Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where’s Stephen Colbert When We Need Him?

How depressing is this quote from another great NYT article, published Monday, by Charles Duhigg? (Hat tip to Paul, who brought "Millions in US Drink Dirty Water" to my attention.): “The same people who told us to ignore Safe Drinking Water Act violations are still running the divisions,” said one mid-level E.P.A. official. “There’s no accountability, and so nothing’s going to change.”

Last Monday I wrote about Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed in the Sunday Times. Judy’s comments attracted my attention, and I would like to reprint them here, for your consideration: “We have allowed corporations to dictate to us what is safe and what is not safe for human consumption, exactly as Mr. Kristof reports. 

What I don't get - Why do we still trust companies and corporations? Do we really think they care more about the public good than their profits? I think NOT.”

I totally agree. Over the past few months, how often have I thought of Marlo Thomas and Friends’ “Free to Be, You and Me,” and especially Carol Channing, shining her hi-beam on all the happy folks in commercials: “The lady, who smiles as she scours or washes or mops or cleans, is smiling because she’s an actress, and she’s earning mo-ney for learning those speeches …”

The company promoting detergent that contains harsh chemicals or shampoo with parabens, or the industry allowing tin cans to be lined with BPA, is not putting the welfare of consumers first. The motivation of company executives is only the bottom line. Their philosophy? If a product contains chemicals that are bad for the environment or the process of making the product involves toxic chemicals that somehow get into drinking water, so what?

In the case of NStar, the utility company’s executives obviously don’t care. The plan to spray herbicides June 1, 2010 has not been deterred by public outcry on the Outer Cape. Those toxic chemicals will filter through our sandy soil into the sole source aquifer, and be pumped into private wells like the one here at Chez Sven, ending up in water guests at this green bed & breakfast drink. So what if future generations of Cape Cod residents get cancer?

Yes, Judy. Corporations have become too powerful. The EPA intends to evaluate 104 chemical contaminants or groups and 12 microbes, which were never regulated, that is, if chemical industry lobbyists don’t find a way to sidetrack the investigators. Nation, wake up! Where’s Stephen Colbert when we need him?