Water Is a “Life and Death” Matter
Bruce Murphy talks on TMJ about bill easing private firms' purchase of water utilities.
Urban Milwaukee editor Bruce Murphy talked today with WTMJ’s “Wisconsin Morning News” co-hosts Gene Mueller and Jane Matenaer, about the proposed bill that would allow out-of-state companies to buy public water utilities.
Murphy did the first coverage in the state on the proposed law, which was proposed by the company Aqua America, and pushed by its lobbyist Steven Foti, a former Republican legislator and Assembly Majority Leader. Not one municipality in the state has requested the legislation.
Are the problems in Flint, Michigan, relevant to this discussion? Murphy was asked. “There are two things that stand about Flint,” he noted. “One is that they were clearly trying to cut costs. The second thing is that government oversight failed. You know, I think the first thing a private company would do is look to cut costs.”
“Water is life for people,” Murphy added. “It’s a life or death proposition. If its bad you get sickness and death. So it’s not something you want to mess around with.”
After Urban Milwaukee covered the story, other media began covering the issue. The bill had been passed by the state Assembly and seemed ready for quick passage by the Senate, but that has stalled as concerns have been raised by opponents and some local officials. The city of Milton passed an anti-water privatization ordinance and called on the state Senate to reject the bill.