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Perhaps a larger picture should be painted of these innovative companies that Todd N. Lebor describes, particular Enron. Why not ask the people of Pasadena,Texas, Dabhol, India, and the indigenous communities of Bolivia what they think of this "reborn innovator." Why not mention a few of its major accomplishments before its expansion into the Internet bandwidth.
Enron's Methanol plant in Pasadena, Texas in the Houston Shipping Channel emitted more then 3,500 tons of nitrogen oxide in 1997 of which only seven percent was allowable under the Texas Clean Air Act of 1971 but because of Texas's "grandfather clause" plants built before 1971 are exempt from the rules and regulations of the Act. Instead these older plants are suppose to regulate themselves in reducing air pollution under the 1999 Clean Air Responsibility Enterprise program. Ask the citizens of Pasadena who have formed the environmental group Clean Air Clear Lake and who live in the most polluted metropolitan area in the country, what they think of this innovator.
Enron has been blamed for human rights violations throughout the world. In Dabohal, India they have been accused of financing police brutality against local citizens by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. In Bolivia, Enron with their partner company Shell in the Cuiaba' Integrated Energy Project are responsible for dumping 10,000 barrels of oil and gasoline into the Desaguradero River displacing indigenous people such as the Uru Murato and destroying the waterfowl and fish that has supported them for centuries. Enron and Shell have been charged with gross negligence by the Bolivian Environmental Deputy, Neyza Roca.
At the same time these overseas projects have been insured and partially financed by taxpayer dollars through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC which helps U.S. companies with business projects in less-developed countries. To build the 243 mile pipeline from Bolivia through the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil OPIC provided 200 million dollar loan for the 570 million dollar project. This pipeline is being built through one of the earth's most sensitive ecosystems. The Friends of the Earth, Amazon Watch and other U.S. Environmental groups are seeking congressional investigation into the loan because it violates Clinton Administration policy and OPIC's own rules which bars financing infrastructure projects in primary tropical forests ( I which my foolish investments got such a helping hand.)
This industry giant made 189 million dollars in profit in 1998 and still manage to receive a 12.5 million dollar rebate from Uncle Sam. I which my foolish capital gains got the same treatment from the IRS. These stats came from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy and can be found at the Citizens for Tax Justice Homepage.
"Only the strong survive," with the help of the U.S. government and our tax dollars. "Only the strong survive," at what cost to us and to the world.
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