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biohazardMay 16, 2009

By Rady Ananda

With Obama’s Department of Justice pick to head the Environment and Natural Resources Division, there can be little doubt the man of “hope and change” shills for the worst corporations on the planet. Not only has Obama chosen:

* Monsanto’s Michael Taylor to captain the corporate takeover of our food supply;

* Iowa’s Tom Vilsack, who promotes genetically modified organisms in our food supply, as Secretary of Agriculture;

But now he has nominated Ignacia Moreno, defender of environmental terrorist General Electric, to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice.

How cozy to have Monsanto and GE lawyers working together! Now we can all eat frankenfood produced by corporations that poison the environment.  Don’t you love corporate-run government? 

air_force_one_WorldBank (500 x 331)

According to the Housatonic River Initiative:

“Monsanto produced PCBs at plants in Sauget, Illinois and Anniston, Alabama until 1978. PCBs were used in capacitors, transformers, hydraulic fluids, lubricants, carbonless copy paper, inks, pesticide extenders, sealants and flame-retardants.

“Several different trademarked names for PCBs are used by various polluters. Westinghouse called its product Inerteen. Monsanto used the trademark Aroclor, while GE used the trade name, Pyranol, to denote its version of Monsanto-produced PCBs. Pyranol was used by GE from 1932 and until 1977.”

Ed Bates served as the Manager of Tests for the Power Transformer at the GE plant in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Acknowledging a 3% loss of PCB product, he estimates that GE dumped “about a million and a half pounds of PCBs” into the Housatonic River. The EPA reports only 40,000 pounds. Thirty years later, the river basin is still toxic.

Local resident Jesse Robinson said, “I live near Pittsfield and my grampa lives in Pittsfield. When I go rock climbing near there, it would be great if I could go swimming in the Housatonic afterwards, but I can’t because it is filled with poison.”

As attorney for GE, Moreno consistently fought to weaken the superfund laws and to avoid GE’s fiscal duty to clean up its 86 toxic waste sites. You can view a map of GE’s superfund sites.

With Moreno in charge, should we abandon hope the US government will clean up such sites? Two years ago, Public Integrity investigated the companies and agencies responsible for the 1,623 Superfund sites, confirming corporate ties for only 700 of the sites.  PI reports:

* Nearly one in three Americans lives within 10 miles of one of these 700 toxic sites;

* At least 114 of the sites could pose immediate health hazards for people living nearby, according to the EPA;

*  Together, the landmass of these 700 sites is twice the size of Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago combined;

* More than 80 percent of the 225 Superfund sites connected to the federal government are defense-related. 

* Honeywell International Inc., which was linked to 128 Superfund sites, General Electric (116 sites) and Chevron Corporation (122 sites) are the companies connected to the largest number of Superfund sites.

* An analysis of contractors hired by the EPA found companies that appear to be connected to a large enough number of Superfund sites to be included on the EPA’s “Top PRPs” list. They are International Business Machines Corp., which is linked to 28 sites, Tyco International Ltd. (19 sites) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (19 sites).

* More than half of the companies on the list ranked among Fortune’s 1,000 or Global 500 in 2006.

biosuitThe federal government refuses to prosecute or even investigate war crimes. Why should we trust it would prosecute corporate crimes against the environment? 

Given her resume, instead of heading the Natural Resources division of the Attorney General’s Office, Ignacia Moreno ought to be separated from society for the protection of all of us.

Start heating the tar and plucking the chickens, folks. We’ve got serious work ahead of us.