Public Dollars finance water privatization


Editor’s note: Below are excerpts from an article by Lissa Lucas, a life-long resident of West Virginia.

Let’s look at an illustrative story of corporate theft: the “Sharples Water Line Extension Project” in Logan County, West Virginia. That project used public money to help finance a switch from well water and the local public system to a water supply owned by a privately-owned company. They used that taxpayer money to “help satisfy mine permitting requirements for Arch Coal’s proposed Mountain Laurel mine.”

Let’s go over it carefully. It’s so unbelievably, blatantly, a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich that I want to make sure you don’t just skim by. This actually happened. This is what it means to live in a sacrifice zone. West Virginians were forced to use block grants—tax money in other words—to help a big coal company meet its permitting requirements for mining operations.

Those mining operations took water resources away from our citizens. Our government took our money and paid corporate execs to steal from us. On top of that, each taxpaying municipal water customer, for the rest of their lives, pays money to a private water company. Former well owners are paying execs for water that was once free, a part of their property.

That tax money was used to subsidize the destruction of that community’s clean water so coal execs could further enrich themselves. Then the people who live in that community pay water bills from now unto eternity.

That resource is gone, not just for them… but for their kids, and grandkids, and greats, and great-greats. Forever.

And this situation happens again and again in WV.

View Lissa’s entire article at

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