The French utility company Veolia has decided not to go forward with a $250,000 contract that would have reviewed the operations of the city of St. Louis water department.
Opponents of the company had raised questions about Veolia's corporate behavior and environmental record.
Mary Ellen Ponder, the deputy chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay, announced the company's decision today at a committee hearing on a bill that would have stripped the funding for the contract from the budget for this year.
Opponents of a proposed $250,000 consulting contract between the city of St. Louis water department and the French utility company Veolia call the latest move in the saga by Mayor Francis Slay “political chicanery."
(Editors note: Scroll down for Veolia's response to this commentary)
Water is our most essential shared resource. The quality of our water relates directly to our health and the well-being of our city.
Public reinvestment and political commitment to public water is critical. St. Louis does face real challenges. We need to address the declining population, increasing environmental management issues and especially our need to reinvest in our aging water infrastructure.
Innovation comes from the private sector. You don’t have to be a radical capitalist to agree with that simple truth. For example, a private inventor, not a government water company, devised the water meter. St. Louis residents will benefit from the proposed consulting deal with a private company to improve the city’s water division.
Opponents of a contract that asks Veolia North America to look for efficiencies in the St. Louis city water department could get a public hearing.
Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed announced today that he’ll ask an aldermanic committee to look into allegations of corporate misbehavior at the company, which is headquartered in France. His request would have to be approved by the entire board.
The move for public debate heartened Kathleen Logan Smith, the executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.