Water

"At the behest of the chemical boys, oil giants, and other polluters, George W.'s corporate-serving monkey-wrenchers have gone after the Environmental Protection Agency's network of regional research libraries. Good grief--librarians? Why would the polluter powers bother with these simple keepers of knowledge?

"Precisely because knowledge is power... the EPA libraries are treasure troves of organized, detailed information about specific polluters--what they are doing, where they're doing it, and to whom. Corporations don't like it when We the People have knowledge that can be used to halt their polluting...

"Already, they've closed libraries in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and Washington, as well as the EPA's principal library for evaluating new chemicals. In the agency's five remaining libraries, hours have been severely shortened, and public access has been curtailed" (Hightower, Jim. "Ignorance is Power." Texas Observer, Dec. 15, 2006: 15).


"Today the U.S. military generates over one-third of our nation's toxic waste, which it disposes of very poorly. The military is one of the most widespread violators of environmental laws. People made ill by this toxic waste are, in effect, victims of war. But they are rarely acknowledged as such...

"In 2003, when the Defense Department sought (and later received) exemptions from America's main environmental laws, the irony dawned on us. The military was given license to pollute air and water, dispose of used munitions, and endanger wildlife with impunity. The Defense Department is willing to poison the very citizens it is supposed to protect in the cause of national security...

"Last week a study was released by the National Academy of Sciences, raising already substantial concerns about the cancer risks and other health hazards associated with exposure to TCE, a solvent used in adhesives, paint and spot removers that is also "widely used to remove grease from metal parts in airplanes and to clean fuel lines at missile sites." The report confirms a 2001 EPA document linking TCE to kidney cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, impaired neurological function, autoimmune disease and other ailments in human beings.

"The report has been garnering some publicity, but not as much as it deserves. TCE contamination is disturbingly common, especially in the air, soil and water around military bases. Nationwide millions of Americans are using what Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, D-NY, has called "TCE-laden drinking water." The Associated Press reports that the chemical has been found at about 60 percent of the nation's worst contaminated sites in the Superfund cleanup program" (Sunaura Taylor and Astra Taylor. "Military Waste In Our Drinking Water." AlterNet. Posted August 4, 2006.)


"...Uruguay. In these elections, for the first time in the country's history, the left won. And in the plebiscite, for the first time in world history, the privatization of water was rejected by popular vote, asserting that water is the right of all people...

"Uruguayans were bombarded with extortion, threats, and lies: A vote against privatizing water will condemn you to a future of sewage-filled wells and putrid ponds...

"...common sense triumphed...

"...sooner rather than later, in a thirsty world, the reserves of fresh water will be as, or more, coveted than oil reserves. Countries that are poor, but rich in water, must learn to defend themselves...

"In 1992, Uruguay was the only country in the world to put the privatization of public companies to a popular vote: 72 percent opposed. Wouldn't it be democratic to do the same in every country?...

"...Uruguay instituted free public education before England, women's suffrage before France, the eight-hour workday before the United States, and divorce before Spain" (Eduardo Galeano. "Where People Voted Against Fear." Progressive, January, 2005: 18-19).


"One of the key aims of the GATS treaty is to turn publicly owned water services over to private enterprise...

"Public water was first sold off to corporate operators in England. Prices jumped 250 percent and watering English gardens has, at times, been criminalized...

"..the water privateers marched on Egypts, Indonesia, and Argentina. But when they reached Cochabamba, Bolivia.. the thirsty poor resisted...

"Six died in Bolivia. Another 175 were injured... after the military fired gas and bullets at demonstrators. The victims were opposing the 35 percent hike in water prices.." (177).

"To quell the spreading demonstrations, President Banzer announced cancellation of the water privatization on April 5, 2000...

"World Bank director Wolfensohn has a solution to the lack of water: raise its price" (180).

"..nearly one thousand executives and bureaucrats gathered in The Hague in March 2000 to review and refine a program to privatize the world's water systems.

"..these private operators.. can only turn a profit if prices rise radically and rapidly.." (Greg Palast. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. NY: Plume, 2003: 181).


"Spanish authorities are drawing up emergency plans to ship water around the parched coastal areas in tanker boats amid warnings that the current record-breaking drought may last up to six years...

"The Segura is the area most affected by the drought, with reservoir levels down to just 12%. It is home to some of the dozens of new golf course-based tourist developments. Environmentalists say that each golf course uses the water resources of a town of between 10,000 and 16,000 people" (Giles Gremlett in Madrid. "Water plan for coastal areas." Guardian Weekly, Sep. 9, 2005: 11).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS