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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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