Union Carbide a.k.a. Praxair

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Diane Wilson vs Union Carbide

(excerpt) Houston Chronicle
October 7, 2005

Activist 'not surprised'
Diane Wilson, a fourth generation shrimper turned environmental activist from Seadrift, Texas will be the keynote speaker at the Bioneers conference in San Rafael, Oct 14-15, 2005. Diane has written a book, just out, called An Unreasonable Woman.

The book tells the story of how she took on some of the biggest chemical companies in Texas--FORMOSA PLASTICS, Alcoa, and Dow Owned Union Carbide-- for their illegal and dangerous handling of highly toxic chemicals that have poisoned Lavaca Bay and decimated the fishing industry there. Formosa Plastics, a multinational Taiwanese chemical giant, was especially targeted for covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA and dumping highly toxic chemicals into the air, land and sea. Worse yet, they won approval (along with tax abatements) to expand their site in Calhoun County, TEXAS-- an area already identified as the most toxic in the country by a 1989 EPA report. Her life has been threatened repeatedly and officials flatly refuse to obey the law; the affable congressman who represents her district has been bought. Local and state politicians don't come out looking too good in this book, not Tom DeLay (no surprise here) nor Ann Richards.

The San Diego Tribune wrote in their review of the book just recently the following: "For the American environmental movement,
An Unreasonable Woman could not come at a better time. Citizens across the political spectrum are growing alarmed at the Bush administration's rollback of protective legislation for water, air and national parks. This book does for environmentalism what "All the President's Men did for government reform. Watch for the movie."

Diane is now on a national book tour. Last week she was interviewed on the nationally broadcast radio program, The Diane Rehm Show. Reviews of her book appeared in many newspapers, including the Christian Science Monitor. This past Monday her lawyer called to say that the court said Diane was required to report to jail on Friday! Back in 2002 she staged an action at the local Union Carbide plant and Dow charged her with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, of which she was found guilty and sentenced to 4-6 months of jail time. But as of last week she was still awaiting instructions on when to report to jail. The jail in her county has been condemned, and her lawyer had initially heard that her sentence would not begin until the new jail, under construction, opened in early 2006. It is now felt that Dow is trying to shut her up. In any case, she is refusing to go back to Texas until after she appears at the Bioneers Conference for several workshops in addition to the keynote address. And she refuses to serve her sentence until Warren Anderson, former CEO of Union Carbide reports to jail to serve his sentence.

Anderson, as the key representative of Union Carbide, has been an "absconder from justice" for the past 13 years for failure to face manslauter charges (among others) brought by chief judicial magistrate's court of Bhopal, India. The December 3, 1984 explosion at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal that has to date killed over 20,000 Indians. Anderson, meanwhile, continues to live comfortably in his Bridgehampton, Long Island home.