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Wrong to privatize water

Despite what the mayor's office has claimed, there is a very real threat that a contract with Veolia under any name could result in privatization down the line. This is why I participated in the One Baltimore rally to oppose any water contract with Veolia and for keeping our water system under public control ("Don't let water slip through our fingers," Oct. 29).

In Indianapolis, 250,000 people had to file a class action lawsuit after being consistently over-billed by Veolia. Low-income residents were forced to decide between paying those bills and buying food. And the city ultimately had to pay out $29 million to end the contract early. It is a documented fact that Veolia's private water contracts are accompanied by rate hikes, labor rights abuses and environmental destruction. In order to sell these unpopular contracts to local communities, the corporation uses phrases like "consulting contract" and "public-private partnership." While the names may sound harmless, the advice to water management is not. Private water has a track record of under-staffing operations, overcharging residents and cutting corners on environmental protection.

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I am really concerned that this efficiency study could be a foot in the door for Veolia in our public water system. And even if Veolia is just here to work on efficiency, why would we pay for advice from a corporation with this kind of a track record?

Betty Robinson, Baltimore

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