Monday, January 28, 2008

Water Rate Reform Rises To The Surface In New Berlin

This is the pressure of the pending Great Lakes Compact, and some mixed feelings on the Milwaukee Common Council at work - - New Berlin is considering some charging large users of water higher rates to encourage water conservation.

The outcome of the planning will be instructive, as for every water conservationist in New Berlin politics, it seems there are two free-marketers who want less regulation, not more.

The City of Waukesha implemented a version of a rate alteration, but it affected few users. New Berlin may go beyond Waukesha.

Let's wait and see what the details are, but encourage New Berlin and others to stay on this path.

1 comment:

Milwaukee Riverkeeper said...

I find it really interesting that conservatives always push the “free market” as justification for less regulation and not more—namely, let market forces figure everything out and all will be fine. The problem is that we don’t have a free market in this country. There are ridiculous levels of subsidies, polluters that go on polluting with no cost or enforcement(because the regulatory system is not functioning well and in some cases, completely broken), and tons of “cheaters” out there that are cheating the free market on a regular basis. If municipalities and companies were truly paying the costs of their pollution or “unsound planning”, than maybe less regulation would be ok—because there would be negative ramifications to their actions. Right now, there are lots of companies and municipalities raking in money (either through sales or tax base) but they are not being required to internalize their costs as they internalize their profits. This situation also hurts other companies (and municipalities) that are playing by the rules (and trying to develop soundly) and can’t compete in the so-called “free market”. Bobby Kennedy Jr. often states that we shouldn’t be calling ourselves “environmentalists” but rather “free marketeers”---that are just seeking to level the playing field and put the “free” back in the free market. We shouldn’t let these people use the “free market” argument to justify their efforts to get something for nothing.