Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 30, 2008

Capitalist pig of the month

Filed under: capitalist pig,real estate — louisproyect @ 8:59 pm

Ira Rennert: capitalist pig of the month

This may be just the first in a continuing series based on the time I have available and on the availability of suitable candidates—I imagine that the second condition will be a lot easier to meet. It is written in the spirit of Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” awards that he hands out on a fairly regular basis on his MSNBC cable show. As you can imagine, Bill O’Reilly is a multiple recipient. My approach will be somewhat different. I am far more interested in highlighting the sins of the super-rich, who are after all the ones who pay the piper. I should add that Ira Rennert received “The Awful Truth” award of the year in 1999 from Michael Moore (more below), so in a sense I am following in both of their footsteps.

As some of you will recall, I have referred to the Real Estate section of the weekly New York Observer as a kind of scandal sheet in which various shady characters are reported as buying or selling hugely expensive apartments. This included Jack Barnes and Mary-Alice Waters, the two leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, who sold a loft near party headquarters in the West Village last year for nearly 2 million dollars. The article was titled “Communists Capitalize on Village Sale—Get $1.87 M. for Loft”.

Earlier this month, Max Abelson, the Observer’s real estate reporter scooped the Barnes and Waters transaction, reported on another big sale (“Big Deal! Big-Hearted Baron Ira Rennert Buys Daughters Spreads in 740 Park, 778 Park for $60 M.-Plus)

Brooklyn-born Ira Rennert has an oceanic $185 million Hamptons compound, a few infamous smelting plants in Peru and Missouri, and a billion-dollar fortune from junk bonds and Hummer vehicles.

He also has something of a generous streak: Two sources told The Observer that Mr. Rennert has bought two of New York’s most expensive apartments, at two of the best-bred co-op buildings, for his two daughters…

Mr. Rennert, meanwhile, has his own multiunit spread nearby at 625 Park Avenue, plus his 63-acre oceanfront property—“the largest home in America,” The New York Times wrote in 1998. He’s also been known for a different kind of excess: According to a 2003 BusinessWeek article, the E.P.A. has ranked his Renco Group—a conglomerate based on mining and smelting—as the country’s 10th-biggest polluter.

The news that this scumbag is buying 60 million dollars worth of apartments for his useless offspring goes hand in hand with the fact that his corporation is the country’s 10th biggest polluter. With one he poisons the air and water and with the other helps turn Manhattan into a theme park for Eurotrash and hedge fund managers.

Ira Rennert’s 78,000 square foot house

Although the Observer does not mention it, there was quite of resistance to Rennert’s 78,000 square foot weekend retreat from his Hamptons neighbors, including the rich and powerful. On August 24, 1998, the Scottish Daily Record reported:

Eccentric Ira Rennert’s massive home is set to be twice the size of the White House when it is completed.

But millionaire locals, who include Steven Spielberg, have dubbed the plans “a monstrosity” and vowed to fight them every step of the way. Rennert, 63 – who made his fortune building Humvee military jeeps – calls his proposed palace Fair Field.

The 100 million pounds monster building is set to take up 63 acres on ocean-front land.

It will have 39 bathrooms, 29 bedrooms, a kitchen the size of a restaurant, garage space for 200 cars and a huge power plant.

And if the residents get bored, there will be two tennis courts, two bowling alleys, a 164- seat cinema, a basketball court and two outdoor sports pavilions.

But neighbours in the posh Hamptons area of New York state have set up a pounds 50,000 fighting fund in a bid to halt the project.

Movie director Spielberg is being joined by tycoons Mortimer Zuckerman and Donald Trump in his opposition to the plans.

When you have Donald Trump lining up against you on the basis that you are just too ostentatious and vulgar, then you have really broken free from the earth and sailed straight into the stratosphere.

As might be expected, a target as tempting as Ira Rennert invited the scrutiny of Michael Moore, who also has finely tuned antennae for capitalist pigs. On November 13, 1998, the NY Daily News reported on Rennert’s bid to prevent Moore from documenting his excesses.

A rich industrialist who is building one of the biggest private houses in America went to court yesterday to stop “Roger and Me” film maker Michael Moore from documenting his edifice complex.

Millionaire financier Ira Rennert filed a lawsuit to bar the ambush interviewing that is Moore’s hallmark, as the mischievous movie maker prepares a satire about Rennert whose 25-bedroom, 39-bathroom oceanfront digs has even his wealthy neighbors on Long Island’s East End alarmed.

Yet part of the suit, which was filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, was abruptly withdrawn yesterday afternoon by Rennert.

The complaint had contained a sworn affidavit from Joanne Rullan, a receptionist at The Renco Group, the holding company for Rennert’s business empire, in which she charges she was assaulted by Moore on Nov. 5.

In 2000, Rennert made a bid to take over the RJB coal mining company in Great Britain. As The Independent reported in an article titled “Sex Offender Heads Renco Bid For Rjb”

on August 27 of that year, predatory investments seem to go hand in hand with sexual predation:

ONE OF the top executives at US company Renco Group, now in talks to take over RJB Mining, is a convicted sex offender who has just completed three years’ probation after admitting “sexual misconduct” with a teenager applying for a job with the company.

Marvin Koenig, the 70-year-old executive vice president and right-hand man to the group’s controversial founder, Ira Rennert, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual misconduct concerning an incident in 1995.

Mr Koenig lured Pearl Higgins (not her real name) into his offices in New York’s Rockefeller Center one evening, after having offered her a $ 10 an hour clerical job.

Manhattan District Attorney papers allege that Mr Koenig pounced on her with a knife, forcing her to have oral sex before raping her on the boardroom table. The petrified teenager called the police and Mr Koenig was arrested on three counts of rape in the first degree, a class B felony which carries up to 25 years in prison.

Showing the utter disjunction between professed religious beliefs and one’s ethical behavior, Rennert is an orthodox Jew. As such, it should not come as any big surprise that he is a supporter of the most rightwing parties and causes in Israel. As the Zionist state becomes more and more isolated in the world, it finds that it can only rely on orthodox Jews and Christian fundamentalists for hard core support.

On February 10, 2003, the Jerusalem Report revealed how Rennert and other wealthy American Jews (including the equally disgusting Ronald Perlman who I reported on here) flout Israeli laws in order to fund their favorite rightwing politicians:

Six names emerge repeatedly in conversations with those in the know about American funding of Israeli politics: Edgar and Charles Bronfman, former Seagram’s owners; Slim-Fast diet food founder S. Daniel Abraham; Saban, cosmetics heir-philanthropist Ronald Lauder, and Ira Rennert, chairman and CEO of The Renco Group, which specializes in metals and makes the HUMVEE all-terrain vehicle.

Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, his brother Charles, a noted philanthropist (and former chairman of The Report), and Abraham (a former Report part-owner), have been involved in political efforts at the left side of the Israeli political spectrum, with people like Shimon Peres and Barak. In the past, Saban reportedly donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of both Barak and former defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai. (Edgar Bronfman, Saban and Abraham did not respond to repeated interview requests.)

Lauder is close to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reportedly paid the million-dollar-plus fee collected from the 1996 Netanyahu campaign by U.S. mega-consultant Arthur Finkelstein. A spokeswoman for Lauder declined to comment on his current contributions or what he had done in the past. She told The Report via e-mail that “since Mr. Lauder won’t make campaign contributions in Israeli elections, he isn’t able to offer any commentary on what others may do.”

Rennert, who is known as a big financial supporter of right-of-center candidates and causes, often donating through NPOs, also declined to comment.

La Oroya, Peru: victims of Rennert’s pollution

Evidently, some religious leaders­—closer in spirit to the holy texts than Rennert—decided to appeal to his better instincts, a mission that seems inspired more by a desire to put pressure on the greedy slob than actually change his behavior. In a web-only article that appeared on the Nation Magazine website last June, Sara Shipley Hiles described how “Religious Leaders Challenge a Polluter“. It is worth quoting in its entirety.

It’s a long way from the thin air of an impoverished mountain village outside Lima, Peru, to the tony atmosphere of the Hamptons. But a group of religious leaders from Peru recently traveled to New York to tell billionaire industrialist Ira L. Rennert that even if he can sleep at night, comfortably ensconced in his 110,000-square-foot estate in Sagaponack, God is watching.

The clerics want Rennert to improve health care and dramatically decrease emissions at a metals smelter in La Oroya, Peru, a town high in the Andes Mountains where thousands of children are suffering from lead poisoning. The smelter, known as Doe Run Peru, is a subsidiary of Rennert’s $2.4 billion private holding company, the Renco Group.

Peruvian Roman Catholic Archbishop Pedro Barreto publicly called upon Rennert, a well-known philanthropist and supporter of Orthodox Jewish causes, to honor his religious faith and work harder to solve La Oroya’s pollution problems.

“Our main purpose was to invite Ira Rennert to become a leader in social responsibility, under the assumption this is an ethical and moral issue,” Barreto said, during the group’s three-city visit to the United States this month.

Rennert declined to meet with Barreto and his colleagues, referring them to a local representative for the smelter in Lima. The religious delegation–which included an evangelical pastor, a Jewish leader and several Catholic nuns–instead visited with various religious agencies during the stop in New York City.

Calls to Rennert’s office at Rockefeller Center asking for comment on the visit were referred to Victor Belaunde, a Doe Run Peru spokesman in Lima. Belaunde said that company officials met with the religious leaders June 8 in Lima and updated them on ongoing environmental improvements.

Company officials claim Doe Run Peru has already committed more than $107 million to clean up the smelter in the decade since Renco acquired the facility. The company pays $1 million annually to fund a health program run by the government’s health ministry, Belaunde said. He added that the smelter is now in compliance with Peruvian standards for lead emissions.

Despite these investments, a recent study by St. Louis University scientists found that 97 percent of children in La Oroya are lead-poisoned, a condition that can cause mental and physical deficiencies. And a new report from LABOR, a Peruvian non-profit group, found that emissions of lead, arsenic and sulfuric acid have actually increased in the past two years, according to Friends of La Oroya, a group supporting the religious leaders’ delegation.

The city of 33,000 people has been declared one of the world’s ten most polluted places by the Blacksmith Institute. Visitors to La Oroya first notice that the surrounding valley looks like a bomb crater, stripped bare of vegetation by acid rain. Then they notice the massive Doe Run smelter complex, which bathes city in choking fumes and toxic dust that contains cadmium, arsenic and lead.

To combat the dust, Doe Run organizes cadres of women to wash public streets and encourage children to wash their hands. The company has delayed some mandatory environmental work that was originally required to be completed in 2006. Now the work is set to be done by 2009, but even then, according to the company’s own study, many children in the town will still have blood-lead levels well above the acceptable standard.

“In the last few years the pollution in the air is worse, the soil has become infertile and the water has become polluted,” said Sister Mila Diaz, a Dominican nun from La Oroya who was part of the religious delegation. “We don’t want to fight with the company. We don’t want the company to close their doors. What we want is for them to comply with the promise they made to clean the air.”

The religious leaders’ tour also stopped in St. Louis, where Doe Run Peru’s former parent company, Doe Run Resources, has its headquarters. Company officials there declined to meet with the group, saying that Doe Run Peru is no longer its subsidiary; the Peruvian company now reports directly to Renco.

In addition, the group visited Herculaneum, Mo., where Doe Run operates the largest lead smelter of its kind in the United States. Longtime environmental activist Tom Kruzen took the group on a “toxic tour” to see the neighborhood where Doe Run was forced to buy out more than 140 homes surrounding the plant.

“You can pray all you want,” Kruzen said of Rennert, “but if you’re doing bad things to people, or if your endeavors do bad things to people, then you’re not a moral person.”

Rennert has grown rich using a formula of buying dirty companies, taking out steep loans and paying himself princely dividends, as documented in articles in Forbes and Business Week. Several of his companies have filed for bankruptcy, allowing Rennert to buy back assets for pennies on the dollar. Rennert’s empire of mining and manufacturing firms also includes AM General LLC , the maker of HUMVEE military vehicles and the gas-guzzling Hummer, as well as a magnesium producer and a steel manufacturer.

The wealthy financier also has given widely to charitable and civic causes. Rennert and his wife, Ingeborg, have contributed to restoring the Western Wall Tunnels in Jerusalem, where the visitor’s center bears the name “The Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Hall of Light.” New York University has an endowed professor of entrepreneurial finance in Rennert’s name, and the Rennerts donated between $1 and $1.9 million to the World Trade Center Memorial .

At one time, Rennert lent his name to the Torah Ethics Project, an effort to remind Orthodox Jews of the importance of “living in accordance with the highest ethical standards.” A statement on the project’s website urges moral behavior in all business and personal matters that “adds luster to God’s sacred name.”

Rennert’s supporters have included Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Holocaust survivor. At the prestigious Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York, where Rennert is chairman, Rabbi Yaakov Kermaier defended Rennert’s reputation.

“I’m not really familiar with any of his business operations,” Kermaier said in an interview. “I know him as a person of extraordinary generosity and unimpeachable personal integrity.”

Congratulations, Ira Rennert, you are the Unrepentant Marxist’s capitalist pig of the month.

UPDATE: Marxmail subscriber Colin Brace wrote today: Louis, I heartily endorse your nomination. Rennert is a world-class bastard. Here is what I wrote several years ago on my short-lived blog about the activities of his company Doe Run in Peru.

14 Comments »

  1. What an utterly contemptible man. He’s certainly earned this accolade.

    Comment by Damian — January 30, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

  2. In Santa Barbara & Santa Monica CA,(as elsewhere like the Hamptons & Nantucket maybe) there’s a running joke: Class Warfare is the Billionaires vs. the Millionaires.

    I can imagine French men and women making similar jokes during the reign of Louis XVI.

    Comment by m.c. — January 31, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

  3. I meant SB & Malibu(from The Big Lebowski fame) Santa Monica is upscale by La standards but is somewhat socio-economically mixed. If you want to break down SB further, Monticeto(where Oprah has a house)is called the Beverly Hills of Santa Barbara. They play Polo there.

    Comment by m.c. — February 1, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  4. what is shameful to me is that you mention his daughters as “useless”.

    Comment by j — February 8, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  5. Oooooooh, such concern, J-

    You don’t think his daughters are thrilled with this arrangement?

    You don’t think they have some influence on his ability to continue this state of affairs?

    or a choice to renounce their lives of luxury?

    (belated reply, but couldn’t let this go unchallenged)

    Comment by Paul — April 27, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  6. […] Ira Rennert, the winner of my last capitalist pig of the month in January who provoked his Long Island neighbors into a rebellion against his garish 78,000 square […]

    Pingback by Bruce Kovner: capitalist pig of the month « Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — June 15, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

  7. POLLUTION TO THE OROYA CITY PERÚ
    The years 2006 and 2007 the Blacksmith Institute have accomplished a research about the cities more contaminated to the world and arrived to the conclusion that the Oroya city was between the 10 cities more polluted of the world and, the environment Graffiti 2008 said that is between five more pollute too to the world and the 2008 Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland say that Oroya is between the most polluted of the world. This qualifications are benevolents; according to my researchs to many years who I am publishing, the Oroya city is the more polluted to Peru, Latin America and of the world and every day is being more polluted: lead in blood in children in the Ancient Oroya in average 53.7 ug/dl ( DIGESA 1999); pregnancies women 39.49 ig/dl ( UNES 2000), new borns children 19.06 ug/dl, puerperal 319 ug/100 grams/placenta ( Castro 2003) and workers 50 ug/dl ( Doe Run 2003).Top lead in blood accepted 10 ug/dl; present day is 0 ug/dl ( Pediatric of Academy to USA)
    When the Oroya city was in hands to the CentroMin eliminated only by the upper chimney to 167.500 meters, in average by day in tons: sulfur dioxide 1000, lead 2500, arsenic 2500, cadmium 40, particulate matter 50 and so on, more 24,000 to toxis gas product to the incomplete combustion of the coal, without count it is eliminated by industrial incinerator y by the 97 smalls chimneys, it is estimated 15,000; overall 45,000 tons for day (PAMA . El Complejo Metalúrgico de la Oroya, 1996); other research say that by this chimney only eliminate overall 119¨917,440 tons too every day to a velocity to 8.7 meters by second ( Chuquimantari C. Yauli-La Oroya Minería y Ciudades Empresas Pág. 57, 1992)
    Doe Run envoy every three months the concentrations of the heavy metals to the Ministry to the Energy and Mines and with the sames datums Ceverstav have demostrated the pollution was increased; for example the sulfur dioxide it have increased in near to 300 %, by increment to the production (Cederstav. La Oroya no Espera 2002
    The American Association to the Environment say that the environmental quality to the Oroya it is serious deteriorated since that Doe Run was owner and the same enterprise
    declared that the concentrations of the heavy metals gas it is ncreased in the air: lead 1160 %, cadmium 1990 % and arsenic 6006 % (Portugal, et al. Los Humos de Doe Run 2003)

    Comment by Godofredo Arauzo — November 1, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

  8. After 30 years of noncompliance, the Missouri Rennert smelter is finally meeting the air standard for lead emissions- but that’s the 1978 standard. The new 2008 standard is another story. Yards at 9 out of 10 homes within a mile of the Missouri plant are showing trends of recontamination – these are yards that have already been remediated at least once (this in the most recent round of testing). Rennert’s companies are a reflection on him – and it is a wonder he can look in the mirror without horror. “By their fruit you will know them” – their rotten, stinking, poison, putrified fruit.

    Comment by Kat Logan Smith — January 27, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  9. I consider myself, my extended family and my entire community among the thousands of Rennert’s victims. His money will not buy his place in heaven. I pray his immoral actions will result in a very special place in the other direction.

    Comment by Leslie Warden — January 27, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  10. CONFIRMED: Oroya PERÜ in the most polluted city of the world

    Dr. Godofredo Arauzo

    Blacksmith Institute visited the Oroya city in May 2008. The observations about the achievements in the pollution by this metallurgic complex, according to statements of The Inter American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) by its name in Spanish.are DECEIVING, because such statements have no basis; is a summary presented by Doe Run. AIDA sustain that the environmental quality and the fulfillment or the degree of protection for human health of the Oroya city can not be evaluated based on the quantity of investment made by the company but it should be done based on the current data about the quality of air, lead level in the blood and another environmental and health indicators, that the report does not take into account (1).
    Critic that Blacksmith is based on limited datum in order to evaluate, for example, the sulphur bioxide (SO2) level in the zone. Blacksmith Institute affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya city has a day time average of 5.000 ug/m3 (maximum allowed is 13 ug/m3) (CDC); but during the day that Blacksmith was in the Oroya, the SO2 concentration was 0.(1)
    Finally AIDA concludes that the Blacksmith report undermines the efforts to really reach the remediation and cleaning of Oroya city (1)
    AIDA express too that the quality of air in the Oroya has deteriorated seriously after the metallurgic complex came into Doe Run’s hands. Doe Run itself said that the lead concentration raised to 1.163%, the arsenic to 606% and the cadmium to 1990% (2). The concentrations of lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and others have substantially increased since 1997, mainly due to the increasing of production; for example, the lead production raised 25% (3). The inhabitants of Oroya city are contaminated by a toxic cocktail (4); it is a living laboratory.
    The cadmium concentration (Cd) raised dramatically since the acquisition of the complex by Doe Run. In 1999 the Cd concentration was 0.22 ug/m3 in the Syndicate (the level allowed was 0.0055 ug/m3); it surpassed by more than 40 times the frontier and did not inform anymore to the Ministry for Mines and Energy (MEM) since year 2000; in the same way, the arsenic concentration soared meaningly since 1997. There is not monitoring of particulate material smaller than 2.5 micra (PM 2.5), that are the most dangerous to human health and move easily. Ceverstav says that the parameters of air quality have been deteriorated dramatically after Doe Run have in charge of the complex (5)
    The Environment Protection Agency of USA (EPA), has 1467 chemical compounds registered as the most harmful and the sulphur dioxide (SO2) is ranking number 16 in dangerousness (6). Cevestav showed based on the same figures that Doe Run sends to MEM every 3 months, that SO2 emission had incremented in more than 200% since Doe Run has in charge the complex (5).
    Blacksmith affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya is in average 5,000 ug/m3 (1); another author reports that this average is 934 ug/m3 (2); the level allowed is 13 ug/m3 (7). The day time concentration is higher between 8 am and 5 pm and it reaches a peak of 2,100 ppb (the allowed value is 280 ppb) (5). In August 13. 2008 the SO2 concentration arrived to an historic and horrifying limit: 27,000 ug/m3 (8-9-10) (the allowed figure is 13 ug/m3 (7).
    Another heavy metals and highly toxic compounds are not analysed in the Oroya: vanadium, uranium, mercury, antimony, barium, selenium, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, and aluminum (2). The inhabitants of the Oroya are contaminated, not only with lead but too with cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, and antimony, as well; the antimony concentration is 30 times higher than in USA (11): .
    There has not been any decrease in the air concentration of lead in the last 5 years in the Oroya; in Huanchan such concentration is above 15 times the level permitted; in the months of January and February 2007 it was an excess of 245% above the allowed level in Huanchan station; in 2006 the cadmium concentration exceeded 48 times the levels allowed by the WHO (12): lead production increased by 25% (2).
    Doe Run monitors only specific sources; it does not monitor the toxic agents that are emitted through the 95 small chimneys neither it monitors to the deposits of concentrateds and deposits to arsenic of Vados and Malpaso, as it does not monitor either the elimination coming from the industrial incinerator and the cock plant that was emitting 23,800 meters cubits per day of toxic gases (PAMA).
    Doe Run explained that the pollution of the Oroya had diminished; one attendant person spitted that the pollution has increased; the lecturer answered: show me a document about your statement and the person replied: the best document who I count of is my contaminated body’ (4).
    The SO2 emissions from the cooper Peruvian smelting are among the production sources of the highest sulphur dioxide concentration in the world and they are also among the most contaminated production sources in the world (13).
    There is not concrete information about the quality control systems to the sampling and to the analysis of the monitoring procedure used by the company; we are not certain about the accuracy, confidentiality and suitable of the information reported to MEM; the figures reported to MEM could be considered as an approximation and are under valuated and they are not in electronic neither in graphic form (5).
    The contamination generated in La Oroya is not only limited to this city, but it also pollutes distant areas like Concepcion, 100 km far away of Oroya: University of Missouri found lead in the blood of children with ages 0 to 6 years: 20 to 44 ug/dl in the 72.22% ; 10 to 19 ug/dl in the 16.67%; 45 to 69 ug/dl in the 8.33% and less than 10 ug/dl in the 2.78%; it means that the 97.22% of the children of the city of Conception are contaminated with more than 10 ug/dl of lead in their blood; the amount permitted was 10 ug/dl; but, at present the Academy of Paediatrics of USA says that the maximum allowed is 0 ug/dl of lead in the blood (14). In the rural zone near the Oroya, Cuchimachay there is an amount of 59.26 ppm (the allowed level being 3 ppm) of cadmium in the soil; there is no vegetal cap in this place (15).
    The metallurgic complex of Oroya has 37 liquid flows that go to the Mantaro river; Doe Run monitors only 12. The rules of the Peruvian state about monitoring of the quality of water in the mining works state that all the liquid discharges that go to surface waters must be constantly monitored (5-16).
    The 2006, 26 July Doe Run obtained the ISO 14001:2004 certificate (17) and the 2008, 11 March was removed because the company did not fulfull the Peruvian environmental laws, and did not have appropriate measures for preventing the pollution (18).
    Doe Run the 2007 commited 4 heavy and 1 simple violence environment that the Peruvian state had to put to Doe Run a fine to $ 724,500 (The Comercio 08. 20-12)
    In Huancayo, 120 km far away from La Oroya there is jurisprudence. In 1942 the Judiciary Power orders to the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation, owner of Oroya at that time, to pay a compensation of $ 200,000 to Bazo Velarde, because of the harms caused to the Jatunhuasi Livestock, by the smokes of the Oroya (19).
    The Judiciary Power (20), the Constitutional Court (21) and the Inter American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH, for its name in Spanish) (22), demanded that the Peruvian state to be aware about the health of the inhabitants of Oroya..
    Oroya pollutes the surface and deep waters, the soil, the air, and generates acid rain (23), factors that cause damages to human and animal health, the ecosystems and biodiversity, in a way greatly irreversible. The smokes of the Oroya have affected 700,000 hectares around the Oroya (2-24).
    Doe Run will reduce its contamination in two circumstances: when it uses up to date technology as put in practice in Herculeanum, or when it reduces the refining tons. The Trial plant, in Canada, decreased in 25% the lead concentration in the children blood, and reduced the concentration of heavy metals in the air in more than 75%, by the use of clean technology; in the Paso when the foundry was closed, the lead concentration in the air decreased immediately and the lead concentration in the children’s blood plummeted by more than 75%; in Torreón Mexico, the government ordered to refine only a 50%, and similar effects were obtained (5). The damages must be paid by Doe Run according to the world consensus THE THAT POLLUTE PAY, set in practice in Europe since 1972 (25); the way as it does in Herculaneum can reply these actions in Oroya city (2-27).
    .The 2008 August 13 Oroya city has been confirmed as the most polluted city to the world. This day the SO2 concentration in air in the Oroya reached an historical and horrifying level: as journal The Comercio said (8); it arrive 27,000 ug/m3; while the allowed level was 13 ug/m3 (7) and the device that measured the concentration got to its maximum limit probably if the device had had more space in its scale that figure would have been higher (8-9-10), but when Blacksmith was visiting the Oroya the SO2 concentration in air was 0 (zero) (1). Some other figures confirm that Oroya is the most polluted city on the earth: according the report Mantaro Revive 2007: in the Ancienty Oroya has a soil concentration of 4713 ppm of arsenic (As) while the allowed amount is 12 ppm, and the cadmium (Cd) has 193.87 ppm while the permitted amount is 14 ppm, according to the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (28).

    Comment by Godofredo Arauzo — November 7, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

  11. Hi Louis,

    I thought this might be an interesting footnote to above blog post. It’s going to break your heart: Doe Run appears to be in bad financial condition. However whatever momentary Schadenfreude one might enjoy, it won’t make cleaning up the mess in La Oroya any more likely.

    US firm kicked out of Peru mining group for pollution

    By Agence France-Presse
    Saturday, January 30th, 2010 — 6:09 pm

    LIMA (AFP) – Peru’s mining, oil and energy association (SNMPE) said Saturday it has expelled US mining company Doe Run from its roster for not cleaning up its pollution problems, which environmentalists say are among the worst in the world.

    “It has not shown… any willingness to comply with its environmental commitments and its obligations to the country, its workers, the La Oroya population and its creditors,” SNMPE said in a statement.

    Doe Run in 1997 took over La Oroya mining complex and the Cobriza copper mine in Peru’s central Andean mountain region, where it mines for lead, copper, zinc, silver, gold and a series of byproducts including sulfuric acid.

    The US company’s La Oroya mining operation was listed in 2007 by the international environmental group Blacksmith Institute as the sixth worst polluted site in the world.

    SNMPE said expelling Doe Run from the association would not affect its mining business, but noted that the company was presently in “a serious financial crisis.”

    The association said Doe Run had notified Peruvian authorities it would be unable to comply with an environmental clean-up program it assumed when it began working in Peru.

    The Energy and Mining Ministry said Doe Run had only complied with 52 percent of the 2006 PAMA environmental program in La Oroya and needed another 160 million dollar investment to complete it according to plan.

    SNMPE said Doe Run’s “lack of interest in completing PAMA violates the association’s ethical principles and code of conduct,” earning it its expulsion.

    The US mining company had already been suspended from SNPE in late June.

    Source: http://rawstory.com/2010/01/firm-kicked-peru-mining-group-pollution/

    Comment by Colin Brace — January 31, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  12. Yeah, Colin, these bastards will leave behind the same kind of mess that Texaco left behind in Ecuador. I’d like to see all of that shit lifted from Peru and dumped on Ira Rennert’s mansion.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 31, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  13. iI pray for ira rennert ,ipray the hand of god comes down touches him on the shoulder and stopes his fucking heart

    Comment by JIMIGIULIANI — August 13, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  14. CONFIRMED. The Oroya PERÚ the city most polluted of the world.

    Dr. Godofredo Arauzo

    Blacksmith Institute visited the Oroya city in May 2008. The observations about the achievements in the pollution by this metallurgic complex, according to statements of The Inter American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) by its name in Spanish.are DECEIVING, because such statements have no basis; is a summary presented by Doe Run. AIDA sustain that the environmental quality and the fulfillment or the degree of protection for human health of the Oroya city can not be evaluated based on the quantity of investment made by the company but it should be done based on the current data about the quality of air, lead level in the blood and another environmental and health indicators, that the report does not take into account (1).
    Critic that Blacksmith is based on limited datum in order to evaluate, for example, the sulphur bioxide (SO2) level in the zone. Blacksmith Institute affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya city has a day time average of 5.000 ug/m3 (maximum allowed is 13 ug/m3) (CDC); but during the day that Blacksmith was in the Oroya, the SO2 concentration was 0.(1)
    Finally AIDA concludes that the Blacksmith report undermines the efforts to really reach the remediation and cleaning of Oroya city (1)
    AIDA express too that the quality of air in the Oroya has deteriorated seriously after the metallurgic complex came into Doe Run’s hands. Doe Run itself said that the lead concentration raised to 1.163%, the arsenic to 606% and the cadmium to 1990% (2). The concentrations of lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and others have substantially increased since 1997, mainly due to the increasing of production; for example, the lead production raised 25% (3). The inhabitants of Oroya city are contaminated by a toxic cocktail (4); it is a living laboratory.
    The cadmium concentration (Cd) raised dramatically since the acquisition of the complex by Doe Run. In 1999 the Cd concentration was 0.22 ug/m3 in the Syndicate (the level allowed was 0.0055 ug/m3); it surpassed by more than 40 times the frontier and did not inform anymore to the Ministry for Mines and Energy (MEM) since year 2000; in the same way, the arsenic concentration soared meaningly since 1997. There is not monitoring of particulate material smaller than 2.5 micra (PM 2.5), that are the most dangerous to human health and move easily. Ceverstav says that the parameters of air quality have been deteriorated dramatically after Doe Run have in charge of the complex (5)
    The Environment Protection Agency of USA (EPA), has 1467 chemical compounds registered as the most harmful and the sulphur dioxide (SO2) is ranking number 16 in dangerousness (6). Cevestav showed based on the same figures that Doe Run sends to MEM every 3 months, that SO2 emission had incremented in more than 200% since Doe Run has in charge the complex (5).
    Blacksmith affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya is in average 5,000 ug/m3 (1); another author reports that this average is 934 ug/m3 (2); the level allowed is 13 ug/m3 (7). The day time concentration is higher between 8 am and 5 pm and it reaches a peak of 2,100 ppb (the allowed value is 280 ppb) (5). In August 13. 2008 the SO2 concentration arrived to an historic and horrifying limit: 27,000 ug/m3 (8-9-10) (the allowed figure is 13 ug/m3 (7).
    Another heavy metals and highly toxic compounds are not analysed in the Oroya: vanadium, uranium, mercury, antimony, barium, selenium, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, and aluminum (2). The inhabitants of the Oroya are contaminated, not only with lead but too with cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, and antimony, as well; the antimony concentration is 30 times higher than in USA (11): .
    There has not been any decrease in the air concentration of lead in the last 5 years in the Oroya; in Huanchan such concentration is above 15 times the level permitted; in the months of January and February 2007 it was an excess of 245% above the allowed level in Huanchan station; in 2006 the cadmium concentration exceeded 48 times the levels allowed by the WHO (12): lead production increased by 25% (2).
    Doe Run monitors only specific sources; it does not monitor the toxic agents that are emitted through the 95 small chimneys neither it monitors to the deposits of concentrateds and deposits to arsenic of Vados and Malpaso, as it does not monitor either the elimination coming from the industrial incinerator and the cock plant that was emitting 23,800 meters cubits per day of toxic gases (PAMA).
    Doe Run explained that the pollution of the Oroya had diminished; one attendant person spitted that the pollution has increased; the lecturer answered: show me a document about your statement and the person replied: the best document who I count of is my contaminated body’ (4).
    The SO2 emissions from the cooper Peruvian smelting are among the production sources of the highest sulphur dioxide concentration in the world and they are also among the most contaminated production sources in the world (13).
    There is not concrete information about the quality control systems to the sampling and to the analysis of the monitoring procedure used by the company; we are not certain about the accuracy, confidentiality and suitable of the information reported to MEM; the figures reported to MEM could be considered as an approximation and are under valuated and they are not in electronic neither in graphic form (5).
    The contamination generated in La Oroya is not only limited to this city, but it also pollutes distant areas like Concepcion, 100 km far away of Oroya: University of Missouri found lead in the blood of children with ages 0 to 6 years: 20 to 44 ug/dl in the 72.22% ; 10 to 19 ug/dl in the 16.67%; 45 to 69 ug/dl in the 8.33% and less than 10 ug/dl in the 2.78%; it means that the 97.22% of the children of the city of Conception are contaminated with more than 10 ug/dl of lead in their blood; the amount permitted was 10 ug/dl; but, at present the Academy of Paediatrics of USA says that the maximum allowed is 0 ug/dl of lead in the blood (14). In the rural zone near the Oroya, Cuchimachay there is an amount of 59.26 ppm (the allowed level being 3 ppm) of cadmium in the soil; there is no vegetal cap in this place (15).
    The metallurgic complex of Oroya has 37 liquid flows that go to the Mantaro river; Doe Run monitors only 12. The rules of the Peruvian state about monitoring of the quality of water in the mining works state that all the liquid discharges that go to surface waters must be constantly monitored (5-16).
    The 2006, 26 July Doe Run obtained the ISO 14001:2004 certificate (17) and the 2008, 11 March was removed because the company did not fulfull the Peruvian environmental laws, and did not have appropriate measures for preventing the pollution (18).
    Doe Run the 2007 commited 4 heavy and 1 simple violence environment that the Peruvian state had to put to Doe Run a fine to $ 724,500 (The Comercio 08. 20-12)
    In Huancayo, 120 km far away from La Oroya there is jurisprudence. In 1942 the Judiciary Power orders to the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation, owner of Oroya at that time, to pay a compensation of $ 200,000 to Bazo Velarde, because of the harms caused to the Jatunhuasi Livestock, by the smokes of the Oroya (19).
    The Judiciary Power (20), the Constitutional Court (21) and the Inter American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH, for its name in Spanish) (22), demanded that the Peruvian state to be aware about the health of the inhabitants of Oroya..
    Oroya pollutes the surface and deep waters, the soil, the air, and generates acid rain (23), factors that cause damages to human and animal health, the ecosystems and biodiversity, in a way greatly irreversible. The smokes of the Oroya have affected 700,000 hectares around the Oroya (2-24).
    Doe Run will reduce its contamination in two circumstances: when it uses up to date technology as put in practice in Herculeanum, or when it reduces the refining tons. The Trial plant, in Canada, decreased in 25% the lead concentration in the children blood, and reduced the concentration of heavy metals in the air in more than 75%, by the use of clean technology; in the Paso when the foundry was closed, the lead concentration in the air decreased immediately and the lead concentration in the children’s blood plummeted by more than 75%; in Torreón Mexico, the government ordered to refine only a 50%, and similar effects were obtained (5). The damages must be paid by Doe Run according to the world consensus THE THAT POLLUTE PAY, set in practice in Europe since 1972 (25); the way as it does in Herculaneum can reply these actions in Oroya city (2-27).
    .The 2008 August 13 Oroya city has been confirmed as the most polluted city to the world. This day the SO2 concentration in air in the Oroya reached an historical and horrifying level: as journal The Comercio said (8); it arrive 27,000 ug/m3; while the allowed level was 13 ug/m3 (7) and the device that measured the concentration got to its maximum limit probably if the device had had more space in its scale that figure would have been higher (8-9-10), but when Blacksmith was visiting the Oroya the SO2 concentration in air was 0 (zero) (1). Some other figures confirm that Oroya is the most polluted city on the earth: according the report Mantaro Revive 2007: in the Ancienty Oroya has a soil concentration of 4713 ppm of arsenic (As) while the allowed amount is 12 ppm, and the cadmium (Cd) has 193.87 ppm while the permitted amount is 14 ppm, according to the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (28).
    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Asociación Interamericana de Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA). El Informe de la Blacksmith sobre la Oroya en EMGAÑOSA, 2008
    http://www.connuestroperu.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2940&Itemid=38
    1. Inter American Association for the Defence of the Environment (AIDA, for its name in Spanish). The Blacksmith Report about La Oroya is DECEIVING, 2008.
    http://www.connuestroperu.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2940&Itemid=38
    2. Portugal C, Hurtado W y Aste J. Los Humos de Doe Run. 2003.
    2. Portugal C, Hurtado W and Aste J. ‘The Smokes of Doe Run, 2003.

    3. Garcia C. El Plomo de Doe Run 2005
    http://www.paginadigital.com.ar/articulos/2005/2005terc/noticias7/intoxicacion-plomo-061205.asp
    3. García C. The Lead of Doe Run, 2005
    http://www.paginadigital.com.ar/articulos/2005/2005terc/noticias7/intoxicacion-plomo-061205.asp
    4. Pajuelo J. Medio Ambiente y Salud de la Oroya, 2006.
    4. Pajuelo J. ‘Environment and Health of La Oroya, 2006.
    5. Ceverstav AK and Barandiaran A. La Oroya Can Not Wait, 2002.
    5. Ceverstav AK y Barandiaran A. La Oroya No Puede Esperar, 2002.
    6. U.S Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. Public Health Statement. Potential for Human Exposure, 1998:111-130.
    6. Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de EE.UU., Agencia de Servicios de Salud Pública para Sustancias Tóxicas y Registro de Enfermedades. “Declaración Pública de Potencial de Salud en la Exposición Humana’, 1998: 111-130.
    7. Centre for Diseases Control Prevention (CDC). NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards 2006.
    7. Centro para Evitar y Controlar las Enfermedades (CDC, por su nombre en Inglés). Guia NIOSH de Bolsillo para Riesgos Químicos, 2006.

    8. El Comercio. La Concentración del SO2 Llegó a Nivel Histórico y Espeluznante, 2008.
    http://www.elcomercio.com.pe/ediciononline/HTML/2008-08-19/azufre-aire-oroya-supero-niveles-historicos.html
    8. Journal ‘El Comercio’. ‘SO2 Concentration Reached a Historical and Horrifying level, 2008.
    http://www.elcomercio.com.pe/ediciononline/HTML/2008-08-19/azufre-aire-oroya-supero-niveles-historicos.html
    9. DIGESA, 2008. http://www.digesa.sld.pe/aire

    10. NO A LA MINA 2008
    http://www.noalamina.org/index,php?module=announce&ANN_user.
    10. ‘NOT TO THE MINE’, 2008
    http://www.noalamina.org/index,php?module=announce&ANN_user
    11. La República 15-12 2005
    11. Journal ‘The Republic’, 15-12, 2005
    12. Kcomt CA. Segundo Informe Sobre Evaluación de la Calidad de Aire en la Oroya 2007.
    12. Kcomt CA. ‘Second Report About the Evaluation of Air Quality in La Oroya’, 2007.

    13. NASA. Earth Observing System (EOS) AURA, 2006:
    http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/top10_smelters.html
    13. NASA. ‘Sistema de Observación de la Tierra’ (EOS, por su nombre en Inglés) AURA, 2006:
    http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/top10_smelters.html
    14. Universidad de Missouri. Estudio sobre la Contaminación Ambiental en los Hogares de la Oroya y Concepción y sus Efectos en la Salud de sus Residentes, 2005.
    14. The University of Missouri. ‘Environmental Contamination Study in La Oroya and Concepción, and its Effects on the Health of their Inhabitants, 2005.
    15. Berrospi AE. Los Humos de la Oroya: Contaminación de los Suelo y la Vegetación, 2004
    15. Berrospi AE. ‘The Smokes of La Oroya: Soil and Vegetation Pollution, 2004.
    16. Empresa Minera del Centro del Perú (Centro Min Perú). Programa de Adecuación y Manejo Ambiental (PAMA). Complejo Metalúrgico de la Oroya, 1996
    16. Mining Company of Centre Perú (‘Centro Min Perú’). Adapting Program and Environmental Management (PAMA). Metallurgic Complex of La Oroya, 1996.
    17. Doe Run Perú. Complejo Metalúrgico de la Oroya 2007.
    17. Doe Run Perú,.’Metallurgic Complex of La Oroya’, 2007.

    18. Anulan a Doe Run Certificado ISO 14001:2004, 2008.
    peruinsolito.blogia.com/2008/041201-doe-run-peru-pierde-su-certificado-ambiental.php
    18. ISO 14001:2004 Certificate, cancelled to Doe Run, 2008.
    peruinsolito.blogia.com/2008/041201-doe-run-peru-pierde-su-certificado-ambiental.php
    19. Andaluz C y Walter Valdez. Responsabilidad Civil..Código del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, 1999:251-264.
    19. Andaluz C and Walter Valdez. ‘Civil Responsibility, Environment Code and Natural Resources, 1999:251-264.

    20. Juzgado Civil de Lima ordena al Ministerio de Salud del Perú y a la Dirección de Salud Ambiental la implementación de medidas concretas para la recuperación de la salud, por la grave contaminación en la Oroya
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=7153
    20. Civil Tribunal of Lima demands that the Health Ministry of Peru and the Management of Environmental Health implement concrete procedures for recovering of health, due to the serious contamination in La Oroya.
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=7153
    21. El Tribunal Constitucional (TC) ordenó al Ministerio de Salud que en un plazo de 30 días ponga en marcha un plan de emergencia para atender a los habitantes de la Oroya que sufren por la contaminación de plomo en sangre. 2006
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=3166
    21. The Constitutional Court (TC, for its name in Spanish), ordered that the Ministry of Health develop an emergency plan, in less than 30 days, for assisting the inhabitants of La Oroya, suffering by lead contamination in the blood. 2006
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=3166
    22. Derecho ambiental. La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) se Pronuncia a Favor de la Salud de la Oroya
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=3166
    22. Environment law. The Human Rights Inter American Commission (CIDH, for its name in Spanish), Declares in Favour of the Health of La Oroya.
    http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=3166

    23. Arauzo G. La Lluvia Äcida en el Centro del Perú 2007
    http://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/72570
    23. Arauzo G. ‘The Acid Rain in the Centre of Perú, 2007
    http://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/72570
    24. Doe Run Peru. Estudio de los Niveles de Plomo en Sangre de la Población de la Oroya 2000-2001.
    24. Doe Run, Perú. Study about the Lead Levels in the Blood of the People of La Oroya, 2000-2001.

    25. Valenzuela F. El Que Contamina Paga 2006
    http://www.monografias.com/trabajos37/quien-contamina-paga/quien-contamina-paga.shtml
    25. Valenzuela F. ‘He/She That pollutes, Pays’, 2006
    http://www.monografias.com/trabajos37/quien-contamina-paga/quien-contamina-paga.shtml

    26. Asociación Interamericana de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (AIDA : Recuperación Ambiental en la Fundición de Doe Run en Herculaneum Missouri 2008
    http://www.aida-americas.org/aida.php?page=40&lang=es
    26. Inter American Association for the Defence of the Environment (AIDA): Environmental Recuperation at the Foundry of Doe Run in Herculaneum, Missouri, 2008.
    http://www.aida-americas.org/aida.php?page=40&lang=es
    27. Salvemos a la Oroya. Caso Herculaneum 2008
    http://www.salvemoslaoroya.org/index.php?el-caso-herculaneum
    27. ‘Let’s Save La Oroya’. Heculaneum Case, 2008

    28. Mantaro Revive 2007. http://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/74358

    29. Mantaro Comes back to life: http://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/74358
    Dr. Godofredo Arauzo
    Email: godo_ara@hotmail.com

    Comment by Godofredo — May 3, 2016 @ 11:50 pm


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