Dr. Margaret Flowers, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, calls on candidates for all public offices to acknowledge and fight the corporate manipulation responsible for water crises across the United States.
Flowers also calls for a recognition that access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and should be protected for all people, regardless of their ability to pay.
"It is World Water Day, and the United Nations estimates that there are over 600 million people without access to clean water," said Flowers. "Environmental factors like like factory farming, increased pollution and overuse in industrial production are a major, preventable cause of water shortages."
"There is another preventable cause of water crises in U.S. cities - corporate manipulation of municipal water programs that steal funds needed to improve failing infrastructure. I am calling on candidates for public office at all levels to resist corporate water grabs that are preventing the repair of degrading water systems and putting people at risk. USA Today recently reported that there are high lead levels in hundreds of water systems across the U.S. that serve schools and daycare centers."
Flowers points to analysis by the Roosevelt Institute identifying "interest rate swaps" as financial instruments used by cities to fund public infrastructure projects. These predatory financial instruments have resulted in billions of dollars in penalties being enforced on cities across the U.S.
"Since 2012," said Flowers, "failed agreements made by cities have resulted in financial penalties imposed by big banks and lending companies on Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and many other cities. Cities then turn around and enforce harsh penalties on their residents, such as shutting off water for a few dollars in missed payments."
The City of Baltimore has paid more than $40 million to Wall Streets banks as a result of toxic interest rate swaps.
Flowers supports public banks at the municipal, county and state levels to prevent this theft by Wall Street banks. Public banks hold public dollars such as taxes, fees and city payrolls. Instead of paying millions of dollars each year to big banks in interest and fees, public banks - which have a mission to serve the public rather than wealthy investors - can leverage their deposits to fund infrastructure projects and other needs.
"Water is a fundamental human right and ought to be treated as such," said Flowers. "No person should have to suffer the cost of their city's poor financial management by having their access to water taken away."
Flowers is seeking the Green Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Mikulski. The Maryland Green Party's primary election process begins in early April and ends May 1st.