Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oil Companies Becoming Like Union Carbide?

Remember when, in 1984, Union Carbide killed about 2,500 people in Bhopal, India, when a gas leak exposed over 500,000 people to cyanide gas? Although I do remember the incident, I was only vaguely knowledgeable about it until a few days ago when I watched the movie “Bhopal” on Netflix and got curious.

Union Carbide Corporation is one of the world's largest multi-nationals. Carbide made pesticide with MIC-one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man.

Union Carbide was fined only $470 million. It paid $2,000 per corpse. About 150,000 survivors remain chronically ill. Dow chemical acquired Union Carbide in 2001 and they refuse any liability. Union Carbide has never apologized even though they were found to be criminally negligent.

This episode brings to mind the latest bargaining difficulties the United Steelworkers Union is having in convincing the oil companies to negotiate safer work places and practices. I remember when the Northern Indiana Public Service Company had the same attitude in 1980 which prompted the workers to go on record as being against a nuclear power plant that the company was wanting to build.

I wonder just how much destruction of the earth’s ecosystem through fires and oil spills on land or water, and how many people will have to be maimed or killed before society will finally hold these oil companies liable. The compensation paid for the oil spill of the Exon Valdez was estimated to be about $4 billion, and the compensation for the B.P. oil spill in the gulf is estimated to be about $42 billion. Now, these payments are just a drop in the bucket of these companies. And don’t you know that they never take the blame for these accidents, whether oil spills or fires or explosions, they always blame the workers and many times they never even apologize. 

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