Thursday, March 30, 2023

Dirty dollars: Trail of deceit and ruin - Toledo Blade

Last updated Sunday, November 21, 2021 08:07 ET , Source: NewsService

Just after dawn, the fumes rose from the top of the Felman Production metals factory where the arc furnace belched out smoke and dust that cascaded over the neighborhood, covering the homes in a layer of filth.

Inside, Terry Henry, a 42-year-old welder, started to shake and later began to stumble and come down with excruciating headaches.

What he didn’t know at the time was he was slowly filling up with toxins so dangerous from the furnace fumes pouring into the factory that doctors later found traces of manganese in the base of his brain.

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stepped in years later to push tough restrictions on the factory — after workers were found to have been exposed to emissions — the operators of the West Virginia facility turned to some of the most powerful members of Congress to fend off regulators and keep the doors open.

Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito joined other lawmakers in firing off a letter to the agency in 2015, saying the plant in their home state and another in Ohio could shut down if they were forced to install expensive equipment and submit to testing under a strict deadline.

“It would be extremely disappointing if the companies were forced to stop operating,” the letter read.

But as lawmakers were warning the agency the plan was risky for the factory, the owners were amassing a fortune that went far beyond what was told to the EPA.

The owners had been secretly pumping millions of dollars into the plant and other...

Read Full Story: https://www.toledoblade.com/local/environment/2021/11/21/dirty-dollars-trail-of-deceit-and-ruin/stories/20211121045

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