Are you too well behaved
1st October, 2004
The US authorities have allowed Formosa Plastics and other chemicals corporations to poison the waterways of the Texas Gulf Coast for decades. When local shrimp-boat operator Diane Wilson found out what was going on she single-handedly set about forcing Formosa to clean up its act.
I’m a commercial fisher from the Texan town of Seadrift on the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve spent more than 40 years on the Texas Gulf Coast. I’ve fished the bays. I’ve been in the rivers. And I have watched those bays and rivers systematically deteriorate. One thing the people of Texas and the neighbouring state of Louisiana get to fight over is the question of which is the most toxic state in the US. Every once in a while Louisiana gets that honour, and at other times Texas gets it.
With huge oil reserves situated in the region, both in mainland Texas and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico itself, all of the petrochemical corporations operate along the coastline. They get tax abatements and cheap labour, and use political corruption so they can get away with using the bays as places to dump their waste. I think very few people in the US have a sense of what it’s like to live near the chemical plants down in Texas and Louisiana. The fact is there’s at least one explosion at a chemical factory every hour in the US.
A few years ago, an explosion at a Houston plant of the former petroleum firm Phillips 66 killed 32 workers. Another time a huge, thick black fire burned for 28 hours at...
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