All Rights Reserved
The Water Restoration Act of 2007, brought to you by Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, along with others, gives the federal government complete control over every waterway, river, stream, lake, aquifer, creek, slew, swamp, underground spring and even the rain that runs off your roof. Why? Well to better protect you from polluters and to ensure water safety, and of course “national security”.
Here’s the real deal. Oil which has been deemed the worlds most valuable commodity (remember that word) is quickly being replaced by water. Water is the new “gold”. Under the Public Trust doctrine, the government is prohibited from converting something such as water (a human right…we can’t live without it) to a commodity. It must remain in a public trust, meaning that it is so important to our survival that it should never be subjected to markets, trading or private interests. In other words, it should never be reclassified as a commodity. But this Act lays the groundwork for removing from the Public Trust this basic human right which is a necessity, and will facilitate it being reclassified a “needed commodity”. Enter the multi-national corporations.
What is under way is the effort to classify water as a commodity and not a right. All of this actually started with NAFTA and then CAFTA. Both agreements, which are not enforceable as they are both unconstitutional have been parts of a puzzle that until recently seemed not to make any sense at all. Both are focused on giving multinational corporations the right to lay claim to food production whether it is agriculture or animal ranching, to force out family farms, to patent their new “frankenseeds” and put the resulting GMO food on our grocery shelves without labeling the foods as altered.
The corporations can now sue the government (and have) if it acts in any way to prevent it from making profits it believes it is entitled to. This ability to sue for impaired profit making can be the result of environmental regulations, of Federal laws which may prevent the corporations from hiring illegal workers, or issues of eminent domain in which an individuals’ land stands in the way of corporate profiteering and the courts have not acted to protect the interests of the corporation. The corporation then claims “trade illegal” provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA and our federal laws and regulations are put aside, along with property rights.
All that was left to capture from the public was the water supply. CAFTA goes a long way in establishing the privatization of water supplies, including in-land navigated waters and the right to use and access the water supplies.
If the federal government is not able to gain total control of all water from whatever source, it is highly unlikely that water can be taken from the status of Public Trust and moved to one of a commodity, which is exactly what the Water Restoration Act of 2007 will enable.
If CAFTA protections and provisions for corporations and the provisions within CAFTA that put the rights of investors above those of the individual, or human rights, cannot come into play, it will be nearly impossible to expose our water supply to global markets. CAFTA’s primary aim is to protect and promote investors regardless of the cost to individuals or communities.
Water is not only a basic human right, but also a natural resource. Inland states like Minnesota have Public Trust Laws (in addition to federal doctrine) which maintain the use of waterways for drinking and for recreation purposes. Every lake here has public water access due to the Public Trust which everyone contributes to in one way or another. No one can claim land at the bottom of a lake……its commonly held. No one can claim private ownership of lake fish stocks, or other natural resources resulting from the lake’s existence. This applies to rivers also, including the Mississippi which runs through the state.
The Water Restoration Act of 2007 would federalize all inland and coastal waters from any source. This act is needed to set the stage for the privatization guaranteed to corporations under CAFTA and would effectively convert the entire water supply from any source into a commodity.
As it is, any corporate agriculture business operating in any area is allowed to bypass water treatment plants, sewage treatment and the associated costs and to tap directly into underground aquifers even at the cost of depleting the water supply to the surrounding communities. GMO seeds, especially “traitor” seeds require as much as three times the normal amount of water to activate and to grow, but any efforts to limit use or regulate disposal even by monetary assessment have been unsuccessful. The corporate rights now exceed that of the individual or community. CAFTA clearly states repeatedly that “investor protections” must be a priority.
Using the NAFTA provisions, along with even more detrimental CAFTA provisions, the World Bank along with the United Nations are active in the effort to convert the worlds’ water supply into a commodity to be controlled by private investors via global trade and investment agreements. If these efforts are successful, water will no longer be a community or individual right and resource necessary to maintain life, but a globally traded commodity subject to markets and your ability to pay.
The World Trade organization in collusion with provisions of NAFTA, have been instrumental in converting water into a tradable commodity and as such subject to international trade policies which favor no one but the giant corporations. In each instance of corporations attempting to overturn domestic environmental laws or regulations, the laws have been rendered null using the “trade illegal” provisions of both NAFTA and CAFTA which declare that the right of the corporation cannot be superseded or infringed upon by laws or regulations that hinder the amount of profit they estimate can be attained.
The World Bank already has established a system whereby credit or loans will not be issued to Third World countries and even less stressed countries, unless they agree to allow foreign investors access to privatize the water supply. In Bolivia this resulted in mass demonstrations that finally forced out a subsidiary of Bechtel that had privatized the water supply, increased costs three-fold minimally, dispensed with upkeep and left ¼ of the rural homes without access to water.
England has privatized their water system and costs rose 45% overnight, all but skeleton crews remained of the maintenance sector and the quality of water has dropped significantly.
In one Canadian town several people became ill and one died from an ecoli contamination in the water supply. This occurred after the supply had been privatized, and the owner of the water supply knew of the contamination. The public was never notified until after people became ill.
In March of 2000 at the Hague, a meeting occurred where water executives stated that as long as water was coming out of the tap the public had no right to any information as to how it got there….. Or its quality.
Here in the States, private investors have in some places succeeded in taking over community water supplies, in other places the communities have fought back against the sale of publicly held supplies realizing that this most important element of human survival should never be under the control of private corporations whose one and only duty is to make a profit for investors.
As water has historically been deemed a human right and necessity, so much so that the Public Trust Doctrine was put on paper, how could anyone in good conscience believe water is, or promote water as, a tradable commodity? How can there be so many callous and greedy individuals running around out there who would willingly see another human thirst to death just so they can make a buck? Apparently there are many.
The Water Restoration Act 2007 relies heavily on promotion based on protecting the water supply from pollution, from terrorists, and of course “national security”. The truth is it has nothing to do with any of these things. The WRA will allow unfettered pollution with no recourse for communities or individuals and “trade illegal” treatment of local and state laws. Before the entire water supply can be sold off to private interests the federal government must gain control of the entire water system. This is what the WRA will do.
This Act would be more aptly titled “The Water Confiscation Act” as this is exactly what is intended. All it is set to do is to strike down the Public Trust Doctrine and facilitate the conversion of water from a basic human right into a commodity. The only threat to “national security” here is from the government and the massive corporations who are behind it.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. After all, the Security & Prosperity Partnership refers to people as “human capital”. I wonder how long it will be before they refer to us as a “needed commodity” and trade and sell us on the global market.
Control the food, control the water and you control the people. I believe it was Henry Kissinger who first made this observation when speaking about the importance of depopulation through the use of eugenics. Obviously good old Henry realized that overtaking the food and water supplies would go a long way in deciding who had a right to life.
© 2008 Marti Oakley
Maude Barlow wrote a detailed book about the coming water crisis called:
Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World’s Water Supply
Although written in 1999, it is so relevant today that Ms. Barlow will be on tour during 2008 speaking about this and other issues.