Here’s a shorter version of an outstanding piece of reporting in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Eric Besson and Emily Walkenhorst:
The Koch-owned Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett has been violating anti-pollution rules for years with emissions of hydrogen sulfide. The state environmental watchdog didn’t know it and doesn’t seem to care. Such air pollution is not good for your health. Local officials are reluctant to criticize the source of a big payroll. Rogue polluters seem to pop up more frequently in poor towns with big minority populations.
The specifics are important — if not exactly news in a general sense. They are particularly important in an era when the EPA under Scott Pruitt is systematically tearing down efforts to preserve clean air and water and when Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is abetting every effort she can find to limit environmental regulation. You wonder if she could stop flying around the country to harm women, gay people, labor unions, environmentalists and victims of payday lenders and do something about protecting the health of the good citizens of Crossett, Arkansas.
As I indicated, pollution in Crossett is old news. If history repeats, the D-G story will join others in the dustbin of good journalism.
There was Jane Mayer in the New Yorker.
There’s been the “Company Town” documentary video, a trailer for which you can see at the top of this post.
There was this American Bridge report in 2014.
Activist filmmaker Robert Greenberg produced a searing report in 2011.
What’s that old saying about smelly paper mill towns? Smells like money.