau residents. NIFA has acted to keep Nassau's over-drawn credit card in its wallet, where it belongs.
Research from Food & Water Watch shows that the 10 largest privatizations in the country have increased rates on consumers by an average of 15 percent per year.
Both NIFA and the New York Comptroller's office have called this plan fiscally irresponsible. Now, it winds up where it belongs: flushed down the drain.
This decision also prevents the transference of a valuable county resource to United Water, a corporation that has demonstrated a long history of poor service and disregard for the environment.
In Gary, Indiana, United Water Services is facing felony charges for violating the Clean Water Act and conspiring to defraud the federal government by misrepresenting its compliance with wastewater treatment standards.
Nassau County residents won’t stand the profiteering corporate takeover of such a critical public service.