Topic archive for "epa"

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?

Enviornmental Criminologist on the EPA, Koch brothers and Pollution

BNF: How do the Koch brothers and Big Oil figure into what you do day by day as a criminologist and Professor?

Dr. Melissa Jarrell: I examine a particular form of corporate crime: environmental crime. As a criminologist, I want to make sure that I teach students about corporate and environmental crimes and give them a better understanding of the nature and distribution of these types of crime. People picture criminals as gang members, not corporations that dump pollution into the air or the water. They do not usually picture a wealthy and powerful man in a suit making decisions that affects millions of people in big cities and small towns all over the country

Corporate and environmental crimes are far more responsible for illnesses, injuries and deaths than crimes we think about on TV. My research has looked at environmental crimes committed by the petroleum industry, particularly the refining industry, of which the Kochs are big players.

In addition to teaching and researching, I also make efforts to assist victims of environmental crimes whenever possible. I’m able to produce research to help them fight their victimization in the press, courts and the court of public opinion.

When did you first hear about the Koch brothers and what’d you think?

I first learned about Koch Industries in 2004 and saw Koch Industries was at the top of the list in terms of committing serious environmental crimes (10 criminal cases in 2001-2002). Over the years, Koch Industries has committed multiple environmental crimes that have caused harm to thousands of people. But, even when convicted and punished, its criminal behavior has continued. Corporations, like Koch Industries, are not concerned about paying fines. After all, if you make billions of dollars each year, a few million in fines is pocket change. Big Oil, led by Koch Industries, spends millions of dollars trying to convince the public that the EPA is killing jobs by creating and enforcing environmental laws.

How has the EPA changed the last 10 years, and who’s been responsible?

The EPA has always been underfunded and understaffed, and our environmental laws are watered down versions of what they should be. The EPA has been directly attacked by industry lawyers who argue that the agency lacks authority to enforce legal and important safety protections.

Remember, policies are only as good as their enforcement. While we argue over the scope and nature of a new policy, we often ignore the fact that these measures, if enacted, have little value because they are routinely ignored by industry. The EPA does not have the workforce to monitor the thousands of industries across the U.S. that emit pollution on a daily basis. The standards we have are better than nothing, but much weaker than they should be and will almost always be weakened further by leaders who fear confrontations with business and special interests.

What’s the balance between legality and safety in terms of EPA standards and pollution? What pressures are brought to bear to shift the fulcrum?

As long as people aren’t dropping dead on a daily basis from polluted air and water, I think the tug-o-war will look much the way it does right now. Gain an inch; lose an inch, back and forth. However, one day, when the air and water are so polluted that it affects those with power and wealth, perhaps then something will be done about it. If I were in charge, I would immediately pass a law that states that NO ONE should live within 5 miles of major brick-and-mortar sources of pollution. And I would require corporations like Koch Industries to help relocate affected communities and take better care of their workers.

What’d you think of the Arkansas video?

The Arkansas video is disturbing and frustratingly familiar. Corporations like Koch could do more to protect the people the people in these communities from air, water, and soil pollution. They could install the best pollution controls, provide better monitoring, and help relocate communities. However, corporations like Koch Industries are more concerned about profits and presenting an image of environmental stewardship than actually changing their polluting practices and helping communities.


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