MAC: Mines and Communities

Kennecott Brags About Highest Toxic Releases in US

Published by MAC on 2003-07-15

Kennecott Brags About Highest Toxic Releases in US

July 2003

Kennecott Utah Copper advertised what it claimed was improved performance on toxic releases, despite subsequent information that one of the company’s 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 Kennecott’s 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:

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 America’s Health, Safety and Environment Department, “Seven hundred and thirty million pounds of Kennecott’s toxic chemicals in Salt Lake County residents’ backyard is hardly meaningless to the public, and Kennecott knows it. That’s 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

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