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Corruption (Richard Raznikov)
The Pennsylvania State Attorney General is filing criminal charges against a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil. Kathleen Kane has decided to go after the XTO Corporation, a Fort Worth, Texas, drilling company, for dumping more than 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater from storage tanks at a gas-well site in Lycoming County in 2010.

The Obama Justice Department had already done what the feds have been doing ever since John Kennedy took a bullet, which was to settle charges using a consent decree, a promise to do better in the future, and a $100,000 fine. XTO executives were clearly in shock. A company hack said that the "incident" had already been investigated by the federal government, that the "spill" was just one of those regrettable accidents, and that prosecuting the company would "create a hostile business environment."

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry was outraged. "This decision sends a chilling message to all businesses looking to locate in Pennsylvania that they could be held criminally liable in the event of an unintentional spill by a contractor that resulted in no injury to humans or wildlife and that had no lasting impacts on the environment," said Gene Barr, its president.

Sadly, nobody is going to jail. The company is being charged but not the individuals who run it. Thus, though criminal prosecution represents an embarrassment and an inconvenience, it probably will not have much of a deterrent effect.

The dumping was discovered when an inspector paid an unannounced visit to the XTO operation on November 16, 2010, and found an open valve on a storage tank at the Marquardt well site. The discharge contaminated a tributary of the Susquehanna River; pollutants were present for at least sixty-five days.

Shale-gas wells produce great quantities of wastewater when they are hydraulically fractured in a process which injects water, chemicals, and sand deep underground. The wastewater contains chemicals and pollutants from the shale formation, including barium, iron, magnesium, sodium, strontium, and chloride.
The XTO dumping was denied by the company, which claimed that "vandals" must have opened the valve. But of course getting rid of toxic wastewater is always a corporate problem most easily solved by dumping it, a practice as old as the junction between politics and industry.
The reason it's so shocking to see Kane going after an Exxon Mobil subsidiary is that politicians in the United States generally no longer stand against the powerful in any forum. It doesn't pay. If they can't buy you off, they'll ruin you or they'll set you up; if nothing else works, you will be a U.S. Senator whose plane, with two experienced pilots aboard, goes down in good weather. See, they are not kidding around.
Ambitious politicians understand all this. And this is the deeper, systemic corruption, a corruption of the mind and heart, of the process as a matter of course, that has ruined the nation. We tend to think of corruption as bribery, payment for services, the whoredom of Congress and in statehouses and legislatures all over America, and that is certainly true. But there is something worse going on.

It is not really necessary now for the most powerful to write checks. It is enough that they are powerful, that they can destroy you and your career if they wish to. Nothing need be said. It is understood that those with ownership privileges live by different rules than the rest of us.
Kane's criminal prosecution of XTO, therefore, is unexpected. State Attorneys General are supposed to know better. It is one thing to make speeches, excoriate the companies who are vandalizing the country, loudly demand reform. This pacifies the crowd and sends the proper message to all concerned.
In the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama placated labor unions and working people by criticizing NAFTA and promising changes, meanwhile sending one of his top aides to slip the wink to corporate officials. That particular fraud actually got leaked, slipped out, and the candidate was forced to deny his duplicity until the votes were counted.

Read the rest here:
Sounds well worth emulating. Hope this guy gets elected again.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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