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Businesses nationwide ask governors to vote the tap on World Water Day

Hello, I’m Kristin Urquiza with Corporate Accountability International. Corporate Accountability International is a non-profit membership organization that has, for the last 33 years, successfully advanced campaigns protecting health, the environment and human rights. We are here today to celebrate the successful completion of a campaign that requires no candidates, debates, or stump speeches to achieve its object, only the commitment of the state to Vote the Tap and Kick the Bottles out. Well, today, we’re happy to announce that Governor Shumlin has committed to issuing a policy that would phase out state budget spending on bottled water, saving taxpayers over $200,000, reducing waste, and demonstrating his commitment to our public water systems, which are the cornerstones of economic development and public health in this country.

With me today are:

  • Secretary Deb Markowitz of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • Representative Jim McCullough
  • Conor Casey, Legislative Coordinator, Vermont State Employees Association
  • Andrea Stander, Director, Vermont League of Conservation Voters; and
  • Sean Ward, Owner, Coffee Corner

All of whom have committed to, be bottled water free and, second, congratulate Governor Shumlin for his commitment to restore people’s faith and reinvestment in the tap. The public support for this is so overwhelming that there is a growing bottled water free zone surrounding the state capitol.  In total, 15 local businesses, have signed on to support the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, which aims to promote, protect and ensure public funding for the nation’s public water systems.  9 out of 15 have gone bottled-water free and all signed onto a letter that supports the commitment the Governor is making today to issue a policy to cut spending on bottled water at the state level. Today establishments in Washington, Minnesota, Connecticut, Oregon, and Maryland are hosting similar events this World Water Day asking their governors to follow Governor Shumlin’s lead.

Vermont spent over $200,000 on bottled water as recently as FY10 even as the national investment gap for the tap deepens – it is now $23 billion annually.  As Secretary Markowitz will tell you, spending taxpayer dollars on bottled water sends the absolute wrong message about the quality of the state’s public water and its commitment to preserving the tap for generations to come. This is not to mention how wasteful this spending is at a time when our state can ill afford such an unnecessary expense. Governor Shumlin’s commitment is a call to Governors around the country that the caretakers of our tap water are the very people who should be leading by example to turn the tide on decades of misleading marketing and restore peoples’ faith in Vermont’s drinking water.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Secretary Markowitz to talk about why the Governor’s commitment sends the right message about the quality and value of our state’s drinking water, and how investing in public drinking water is critical to both public health and building a strong economy. She will be followed by our other speakers including a local business leader who will share why he is proud to serve the tap and help spur investments in the infrastructure of this great city. 

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