Coalition Report

Greed-topia Comes to the Lou

by Kathleen Logan Smith
Executive Director; Missouri Coalition For The Environment

Few things have more impact on your body’s health than what goes into it. The substances that fuel the growth, repair and maintenance of your body’s cells can promote health – or harm it. You decide what foods to eat, what beverages to drink. However, not all choices are under your individual control, which is why it is critical to work together to extend your healthy personal choices into the social and political realm. Working together, we can press for fewer toxics in our air, water, and food. Because of this, I write today to inform you of two threats to health that require us to unite.

Last month I shared what scant information has been made available on a trade agreement known as the TPP – the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership. The TPP currently involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Japan, Thailand and South Korea may be next to join. Next month, negotiators meet again for more secret talks. The TPP will affect jobs, wages, food, migration, the environment, access to medicine, consumer safety, banking regulations, indigenous rights, Internet protocols, government procurement and more. We don’t have the details because the public, the media and even Congress are not permitted to engage in the secret process that is dominated instead by 600 corporate lobbyists. Rumors are that the TPP goes even farther than some of our other trade agreements administered through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Some are calling this “NAFTA on steroids” referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement that helped export U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Before our government commits to terms of this agreement, the people and our elected officials deserve a say in its provisions. You can learn more February 17th at Greedtopia: A Teach-In on Trade & Climate Change 12:30-4, at the Forest Park Visitors Center (Register at http://goo.gl/Jh4Nx). The event will feature a more in-depth look at the TPP, the tar sands Keystone XL pipeline, the Enbridge pipeline that stretches across Missouri, and threats to our health from coal ash dumps. Knowledge is power so plan to come and power up.

If you drink water in the City of St. Charles or St. Louis, or if you visit the restaurants, medical facilities, and entertainment venues in the City, take note. There are few things more personal than the water we drink. We make our coffee with it. We fill our baths. We water our gardens. Threats that risk its safety and quality demand our attention. St. Louis faces such a threat.

The City of St. Louis is considering a contract with Veolia Water, a French multi-national corporation with a lousy track record when it comes to the environment, contract performance, and quality standards. The contract is for $250,000 to help the Water Division find ‘efficiencies’. Sadly, the company’s pathetic record suggests they find efficiency by cutting quality, shrinking the work force, and clipping corners like environmental standards. Cities across the world have severed ties with Veolia, even cancelling contracts only half complete. The company’s home city of Paris, France even let them go. For years the company operated the hazardous waste incinerator in Sauget, Illinois right across the river from St. Louis – a facility with a rash of problems including fires and explosions – without a Clean Air permit. The company’s record speaks for itself. Dump Veolia members vow to fight to keep Veolia away from St. Louis water. The City’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment will decide the contract. It meets the third Wednesdays in Room 200 at St. Louis City Hall at 2 p.m.

See more at moenviron.org or join the St. Louis Dump Veolia cause on Facebook.