Titans of Industry category archive
Randy Moyer, who trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, now suffers from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body. The Portage resident believes he’s sick from the chemicals in fracking fluid and from radiation exposure. He cites unsafe and unregulated working conditions on well sites, no oversight about safety clothing, breathing masks, or chemical suits. The sites are treated like any other construction site, all that’s needed is a hardhat and goggles. But when working with radiation and toxic chemicals from deep underground, adverse health effects are never far behind.
Watch a bit of the interview.
The accompanying story is here.
Via the Beaver County Times.
“An amazing chain of incompetence.”
Addendum, the Next Day:
E. J. Montini connects the dots:
In 1911 a fire killed 146 workers at in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York. There were stories of trapped workers leaping out of windows to their deaths. That event had a lot to do with the rise of unionism in the United States.
Now, in order for Americans to get the cheap goods they demand on shopping days like Black Friday the ugly, unsafe labor conditions were moved to countries far way and into factories whose laborers we don’t care much about.
According to an Associated Press report from Dhaka, “When the fire alarm went off, workers were told by their bosses to go back to their sewing machines. An exit door was locked. And the fire extinguishers didn’t work and apparently were there just to impress inspectors and customers.”
In the Baltimore Sun, Robert Reich points out that fining Buccaneer Petroleum for its wild well misses the point. A nugget:
Likewise, the people responsible for the deaths and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico weren’t BP’s rank-and-file employees or its shareholders. They were the executives who turned a blind eye to safety while in pursuit of their own rising stock options, and who conspired with oil-services giant Halliburton to cut corners on deep-water drilling when they knew damn well they were taking risks for the sake of fatter profits.
They’re the ones who should be punished. Failure to punish them simply invites more of the same kind of criminal negligence by executives more interested in lining their pockets than protecting their workers and the environment.
Read the rest for examples of other pillows of industry who got off Scot-free.
This ain’t chicken feed. Just started out that way:
Lawyers in a closely watched pollution lawsuit targeting an Eastern Shore chicken farm and the Salisbury-based poultry company Perdue presented radically different previews of the case Tuesday as the trial began in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The lead lawyer for the Waterkeeper Alliance told Judge William M. Nickerson that water samples taken on and around Alan and Kristin Hudson’s 293-acre farm near Berlin offer “very compelling” evidence that waste from their two chicken houses was getting into nearby ditches, which ultimately drain to the Chesapeake Bay. Levels of disease-causing bacteria and other pollutants were “off the chart,” said Jane F. Barrett, director of the University of Maryland environmental law clinic, which is representing the environmental group.
Defense lawyers claim that it’s all conjecture, there’s no proof, no one saw anything, yadda-yadda-yadda you know the drill.
A question for you: Ever driven by a chicken
factory farm on a hot summer day?
Since corporations are people, my friends, why isn’t BP itself in the dock?
The employees were merely its henchmen. It’s the Mr. Big.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal, also said two BP PLC employees face manslaughter charges over the death of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.
Details and a look back at the events of the spill at the link.
There is still a possibility that BP will be brought up for “gross negligence,” but a nice violent criminal felony such as manslaughter would be more satisfying and more appropriate.
After the trial, BP could go the slammer and then, to borrow a phrase from a parole officer I once knew (our sons went to different schools together), Enron could make a woman of it.
Addendum, the Next Day:
I still say, make them share a cell with Enron.
Two BP workers have been indicted on manslaughter charges and an ex-manager charged with misleading Congress.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said BP must hand over $4bn. The sum includes a $1.26bn fine as well as payments to wildlife and science organisations.
As part of the agreement, BP will also plead guilty to 14 criminal charges.
Facing South reports:
While natural gas development generally increases the value of nearby properties through leasing potential, worries about groundwater pollution from drilling cancels out those gains for homes that rely on drinking-water wells — and may even lead to a net drop in home prices. The findings hold for properties as far as a mile away from gas drilling sites.
“By itself, concern about groundwater contamination reduces property values by up to 24 percent,” the authors found.
Details at the link.
Entitled to threaten your job for your vote:
Mike White, the chairman and owner of Rite-Hite, a major Milwaukee manufacturer of industrial equipment, told employees in an email this week that all employees “should understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected, forcing taxpayers to fund President Obama’s future deficits and social programs (including Obamacare), which require bigger government.”
The email stunned some employees. One employee said he felt threatened by the email. “It’s a good company, but for this to come out, it’s absurd,” the employee said.
Our Galtian overlords are not nice people.
You wonder why the frackers want to keep their formulae secret?
Because they are dirty little frackers.
An environmental watchdog has discovered that natural gas drillers are continuing to use diesel fuels in fracking operations despite known health hazards — and in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The West Virginia-based group SkyTruth analyzed a database of voluntary industry disclosures and found that diesel fuels were used in fracking on 448 separate occasions in 12 states between January 2011 and August 2012. Fracking involves injecting water and chemicals underground at high pressure to release natural gas from rock formations and has been linked to groundwater contamination.
Of the 170 people sickened in the outbreak, all but one have a rare fungal form of meningitis after receiving suspect steroid shots for back pain, the CDC said. The other case is an ankle infection discovered in Michigan; steroid shots also can be given to treat aching knees, shoulders or other joints.
Fungus has been found in at least 50 vials of an injectable steroid medication made at a specialty compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, investigators said. Health authorities haven’t yet said how they think the medication was contaminated, but they have ruled out other suspects – other products used in administering the shots – and the focus continues to be on that pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center.
No doubt reducing those nasty guvmint regulations that hamstring industry will prevent this from happening in the future.
Also, pigs, wings.
In related news, the Diane Rehm show recently explored the meningitis outbreak. You can listen or read a transcript at the link.
Never gonna go away.
Engineers with Deepwater Horizon rig operator BP reported the sheen on September 16, after spotting it on satellite photos. The Coast Guard said that tests conducted by the Marine Safety Laboratory confirmed that the oil “correlates” to the Deepwater Horizon spill.
It adds the spice of danger to life:
The USGS results are consistent with earlier findings by the Environmental Protection Agency that contamination from fracking had seeped into monitoring wells near gas drilling operations in Pavillion, Wyo., a rural community within the Wind River Indian Reservation. The contaminants detected include methane, ethane, diesel compounds and phenol, a known neurotoxin.
It’s on an Indian Reservation, so if probably doesn’t count.