Update: Nalco’s website and every other official record of ownership I came across weren’t entirely updated. In 2007, Blackstone, Goldman, and Apollo sold their remaining direct and indirect interests in the Company. Obviously, the problems of deregulation and privatization didn’t happen overnight, so I think the connections are still an important reality, and should be highlighted here.
Interestingly, the 2010 board nominees for Nalco include former BP, and current Tesco board member, Rodney F. Chase, Monsanto’s Carl M. Casale, and Lockheed Martin and J.P. Morgan’s Mary M. VanDeWeghe. It’s like Nalco finds its board by playing Evil Corporation Roulette.
Rep. John Hall (D-NY) pointed out here the obvious conflict of interest of having a former BP board member, Chase, serve at Nalco at a time BP is buying a toxic, inferior dispersant from the company.
After flipping the bird to the EPA, BP has continued pouring around 655,000 gallons of a chemical, which has been banned in the UK, into the ocean to break up oil patches. And not only is the chemical toxic, it’s also inefficient:
Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show. Two of the 12 were found to be 100 percent effective on Gulf of Mexico crude, while the two Corexit products rated 56 percent and 63 percent effective, respectively. The toxicity of the 12 was shown to be either comparable to the Corexit line or, in some cases, 10 or 20 times less, according to EPA.
So why the big rush to use a toxic, inefficient dispersant? That brings us to the really fun part. The chemical, Corexit, is manufactured by Nalco Holding Company, whose current leadership includes executives from BP and Exxon, even though the Exxon-Nalco venture “dissolved” back in 2001.
Nalco, a global company that provides water processing solutions, first had access to Corexit in the 1990s, when it had a joint venture with its energy solutions business with Exxon Mobil.
The partnership was really a brilliant move on Exxon’s part. They got to profit from oil drilling and from the oil spills. It was a real win-win situation, even though everyone at Exxon and Nalco were already aware of the health problems associated with Corexit.
Corexit was used in 1989, after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and there were reports connecting the chemical to severe health issues including respiratory, kidney and reproductive problems. In fact, Exxon’s own data listed 6,722 cases of upper respiratory infections among the workers participating in its oil spill cleanup.
But even with the joint venture dissolved, the story gets stranger. In 1999, Nalco entered a merger agreement with Suez, one of three companies that dominates the water privatization business. Suez would love to see the United States handed over to Libertarian nut jobs like Rand Paul, who think everything should be privatized, including the right to clean drinking water. In Suez’s dream world, nothing is a human right, and everything has a price tag — including water and oxygen.
Nalco is now owned by the Blackstone Group, Apollo Management, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Blackstone is a private equity and asset management firm, which was co-founded by Pete Peterson, the man who longs to privatize your Social Security, mostly because he’d make a pretty penny from the con.
Apollo Management is another private equity investment firm i.e. a clubhouse for the Masters Of The Universe, and I believe you’ve all met Goldman Sachs, so there’s no need for me to burn this Lloyd Blankfein effigy I have here at my side.
These connections all seem serendipitous until one considers the larger picture, and there isn’t even a need to get all New World Order creepy conspiracy theory with the narrative. Everyone — Peterson, Blackstone, Nalco, Exxon, BP, Suez — all stand to benefit from shrinking the role of government and regulation.
If the powerful can remove the regulators from their paths, they’re free to do anything, up to and including, drilling into the earth until their rigs explode into fireballs, leaving the dolphins to swim in the oil lagoon where the sea used to be. Then, they can profit from the clean up, too. It’s called playing the Long Con.
Nalco swears to everyone that an “older and newer” version of Corexit being used in the Gulf are both safe for workers and the environment, which fails to explain why they felt the need to ever invent a newer version of the chemical in the first place. Nevermind. Go watch Peterson talk about why you should give him your Social Security money on CNN again.
Even though Corexit has been linked with human health problems including respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders, BP is using tons of this chemical right now.
While Corexit has been used by various companies worldwide, nothing compares to its current usage for perhaps Nalco’s biggest project to date. It had to ramp up production at its facilities in Texas and Louisiana, [Nalco spokesman Charlie Pajor] said.
“This has been most unusual,” Pajor said about the demand.
Very unusual, indeed. How any Nalco representative can claim this level of exposure is safe — for anyone — is really beyond me. Oh well. I’m sure Nalco, or Blackstone, will merge with a company that manufactures oxygen tanks, so they can profit from that side of the disaster, too. It’s called diversifying, you illiterate philistines.