November 20, 2012


Water Industry Outlook: ‘The Time Is Ripe’ for Water Privatization

The privatization of the nation’s water industry is set to explode in the next five years, according to the findings of a recent survey. And what the next three to five years hold, according to the results, is a surge in privatization and public-private partnerships in a quest to capitalize on the resource. As Jerome Devillers, Head of Water Infrastructure/Project Financing at WeiserMazars stated bluntly in a release, “Our study shows the time is ripe” for water privatization.  Common Dreams

Facing Rates Of $17 For 15 Minutes, FCC Takes Up Regulation Of Prison Phone Industry

This industry is so profitable because prison phone companies have state-sanctioned monopolistic control over the state prison markets, and the government agency with authority to rein in these rates across the nation has been reluctant to offer meaningful relief. Prison phone companies are awarded these monopolies through bidding processes in which they submit contract proposals to the state prison systems; in all but eight states, these contracts include promises to pay “commissions” — in effect, kickbacks — to states, in either the form of a percentage of revenue, a fixed up-front payment, or a combination of the two. Thus, state prison systems have no incentive to select the telephone company that offers the lowest rates; rather, correctional departments have an incentive to reap the most profit by selecting the telephone company that provides the highest commission.  Think Progress

Fla. judge skeptical about prison privatization

A skeptical judge on Monday raised questions about whether it was legal for the state to move ahead with a plan to privatize nearly 3,000 health care jobs in Florida’s prisons. Circuit Judge John Cooper spent more than two hours Monday hearing a lawsuit from three public employee unions that challenged a move by the state’s prison agency to have private companies take over inmate health care. Cooper did not rule, saying he needed more information before he can decide whether an obscure legislative panel had the authority to sign off on the privatization proposal in September. Business Week

NY: SUNY Buffalo buries controversial Shale Institute

SUNY Buffalo has decided to shutter the Shale Resources and Society Institute in response to criticism of its funding and the independence of the scholarship it produces. …Reports released under the institute’s aegis include a study that examined Pennsylvania’s fracking history and compared its enforcement actions with New York’s proposed regs (such as are known at this point). Its conclusion: Most of the negative incidents in Pennsylvania would have been prevented under New York’s proposed rules…..Considine’s research has been underwritten by the drilling industry. The institute later was forced to clarify that the report wasn’t “peer-reviewed” in the technical sense of that term.  Albany Times Union

PA: Corbett stresses pension crisis in 2013 agenda

Corbett presented a broad outline of his agenda for 2013, saying his chief priorities are addressing the pension crisis, privatizing state liquor stores, and combating the high cost of college. ” Philadelphia Inquirer