Kennecott Brags About Highest Toxic Releases in USPublished by MAC on 2003-07-15
Kennecott Brags About Highest Toxic Releases in US
Kennecott Utah Copper advertised what it claimed was improved performance on toxic releases, despite subsequent information that one of the companys facilities led the United States in toxic releases by over 263 million pounds.
In 2002, Kennecott released an annual report titled Social and Environment Report, along with a mailing that went out to some Salt Lake County residents titled Kennecott Expects Significant Drop in Future TRI [Toxic Release Inventory] Numbers. The report and mailing make numerous claims about alleged improvements in Kennecotts toxic releases for 2001.
However, in June 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released 2001 figures for toxic releases by facilities in the US, which portray Kennecott in a much different light. According to the EPA, in 2001 Kennecott:
- released over 730 million pounds of toxic chemicals from its Salt Lake County facilities owned and operated the 1st, 13th and 19th largest toxic releasing facilities of all 24,896 reporting facilities in the US
- released 54 tons of cyanide from its Salt Lake County facilities, 23 tons more than in 2000
- released 95.2% of all toxic chemicals released in Utah
- increased releases of arsenic by nine million pounds and lead by 33 million pounds at one of its facilities
According to news reports, after EPA released the 2001 toxic release figures, Kennecott spokesman Louis Cononelos was quoted as saying this huge numbers game becomes meaningless to the public.
Said Mike Wright, Director of the United Steelworkers of Americas Health, Safety and Environment Department, Seven hundred and thirty million pounds of Kennecotts toxic chemicals in Salt Lake County residents backyard is hardly meaningless to the public, and Kennecott knows it. Thats why they produce the glossy reports and mailings. However, what workers and communities living nearby Kennecott facilities need is for the company to clean up its act, not a denial of responsibility and not a whitewash.
Adam Lee, Copperhead News, July 2003, Kennecott Coordinated Bargaining Committee