Who are Freedom Industries and WV American Water?

J. Clifford Forrest III was revealed as the owner of Freedom Industries in the company’s recent bankruptcy filing.

Who is J. Clifford Forrest III?  He is a coal operator who diversified away from coal into different service industries connected with the mining process, like chemicals used in prep plants.  He is also a dark money funder of anti-regulation politicians across the US.

WV American Water is owned by American Water Works Company, Inc.  American Water Works is a holding company that controls private water companies across the US.  As you can see if you click on this link, American Water Works is known across the US for high rates, minimal investment in service and infrastructure and conflicts with its employees.

A controlling share of American Water Works was bought by German electric power (yes, I said electric power) company called RWE.  RWE was having its centralized, coal-based electrical system in Germany crushed by the explosion in locally based renewable power in Germany, so it thought it would try its hand in privatizing and speculating in public water supplies in the US, as Enron had tried to do a few years earlier.

Things worked out for American Water Works almost as badly as they did for Enron.  RWE lost tons of money in the US on its American Water Works play and finally managed to extricate itself from its US mess in 2009.

So those are the companies behind the current crisis in the Kanawha Valley.  Not a pretty picture, is it.  We need to fix regulation of the coal operator’s chemical company, but we also need to return our water to control by people in our state.