Release of Corporate Accountability International Report “Tapping Congress to Get off the Bottle”

Good morning and thank you for coming. My name is Kristin Urquiza and I am the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign Director for Corporate Accountability International.

Corporate Accountability International is a membership organization that has, for the last 33 years, successfully challenged irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. Our Think Outside the Bottle campaign is Corporate Accountability International’s national effort to promote, protect and ensure public funding for the nation’s public water systems.

Three esteemed guests, each of whom brings a special perspective to the topic of water and who controls it, join me today:

  • Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton from Washington, D.C.
  • George Hawkins, General Manager of the DC Water and Sewer Authority
  • Bruce Williams, Mayor of Takoma Park, MD

Before we turn to Rep. Norton, I’d like to offer a word about “Tapping Congress to Get Off the Bottle,” the report Corporate Accountability International releases today. A copy of the report is in your packet.

We examined the Congressional expenditures on bottled water for House activities from April 2009 through March 2010. We found that the House of Representatives spent at least $860,000 on bottled water – or almost $2,000 for each House member – over a year’s time.

Why is this significant? Spending so much on bottled water sends a number of wrong messages to the American public.

It says we have money to waste. It says we don’t care about the environment. It says our tap water is not safe enough. It says advertising matters more than the facts.

In fact, Congress spending almost a million dollars a year on bottled water for its own operations says all the wrong things.

In truth, our public water system is among the best in the world, and is better regulated than bottled water. And it’s cheap for taxpayers, costing pennies for what would cost many dollars if bottled for profit. Our public water system is an American success story. It’s worth preserving.

I encourage all of you to review the report, as it contains additional findings regarding Congressional spending on bottled water and threats to our nation’s public water system. Also in your packet is a two page news release that summarizes the findings as well.

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