Thursday, March 13, 2008

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: Corporate Control, Trade and Transport of Water

Fact Sheet #3 3/08
[Print, More SPP Info, SPP Action Alert, SPP Flyers]

Advancing the Corporatocracy
The Bush administration made an “end run” around Congress and the public to advance the emerging corporatocracy – government of, for and by the corporate elite -- to create the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). In 2005, the SPP was finalized without debate in Congress or public scrutiny when President Bush met with President Fox of Mexico and Prime Minister Martin of Canada in Waco, Texas, where they shook hands on the deal. Their joint statement explains:
“The SPP builds upon, but is separate from, our longstanding trade and economic relationships…This partnership has increased institutional contacts between the three governments to respond to a shared vision of a stronger, more secure and prosperous region.”

Moving Water - SPP SuperCorridors and Water Pipelines
SuperCorridor maps and plans already underway in Texas make clear that water pipelines are part of the overall SPP scheme. The Trans-Texas Corridor, part of the SuperCorridor planned to run from Mexico to Canada, through Kansas City, MO, provides the first clear evidence of this.

Texas state law (HB 3588) allows the Texas Department of Transportation to lease land along the Corridor for any commercial or industrial purpose which could include drilling wells for water mining. Under the law, such enterprises apparently may not be subject to regulation by groundwater conservation districts. Outside of these districts, groundwater withdrawals are subject to the “right of capture,” i.e., landowners can pump water from under their own land without restriction.

NAFTA Trade Rules and Water
Because water is included in the list of commodities to which NAFTA applies, water transported commercially across a national border in North America will be subject to NAFTA trade rules that make it very difficult to limit the quantity of any commercial export. If Canada, the U.S. or Mexico, for any reason, tried to limit the quantity exported commercially, they would probably not survive a corporate challenge allowed under NAFTA rules.

What is It?

  • The SPP vision of prosperity is production of “endless more” – sweat-shop produced goods from Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere carried by SuperCargo ships docking at SuperPorts and moved inland along privatized transportation corridors to inland “dry” ports.

  • The SPP vision of prosperity promotes the plunder of the world’s diminishing natural resources and their long-distance transport by ship, truck and pipeline systems.

Where’s the Water - Where’s the Profit?

Today, Canada, the Great Lakes, Maine and southern Mexico have large quantities of fresh water, while water is already critically short in other areas of the U.S. Further, water pollution by industry, over-use of groundwater and aquifers, leaks from municipal systems, wasteful agricultural irrigation, and the impact of global warming on available water sources, create a scarcity which makes water a potential source for large profits – blue gold! Investors are lining up to profit from this scarcity.

Threats of Bulk Water Sales

Entrepreneurs and investors want to export water from Canada to the lucrative U.S. and global markets; however, the U.S. is the most likely market.

Leaked minutes of the 2004 meeting of the Task Force on the Future of North America, which drafted the SPP, boldly states:

“No item - not Canadian water, not Mexican oil…is ‘off the table’; rather contentious or intractable issues will simply require more time to ripen politically” …and “policy recommendations on these issues are best considered long-term goals.”

Knowing that investors viewed the Great Lakes as a source for water exports, especially to the dry U.S. southwest, Canadian and U.S. citizens successfully fought for an Annex Agreement to the Great Lakes Charter to prevent water diversions out of the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, the bottled water industry got an exemption for the export of bottled water. In addition, this agreement does not protect Canadian water outside of the Great Lakes basin from being exported to the U.S.

SPP and Bottled Water
The bottled water giants - Nestlé, Coke/Dannone, Pepsi, Crystal Geyser - are buying or leasing land for access to water resources, often siting bottling plants near the proposed SPP transportation SuperCorridor routes.

For example, Crystal Geyser Spring Water Bottling Company, located just northwest of Mt. Shasta in northern California, recently purchased 30 acres of land in the Shasta Business Park, part of the Shasta Valley Enterprise Zone, a state-designated economic development area, to construct what is billed as the largest spring water bottling plant in the world.

Interstate 5, from the Mexican border through CA, OR and WA to the Canadian border, is designated as the West Coast Corridor. Promoters of the Shasta Business Park advertise:

“We have all the great connections ….Located along Interstate 5, the largest truck corridor in the United States, the Shasta Valley Enterprise Zone is uniquely positioned to offer companies access to direct routes to Canada and Mexico, and all international sea and airports in between.”

Water Is a Right for People and Nature

Allowing commercial water sales and exports, including the selling of bottled water, sets a dangerous precedent for treating water as a commodity where the price is set by the marketplace. What will be the consequences when water is in short supply if we allow this to happen?

• Will communities be forced to compete with industry and agriculture for water?
• Will wealthy households and communities be able to buy water at any cost, leaving those less well off high and dry?
• Will nature be left high and dry as well?

Learn more about the SPP
• For action alerts, other flyers, poster, powerpoint presentations and articles go to
• Share your knowledge with your community, state legislators, and members of Congress.

Learn about local ordinances banning corporate takings of water and asserting the rights of nature at and

Alliance for Democracy • 781-894-1179 •

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