Boiling Frogs-Intel vs. the Village

"Boiling Frogs - Intel vs. the Village" recounts the story of Intel Rio Rancho's impact on the air and water in the Village of Corrales from the mid-1980s to the present day. Updates to this ongoing saga will be posted here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

FTIR Goes to Oregon

The sophisticated infrared air monitoring device purchased with villagers’ donations in 2002 to detect and measure industrial chemicals emitted by Intel’s factories on the mesa above Corrales has been transferred to a citizens’ group in Portland, Oregon for a similar effort. Dale Feik, campaign director for Hillsboro Air and Water, has followed the work of Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water (CRCAW) for many years. He and others have learned from the effort here to demand better control over chemical releases from Intel’s microchip-making facilities in Oregon. Private donations, mainly from Corrales residents, raised more than $93,000 to buy a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer manufactured in Canada. The device, which bounces an infrared beam through the air to a reflector and back, measures how chemicals in the air alter the beam. Each chemical leaves a distinctive signature read and is measured by the spectrometer. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXI No.15 September 21, 2002 “Corrales Will Buy It’s Own Air Pollution Monitor.”) For several years, crucially in the 2003-2005 time frame, the equipment was deployed at villagers’ property below Intel. It was primarily operated by retired Los Alamos labs chemist Fred Marsh, who moved from Corrales to Washington state in 2005. Because CRCAW did not have tax exempt status, donations for the FTIR were channeled to Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) which did. So the Albuquerque-based non-profit actually owned the device and paid for its maintenance and re-calibration for some time. It was put in storage some time back; complaints about chemical emissions from Intel have decreased markedly since the corporation installed “smoke” stacks at the appropriate height in 2011. Upon learning that SWOP had passed the FTIR on to clean air activists in Oregon, former CRCAW co-founder Barbara Rockwell, author of Boiling Frogs: Intel versus the village, welcomed the transfer. “I’m so pleased and happy to hear that the FTIR has been passed on! This is great news. It feels good to see the work begun by CRCAW continued and strengthened by Hillsboro Air and Water. “Hillsboro Air and Water’s chances of success in such a progressive state as Oregon are so much better than here in corrupt New Mexico,” Rockwell wrote to Feik. She and her family moved out of Corrales to escape from the emissions, relocating to Placitas. Another organizer of the fundraising drive to buy the FTIR, CRCAW member Martha Egan, echoed Rockwell’s commendation. “As a long-time Corrales resident, I salute you, and I’m pleased your group is the new owner of the FTIR. Many of us helped purchase the instrument, although it wasn’t used as much as we would have liked. “I do think, however, its very presence, together with our efforts, especially a member’s campaign to bring in the Environmental Protection Agency, helped convince Intel to shape up and at least mitigate its toxic emissions. “We fought a long, hard battle. The State of New Mexico was not only unsupportive of our protest of Intel’s sham air pollution permit, they were downright dismissive and adversarial, Republicans and Democrats alike. “Some of those who fought the hardest for our right to breathe uncontaminated air have died; many residents lost beloved animals. Reports of high incidences of miscarriages, pulmonary fibrosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease and other health crises in our community could be linked to Intel’s air pollution, but no one seems interested in studying this.” Egan urged Oregonians to read Rockwell’s book. “It’s quite a saga, a well-written, compelling tale of ordinary citizens’ efforts to stand up to corporate arrogance, government indifference and ultimately, public policies that favor profits over people.” When Marsh was analyzing data from the FTIR here, he announced in 2004 that one of the Intel chemicals detected that could cause illnesses here was the semiconductor industry chemical hexafluoroethane. Other chemicals were also suspect. Data from the EPA’s FTIR, when it was deployed around Intel in 2003, pointed to hydrogen fluoroide, among others. In an email to Marsh and other CRCAW members earlier this month, Feik reported that “currently numerous neighborhood associations in Portland are working together to raise $6,000 to purchase new software required to deploy this state-of-the-art detection and measurement device. “In 2016, we began canvassing door to door in Hillsboro. Over 100 people donated to the campaign to have the health of local residents be included in government regulation of Intel’s Washingon County operations. Recently, the State of Oregon agreed human health should be included in industrial air pollution regulation and is negotiating with us and other groups throughout the state. This is called Cleaner Air Oregon.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Toxic Synergy

Fred Marsh writes about synergistic effects: "When toxicity information is available, it is always for a single chemical, whereas Intel's toxic emissions are always mixtures. It is well known that a mixture of two (or more) chemicals can be much more toxic than the sum of their individual toxicities. Because Intel can release nearly 100 toxic chemicals, the resulting mixtures can be exceedingly complex. There is no way to study all possible combinations; all we can do is recognize that the synergistic toxicities of mixtures can be much higher. One published study showed that a mixture of just two chemicals resulted in a toxicity 1,600 times higher than the sum of the two individual toxicities. Acetone, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol, which Intel can release in such high quantities that they're not even required to report them, are known to greatly increase the toxicities of even mildly toxic chemicals. So the message is this: Whatever published toxicity information you might find about the chemicals Intel releases, the toxicity of their mixtures is probably worse, much worse, In a very real sense, residents who are forced to breathe Intel fumes serve as guinea pigs for exposure to untested and unknown health threats."

Saturday, February 07, 2015

ALS and Intel

Note: The neighborhoods around Intel Rio Rancho NM has an ALS rate 28 times higher than normal. This was confirmed by the ATSDR (Toxic Substance Disease Registry) a branch of the CDC when they were sent in to research the area. UPDATED: Dying for tech toys? Chip boom reflected in rising ALS rates By Anna Canzano and Kelly Hatmaker, published: Feb 3, 2015 at 2:16 pm PST: Last Updated: Feb 7, 2015 at 2:12 am PST Daniel Berry wasn't a flashy guy. He wasn't a complainer either. Maybe it was his experience in the military aboard a navy submarine as a young man then overseas in Afghanistan at 42 years old. Whatever the reason, Daniel never complained. About anything. Especially not his health. Daniel Berry (Photo: Berry family) So when he thought he had pulled a muscle, he didn't seek medical attention. Like a lot of men are prone to do, Daniel was just going to tough this out. but after a couple months he started having issues with his left leg. Then one day, his wife Michelle walked into their kitchen. "He was doing dishes and he was wearing shorts and I looked at him and said, oh my gosh, you have to go to the doctor," recalled Michelle. Dan had big calves from years of riding his bike and swimming. But on this day in the fall of 2010, Michelle was alarmed by what she saw. "I told him your left thigh and calf are half the size of the other one. That is not from a pulled muscle! Your legs don't diminish in size like that from that," said Michelle. That was the beginning of the end. The diagnosis? ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a rare neuro-degenerative disorder that traps is victims in their own bodies. It normally strikes when people are in their sixties. Daniel was only 45 years old. By 46, he needed a wheelchair. By 47, a ventilator. And eight months after he turned 49, Daniel was gone. "This disease is horrible and I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. There's just nobody I'd want to have it," said Michelle Berry. Consider the agony Dan felt -- with a mind as sharp as ever -- wondering until his final breath if somehow his work was connected to his disease. For nearly 15 years, he'd worked as a chip polisher for Intel at the company's Ronler Acres location in Hillsboro. It's a job that exposed him to harsh chemicals. Before dying, he learned of three co-workers at that location who developed ALS, and another at the company's plant in Arizona. One of them died before Dan. A fourth was diagnosed after Dan died. Dan wanted answers from Intel. "My mom was emailing to let them know we had heard more people had gotten ALS and they called her instead of emailing back. They said they were doing a formal investigation and asked for my dad's medical records," recalled Alssya Berry, Dan's daughter. He signed off on the records release and the Berry family says that's really the last they heard from the company. Daniel went to his grave unsure of whether his disease was as random as he initially thought. Lou Gehrig called himself the luckiest man alive. Is it possible these Intel employees were just unlucky? Or was it something else? "If there's a correlation then something needs to be done," said Michelle. "I want my dad's story to be out there. I want people to know other families are going through this and to make people aware this is happening," said Alyssa. Ronler Acres campus under construction 1994. (Photo: Intel Corporation) Intel made Oregon its production hub in the 1990s, and added the 'Fab 20' manufacturing plant to Ronler Acres, where Dan worked, in 1996. According to data from the Oregon Health Authority, the very next year the rate of ALS deaths in Oregon jumped 28 percent, to a then-record high 1.8 per every hundred thousand people. 2003 was another big year at Ronler Acres. That's when Intel offically took the wraps off D1D, a $2 billion dollar research fabrication plant, designed to help keep the company ahead of the market. 2003 was also the first year OHA included ALS as one of Oregon's "Leading Causes of Death;" the ALS death rate had climbed to 3.2 per 100,000 people, the 4th highest in the nation. D1D opened in 2003 as Intel's primary research manufacturing facility. (Photo: Intel/Bruce Forster Photography, Inc.) Lou Gehrig's Disease takes years to kill its victims. In this sort of comparison, you'd expect any ups and downs in ALS activity to occur 'after the fact,' but they don’t. One possible explanation for why ALS deaths had time to 'catch-up': Intel's institutional adherence to Moore's Law. Named for Intel's co-founder, Gordon E. Moore, and enshrined on the company website, Moore's Law says computer processors will double in complexity every two years. To stay on schedule, Intel builds ebbs and flows into production 18-to-36 months in advance; R&D (which is done primarily in Washington County) is charted out even farther into the future than that. Intel calls it the "Tick-Tock" model, and you can read about it on the company website, too. The boom and bust cycle of Intel's fortunes is reflected in the ALS activity OHA reported in the Portland area. Year after year of data reveals each time Intel slowed or stopped production, as it did in 2004, when its processors hit a "thermal wall," or in 2010, when it mothballed Fab 20 - the ALS rate in Washington and Multnomah counties dropped. In the years Intel made a killing, so did ALS. Death rates in Washington and Multnomah Counties climbed after 2008, as Intel's sales surged to meet the rising demand for PCs; in 2012 - when Intel was rolling out its "Ivy Bridge" processor - Lou Gehrig's Disease claimed 44 lives in Washington and Multnomah Counties, a new record for the region. And what about Intel's employees? "When we found the second or third person we were pretty concerned at that point," said Alyssa. "There were people who'd either worked with my dad, worked in the same fab, or had been working for Intel for the same time, 14 years or longer." In fact, Alyssa found obituaries and other internet sources revealing that half a dozen Intel employees in Oregon have been dealt this death sentence over the last 20 years. Reached about this story, Intel said it is aware of the reports of ALS. But spokesman Chuck Mulloy communicated to KATU News: “Based on our investigation and based on the data we have seen we don’t believe there is a correlation between Intel and ALS.” We asked Dr. Richard Clapp of Boston University to review what we found. He produced the most comprehensive examination on record looking at employee at chip making plants like Intel. It found a statistically significant increase in ALS cases among some of IBM's plant workers. He fought IBM in the courts for years to go public with his findings, and won, publishing the results in 2006. Dr. Clapp called the questions raised by KATU "important" and worthy of more study. "I think there will probably be others that will pick up and take this further, and be able to do some research that might be published in a peer reviewed academic journal." Such a study, Dr. Clapp said, would "add to our knowledge about what goes on in this particular industry." Intel is facing some intense scrutiny right now over the chemicals it's releasing into the community from its plants in Washington county. The state didn't know it was releasing fluorides into the air for 30 years. And now it's asking the state to increase those chemical releases.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Intel in Oregon

Boiling Frogs, Intel vs the Village (Corrales, New Mexico) – A Great Help in Oregon I am Dale Feik, a concerned father, grandfather, and citizen who has family surrounded by four Intel Manufacturing plants in Oregon. In the fall of 2013, I read Boiling Frogs and have never been the same since. This is a book everyone, especially all elected officials, should be required to read. For many years I have been concerned about climate change, and several years ago I decided to devote my time and energy to convincing people in Washington County, Oregon, that community well-being is more important than industry and jobs. In early 2013 my daughter and her husband bought their home in Hillsboro, Oregon. Then in September of last year they had their first child. Intel manufacturing plants surround them. Through attending public meetings, studying, and talking with others, reviewing archived and current Intel files at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), I began to realize that Intel posed a serious threat to their health and safety. I have written Op Ed pieces, letters to the editors, made many public comments to the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (the policy and enforcement arm of ODEQ), and talked with legislators, our Governor..... An article in the Dec, 15, 2010, Oregonian newspaper was titled, “Oregon embraces Intel, but in New Mexico, environmental doubts persist.” That article took me on a journey that has been arduous, scary, and uplifting because of the like-minded people I have met on the journey – in particular, Linda Peters, former Washington County Commissioner and chair who encouraged Intel to locate in Washington County in the 1980s. Linda expected Intel to be a good neighbor, but later testified before the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (OEQC) that she wished she had not encouraged Intel to invest in Oregon because of the environmental damages – air, water and land – that Intel’s footprint is causing. I made a similar statement: “At least demand that Intel install the “BEST”, not just reasonable abatement control devices, as Intel applied for in their permit”. I testified at the ODEQ Intel Title V, Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Quality Permit Hearing Oct. 14, 2013, and gave a copy of Boiling Frogs to the ODEQ Hearing Officer and later to Intel’s Regional Corporate Public Affairs Director, who said she already had a copy. I did not get a reply from Intel’s Public Affairs Director even though she coordinated the writing of responses to the official Hearing testimony. About twenty people testified at the Hearing and ODEQ finally released its summary of those extensive comments only after I made very assertive requests. I submitted copies of Boiling Frogs as part of my official Testimony, but Intel never addressed Boiling Frogs in their responses to that incriminating testimony. ODEQ permit writer George Davis said early on that ODEQ would rubber stamp Intel’s Air Quality permit, but later told me that they could not ignore the testimony at the Hearing and therefore recommended to the OEQC (the five member board appointed by the Governor to set policy, enforce environmental rules) that they impose penalties for Intel’s breaking the law/rules. On April 22, 2014, OEQC/ODEQ fined Intel $143,000 for three major violations: (1) Failing to notify ODEQ of its fluorides emissions for the purpose of regulating Intel as required by OAR (2) Beginning constructing of Fab D1X and Fab 20 without first obtaining the proper construction approval (3) Failing to obtain a permit to emit fluorides, a regulated pollutant. But OEQC/ODEQ allowed Intel to continue to build without a valid building permit. Click on this link to read the entire Mutual Agreement and Order between OEQC & Intel. The Oregon Department of Justice working for the OEQC fined Intel only $143,000 for those three major violations. This trivial $143,000 fine is just a slap on the wrist - equivalent to the profit Intel would earn in just eight minutes. But what Intel cannot change is the reality that they broke the law, got caught, and have not convinced many people living next to their five manufacturing plants in Washington County that the mix of substances in their current and future emissions are safe to breathe. Unfortunately, I’ve been told to expect state agencies and elected officials to give Intel anything and everything they request, including what Intel objected to in their permit application. Fred Marsh, a retired chemist who is quoted extensively in Boiling Frogs, told me: “We don't want Intel's Oregon neighbors to suffer the fate of Intel's New Mexico neighbors, who have experienced a rate of ALS 25 times higher than expected, and a rate of lethal pulmonary fibrosis nine times higher than expected, as well as a high incidence of other respiratory ailments.” “The claim that fluoride is not a health hazard is contradicted by hard facts, such as the leak of poisonous nitrogen trifluoride from a work station exhaust system at Intel’s microchip factory in Chandler, Arizona on June 29, 2013.” Marsh continued, “Chip making is sometimes called a “clean industry” because of the images of technicians in white lab suits working in ultra-clean rooms with shiny pristine silicon wafers. But it is estimated that on the average day of operations at a chip-making plant, four million gallons of wastewater are produced, and thousands of gallons of corrosive hazardous materials, like hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, are used.” Author Barbara Rockwell told me “If Intel were a flesh and blood person, you would have to treat them as you would a dangerous sociopath, not a reasonable, moral individual. You can't believe or trust anything they say or do. I think my book Boiling Frogs is a fair account of our experience so be forewarned. What's not included in my book is the death of Rosemary Keefe, a lovely woman, a retired English professor who was looking forward to a long and happy retirement. She died a year ago of pulmonary fibrosis after living in my old neighborhood just below Intel for just a few short years. She had a clean bill of health when she moved there and now she's dead. Doesn't get more final than that. Of course, Intel accepts no responsibility, they never have and they never will. My advice is to protect yourself and those you love, get as far away from the Intel plants as you can. I wish you well!” Intel’s Aloha, Oregon site has leaked toxic chemicals into the ground, some of which are the same chemicals that Intel used and abandoned in California. The former Mountain View site is now an EPA designated Superfund site. Will Aloha be the next Superfund Site Intel creates and abandons? In Nov 2014, Intel persuaded OEQC/ODEQ to adopt, for six months, a temporary rule that allows Intel to sidestep very important rules and regulations. Intel’s attorney argued to OEQC that the cost for Intel to be regulated by an appropriate permit would cost Intel (one of the world’s wealthiest corporations) too much money. The bottom line for Intel is not protecting and assuring the public that their health will be protected from toxic emissions, but rather saving money by not having to apply for a Federal Title V permit with Prevention of Significant Deterioration standards. It is unconscionable that OEQC/ODEQ may allow the Temporary Rule to become permanent and, thus, Intel will not be held to the highest current ODEQ standards of toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, and the highest Federal Standards for a Major Source emitter, which Intel is. Why is it unconscionable? - a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars is paltry compared to Intel’s $12 billion profits; but more importantly, Intel is asking to not be held to stricter controls so that only Reasonable Abatement Controls be installed on all of their emission stacks, avoiding Best Available (Achievable) Abatement Controls – Best Controls for Toxic emissions that are a much better protection of public health and welfare. Not only is Intel asking to emit tons of toxic air contaminates, but as a person concerned about Climate Change and the release of greenhouse gases, I became astonished that Intel applied to be able to release 819,000 tons of CO2 Equivalent per year, which calculates to 1.5 tons per minute which is 4 million pounds per day, which is 1.6 billion pounds per year. This puts Intel in the category of a Major Source greenhouse gas emitter, not far behind the coal-fired electricity producing plant in Eastern Oregon (over 2 million tons per year) and the three natural gas electricity producing plants (between 800,000 and 900,000 tons per year). Although I’m highly critical of Intel's minor-source permit and the way ODEQ has allowed Intel to operate, my objective is to protect the environment and the public, not punish Intel. We’re neighbors, and neighbors should try to work together for the common good. To begin with, the Good Neighbor Agreement we're negotiating with Intel Oregon must be more than an Intel PR effort to project a positive image, unlike the New Mexico Good Neighbor Agreement that Intel began violating before the ink was dry. We have no reason to trust Intel. Trust is something that must be earned, and Intel has given us many reasons for distrust. The motto to follow: “Trust, but verify”. If Intel in Oregon wants to earn our trust, they can begin by doing the following: 1. Intel should adopt the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide chip-cleaning process, developed at Los Alamos National Lab. This process would significantly reduce the amount of toxic chemicals Intel Oregon uses and releases, while decreasing water consumption by 90%. 2. Intel should continuously measure what they actually emit, rather than report calculated values, based on emission factors that may allow Intel to select whatever low number they want. 3. Next, Intel should install air monitors in nearby residential neighborhoods. If Intel emissions are as harmless as they claim, this is the perfect opportunity to prove it. Intel's unwillingness to measure what they put into the air their neighbors must breathe is the equivalent of taking the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. One can only conclude that Intel opposes such monitors because they may confirm that the toxicity of residential air is dangerously high. If Intel is ready to make a genuine commitment to protect public health and the environment, I am willing to replace confrontation with cooperation. We - as stakeholders who have a vital interest in the outcome - are willing to work with Intel and ODEQ to develop a new permit that meets the legitimate needs of everyone. That would be the best possible outcome for all concerned. (Note: I am a member of the Air Quality Advisory Committee that was formed by the attorneys of NCA/NEDC to negotiate with Intel attorneys and Intel employees. I am not speaking for AQAC, but for the many community members who have contacted me before NCA/NEDC attorneys asked me to join their team. I have been and will continue to negotiate in good faith as defined by the Settlement Agreement. It has been made very clear that the regulatory agencies – ODEQ and EPA – are not part of the negotiations and I assume the outcome of the risk assessment and operational information of the plants will not be used as evidence in future permitting applications.) A new Federal Major-Source permit that has a Prevention of Significant Deterioration Standard would allow Intel to meet its production goals while using the “BEST” available abatement techniques on all emission stacks/locations to protect the environment and the health of its neighbors. Which, after all, is the proper function of any regulatory permit. To do less is to invite an environmental and human health disaster of frightening proportions.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Corporate Welfare

.....and here's some answers to this root evil: Five Ways Out THERE ARE SOLUTIONS TO THE CORPORATE WELFARE MESS--BUT WHO GOES FIRST? What's a mayor to do? A major employer wants to expand or build anew. Rather than simply doing so, the corporation stirs up a bidding war to see which city and state will pony up the most cash, loans and tax breaks in the form of economic incentives. If you're the mayor and the facility means jobs and income for your town, do you play hardball and risk losing the plant and the jobs? Or do you give in and hand out tax money, only to face a never-ending string of similar demands from others? Right now it's not much of a debate: the mayors cave. The eagerness with which many states and cities routinely cancel taxes and distribute free services and grants to corporations puts enormous pressure on every other public official to do the same--even those who don't want to. TIME has found many public officials deeply upset at the ultimate cost of the giveaways to their communities. Inevitably, tax rebates to a selected few lead to higher taxes for others and to cutbacks in essential services. Can anything be done to stop the inequities? Absolutely. But first, forget about cooperative agreements among states to stop the war of incentives. They've been tried, and they don't work. In October 1991, New York City, New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut agreed that a series of costly bidding wars to attract corporations was ruinous for all concerned. The four governments signed what was described as a nonaggression pact. Less than a year later, the truce was in tatters. New Jersey fired the first shot; among its targets was the New York Mercantile Exchange, which it tried to entice across the Hudson to Jersey City. Piqued New York City officials groused that because of New Jersey's wooing, the city was forced to come up with an extra $30 million to keep the exchange in Manhattan. Next, in January 1994, New Jersey's newly elected Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, and New York's new mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, both Republicans, promised to end the border war. "We're not interested in stealing from each other," Whitman said. But then, in September of that year, in what a deputy of Giuliani's called a "shameless raid," Connecticut lured Swiss Bank Corp. from Manhattan to suburban Stamford with $120 million worth of incentives. Today, seven years after the first cease-fire, there isn't even a pretense of a truce. The latest poker game revolves around the new home of the New York Stock Exchange. Now in cramped quarters on Wall Street, the exchange has hinted that cheaper New Jersey real estate looks awfully good to it. In a knee-jerk spasm, New York City and State offered $600 million in incentives--more than twice the amount ever offered to keep a company in New York--to keep the exchange in Manhattan. Which brings us to: Solution No. 1 for ending corporate welfare at the state and local level: the levying of a federal excise tax on incentives. Under this proposal, Congress would enact a law imposing a tax equal to the value of the economic incentives granted to a company. In other words, if New York City and State governments were to give $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Government would hit the stock exchange with a $600 million federal tax. Hence no more value to economic incentives. No more bidding wars among governments. "You have to make the tax confiscatory, a 100% tax, to take away the incentive," says Arthur J. Rolnick, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minn. "Then there's no reason for a company to come knocking at your door. Some [public officials] have criticized [this idea], saying, 'We don't want another tax.' And we tell them, 'This is a tax you'll never have to collect.'" The Federal Government has the authority to impose such a tax under the commerce clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power "to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states." That doesn't mean it would be easy. There would be strong opposition from the corporate-welfare bureaucracy: the tens of thousands of economic-development specialists, consultants, lawyers, accountants, conference planners and others who earn their living by giving away taxpayer dollars. Accounting and consulting firms in particular, says Ohio State Senator Charles Horn, work "both sides of the fence." They help communities dream up incentive programs, then bring them clients to collect the incentives. What happens if Congress lacks the will? Solution No. 2 A lawsuit to have incentives declared unconstitutional. Legal scholars believe the practice violates the Constitution's commerce clause. Indeed, the Supreme Court has said as much in several cases. In 1977, for example, the court struck down a New York law that provided for lower taxes on securities transactions processed by brokers in New York. The state pleaded that it needed the tax break to keep brokerages around. The court didn't buy it. Even groups that usually oppose federal oversight of local affairs are calling for it in this case. The nonpartisan John Locke Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Raleigh, N.C., is a case in point. "We are a sort of right-of-center conservative organization, and what we are basically arguing is that the Federal Government should intervene," says John Hood, president of the foundation, which is readying a federal lawsuit to challenge state subsidies as violations of interstate commerce. Hood says it's personally "troublesome" for him to call for a federal solution, but he and others in the foundation have come to believe it's the only way to end state subsidies to favored businesses. Corporate welfare at the state and local level would end if either the Locke Foundation's proposed lawsuit succeeded or Congress accepted the suggestion of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve's Rolnick and enacted an excise tax. But what about all the incentives the Federal Government passes out? Many members of Congress, after all, build their careers on government handouts to corporations, which add up to two weekly paychecks for every working person in America every year. Solution No. 3 Creation of a special commission that would study federal programs and propose which should be scrapped. That list would go to Congress, which would be forced to vote either to kill or preserve the programs listed. In 1997, Senator John McCain of Arizona, along with other Senators, introduced legislation calling for the creation of an independent federal commission to eliminate "unnecessary and inequitable federal subsidies" to private industry. Both Congress and the President would be required to act on the recommendations of the commission--either by accepting them or rejecting them. "Unless Congress is forced to act to eliminate programs, it will not," McCain noted when he introduced the bill. "Perhaps independent commissions are the only fair way to ensure that neither side is given an advantage to protect its...corporate pork." Of course, any such effort will be greeted with stiff opposition from yet another entrenched bureaucracy. Those are the agencies, departments and special-interest groups that profit from the existing system. There would be a spirited fight led by large corporations to preserve the Exim Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Foreign Sales Corporations, to name just three. Solution No. 4 Shut off the flow of low-cost loans from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that have helped fuel the competition to snag companies. These loans date from the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and were aimed at "eliminating slums and blight." Today, TIME has found, HUD loans help bankroll such projects as a waterfront restaurant in Jacksonville, Fla. (it later went out of business), a downtown hotel in Philadelphia and an upscale fashion retailer in Spokane, Wash. In that case, a $24 million HUD loan arranged by the city of Spokane will go to construct a new store and enlarge a parking garage for Nordstrom Inc. And if these four solutions are rejected? Solution No. 5 is rooted in what has become the American way of late: sue. That's the course advocated by Dwight D. Brannon, a Dayton, Ohio, lawyer, who is suing state and local officials and a onetime Dayton-based company on behalf of its former workers. The company is Hobart Corp., part of an international conglomerate with sales of $2.4 billion in 1997. Hobart produces commercial equipment for food preparation. Ever since the Great Depression, the company had operated a plant in Dayton. But in 1995, Hobart pulled up stakes and moved 30 miles to the north, to Piqua, Ohio, which offered $2 million in incentives. In July, the company informed its 66 hourly employees in Dayton, many of whom had worked at the plant for years--their average age was 52--that their jobs would be terminated in three days. According to the suit, Hobart staffed the new location with part-time workers--average age 34--from a temporary firm. During a hearing in the lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Dayton, the company's lawyer explained it this way: "Every action [Hobart] has taken is motivated by sound economic or operational rationale." Exactly. And until governments figure out a way to end the practice, corporate welfare will flourish

Friday, June 20, 2014

Springtime in Portland

A post from Dirk Knudsen, community activist from Portland, Oregon where Intel is building Fabs aplenty and reputed to be hiring as many as 17,000 people. Dirk is a long-time resident of the area and has experienced the illnesses that result from exposure to Intel's toxins. Dirk totally gets it. He and many others in their area have read "Boiling Frogs" and have learned from the New Mexico Intel Experience. I wish them well..... "......Adding to that is the fact that many people make their money in their business lives off a a large corporations existence and then drive home at night to a place outside the community; this applies to many situations in life. I know from being here many decades that many in the decision loop have businesses that rely upon the Intel Fabs. One has to wonder if those folks are compromised. The answer clearly is yes. Maybe if I was compromised I could own a nice home or some land West of Hillsboro where the breeze does not blow the toxins and pollutants onto me. Out West of where the Air Quality Meter has been placed by people in power in Oregon who did so without local input; it now is at Hare field where never if ever a single pollutant from any of the Fabs in Hillsboro will blow. Who is doing this? Who is making these things happen? And why is it always done in the dark or in shadowy places without proper notice? I want to know and I want answers- and at the point I stop caring about reprisals and retributions against my real estate business I am coming to get them. Since I am not political it will not matter to me who's toes I might step on. I hope more of you stop allowing this topic to be "handled" by others or couched in explanations and crafted statements. It is simple. Intel in this case has poisoned the air. They want to do more of it. And they will not stop. Even our Governor who lives in Vista Hills, not Salem, is now about 5 miles directly East of the Fab - maybe he the good Doctor will care. Maybe. Oregon is the latest to reap the harvest and give away the farm at the same time. Others that have come before us have nothing good to say about the whole experience; they are left with what remains which is a terrible mess long after the Jobs are gone!" Dirk Knudsen

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Thirsty Intel

As we enter the third year of extreme drought, inquiring minds must wonder driving by Intel’s massive factory “How much water are they using?” They might be surprised to hear – if they can find someone who will tell them –it’s approximately 3 billion gallons a year. That’s right – ‘Billion’ with a ‘B.’ This is not a fact that you will hear disclosed or discussed in any of our local media at any time. There is an effective blackout on this topic, such is Intel’s power over the media and the State of New Mexico. Intel has its very long straw deep into our declining aquifer – three 2,000 ft. wells drilled in the early 90s. At the time Intel claimed that its wells were drawing from a ‘different aquifer’ that was not connected to the aquifer from which the rest of the valley draws its water. Nonsense, replied hydrogeologists not on Intel’s payroll, all of the aquifer is interconnected. Intel needs super pure water for its process. It uses reverse osmosis which rejects two-thirds of the water it pumps. This mineral-laden and probably acid-laden water is discharged to the south valley treatment plant. I say ‘probably acid-laden’ because friends who live near the treatment plant report smelling the familiar ‘Intel smel.’ The solution to pollution is dilution. Many people believe that Intel is reinjecting water into the aquifer. This is not true. It was proposed at one time, but it is not feasible. What was feasible and was tragically rejected by Intel is a clean method to make chips that was developed at Los Alamos Labs in 2001. The new technology, called SCORR uses carbon dioxide at high temperature and pressure for photoresist removal that leaves the silicon wafer bone-dry and free of any dirt, eliminating the need to rinse with ultra-pure water and dry with alcohol. It’s a closed-loop system that all but eliminates the use of hazardous corrosives and the production of wastewater. It would reduce Intel’s water use by a factor of ten, to less than 10% of current usage. Intel did not welcome this breakthrough with open arms. Craig Taylor, the developer from LANL said he repeatedly called the Intel Rio Rancho site manager and his calls were not returned. Finally in 2005, Intel’s research director reported that Intel had actually tested SCORR: “We found good results, and sometimes equivalent results, but we didn’t find anything that was performance enhancing.” As if saving billions of gallons of water and eliminating toxic emissions is not ‘performance enhancing !