Sponsors of identical US House and Senate bills aim to prevent Wall Street from turning a vital and precious resource into a for-profit commodity. As with private commodities like medicine, energy, and food, Wall Street will now be free to buy, sell, and trade water.
The first law from Congress to allow the private purchase of water from billionaire and corporate farmland owners to cities passed in 1992. Due to the impact of climate disruption, including drought and radically shifted weather patterns, as well as major water-eliminating practices, like fracking, water is not only a new commodity on the markets, but also a scarcity.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) has authored a bill, The Future of Water Act, to prohibit the purchase, sale, or trade of water as a private commodity, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has introduced the Senate's version of the bill, identical to Khanna's. In total, 12 out of 17 initial co-sponsors of the bill have passed National Intervention's Sobriety Test (NIST) for addiction to corporate power and money in politics.
"If you were wondering what happens when candidates who are not under the influence of corporate campaign cash become your representative in Congress, it's that they fight to keep Wall Street from sucking-up and selling all your water, " says Darcy Lundstrom, an organizer who has worked to activate non-voters in southern California, including in Khanna's district.
"The thousands of non-voters who finally turned out to vote after candidates like Katy Porter, Ro Khanna, and Cori Bush all passed their Sobriety Tests, are the voters who make the difference in these elections. Without these voters' enthusiasm for National Intervention, we wouldn't have these legislators, and without these legislators, we wouldn't have these bills," says Valeria Marquez, a Student National Intervention Coordinating Committee (SNICC) coordinator.
Other national organizations, like Food and Water Watch and the National Resource Defense Council, point out the importance of protecting water as vital to the public interest. A recent Biden administration EPA decision echoes a Trump-era failure to keep the rocket fuel chemical waste, perchlorate, out of drinking water in the US, and 26 states have found their residents are exposed to it. To pass the NIST, National Intervention asks candidate's to support language that would affirm in the US Constitution that "corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as natural persons," a protection that currently allows corporations the right to poison water or profit from it, as long as profits are maximized for shareholders.
As some congressional maps have yet to be passed and approved, the US Supreme Court and a number of states' courts and legislatures continue to determine whether voters in several states will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is not too "under the influence" of wealth and power in the political and electoral systems.
Text "SOBER" to 202-600-2653 for updates to the list of current candidates who have passed this year's National Intervention Sobriety Test.
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