supporting or participating in the Organisasi movement that has operated since the mid1960s and which seeks to establish Irian Jaya’s independence as the state of West Papua. These detainees, reported a 1981 Asia Watch bulletin, have generally been abused while detained incommunicado, without charge or trial, following warrantless arrests.” Very little information comes out of Irian Jaya today. One of the reasons is that an anthropologist, Arnold Ap, was murdered in 1984 for providing information to journalists. His murder sent a powerful message to residents of the province: Provide information about conditions in Irian Jaya to outsiders at your own risk. Still, some information does trickle through. The Austin Chronicle reported just prior to the Barton Creek PUD hearing that after an earthquake in the Central Highlands mountain range in August, the Indonesian government began to use relief aid as a prod to move several thousand indigenous people from the Hupla tribe from their homelands to the coast. Freeport Indonesia, which has just obtained a new 6.1 million acre mining concession covering most of the Central Highlands, donated some $25,000 to the resettlement effort. In a letter dated March 30, 1990 to Jim Bob Moffett, CEO of Freeport, the international Indonesian human rights group, Tapol, described the effects of the forced resettlement, telling him that “some people have died and many others are suffering from malaria to which the highland Hupla have no resistance, and [from] malnutrition.” The letter continues: “The Hupla themselves have identified an alternative resettlement site, nearer home, but this has been dismissed by the authorities. Indeed, there has been no consultation with the Hupla whatsoever.” The letter closes by asking Moffett to “ascertain that your donation was not used in such a way.” Neither Jim Bob Moffett nor any Freeport McMoRan representative responded to Tapol’s correspondence, according to Tapol’ s Carolyn Marr. Despite all this, Freeport, in its Summary Statement for the Barton Creek PUD, declares itself an “exemplary corporate citizen.” But its record of environmental degradation in Indonesia and its partnership with the Suharto government raises the question: exemplary of what? 0 Invading University III Corporate Citizenship Freeport McMoRan on the Mississippi River BY KATHY MITCHELL FREEPORT MCMORAN, the worst tion, and the sixth-largest overall pol luter, is now operating in Louisiana the firstand second-largest single plant dischargers of toxic wastes \(Agrico Faustina at if company officials had had their way in 1987, the company would today be dumping an additional 12 million tons of radioactive gypsum, contaminated with a variety of heavy metals, into the Mississippi River from which New Orleans draws its drinking water. Gypsum is the chalky stuff used in wallboard. Freeport claimed it would take up to 10 years to phase out the extra dumping while they researched alternative uses for the gypsum. While Freeport spokesman Jim Miller claims that all the Louisiana discharges are within legal limits, the U.S. Environmental ing companies disposing of waste to simply add water to their effluent in order to remain within the legal limit. Using EPA figures, the environmental public interest group The Citizens Fund calculated that Louisiana is currently the number-one waste generator in the country, and the two Freeport plants dump a total of 119 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the Mississippi each year. Kathy Mitchell is a freelance writer living in Austin. This is more by weight than the total of the next 18 largest polluters on the EPA list. Further, Freeport has not even remained within the liberal parts per million effluent standards set by the Louisiana Department of Water Quality. According the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Compliance Order of February 29, 1988, Freeport exceeded the limits of their discharge permits in four different periods between May 1987 and January 1988, and failed to monitor discharge as required by the permits. The company paid a $60,000 civil fine and went on about its business. During the . Reagan-Bush years, the EPA has proved a reliable ally for the nation’s largest water polluters. When the new Clean Water Act appeared before the Congress in October 1986 it contained a provision to allow special dumping permits to four Mississippi “chemical corridor” plants, including the two Freeport facilities. The provision emerged in the final report from the HouseSenate conference committee during the last days of the legislative session. Yet, Louisiana government officials, members of a state task force who had been negotiating on the issue for months, were not present at the conference committee meeting. According to the Washington bureau of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the amendment was added late in the night, after industry representatives present at the session said that they had the support of the entire Louisiana delegation. The EPA claimed that the unstable soils of Louisiana’s lowlands made safe stacking of gypsum impossible, and that re-use options were too costly. These were the arguments made by representatives of Freeport itself, who claimed that if the permits were not included in the legislation, the companies would be forced to shut down and Louisiana would lose. over 7,000 jobs. Chemical-industry lobbyist Jim Harris claimed that one plant would close immediately, and the others would follow within months, if the permits were denied. Citing a study by the Gulf South Research Institute, paid for by the industry itself, Freeport claimed that unemployment in Louisiana would rise by 3 percent if this happened. , Members of the Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, and the Louisiana Coalition for Tax Justice, however, investigated the employment statistics for Freeport plants and pointed out that for the entire state the construction and expansion of their fertilizer facilities had created only 76 permanent jobs for $91 million dollars invested. In addition, Jim Bob Moffett had won $11,396,000 worth of tax breaks for the company over a 10-year period. Despite the EPA waivers, Freeport was still required to apply for state permits, and the Clean Water Act does not specify the kinds of limitations on the permits that states can require. In New Orleans, the controversy surrounding dumping of radioactive gypsum brought a number of community groups into an active coalition to oppose the permits at the local level. The New Orleans Sewer and Water Board also raised concerns about the effects of radioactive material and heavy metals in the drinking water on children, THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9 s,s ,
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