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Trenton Judge Flip-Flops on Water Utility Sale
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - July 14 - "Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg ruled against a public referendum pushed by local citizens to decide the fate of an embattled water utility in Trenton, New Jersey. This latest development comes just two months after Feinberg agreed to reassess an earlier decision to allow the sale of a portion of Trenton's water utility to the private company American Water.
"Unfortunately, today's decision is emblematic of the struggle faced by the citizens of Trenton who are fighting to ensure that their water remain a publicly controlled resource, not a potential source of profit for private interests. Throughout this lengthy battle, American Water has revealed its greedy interests in opposing the potential referendum, working to subvert the will of the people who only ask that their voice be heard when it comes to determining the control of a public utility system. Across the United States, we have seen communities lose control of their water utilities to American Water and companies like it, only to suffer in the form of exorbitant rate increases, poor water quality and shoddy customer service.
"Although this decision is a setback for the citizen activists working to keep this essential resource under public control, the battle is not over. A variety of options remain for local activists, including a possible appeal of Feinberg's verdict. We support the good work of local advocates in Trenton and applaud their ongoing efforts to uphold the public interest in this important, and very often misunderstood issue."