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News Link • Environment

The Regulatory State — Behind the Myth

•, by Kevin Carson
 Members of eleven out of fifteen homes on Penn Road have died of cancer, and respiratory distress is common.

The local cluster of illness is controversial because the mill was owned by Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. As a result of waste dumped in a local channel (near Penn Road) by the Georgia-Pacific mill, Crossett has one of the highest concentrations of carcinogens of any community in the United States. “Crossett crud” is the local name for the black scum on the surface of the channel, and the vapors which rise from it and drift across people’s yards.

Koch Industries’ “Koch Facts” website, in attempting to rebut the claims, repeatedly asserts that the Georgia-Pacific mill’s treatment of effluent “[meet] all limits required by our regulatory permits,” that “our emissions are permitted and monitored based on state and federal regulatory permits.” The plant is “in full compliance with the terms of the permit,” which the website describes as “protective of the river.”

This line of defense should come as no surprise. Richard Telofski, a leading consultant on combating what his corporate clientele calls “cybersmear,” advises corporations to “debunk” accusations of pollution and other malfeasance by stating that they are in full compliance with all federal and state regulatory standards.

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