By Bob Weaver

West Virginian's may be helpless over international treaties related to the sale of West Virginia/American Water Works. Thames Water, a company held by a German firm, is buying up water utilities, many of which were funded by taxpayer money.

West Virginia/American Water owns 25% of all water service in the state.

West Virginia's PSC approved the sale last month, but the state's Attorney General Darrell McGraw has filed a petition to re-examine the situation.

Assistant Attorney General D. L. Hamilton said "Our PSC will be, at most, a gnat (Thames and its companies) need to swat away." Hamilton said "That's my fear."

Problems over international deals have been moved to a "world court situation," far removed from concerns of community people and will be driven by globalization (WTO) law and the money of the vested parties.

Thames and its representatives recently claimed during a Kentucky meeting, water would not fall under the international rules, but the European Union has asked the World Trade Organization to consider qualifying water as an international business to be sold between countries.

The giant company will likely take the issue to the international trade arena, overwhelming local concerns about foreign companies owning water utilities.

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