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Baltimore poised to become first major city to ban privatization of water

Baltimore poised to become first major city to ban privatization of water

Baltimore is poised to become the largest U.S. city to prohibit the privatization of its water and sewer system.

If the City Council approves the measure before it on Monday, it would be put on the ballot for voters in November, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The effort would ward off private operators who have attempted to make inroads into the city's water system.

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“I have always been a proponent of retaining our city’s assets, which is why I am completely opposed to the privatization of Baltimore’s water system,” City Council President Bernard Young said in a statement to the Sun. “Access to clean and affordable water should be looked at as a basic human right.”

The measure is also backed by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D).

“I’m delighted that the City Council is supportive of my earlier efforts to safeguard Baltimore City’s water system and require that it is always operated in the best interests of those who rely on it, and for generations to come,” Pugh said in a statement to the Sun.

French company Suez Environment lobbied the local government last year to take over its water system.

Baltimore's move would make it the first city in the country to amend its charter in order to keep its water and sewer systems publicly owned.