Tuesday, October 28, at the Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Board Bill 216 at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Mary Ellen Ponder, St. Louis Mayor Slay’s representative, announced that Veolia Water North America was withdrawing from its efforts to secure a contract with the city’s Water Division.
The welcome news stunned members of the St. Louis Dump Veolia Coalition who had organized to block the contract because of the company’s environmental, ethics and human rights record.
St. Louis Dump Veolia’s Statement:
VICTORY! ST. LOUIS DUMPS VEOLIA!
Multinational Withdraws from Contract Bidding Following 11 Months of City-Wide Opposition
(October 29, 2013; St. Louis, Missouri, USA) The mayor’s office has announced that Veolia Water North America has withdrawn itself from consideration for a contract to consult with the St. Louis Water Division, following almost a year of public protest of the corporation over its egregious track record of contract failures, poor performance, environmental destruction, labor abuses, complicity in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, and privatization of public resources. Veolia reportedly decided St. Louis “is not worth it. It is not worth the damage to [Veolia’s] business.”
St. Louis proudly joins cities across the globe that have stood up to Veolia and similar transnational corporations in an effort to protect public resources, open government, and people’s rights.
For more than three years, Veolia attempted to secure a contract with St. Louis, defying the will of the local community through aggressive lobbying, bullying, political interference, back-door deals, and outright contempt for democratic involvement. When public opposition denied Veolia the necessary votes to pass the contract through normal channels, the mayor attempted to circumvent the democratic checks and balances by claiming the contract did not need approval through traditional means and threatened to sue the city comptroller if she did not sign it.
The St. Louis Dump Veolia Coalition applauds the St. Louis Board of Aldermen for listening to constituents’ concerns and standing up for transparency, accountability, democratic processes, and the will of the people by introducing a resolution to remove funds allocated for Veolia in the city’s budget, the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, prompting Veolia to withdraw.
As the city now looks to work with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District in a public partnership, we urge all involved to continue to reject any involvement of Veolia, to keep St. Louis water firmly in public hands, and to listen to and respect the wisdom and expertise of our water workers who first revealed the Veolia contract.
The Dump Veolia Coalition thanks the hundreds of St. Louisans who contributed to this campaign — from elevating it to a primary issue in the 2013 mayoral elections to testifying at City Hall for the Public Utilities Committee — and our public officials who stood up for democracy and public water. We are inspired by the unnamed millions around the world — including workers, students, faith communities, activists, oppressed communities throughout the U.S., and the people of Palestine — working tirelessly against corporate profiteering and greed, environmental devastation, racism and discrimination. This victory belongs to all of us.
St. Louis is proud to have kept our water public and our consciences clear by dumping Veolia!
St. Louis Dump Veolia Coalition
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