I want to introduce David Bouie, who is fighting back against the Koch brothers as an important part of our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign.
Charles and David Koch own my rights, and it cost them a few hundred dollars. Now, I’m asking the Koch brothers to come be my guest.
For the 30 years I’ve lived on South Penn Road in West Crossett, Arkansas, there has been a rotten odor hurting my friends, family and neighbors. It corrodes metal, and you can smell it everywhere on my street. I firmly believe, and have been told by doctors, that it’s giving my community cancer. It drifts across town and is odorous outside our local Chamber of Commerce 2.5 miles away on Main Street.
The Koch brothers’ Georgia-Pacific years ago paid neighbors on other streets to move away. They got out of here on Georgia-Pacific’s dime, but the company opted to settle with us on the cheap, we learned later. We trusted them, needed the money and now we’ve been left behind and left to suffer alone. We cannot access a recourse for our health ailments and property damage, which stems from the chemicals that spew from the Koch brothers’ mill and engulf my community.
The best recourse I have is appealing to the Koch brothers personally. David Koch is a cancer survivor and donates millions to fight cancer.
David, if you’re reading this, I want to be your host at 401 South Penn Road. Come stay with me for one day, seven days, I don’t care. We can camp out, and you can smell what I smell. My wife and I will cook for you. I make great pork chops. For breakfast, whatever you want- or I can whip up some grits and eggs. Whatever you like. You’re my guest.
It’d be my hope we can have some time to go for a walk. You can see for yourself- the fog- and smell for yourself- the rotten air- that I live with every day.
And I pray that I might be able to convince you to clean up this mess and relocate us like Georgia-Pacific did for other communities like ours. Indeed, just as Georgia Pacific compensated Thurman Road residents for their relocation years ago, please be a good neighbor to us. We cannot relocate on our own.
We are ground zero. The smell flows from streams near my street. The wind blows it over our homes and the stench is putrid. There’s no describing it. A rotten egg comes close, but the smell changes depending on the season and the time of day.
It scares away my grandchildren when they visit. Like everyone who lives or visits or works in West Crossett, my grandchildren will suffer sore throats, watery eyes and runny noses after one day here. They ultimately stay at a hotel outside of town.
My wife is afraid of going outside, instead living a life of fear and house arrest. The smell outside is too foul and the health consequences of being outside are too severe. She loves to be outdoors, but is afraid of the cancer causing chemicals she inhales. We do not leave the windows open, especially not at night. Sleeping would be impossible. Chances are you couldn’t get any rest, not while inhaling toxic air that causes sneezing sniffling, headaches and more.
Doctors in and out of town refer to our symptoms as the Crossett Crud. It’s an illness that affects our community and other parts of West Crossett near the Georgia-Pacific paper mill, the largest employer in our community of roughly 10,000 people.
Georgia-Pacific gets away with murder, and I have seen no empirical evidence from the EPA or our state environmental protection office that indicates there’s been any testing done to protect us from what doctors tell me are poisonous fumes I inhale day in and day out. I can’t afford to relocate on my own, and who would want to buy my home with the smell here?
My community needs help. The local Chamber of Commerce, police, fire department, schools, churches- you name it- are powerless against the Koch brothers. Their subsidiary Georgia-Pacific donates just enough money that local institutions are afraid to bite the hand that, in a poor state like Arkansas, feeds them.
My wife worked at Georgia-Pacific for 25 years and I put in 10 years there making table napkins. My neighbors and family made Georgia-Pacific what it is today.
We made it successful for you so we could share in the success. David, be my house guest and together we celebrate our achievements and begin a better tomorrow for our families.