In Port Arthur Texas, home to eight oil and chemical industrial sites, the egg-like, putrid smell of toxic chemicals spews from oil refinery smokestacks every hour of every day.
That stench stands as a reminder to the people who live there that what they smell and breathe is, indeed, making them sick.
Earlier this month, Marianne Engelman Lado from the Northeast office and I travelled back to Uniontown, Alabama, a small, quiet, predominantly African American town that received over 4 million cubic yards of poisonous coal ash from the December 2008 TVA disaster in Kingston, TN.
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government. It conjures up an image of a guy in a $5,000 suit slipping money into a senator’s pockets. It’s seemingly taboo to lobby, and as a public policy major I find my answer to the often-repeated question of “So, are you going to sell out and become a lobbyist when you graduate?” being “Absolutely not!”
But, as I learned during my time here, “lobbying” has a much-more layered definition.
Throughout the U.S. oil and gas boom, frackers have countered public concerns about water contamination with the assurance that drilling operations target deposits that sit much deeper than drinking-water aquifers. This picture is not entirely accurate, according to recent research.