Environmental Health News

What's Working

  • Garden Mosaics projects promote science education while connecting young and old people as they work together in local gardens.
  • Hope Meadows is a planned inter-generational community containing foster and adoptive parents, children, and senior citizens
  • In August 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board voted to ban soft drinks from all of the district’s schools

#51 - Dumpbusters In Ohio Develop New Creative Ways To Foil Dumping Plan Of Waste Management, Inc., 15-Nov-1987

Waste Management, Inc., and BFI, the largest and second-largest waste
hauling companies in America, were convicted of price fixing and bid
rigging and fined $1 million each by a federal court in Toledo, Ohio in
late October. The action was brought against the two well-organized
crime participants by Ohio Attorney General Tony Celebreeze.
Unfortunately, Waste Management alone grosses more than $2 billion each
year and nets more than $400 million, so a $1 million fine is easy to
absorb as a "normal cost" of doing business in a crooked way.

The next day, as coincidence would have it, Greenpeace activists Ben
Gordon and friends arrived in Spencerville, OH, to stage a
demonstration against Waste Management's proposed Timberline solid
waste landfill, which is being vigorously opposed by the local citizens
group, Dumpbusters, led by Sally Teets. Greenpeace invaded the proposed
site with a bulldozer and a dump truck and put up a giant banner
flaunting their opposition to Waste Management's plan. For two hours,
Greenpeace dug in the ground with shovels as eight TV stations rolled
tape. The resulting publicity helped Dumpbusters' next move--a huge
rally the following day featuring an eloquent spokesperson for
environmental values, Hugh Kaufman; Mr. Kaufman is a well-known
whistleblower who has said, only half jokingly, that his employer, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a "wholly owned subsidiary" of
Waste Management, Inc. Fifteen hundred people attended the rally to
hear Mr. Kaufman speak and to oppose Waste Management's proposed dump.

The following day Dumpbusters sponsored a "crap out;" they marked up
the site into small squares and sold tickets to people. Then they
brought a cow onto the site and let it graze until it relieved itself
onto one of the marked squares. The person holding the ticket for the
lucky square won $500.00. Besides raising money, the event signified
that people in Spencerville are "tired of being crapped on" by Waste
Management, says Ms. Teets.

During this one week, Dumpbusters raised $37,000 to support its fight
against Waste Management's proposed dump. They have opened up a legal
attack on Waste Management, passing a local zoning law to prohibit the
proposed dump. Waste Management, which maintains a stable of Doberman
lawyers, has sued in court, arguing that the decision to pass a zoning
law was made in secret, violating Ohio's sunshine law. It is ironic
that criminals convicted of conspiring to fix prices can use the courts
to attack citizens for conspiring to protect themselves by zoning
hazards out of their neighborhood.

These creative and dramatic attacks on Waste Management by Dumpbusters
and Greenpeace have delayed plans for opening the Timberline dump.
Waste Management had originally planned to begin accepting solid waste
at the huge site early last May, but it is now mid-November and they
are not even close.

Our hat is off to Dumpbusters of Spencerville and once again to
Greenpeace, for showing us all the way. When government cannot or will
not protect citizens from the menace of hazardous materials, citizens
must take matters into their own hands, to protect themselves.

To learn more, contact Dumpbusters c/o Sally Teets, 744 Eastgate Drive,
Spencerville, OH 45887; phone (419) 647-6620, or Ben Gordon,
Greenpeace, 921 West Van Buren, Suite 115, Chicago, IL 60607; phone
(312) 666-3305.

--Peter Montague



Recent amendments to the federal Superfund law will have an important
side effect: putting enormous sums of money into the pockets of eight
major companies who have already captured 50% of the Superfund cleanup
business. The effect will be to tighten the grip these eight companies
are developing over the entire U.S. waste industry.

Total expenditures for Superfund cleanups in 1986 were $602 million but
by 1996, ten years later, annual Superfund expenditures are expected to
rise to $23.1 billion. This means the industry is expected to grow 36%
each year. To put this into perspective, the entire waste industry,
which is considered a rapidly expanding enterprise, grows 20% per year.
Most healthy American businesses grow 3% to 10% per year. A 36% annual
growth represents phenomenal growth (a doubling in size every two
years!) and a phenomenal opportunity for high rollers.

Industry analysts believe these high-growth conditions will favor the
eight major companies that already dominate the Superfund cleanup
business. These companies are much more likely to grow than smaller
companies because their size, their financial strength, and their
aggressive style allow them to acquire expensive assets like landfills,
which are often owned by organized crime syndicates. The eight large
companies will grow by buying their smaller competitors. Probably a few
of the big eight will, themselves, be absorbed by the largest and most
aggressive. The surviving companies are likely to be arrogant,
ruthless, fabulously wealthy and aggressive as pit bulls.

The eight are: American Ecology Corp. of Agura Hills, CA; Browning-
Ferris Industries (BFI) of Houston, TX; Chem-Clear of Wayne, PA;
Chemical Waste Management of Oak Brook, IL; Environmental Systems Corp.
of Redlands, CA; International Technology Corp. of Torrance, CA;
Rollins Environmental Services of Wilmington, DE; and U.S. Pollution
Control Inc. of Oklahoma City, OK.

For more information, request a copy of THE SUPERFUND HAZARDOUS WASTE
MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY from Beverly Christensen, Lyon Research Co., 55
Broadway, New York, NY 10006; phone (212) 482-2284.

--Peter Montague



A leak of 1,260 gallons of hydrofluoric acid at Marathon Petroleum's
oil refinery in Texas City, TX, Oct. 31 sent 260 people to the
hospital, seriously injured 52 of them and caused the evacuation of
3,000 others in the community. Hydrofluoric acid, which is corrosive
enough to etch glass and causes severe burns to skin, eyes and lungs,
is used to make benzene.

--Peter Montague


Descriptor terms: hydrofluoric acid; marathon petroleum; texas city,
tx; tx; benzene; petroleum industry; leaks; accidents; american ecology
corp; bfi; chem-clear; cwmi; environmental systems corp; it corp;
rollins environmental services; us pollution control inc; superfund;
remedial action; hazardous waste; waste treatment technologies; waste
disposal industry; wmi; landfilling; dumpbusters; greenpeace;

Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (27)