Republicans ignore disasters caused by big business in the U.S.
I missed writing a column on Earth Day, so I will writing this one about threats to our health and environment. The fertilizer plant in West, Texas (south of Dallas) had 1350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that requires disclosure to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Let me repeat, 1350 times. They didn't disclose any of this amount, which created an almost mini-nuclear bomb when it blew up April 17.
While 14 people died, imagine if this blew up in a crowded section of Dallas. The death toll would have been much higher. The ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline (why such a fancy name for a pipeline) busted in Mayflower, Arkansas earlier this month, releasing about 500,000 gallons of tar sand oil and other chemicals. This happened just a little while outside of Little Rock.
By the way, police hired as security guards by ExxonMobil ended up harassing and threatening to taser those who wanted to film the spill. Can you say conflict of interest? While it did not end up killing people like the plant in Texas, it is a serious threat to the health and water quality of the region. Oh, there is also a nuclear plant near by.
I bring these events up because those on the right-wing often say we have too many regulations. Really? What about after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster from two years ago? Oh by the way, a Republican Congressman named Markwayne Mullin praised ExxonMobil after the leak from the pipeline, stating, "I think they should be patted on the back,” and that “they showed an example of what could be done when the next catastrophe happens.”
By the way, the Deep Water Gulf oil spill three years ago had its' own Republican Congressmen apologizing to corporate giant B.P. for criticism directed against it, for the disaster in the Gulf. New Republican Senator Rand Paul (who is right on his criticism of the drug war but wrong on much else) stated that President Obama's criticism of B.P. was "unamerican."
Sen. Paul had also said after a mine disaster at the Dotiki Mine in Kentucky, "We had a mining accident that was very tragic. ... Then we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen." Really, Senator Paul, accidents just happen, sometimes? This same plant had been cited in a little over a year, 840 times, with 323 for signficiant violations.
This is Sen. Paul's home state and he seems to have more empathy for the bottom line of the rich coal mine owners, who might be writing Sen. Paul big checks every election, then the working class mine workers who he is supposed to represent. So yes, once again, the Republican party shows that it not the party of the average worker (especially how they treat unions and collective bargaining rights with disdain) but big business.