"Many powerful companies that drive environmental injustice are also backers of the same police departments that tyrannize the very communities these corporate actors pollute," write the authors of a newly released investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative. The report is titled "Fossil Fuel Industry Pollutes Black & Brown Communities While Propping Up Racist Policing" and it's a damning indictment of corporate giants who protect their astronomical wealth by exploiting the vulnerable.
From the report:
- Shell, one of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world and a major global emitter of carbon pollution. It is building a huge ethane cracker plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that some feel could start to turn Appalachia into the next "Cancer Alley" – the nickname for the New Orleans-to-Baton Rouge corridor of Louisiana refineries, where Shell is also a major polluter. Cancer Alley runs through several Black communities that face extremely high rates of pollution and cancer – largely believed to be caused by refining and petrochemical operations. Shell is a "Featured Partner" of the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation and a sponsor of the Houston Police Department's Mounted Patrol.
- Entergy is a publicly-traded, Fortune 500 company headquartered in Louisiana that also services parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. Entergy is arguably the most powerful corporate force in Louisiana, with presences on prominent chambers, business associations, philanthropic organizations, and even charter school advocacy groups across the state. Entergy is a "Featured Partner" of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation with top billing on the foundation's sponsors page. In 2018 Entergy made headlines after it paid actors $60-200 dollars to pose as grassroots supporters at a City Council meeting that was considering the company's proposed gas-fired power plant in New Orleans East, home to a large Vietnamese community. The resulting scandal, lawsuit, and city council investigation prompted the Entergy New Orleans CEO to step down.
- Wells Fargo is the second biggest global banker behind fossil fuels, with nearly $198 billion in financing between 2016 and 2019. The scandal-ridden bank has a slew of ties to police foundations. It is a platinum sponsor and has two board seats with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation. It is also a partner and donor to the Seattle Police Foundation, a director and sponsor of the Atlanta Police Foundation, and a donor to the Salt Lake City Police Foundation. Moreover, when it comes to financial ties to racist practices and institutions, Wells Fargo coziness with the police is just one example: the bank has been involved in discriminatory lending, propping up private prisons, and much more (for more information, check out the ACRE's Forego Wells campaign).