Topic archive for "arkansas"

More Reports of Cancer Near Koch Brothers’ Factory (VIDEO)

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch aren’t the only ones who saw our latest investigative film. Thousands of people have posted comments on our Facebook page and have offered additional testimony about the Koch brothers’ pollution in their communities.

In a smear campaign orchestrated in response to our investigation, the Koch brothers attacked almost all of the residents featured in our film. These individuals say they’re suffering from cancer because they live too close to a Koch Industries factory, which pollutes rivers and creeks flowing near their rural homes.

This duality between the haves and have-nots in our society is a big driver of the rising tide of Occupy movement– and for good reason. The Koch brothers personify the top 1 percent and the avarice that’s allowed the richest Americans to profit at the expense of the other 99 percent and those of us who’re hardest hit by the jobs crisis and economic recession.

Thousands of people posted comments that both reflect the goals of the Occupy movement and aid the people of Crossett, Arkansas, who are part of the other 99 percent and have volunteered to hand-deliver these messages to the Kochs. Some viewers, like Lance Blann, reached us directly and shared their personal reactions.

Lance was one of the tens of thousands who saw our video, “EXPOSED: Koch Industries and Cancer Risks” and was activated to speak out against “Crossett Crud,” which is how local doctors describe the sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and the many other ailments that affect Crossett residents.

Lance went to school in Crossett and spent much of his life. He and his friends nicknamed the brown waterways near their home “Stink Creek.” For as long as he could remember, the smell had stained the community, he said in an interview with Koch Brothers Exposed producers.

“It’s a sickening thought what’s going on in Crossett,” Lance said in an interview. “My parents could be next.”

Lance is an alumni of a school system that ranks in the top 1 percentile of exposure to cancer causing toxins.

For every one Lance, there’s many other individuals who’ve suffered, or continue suffering, so the Koch brothers could profit. But because the Koch Industries factory is the biggest employer in Crossett, many people are reluctant to speak out. The company donates just enough money to the schools, police department, local churches and the Chamber of Commerce that the company is untouchable, even though the company’s pollutants are odorous from the steps of City Hall.

Many of the comments we received from our video at Koch Brothers Exposed were aghast that government regulators allow the Koch brothers’ pollution to harm individuals.

But it’s permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Koch brothers’ billions affords them access to establish or influence politicians, think tanks, family foundations and front groups to weaken oversight and safety laws. The EPA, local agencies and Arkansas state officials are unable to enforce existing laws and precedent in the face of the Koch brothers and their $100 billion Koch Industries.

That’s why we’re trying to help the people of Crossett with comments they can use to confront the Koch brothers. See their stories and take action to fight back.

You might save lives in Arkansas.

Exposing the Koch brothers’ polluted response

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch were among the tens of thousands of viewers of our latest investigative film, and they didn’t like it.

Our film’s protagonists, one of whom is a local minister named David Bouie, made personal appeals for a visit by the Koch brothers. The Kochs do not acknowledge this honest request that David Koch, a cancer survivor himself, spend the night as a guest of Mr. Bouie’s in Crossett, Arkansas, a community harassed by a Koch factory’s pollution.

What are the Koch brothers hiding if they won’t visit one of their own factories and company towns?

The Kochs ignored the invitation, instead resorting to smear tactics and deception, this time attacking David Bouie, a 64-year-old retired factory worker, in an attempt to duck responsibility for their $100 billion multinational corporation.

The Kochs’ defensiveness belies the facts. Rather than relocating the residents whose stories we told, the Koch brothers’ reaction demonstrates they’ve bought the system and they prefer to blame the victims for their illnesses.

Blaming the victims for being victims
Mr. Bouie explained his personal history selling his rights years ago to the Koch brothers’ subsidiary company, Georgia-Pacific, for a few hundred dollars. In Mr. Bouie’s blog, he explained how his neighbors in adjacent communities were compensated by Georgia-Pacific at a higher rate than he and how the polluting factory paid for their relocation.

Mr. Bouie and his neighbors had no such luck reaching the Koch brothers person to person. Instead, the Koch brothers attack his credibility and integrity on a website.

In their smears, the Koch brothers’ message consultants turn their fire toward Cheryl Slavant, another protagonist in our film and the President of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. She’s rightfully aghast by the terrible conditions surrounding the interstate Ouachita River, which is what’s fouling Mr. Bouie’s neighborhood on Penn Road.

The Koch brothers spin cannot acknowledge what our investigation and countless other credible reports have proven to be true: that the Koch brothers persuade a system to permit and tolerate their practices. The Koch brothers’ nameless spokespeople claim the EPA has debunked all Slavant’s claims so, ergo, the pollution emitted by Koch Industries and Georgia Pacific is safe, harmless and legal.

An EPA influenced by Charles and David Koch
Armed with more than $40 billion each and a private company unaccountable to anyone that generates $100 billion revenue annually, the Koch brothers are able to donate to politicians, foundations, non-profits and think tanks. These Koch supported groups lay the groundwork for incremental policy changes that support the Koch brothers’ increasing corporate profits.

That the EPA is giving the green light to toxic pollution by the Koch brothers, or anyone else, is less a gold star for the Koch brothers than it is an indictment of our political system, which affords the wealthiest 1 percent a blank check at the expense of the bottom 99 percent.

The Koch brothers’ “fact checkers” say that air pollution control engineering expert William M. Auberle’s comments in our film describing GP’s pollution as “a ticking time bomb” is unrealistic. The government permits Koch Industries emissions.

That’s why we’re pleased to see some environmental groups confronting the EPA on these grounds. While the Kochs continue to donate heavily to Congress, there are groups appealing to the notion that we’re a nation of laws not men.

“The Clean Water Act does not allow our streams to be turned into industrial sewers,” says Barry Sulkin, the former Chief of Enforcement and Compliance for the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control and a director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Or perhaps you could post a comment that David Bouie and Cheryl Slavant can hand-deliver to the Koch brothers and that echoes Mr. Bouie’s direct appeal to David Koch.

As Mr. Bouie wrote:

David, if you’re reading this, I want to be your host at 401 South Penn Road. Come stay with me for one day, seven days, I don’t care. We can camp out, and you can smell what I smell. My wife and I will cook for you. I make great pork chops…

It’d be my hope we can have some time to go for a walk. You can see for yourself- the fog- and smell for yourself- the rotten air- that I live with every day.

And I pray that I might be able to convince you to clean up this mess and relocate us like Georgia-Pacific did for other communities like ours. Indeed, just as Georgia Pacific compensated Thurman Road residents for their relocation years ago, please be a good neighbor to us. We cannot relocate on our own.

We are ground zero.

Why Do These Koch Industries Neighbors Have Cancer? (VIDEO)

Our ongoing Koch Brothers Exposed video investigation has discovered something so tragic it will haunt Charles and David Koch for years to come.

Is a Koch Industries factory getting away with murder?

While the brothers wage war against safety precautions, every day their factory is dumping millions of gallons of wastewater into streams that flow near a small rural town. It’s this kind of abuse by the top 1% of Americans that’s driving young and old to fight money in politics, occupy Wall Street and protest in the streets. The Koch brothers personify inequality, and people are rising up and have identified the overwhelming corporate influence on democracy as a corrosive stain that harms the rest of us.

Our latest video reflects this as we follow the money and prove the Koch brothers buy a system that makes them richer at the expense of everyone else. Through political donations, think tanks and front groups, the Koch brothers are able to weaken safety and oversight laws, which leaves communities like Crossett, Arkansas behind to suffer.

“The Koch brothers are killing me and my family,” Norma Thompson told us during our investigation. She’s lived near the Koch brothers’ mill for 39 years. Journey to Arkansas and watch her story:

This a community victimized by the Koch brothers. These Americans, almost all of whom are former employees of the factory, are dying because of their proximity to the Koch brothers’ plant. The chemical-heavy factory dumps pollution into streams, and the effects are visible to the naked eye. As the waste flows away from the Koch plant, toxins bubble up into an airborne pollution that spreads through the air and wind.

All the while, the Kochs fight protections that would begin to mitigate living conditions in Crossett. Through their donations, the Koch brothers buy the system, and through their connections, they transform democracy into a self-serving apparatus that grows their corporate profits.

A toxic cloud hangs over Crossett and it is manufactured by Koch Industries.

David Bouie, a minister and a retired Georgia-Pacific employee, informs me the chemicals’ stench reach the town’s Main Street, about three miles away from his home.

Mr. Bouie is a local community leader has volunteered to hand-deliver your comments directly to the Koch brothers. Help save lives and post a message to the Kochs.

This isn’t the first time the Koch brothers’ businesses hurt innocent people. Two teenagers were killed in Texas because a Koch pipeline leaked flammable materials. The Kochs’ businesses also spew benzene into the air–a known carcinogen. For this, the Clinton administration in 2000 charged the Kochs with a 97-count indictment and sought a $350 million fine.

A few months later, the Kochs received help from the Bush administration and the EPA ultimately knocked down the charges to one count and agreed to a $20 million settlement.

Just how bad is that carcinogen emitted by the Koch brothers? Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul said benzene polluters belong in jail.

The Kochs get away with polluting communities, and in some cases–hurting people– because they use their wealth to ensure the EPA is permanently understaffed and underfunded and therefore lacks enforcement. The result is the Kochs can guarantee safety regulations suffer the same fate in Congress that many innocent individuals face in Crossett: a David versus Goliath fight for justice.

Koch Industries’ life-threatening practices are legal. They’ll attack me and cite some gold stars and blue ribbons as proof that they aren’t killing innocent people. But follow the money: Through their wealth, the Koch brothers fund politicians, think thanks and front groups to neuter oversight and safety. The EPA, local agencies and state officials are toothless in the face of the Koch brothers and their $100 billion pollution Goliath, Koch Industries.

Before our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign, before the New Yorker investigation last year and the recent Bloomberg report, David Koch fancied himself as a do-gooder. Almost 20 years ago, David Koch was diagnosed with cancer and he has donated millions to have cancer research centers named after him since then.

David Koch was told he wouldn’t have long to live, but his wealth has afforded him the best treatment, doctors and medical care available. The folks in Crossett have no such access. They don’t even have a recourse to sell their homes and relocate. As the biggest employer in town, Koch Industries donates to the local churches, police stations, schools and is untouchable. While the chemicals spewing from the Koch plant are odorous in downtown Crossett, city, state and federal officials are powerless in the face of Koch billions.

Many people, including me, believe the brothers’ business poisons people with cancer. All the while, David Koch, a cancer survivor, toasts the institutions that bear his name.

Maybe you want to tell David Koch to travel to Crossett and see what his business is doing to the community. The community needs you, so tell the Kochs to save lives in Arkansas.

To David Koch: Will You Be My Guest in Arkansas?

I want to introduce David Bouie, who is fighting back against the Koch brothers as an important part of our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign.

Charles and David Koch own my rights, and it cost them a few hundred dollars. Now, I’m asking the Koch brothers to come be my guest.

2011-10-11-bouiecloseup.jpgFor the 30 years I’ve lived on South Penn Road in West Crossett, Arkansas, there has been a rotten odor hurting my friends, family and neighbors. It corrodes metal, and you can smell it everywhere on my street. I firmly believe, and have been told by doctors, that it’s giving my community cancer. It drifts across town and is odorous outside our local Chamber of Commerce 2.5 miles away on Main Street.

The Koch brothers’ Georgia-Pacific years ago paid neighbors on other streets to move away. They got out of here on Georgia-Pacific’s dime, but the company opted to settle with us on the cheap, we learned later. We trusted them, needed the money and now we’ve been left behind and left to suffer alone. We cannot access a recourse for our health ailments and property damage, which stems from the chemicals that spew from the Koch brothers’ mill and engulf my community.

The best recourse I have is appealing to the Koch brothers personally. David Koch is a cancer survivor and donates millions to fight cancer.

David, if you’re reading this, I want to be your host at 401 South Penn Road. Come stay with me for one day, seven days, I don’t care. We can camp out, and you can smell what I smell. My wife and I will cook for you. I make great pork chops. For breakfast, whatever you want- or I can whip up some grits and eggs. Whatever you like. You’re my guest.

It’d be my hope we can have some time to go for a walk. You can see for yourself- the fog- and smell for yourself- the rotten air- that I live with every day.

2011-10-11-bouie1.jpgAnd I pray that I might be able to convince you to clean up this mess and relocate us like Georgia-Pacific did for other communities like ours. Indeed, just as Georgia Pacific compensated Thurman Road residents for their relocation years ago, please be a good neighbor to us. We cannot relocate on our own.

We are ground zero. The smell flows from streams near my street. The wind blows it over our homes and the stench is putrid. There’s no describing it. A rotten egg comes close, but the smell changes depending on the season and the time of day.

It scares away my grandchildren when they visit. Like everyone who lives or visits or works in West Crossett, my grandchildren will suffer sore throats, watery eyes and runny noses after one day here. They ultimately stay at a hotel outside of town.

My wife is afraid of going outside, instead living a life of fear and house arrest. The smell outside is too foul and the health consequences of being outside are too severe. She loves to be outdoors, but is afraid of the cancer causing chemicals she inhales. We do not leave the windows open, especially not at night. Sleeping would be impossible. Chances are you couldn’t get any rest, not while inhaling toxic air that causes sneezing sniffling, headaches and more.

Doctors in and out of town refer to our symptoms as the Crossett Crud. It’s an illness that affects our community and other parts of West Crossett near the Georgia-Pacific paper mill, the largest employer in our community of roughly 10,000 people.

Georgia-Pacific gets away with murder, and I have seen no empirical evidence from the EPA or our state environmental protection office that indicates there’s been any testing done to protect us from what doctors tell me are poisonous fumes I inhale day in and day out. I can’t afford to relocate on my own, and who would want to buy my home with the smell here?

My community needs help. The local Chamber of Commerce, police, fire department, schools, churches- you name it- are powerless against the Koch brothers. Their subsidiary Georgia-Pacific donates just enough money that local institutions are afraid to bite the hand that, in a poor state like Arkansas, feeds them.

My wife worked at Georgia-Pacific for 25 years and I put in 10 years there making table napkins. My neighbors and family made Georgia-Pacific what it is today.

We made it successful for you so we could share in the success. David, be my house guest and together we celebrate our achievements and begin a better tomorrow for our families.

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