Once upon a time, before we knew much about ecology and systems theory, corporations just went around raping and pillaging the countryside, polluting whatever they wanted.
This came back to me grotesquely in a Mad Men episode a few years ago when Don Draper takes his family out for a picnic in the countryside. When they finished, they packed up to go back to the car to drive home and left all their garbage on the grass. And the sight of that made my eyes bug out. We’ve come a long way, baby.
That’s what corporations do, maximize shareholder wealth and minimize obstacles to littering and destroying things. But in recent decades citizens in democracies have forced governments to introduce REGULATIONS [an evil word in this neoliberal world] and processes to evaluate, review or approve certain corporate behaviour.
Granted, we aren’t in a place where we are bouncing about revoking corporate charters, like we ought to when they behave badly, but at least we assess things.
Granted again, the Joint Review Panel approved The Enbridge Landscape and Ecology Eradication Project, granted again again with 209 boxes to check. We knew that was a scam environmental review process, but it is what it is. Sigh.
Less democratic countries would have totally corrupt review processes, filled with bribery or the dictator simply quietly working for the corporation that needs to pillage something. Or no review processes. Or ones with scopes so narrow that there would be no risk that the corporate pillage project might fail.
Countries that are quietly drifting into Soft Fascism often find ways to undermine public participation or oversight of corporate misbehaviour.
Maybe on a quiet day during a week when the legislature isn’t sitting so there can be no democratic debate, a government could release a quiet little missive from cabinet just, you know, completely exempting corporate landscape and ecology eradication projects from environmental oversight. Who really needs environmental assessment anyway when the scope isn’t really a risk to corporate will, or is just plain corrupt.
Those soft fascist banana republics are really quite bad. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in one, in those dark, wild west eras of corporate rights and freedom?
Sorry. Welcome to British Columbia, 2014:
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Environmental lawyers say removal of an important oversight leaves environment and communities at risk
VANCOUVER – The BC government has quietly passed two Orders in Council removing the requirements for environmental assessments of sweet natural gas processing plants and ski and all-season resorts. The Orders, which were deposited yesterday, were made without public consultation and despite widespread concern about the social and environmental effects of both industries.
“These regulatory changes only heighten the crisis of public confidence in BC’s environmental assessment process,” says Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law Association. “Environmental assessments are supposed to allow the public and regulators to better understand and avoid potential risks. Removing the requirement for an environmental review is not in the public interest.”
So you can see, two kinds of projects that have significant capacity to rape and pillage the ecology get to have no environmental oversight.
This is also an example of Executive Overdrive. Where the leadership of government [as opposed to the legislature or the courts] decides to do something that in a moral sense oversteps its limits. Changing the law without legislative oversight is the executive branch of government, the BC Cabinet in this case, shifting into overdrive to get its way. Executive overdrive is a constant companion to soft fascism.
So, it’s open season on the environment, brought to you by Contempt, Corruption and the Soft Fascist Banana Republic of British Columbia.
And some of the reaction was swift and indignant:
— pre_posterous (@kabayan2010) April 17, 2014
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