Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.

October 18th, 2011 6:01 PM

More Reports of Cancer Near Koch Brothers' Factory

Billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch aren't the only ones who saw our latest investigative film. Thousands of people have posted comments on our Facebook page and have offered additional testimony about the Koch brothers' pollution in their communities.

In a smear campaign orchestrated in response to our investigation, the Koch brothers attacked almost all of the residents featured in our film. These individuals say they're suffering from cancer because they live too close to a Koch Industries factory, which pollutes rivers and creeks flowing near their rural homes. 

This duality between the haves and have-nots in our society is a big driver of the rising tide of Occupy movement-- and for good reason. The Koch brothers personify the top 1 percent and the avarice that's allowed the richest Americans to profit at the expense of the other 99 percent and those of us who're hardest hit by the jobs crisis and economic recession. 

Thousands of people posted comments that both reflect the goals of the Occupy movement and aid the people of Crossett, Arkansas, who are part of the other 99 percent and have volunteered to hand-deliver these messages to the Kochs. Some viewers, like Lance Blann, reached us directly and shared their personal reactions.

Lance was one of the tens of thousands who saw our video, "EXPOSED: Koch Industries and Cancer Risks" and was activated to speak out against "Crossett Crud," which is how local doctors describe the sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and the many other ailments that affect Crossett residents. 

Lance went to school in Crossett and spent much of his life. He and his friends nicknamed the brown waterways near their home "Stink Creek." For as long as he could remember, the smell had stained the community, he said in an interview with Koch Brothers Exposed producers. 

"It's a sickening thought what's going on in Crossett," Lance said in an interview. "My parents could be next." 

Lance is an alumni of a school system that ranks in the top 1 percentile of exposure to cancer causing toxins

For every one Lance, there's many other individuals who've suffered, or continue suffering, so the Koch brothers could profit. But because the Koch Industries factory is the biggest employer in Crossett, many people are reluctant to speak out. The company donates just enough money to the schools, police department, local churches and the Chamber of Commerce that the company is untouchable, even though the company's pollutants are odorous from the steps of City Hall. 

Many of the comments we received from our video at Koch Brothers Exposed were aghast that government regulators allow the Koch brothers' pollution to harm individuals. But it's permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Koch brothers' billions affords them access to establish or influence politicians, think tanks, family foundations and front groups to weaken oversight and safety laws. The EPA, local agencies and Arkansas state officials are unable to enforce existing laws and precedent in the face of the Koch brothers and their $100 billion Koch Industries. 

That's why we're trying to help the people of Crossett with comments they can use to confront the Koch brothers. See their stories and take action to fight back. 

You might save lives in Arkansas.

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