Topic archive for "David Bouie"

Dear Koch brothers: will you be my guest in Arkansas?

2011-10-11-bouiecloseup.jpgI’d like to introduce David Bouie, who is fighting back against the Koch brothers as an important part of our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign.

I want Charles and David Koch to come visit me first hand and see how their factory and pollution have hurt my neighbors. I have heard from thousands of people all across the country, but I am still looking and listening for a RSVP from Charles and David themselves.

I told the Koch brothers I would take care of them as my guests. My wife and I would prepare pork chops or anything they wished. I simply wanted to walk with them around South Penn Road. Of 15 houses here, about 11 people have died from cancer.

I would tell Charles and David Koch that it would be a memorable experience for all of us. This is an opportunity for them to do something for good and the community here that made their factory prosper. They can stop this with a stroke of a pen.

I’m renewing my invitation to the Koch brothers. I want the Koch brothers to see the effects of their factory on our community. Their company donates to local schools and churches, but it’s poisoning our part of town.

The comments I saw, which responded to our community’s uphill appeal to the Koch brothers, were incredible. And I’m wondering what the Koch brothers themselves have to say about everything that’s happened since we on South Penn Road have gone public with our plight, as well as why they’re hiding from me.

2011-10-11-bouie1.jpgA fog hangs over our homes, and the smell is putrid. You can even smell it three miles away from our neighborhood. The stench comes from streams near my street, and the wind blows it over our homes. How can I describe the scent? It’s like a rotten egg, but a lot of times the smell changes between all four seasons and the hour of day.

My experience with friends, neighbors, strangers, what have you, everyone typically acknowledges an offer of hospitality. But the Koch brothers ignored my olive branch invitation and me.

Instead, I read about the Koch brothers’ website that smeared my integrity. All I wanted was for Charles and David Koch to see with their own eyes what I see everyday.

The Koch brothers need to experience this first hand. I continue to pray that my neighbors and I might convince the Koch brothers to rectify our plight and relocate us like their company, Georgia-Pacific, did for other communities like ours.

A few blocks from here, the neighborhood of Thurman Road was relocated years ago by Georgia-Pacific. Please be a good neighbor to us too. We cannot relocate without some help, and that’s a fact.

Charles and David, if you’re reading this, would you come be my guest in Crossett?

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.

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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