The Week's Highlights in Good Ol' Fashioned Corporate Villainy


Jonathan Hiskes at Grist has inspired me--his piece, This Week in Comically Evil Corporate Behavior is pretty disturbing. So I thought I'd whip up one of my own--from oil tankers taking shortcuts to nefarious coal tycoons skirting safety standards, there's so much to go around this week! Here are the week's highlights in good ol' fashioned corporate villainy this week: The Greedy Coal Company that Overlooks Its Employees Safety for Profit
Massey Energy, the company that owns the mine where 25 employees were killed in an explosion this week, habitually ignored the literally thousands of safety violations that have piled up over the years. Some of those violations concerned not having proper ventilation, which lead to methane accumulating in the mine--which likely played a role in the explosion. So why didn't Massey address the safety concerns--because the company's boss, Don Blankenship, found them to be a nuisance, and because it was cheaper to contest the violations, and have them held up in court, than to actually pay them. When asked about the violations after the fatal accident, Blankenship said "Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process." Nice guy, huh?

The Shipping Company that Took a Shortcut through the Barrier Reef--and CrashedEarlier this week, a huge coal-carrying vessel smashed into part of the Great Barrier Reef while trying to take a shortcut through the area that is legally off-limits. But that captain of the ship and the crew didn't think it was such a big deal, as Jaymi reports:

as booms were placed to keep more fuel from leaking as it was pumped from the ship, Captain Wang Jichang belittled the danger to the world's largest reef system and Australia's foremost tourist attraction. "Ren Gongping, the Chinese consul in Brisbane, told reporters that Wang had complained to him that salvors aboard the 230-metre vessel were using up its food and drinking water supplies."
Sheesh, can't a guy smash his ship into one of the greatest natural treasures in the world, and not have to feed the people trying to save it?

Oil Company Revealed to Spend Millions to Confuse Public About Science
A report revealed that Koch Industries, one of the biggest oil and coal companies in the world, had sunk $50 million dollars into funding public campaigns designed to confuse the public about climate science. (Okay so this was last week, but the fallout is still coming in . . .) Good stuff, there--spending millions to try to dupe the public into thinking greenhouse gas emissions have nothing to do with a warming planet. That's more than even Exxon mustered up! Boy, these guys sure do seem to have some sort of weird interest in making sure people think using fossil fuels is okay--wonder what that's about? Speaking of Exxon . . .

Biggest Private Company in the World Didn't Pay Federal Taxes in 2009
Reports surfaced that ExxonMobil doesn't pay any federal income taxes! Instead they sink their money into offshore accounts and keep the money permanently invest abroad, according to Forbes. A commenter claiming to be an Exxon representative left a note on my initial story saying that the allegation wasn't true, but when asked how much the giant oil company really did pay, he remained silent. I don't know about you, but I sure trust him!

18,000 Gallon Oil Spill in Wildlife Refuge
Chevron's oil pipeline ruptured, spewing crude into a pristine wildlife refuge. Awesome.

Well, that's it for this week. Maybe this can become a regular feature--lord knows there's enough of it to go around . . .

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