WV KEEPS LOSING CONTROL OF ITS WATER - National-International Corps Own 76% WV Minerals

(11/05/2005)

By Bob Weaver

Here's the run down.

A large number of local water companies in WV sold out to a private concern, West Virginia Water.

Some of the state's water outfits were mostly built with taxpayer money.

Then WV Water Company became the biggest water company in the state.

Then they sold to American Water Company which sold to German-based RWE.

RWE announced Friday it plans to sell American Water Company, the parent firm of West Virginia American Water.

RWE says it wants to focus its efforts on the energy side of its business and getting out of the water business is a key part of that new focus.

State Consumer Advocate Billy Jack Gregg says he's heard from many customers that didn't like a foreign company being in control of their water.

Nonetheless, it was a done deal.

Water is the last great natural resource in WV to be "given" to outside interests, without a whimper by the WV legislature.

National or international corporations own 51% of the land in WV and 76% of the minerals.

Those owners pay only 16% of the property taxes. In state landowners pay 84%.

RWE promised they would not ask for a water rate increase for a while.

They did.

Gregg said "I just hope it's not another group of foreign investors because that will be more insecurity on the part of a lot of customers."


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