'Greenwash' Tag Archive

Jan 05 2005
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ALCOA’s Alarming Record on Pollution


Alcoa, Inc. is one of the worst polluters on the planet. They are at the forefront of poisoning the air, land and water of Texas, the most heavily polluted state in the nation. Alcoa has grandfathered facilities exempt from the 1971 Clean Air Act. In Texas alone, it has several hundred plants that are accountable for the mounting pollution problems of the state.

Rockdale, Texas, located around 50 miles east of Austin, is home to a plant that sprawls over 7,000 acres and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is powered by four on-site power plants, three of which were built before the Clean Air Act of 1971 was approved. It contributes to the pollution problems in Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The aluminum smelter here discharges roughly 104,000 tons of air emissions per year, including over 60,000 tons of acid rain.

Alcoa says that if it were forced to comply with state and national clean air laws, the alterations in equipment would be so expensive that the company would be forced to shut down the Rockdale plant; instead of doing this, they’ll keep the plant running and contaminate the area.

Between the years 1983 to 1987 at a time when they were under scrutiny to maintain clean facilities, Alcoa spent $62 million to upgrade their facilities without consent from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), blatantly violating federal law. Large increases in air pollution ensued in 1988, including nitrous oxides, particulate matter (which contain human carcinogens), carbon monoxide, and an annual increase of 13,000 tons of sulfur dioxide since completion of the modifications. Although Alcoa blatantly violated federal law, neither the EPA nor the TNRCC pressed charges.

Since 1987, more than forty-seven Alcoa facilities have been cited for pollution violations by state and federal regulators. In one instance when the EPA opposed Alcoa, they along with the Justice Department filed claims against the company as reported March 14, 2000. In the agreement, Alcoa consented to pay about $8.8 million to clean the Mississippi River Basin, reduce hazardous waste generation, and research new air pollution reduction technology.

In Port Allen, LA, Discovery Aluminas, Inc., an Alcoa subsidy, pleaded guilty to contaminating the water and was fined over one million dollars by the state and the federal government. In Point Comfort, TX, Alcoa was fined $181,400 for emission violations in its bauxite refining plant.

Alcoa was also cited for illegal export practices. They shipped potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to Jamaica and Suriname on 50 separate occasions without obtaining the required Commerce export licenses, then lied about it. They were hit with a $750,000 civil penalty.

Source- www.utwatch.org

Alcoa to pay $550,000 settlement for water pollution at Indiana plant
LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Alcoa Inc. will pay $550,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the aluminum maker’s aerospace products plant violated water pollution limits.

Source-U.S. Water News Online February 2002

ABC News, December 23, 2004 -A Perth magistrate has imposed a $60,000 fine on mining company Alcoa for polluting the air around its Wagerup refinery. Alcoa pleaded guilty to the pollution charge that related to Bauxite residue dust blowing over Wagerup and Yarloop, south of Perth, in November 2002.

Source – www.minesandcommunities.org

Sep 23 2004
2 Comments

Self-Sustaining Destruction!


ultimatethe ultimate fraud 

Facts of interest circulated by members of NatureWatch to participants at the meeting of The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy in Reykjavik 23rd September 2004

The Government of Iceland is presently damming muddy glacial rivers and building the gigantic power plant Kárahnjúkar (690 MW). The enormous main reservoir of 57 km2 will destroy an area of pristine wilderness and beauty. For months each summer, when the water-level is low, it will leave a huge area covered with a thick layer of powdery dust that will spread over a vast area. The dam will be filled with sediment in approximately 50-100 years, leaving irreversibly damaged land. Such dams are not eco-friendly. Read More

Aug 06 2004

“A Handful of Men Imposing their Destructive Dream on a Nation which Seems Half-Asleep”


Robert Jackson

So writes the poet and protester Elísabet Jökulsdóttir, and sitting in the board room of Landsvirkjun at a table long enough to hold a state banquet, it is hard to disagree with who is responsible for Kárahnjúkar. The walls of the ‘president’s floor’ have portraits of the men who in former times have managed the national power company. Read More

Aug 04 2004

Kárahnjúkar – Some Facts About the Project


Robert Jackson

It is now two years since the government gave the approvals that made way for the creation of a huge hydroelectric scheme in the Central Highlands at Kárahnjúkar. This paved the way for a subsequent deal with Alcoa for the building of an aluminium smelter in the coastal town of Reyðarfjörður.

WHAT DOES THE SCHEME INVOLVE?

The Kárahnjúkar project will consist of nine dams, three reservoirs, seven channels and sixteen tunnels. It will divert two large rivers, the Jökulsá á brú and Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, and several smaller rivers to the north of the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. The main dam will be highest rockfill dam in Europe, 190 metres high, 800 metres long and 600 metres wide at its base. This main dam will create a huge reservoir, to be called Hálslón, which will flood a wilderness area of 57 sq. km. 70 km of tunnels will carry water to an underground powerhouse, which will have a 690 megawatts capacity. Read More

Apr 28 2004

The Spin Doctor Is In: Examining Corporate PR at Bechtel by A.C. Thompson


CorpWatch
April 28, 2004

In the face of criticism over its controversial construction projects (including the illegal ALCOA smelter in Reydarfjordur), Bechtel has taken media manipulation to the next level, employing a three-pronged approach to weaving a rosy story for the public and investors.

bechtelcartoon 

Read More

Mar 27 2004

The Icelandic Rift Industry Versus Natural Splendor in a “Progressive” Nation by Jon Swan


Dimmugljúfur - Dark Canyon at Kárahnjúkar

Orion Magazine
March / April 2004

An important article which provides useful historical background.

Read More

Nov 29 2003
7 Comments

‘Power Driven’ – The Guardian


The Guardian, November 29, 2003

‘Power Driven’ appeared in The Guardian Weekend in 2003 and made a major impact in Iceland. It is still the best main stream analysis of many key issues at stake and an excellent overview of the social background.

In Iceland, work has already begun on a colossal $1bn dam which, when it opens in 2007, will cover a highland wilderness – and all to drive one US smelter. Environmentalists are furious, but the government appears determined to push through the project, whatever the cost. Susan DeMuth investigates.

North of Vatnajokull, Europe’s biggest glacier, lies Iceland’s most fascinating and varied volcanic landscape. Ice and boiling geothermal infernos meet at the edges of the glacier, and then the largest remaining pristine wilderness in western Europe begins – a vast panorama of wild rivers, waterfalls, brooding mountains and mossy highlands thick with flowers. Read More

Jul 18 2003
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Violation of the Equator Principles by the $400 Million Loan to Landsvirkjun


International Rivers Network

The $400 million loan for Iceland’s National Power Company

On July 9, 2003, a $400 million revolving credit was signed by Iceland’s National Power Company (Landsvirkjun) and a consortium of 19 banks. The mandated arrangers of the loan are Barclays Bank (UK), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (Japan), SEB (Sweden), and Societe Generale (France), with shares of $31 million each. The other members of the consortium are CDC IXIS (France), Danske Bank (Danmark), DePfa Group (Germany/Ireland), Dexia Group (France/Belgium), Fortis Bank (Netherlands), Islandsbanki (Iceland) and Landesbank Baden–Wuertemberg (Germany), with $25 million each; Deutsche Postbank (Germany), KBC Bank (Belgium) and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Germany), with $17 million each; and BNP Paribas (France), Deutsche Bank (Germany), JP Morgan (USA), Kaupthing Bunadarbanki (Iceland) and Landsbanki Islands (Iceland) with $10 million each. Read More

Jun 02 2003

Iceland’s Wilderness Under Attack


Einar Þorleifsson and Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson
World Birdwatch vol. 25 no. 2, June 2003

 

falcon and reindr 

As reported in the previous issue of World Birdwatch (25(1):7), a huge dam is being built in a remote part of Iceland to supply hydroelectric power for an aluminium smelter. The development is vigorously opposed by Fuglaverndunarfélag Íslands (Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds, ISPB, Birdlife in Iceland). ISPB’s Einar Ó. Thorleifsson and Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson discuss the likely impacts on the unique wildlife and scenery of this pristine environment. Read More

Jan 15 2003

BirdLife International Slam Icelandic Dam Project


pinkfoot

The proposed dams in Iceland are likely to completely destroy the nest sites of 1050-1350 pairs of Pink-footed Geese (equivalent to four per cent of the UK wintering population). In addition, thousands more are likely to be affected less directly by impacts such as the effects of hydrological changes on the birds.

Cambridge, UK, 15th January 2003

The Icelandic Government will put thousands of pairs of nesting Pink-footed Geese at risk by sanctioning two hydro-electric schemes, BirdLife International said today. Iceland has almost 90 per cent of the global population of this small goose, almost all of which winter in the UK, mainly in East Anglia and Scotland [1,2].

“BirdLife International estimates that as many as one in seven of the Pink-footed Geese that visit the UK in winter could be affected or displaced by these hydro-electric schemes”, said BirdLife Europe’s Conservation Manager, Szabolcs Nagy. “The two affected sites – Utherad and Thjarsarvar Important Bird Areas (IBAs) – are globally recognised, but Iceland seems determined to renege on its international conservation commitments and to damage and destroy substantial portions of these sites.” [3,4,5] Read More

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