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(CNN)   Company connected to West Virginia chemical spill that contaminated water for more than 300,000 people, Freedom Industries, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Well that didn't take long   (cnn.com) divider line 143
    More: Followup, chemical accident, West Virginia, clean coal, United States bankruptcy court, water pollutions, bankruptcy, safe  
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4590 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jan 2014 at 5:24 PM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-17 05:44:22 PM
Almost Heaven West Virgina.
 
2014-01-17 05:44:28 PM

brap: Freedom Industries?

Holy Carp, did they get that from the Orwellian Company Name Generator?



And are they still covered by Old Glory Insurance?
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-01-17 05:44:39 PM

DamnYankees: Nabb1: d23: You do realize this means there will now be absolutely no one at all that suffers any penalty... except the people of WV, of course.

It's a bit early to conclude that. Chapter 11 is reorganization, not liquidation.

Still, unless I'm mistake, I think tort claims, settlements and court decisions are unsecured creditors, and lenders come first in order of payment priorities, no?


Recent changes put derivative owners first in line.
 
2014-01-17 05:45:06 PM

DamnYankees: Don't confuse crimes with civil liabilities though. Corporations can't commit "crimes" under the justice system. They can be liable for civil damages. Crimes can only be committed by people.


Didn't the Supreme Court rule corporations were people?  We should put Freedom Industries in jail!
 
2014-01-17 05:45:39 PM
LOL, the company can't POSSIBLY be called that, Subby, you son of a bi....

*Click*

Holy shiat.

/wonder who made this decision
//and who is being protected by making it
 
2014-01-17 05:46:01 PM

NutWrench: I guess Freedom really IS just a word for "nothing left to lose."


static3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-01-17 05:47:03 PM

theorellior: Silverstaff: The US Attorney for that area lives in Charleston, and was personally affected by this, I think he's personally irate with Freedom Industries and is going to see if he can land every one of those SOB's in Federal PMITA prison.

Which is basically the same reason Bernie Maddoff went to jail and Jamie Dimon is still livin' large. Madoff stole from the people who mattered, so he got the full force of the law. Dimon simply farked over millions who can't turn proper regulation into a personal vendetta.


Bernie failed to make campaign contributions to the right people.
 
2014-01-17 05:50:21 PM

MFK: d23: You do realize this means there will now be absolutely no one at all that suffers any penalty... except the people of WV, of course.

Can they really get off the hook this easy?


There will be a few more intermediary steps.
 
2014-01-17 05:50:37 PM

DamnYankees: Dr Dreidel: If I found a company (ConHugeCo, LLC) in 2002 and wind it up and close up shop in 2005, my company can still be charged with crimes (assuming the statute of limitations hasn't passed) in 2006 for corporate activities between 2002-2005, correct? (If not, WTF.)

Or, since the company would have "no assets" by then, he gets to skate?

Basically the latter.

Don't confuse crimes with civil liabilities though. Corporations can't commit "crimes" under the justice system. They can be liable for civil damages. Crimes can only be committed by people.


Well, goddammit.

Can they use RICO - the corporate officers' 20+-year avoidance of inspections and failure to comply with safety regs indicates that they intended to run a criminal enterprise, therefore every dollar they've ever sucked a nugget of coke through is the State's until they prove otherwise? Is there any chance in The Hell Of The Upside-Down Sinners that WV recovers a thin dime (after the lawyers take their cut)?

// I bet they can't - RICO's only for drug dealers, don'tchaknow?
// and I think I knew that companies can only be charged civilly
 
2014-01-17 05:51:47 PM
I was trying to remember on Jared Diamond's Collapse... wasn't there a chapter entirely about how mining companies aren't actually all that profitable due to regulations and having to pay clean up costs so basically what they do is to squeeze out as much profit as they can while ignoring regulations until they pollute the fark out of  something or a bunch of workers die in an accident and then they file for bankruptcy. And the only reason why mining states aren't more farked up to the point of having their society's collapse due to pollution is because the federal government picks up the tab for clean up.
 
2014-01-17 05:52:49 PM

Diogenes: The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, got into water supplies after it leaked out of a storage tank and poured into the Elk River near an intake for a West Virginia American Water Co. treatment plant.

Officials detected the 7,000-gallon leak eight days ago, on January 9. More than 7,000 gallons of the chemical, which is used to clean coal, leaked into the river, according to officials.

I don't see what the big problem is.  It's basically soap.


Megyn?
 
2014-01-17 05:53:47 PM
The Libertarian dream.  If a company wrongs you, then file a lawsuit!  Oh, the money to make amends doesn't exist?  Uh, FREEDOM!
 
2014-01-17 05:54:55 PM

vygramul: See? There IS a death penalty for companies! (After the execs and decision-makers have taken home their 8-figure golden parachutes.)


And then reforms under a different name.
 
2014-01-17 05:56:21 PM
@nycsouthpaw has a pretty good rundown of this in his recent timeline.
 
2014-01-17 05:57:58 PM
Well, I thought this was why you made corporations.
 
2014-01-17 05:59:43 PM
Similar thing happened to my mother-in-law.  Her car got hit by a semi; put her in a wheelchair for nearly 6 years until a novel surgical technique was invented which has allowed her limited mobility.

The truck company filed for bankruptcy and didn't have to pay her a dime.

Fortunately she has medical insurance and they've covered a portion of her surgeries (she has to get a new surgery every few months); disability also pays for some of it. The rest she pays out of pocket (and fortunately, her husband makes a lot of money).
 
2014-01-17 06:01:40 PM

Diogenes: The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, got into water supplies after it leaked out of a storage tank and poured into the Elk River near an intake for a West Virginia American Water Co. treatment plant.

Officials detected the 7,000-gallon leak eight days ago, on January 9. More than 7,000 gallons of the chemical, which is used to clean coal, leaked into the river, according to officials.

I don't see what the big problem is.  It's basically soap.


Nope. It's an organic solvent, not an emulsifier or wetting agent. Some organic alcohols are VERY nasty beasts. Fortunately this one is relatively benign. * trivia* This chemical was originally patented for use in air fresheners.
 
2014-01-17 06:02:04 PM

kbronsito: I was trying to remember on Jared Diamond's Collapse... wasn't there a chapter entirely about how mining companies aren't actually all that profitable due to regulations and having to pay clean up costs so basically what they do is to squeeze out as much profit as they can while ignoring regulations until they pollute the fark out of  something or a bunch of workers die in an accident and then they file for bankruptcy. And the only reason why mining states aren't more farked up to the point of having their society's collapse due to pollution is because the federal government picks up the tab for clean up.


They're called superfund sites.

And yes, lots of companies do this.
 
2014-01-17 06:03:27 PM
Assholes.
 
2014-01-17 06:05:36 PM

Nana's Vibrator: I would just love to see the maintenance, safety records, and bookkeeping practices they employed just prior to announcing the spill.
/no I wouldn't.  Someone just tell me they were corrupt.


They hadn't been inspected in twenty years. Draw your own conclusions.

/serious as a heart attack
 
2014-01-17 06:05:45 PM
Booth Goodwin -US attorney for West By God-says he is going to press ahead with Federal charges against Freedom.
/I note the deafening silence from our WV Congresspeople re: this whole mess
//had no water for five days
///still won't drink the water here after this
 
2014-01-17 06:07:19 PM

squealie: Booth Goodwin -US attorney for West By God-says he is going to press ahead with Federal charges against Freedom.


Why does he hate our Freedom?
 
2014-01-17 06:09:06 PM
Free enterprise, man.
 
2014-01-17 06:11:04 PM
See, the Invisible Hand has solved another problem!
 
2014-01-17 06:11:06 PM

Dusk-You-n-Me: @nycsouthpaw has a pretty good rundown of this in his recent timeline.


Holy crap, you ain't kidding! That's some great reading right there.
 
2014-01-17 06:11:11 PM

NutWrench: I guess Freedom really IS just a word for "nothing left to lose."


my job here is done
 
2014-01-17 06:12:06 PM
48newsfrance.files.wordpress.com

...for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell the Government that they may take Freedom! But they'll never take...OUR MONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
 
2014-01-17 06:12:30 PM

Snarfangel: squealie: Booth Goodwin -US attorney for West By God-says he is going to press ahead with Federal charges against Freedom.

Why does he hate our Freedom?


It isn't YOUR Freedom, its the Koch Brothers Freedom, and they give more money to Congress than you do.
 
2014-01-17 06:13:21 PM
Aren't you supposed to wait until after a damage value is assessed before filing?
 
2014-01-17 06:13:37 PM
How long before residents burn the place to the ground?
 
2014-01-17 06:14:19 PM

AgentPothead: Back in the day the guy who owned that company would have gotten lynched, possibly tarred and feathered. Now he goes bankrupt and gets to go setup another company and pull this shiat some place else. This is like his third time doing that isn't it?


Please explain what "day" that happened on.
 
2014-01-17 06:23:52 PM

DoctorCal: AgentPothead: Back in the day the guy who owned that company would have gotten lynched, possibly tarred and feathered. Now he goes bankrupt and gets to go setup another company and pull this shiat some place else. This is like his third time doing that isn't it?

Please explain what "day" that happened on.


March, 1917 - October 1917.
 
2014-01-17 06:24:01 PM

mgshamster: kbronsito: I was trying to remember on Jared Diamond's Collapse... wasn't there a chapter entirely about how mining companies aren't actually all that profitable due to regulations and having to pay clean up costs so basically what they do is to squeeze out as much profit as they can while ignoring regulations until they pollute the fark out of  something or a bunch of workers die in an accident and then they file for bankruptcy. And the only reason why mining states aren't more farked up to the point of having their society's collapse due to pollution is because the federal government picks up the tab for clean up.

They're called superfund sites.

And yes, lots of companies do this.


I was just thinking that this really isn't an accident. It's a business model.
But a bunch of questions/assumptions that I'm trying to figure out.... this would then mean that our minerals are provided more cheaply to the businesses that buy them because we are subsidizing the clean up part of the business and they also cut corners on prevention? If we actually somehow close this loophole that created this model, would the impact of more expensive minerals to the national economy be more or less than what we spend having the Federal government clean up? In general could that difference enough to justify the environmental damage?And instead of having the Federal government come in after the damage is done... would there not be advantages to have the federal government pay for all the expenses related to preventing the damage? Although... wouldn't the purchase of any equipment for prevention be deductible business expenses already? So does it even make sense to suggest that the government should pay for those (maybe subsidize prevention further in some other way... providing capital for it perhaps)? What I guess I mean is that there's gotta be a way to provide a better incentive for the companies to actually comply with the regulations instead of having this bankruptcy mining business model sham... or maybe we need to pay more for our minerals. Is this still making sense. I'm trying to solve this whole mining problem here on fark... where complex political and sociological problems are constantly solved.
 
2014-01-17 06:25:05 PM

MadCat221: Diogenes: The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, got into water supplies after it leaked out of a storage tank and poured into the Elk River near an intake for a West Virginia American Water Co. treatment plant.

Officials detected the 7,000-gallon leak eight days ago, on January 9. More than 7,000 gallons of the chemical, which is used to clean coal, leaked into the river, according to officials.

I don't see what the big problem is.  It's basically soap.

Then go ahead and drink a glass of it.


What a great deal. The glass of water that satisfies thirst AND cleans itself!
 
2014-01-17 06:26:39 PM
Privatize profits and shunt losses and liabilities over to the average taxpayer.

Its the American Way!
 
2014-01-17 06:26:53 PM

Summoner101: Vodka Zombie: Silverstaff: d23: You do realize this means there will now be absolutely no one at all that suffers any penalty... except the people of WV, of course.

The Federal Prosecutors are talking about "piercing the corporate veil", in other words prosecuting the actual executives personally for this instead of the company.

The US Attorney for that area lives in Charleston, and was personally affected by this, I think he's personally irate with Freedom Industries and is going to see if he can land every one of those SOB's in Federal PMITA prison.

Right up until the moment someone hands him a big, fat check, I'm sure he has every intention of prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law.

I dunno, this is the type of case that can really propel a political career. Depending on how he plays his hand, he can be tough on crime, a champion of the little guy, and still defend coal. You can't buy that kind of resume.

Don't believe me? Just as Mitt Romney.


Then I guess solving the problems of big companies causing problems to the rest of society is just as easy as making sure a federal prosecutor is personally affected. Like make them work at McDonalds for minimum wage for a while so they require a social safety net subsidy, or make sure that they all have incomes tied to the LIBOR rate or something...
 
2014-01-17 06:27:45 PM
Just wait until you find out what Majestic Soaring Bald Eagle of Liberty Industries has been up to.
 
2014-01-17 06:28:59 PM
Obvious preventive to move to try to avoid losses from impending lawsuits, I seriously hope the judge tell them no.
 
2014-01-17 06:29:14 PM

Prank Call of Cthulhu: And look! CNN has its own Fark Independents (TM).

img.fark.net

I'm not sure how brining the society together will help.

/seems like it will just make it more salty.
 
2014-01-17 06:36:46 PM

kbronsito: mgshamster: kbronsito: I was trying to remember on Jared Diamond's Collapse... wasn't there a chapter entirely about how mining companies aren't actually all that profitable due to regulations and having to pay clean up costs so basically what they do is to squeeze out as much profit as they can while ignoring regulations until they pollute the fark out of  something or a bunch of workers die in an accident and then they file for bankruptcy. And the only reason why mining states aren't more farked up to the point of having their society's collapse due to pollution is because the federal government picks up the tab for clean up.

They're called superfund sites.

And yes, lots of companies do this.

I was just thinking that this really isn't an accident. It's a business model.
But a bunch of questions/assumptions that I'm trying to figure out.... this would then mean that our minerals are provided more cheaply to the businesses that buy them because we are subsidizing the clean up part of the business and they also cut corners on prevention? If we actually somehow close this loophole that created this model, would the impact of more expensive minerals to the national economy be more or less than what we spend having the Federal government clean up? In general could that difference enough to justify the environmental damage?And instead of having the Federal government come in after the damage is done... would there not be advantages to have the federal government pay for all the expenses related to preventing the damage? Although... wouldn't the purchase of any equipment for prevention be deductible business expenses already? So does it even make sense to suggest that the government should pay for those (maybe subsidize prevention further in some other way... providing capital for it perhaps)? What I guess I mean is that there's gotta be a way to provide a better incentive for the companies to actually comply with the regulations instead of having this bankruptcy minin ...


It's not just a mining thing.  There's lots of examples of companies bailing out once they've polluted an area.  Heck, just look at almost any superfund sites, and there's over 1200 of them.  And superfund sites are just the big ones.  Granted, not every one of those are due to knowingly bad business practices. Some of them were made back when we didn't know any better.  The Love Canal is a classic example of a business who just did the standard practice of burying their toxic waste, and then sold off the land thinking it was taken care of and wouldn't be a problem.  That was back before we had all the toxicological research showing that it was bad; back before the EPA.
 
2014-01-17 06:46:30 PM

vygramul: See? There IS a death penalty for companies! (After the execs and decision-makers have taken home their 8-figure golden parachutes.)


Well, yeah. He'll make more money going bankrupt than staying open and getting the fark sued out of him. If the company doesn't exist, they can't pay out see. So if he puts all the money in his pocket and starts a new companny with the same assests doing the same thing, he's a reall 'Murican hero.3

I hope the judge sees through this assholes game and tells him to sit the fark down and take it up the ass like he needs to.
 
2014-01-17 06:48:00 PM

TwoHead: Could I kill someone one day, declare moral bankruptcy the next day and walk away from the whole thing? If corporations are going to be people I want to be a corporation.


i2.cdn.turner.com
 
2014-01-17 06:54:59 PM

DamnYankees: Dr Dreidel: If I found a company (ConHugeCo, LLC) in 2002 and wind it up and close up shop in 2005, my company can still be charged with crimes (assuming the statute of limitations hasn't passed) in 2006 for corporate activities between 2002-2005, correct? (If not, WTF.)

Or, since the company would have "no assets" by then, he gets to skate?

Basically the latter.

Don't confuse crimes with civil liabilities though. Corporations can't commit "crimes" under the justice system. They can be liable for civil damages. Crimes can only be committed by people.



"Corporations are people my friend."
 
2014-01-17 06:56:23 PM

We dun goofed! Quick! Hide the money!

 
2014-01-17 06:56:57 PM
A little freedom juice in the water can't hurt you if you ask jesus to protect you.
 
2014-01-17 06:58:20 PM

d23: You do realize this means there will now be absolutely no one at all that suffers any penalty... except the people of WV, of course.


Y'all ought to be ashamed of themselves.  They wouldn't have had to be so damned shoddy if it wasn't for the Obummer's gummint and their damn regulations and healthcare taxing them to death.  And dragging them through the mud like this?  Y'all commies hate job creators, don't you?

/I need a shower after that
 
2014-01-17 06:59:37 PM
So if you think you can get out from under your crushing student loan debt by declaring bankruptcy, forget about it.  But avoid responsibility for contaminating the drinking water for over 300,000 people for a week or more by declaring bankruptcy, absolutely.
 
2014-01-17 07:01:38 PM

cretinbob: vygramul: See? There IS a death penalty for companies! (After the execs and decision-makers have taken home their 8-figure golden parachutes.)

Well, yeah. He'll make more money going bankrupt than staying open and getting the fark sued out of him. If the company doesn't exist, they can't pay out see. So if he puts all the money in his pocket and starts a new companny with the same assests doing the same thing, he's a reall 'Murican hero.3

I hope the judge sees through this assholes game and tells him to sit the fark down and take it up the ass like he needs to.


We should require that all corporations carry liability insurance that will pay for environmental cleanups and any civil or criminal penalties in the event of bankruptcy.  It might help reduce the instances of this sort of thing happening if corps had insurance companies looking over their shoulder and raising their premiums whenever they saw lax maintenance standards.  And the execs might find moving on to that new company more difficult when the new one becomes basically uninsurable for any reasonable amount of money.
 
2014-01-17 07:04:45 PM

TwoHead: Could I kill someone one day, declare moral bankruptcy the next day and walk away from the whole thing? If corporations are going to be people I want to be a corporation.


That would be a fun experiment really. Declare yourself a corporation, abuse molest and assault people at random. And finally declare bankruptcy and blame it on employees.

what would happen?
 
2014-01-17 07:15:56 PM
Freedom Industries chooses to file bankruptcy after leaking chemicals into the water supply... or as the industry calls it, Tuesday.

It's not like this sort of thing has never happened before. Hell, ten miles from the Freedom industries used to be the main office of Union Carbide. One  Bhopal disaster later and now it's owned by Dow Chemical.
 
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