In a major victory for Greenpeace, chemical giant Clorox announced yesterday that they are phasing out the use and transport of Chlorine gas in the US.
One of our Greenpeace elders, Bob Hunter, once said that the thing about demanding big change is that it looks impossible when you start, and inevitable after you've finished.
Stop the use and transport of Chlorine? What are you CRAZY? Our campaign to stop chlorine transports in the US met with industry resistance, lobbyist counter-attacks, smear campaigns and cries of anti-american anti-capitalist luddite fear-mongering.
This despite the fact that both the General Accounting Office had agreed with our concerns that an accident or attack on one of these transports would be a massive safety risk. The GAO warned the Bush administration that "123 chemical facilities located throughout the nation have toxic 'worst-case' scenarios where more than a million people in the surrounding area could be at risk of exposure to a cloud of toxic gas if a release occurred."
Under Bush, the EPA had responded to those concerns by announcing an investigation into Chlorine transport safety post 9/11, but then a funny think happened on the way to the capitol.
According to The Progressive,
"We heard from industry," says a former EPA official who declines to be named. The chemical lobby insisted that the agency did not have authority to go after companies that did not adequately safeguard their plants, the official says.
Among the lobby groups who vehemently opposed the EPA having regulatory power over the chlorine inudstry? The American Petroleum Institute, of course.
The same folks who brought you years of inaction on climate change by claiming the science was inconclusive. The same folks who were recently caught with their pants down when Greenpeace released a leaked memo calling on oil companies to send employees out disguised as "energy citizens" to speak out against action on climate change at rallies across the US.
And as to all those claims by chlorine industry lobbyists that manufacturers can't afford to do the right thing for the environment? Here's what Clorox spokesperson Dan Staubin had to say: "By transitioning to a new manufacturing process now, that allows us to stay head of regulations and potentially avoid costs," Staublin said.
And the AP story closed on this note: "Clorox shares rose 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, Monday to close at $59.40."
If you live in the US, take action with Greenpeace USA to demand Congress vote for legislation that would require the highest risk chemical plants to use the safest chemical processes available to them.