An Exxon Mobil commercial has been making the rounds. The ad is basically a series of video portraits of proud, diverse Americans touting their sturdy jobs with Exxon.
Exxon provides a lot of good jobs, many of them in otherwise poor areas of the country, such as Baton Rouge, LA. And we all use petrochemical products.
But the harm Exxon Mobil and other petrochemical companies render upon their neighbors in places like southern Louisiana belies their public relations message of an all-around positive community benefit.
I've gotten to know some people and communities in Louisiana who can attest directly to Exxon Mobil and other petrochemical industry players' repeated, often blatant abuse of the simple rule: Love thy neighbor as yourself.
The neighbors affected by the oil industry's politically insulated refusal to clean up after itself are mostly working class people with little legal or political clout. They are not environmental activists bussed in and paid by agenda-driven organizations. They are third-generation fishermen, line cooks, single moms, teachers, nurses, mechanics, a former Army General, even oil company employees.
These are true stories of the petrochemical industry's reach across fencelines and through bayous into the lives of regular Louisianans who just want the industry to be an honest neighbor.