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The Verso Paper Mill exploded, killed one, injured five and cost 260 employees their jobs. In addition, the Verso paid $350,000 to the Sartell fire department for the cleanup and the structural damage cost $50 million. The company also lost future earnings from the plant that had operated successfully for over a hundred years.

Why?  Because the plant didn't bother to have a piece of paper with a shut down plan.  It winged it when the time came and lost.  The company was fined $39,000 by  OSHA for not having the piece of paper but there were no consequences for people who should have had safety policies in place. I believe the CEOs should be held accountable.  All CEOs can’t be expected to be experts on safety. However, a requirement for CEOs to have a working safety structure in place that has independent checks to make certain that the system is performing seems like a reasonable start and would only codify good business practices. We need change incentives so CEOs are required to think long term.

Conservatives always claim regulations are too onerous but as usual the actual problem is the exact opposite.  We need a system that encourages businesses to act safely and not put profits above all else which is our current system that encourages short-term profits whether that's for shipping jobs over seas, not providing adequate health care, taking short-cuts with safety regulations, destroying our environment, destroying our democracy or making fraudulent loans.

I believe if we are going to save ourselves we need a fundamental change in the way CEOS and their boards are rewarded and governed.

The Verso plant is in Michele Bachmann's district.  They voted Mrs deregulation in for another two years in the face of a very stark reality.  The GOP has become a defender of the CEOs and others who take advantage of the rest of us but still only 53% of the country seems to understand that.  We still have to find a way to get through to those who vote against their interests.

9:51 PM PT: Update Verso's credit rating has been lowered from a B to a B- .  Since then, there has been a second fire in a second paper mill in Bucksport, Maine.

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Comment Preferences

  •  USSW - have the board of directors or the (0+ / 0-)

    shareholders of Verso taken any action against the CEO?

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:13:18 PM PST

    •  you'd think after the second fire and lowered (0+ / 0-)

      credit but of course that's only going to influence shareholders opinions if it COSTS the company substantially.  Safety doesn't necessarily mean a better bottom line.

      •  That ownership implies obligation is not (0+ / 0-)

        widely appreciated. Mostly, the ownership of property has been promoted as a sop to compensate for the fact that natural persons have little, if any, rights that are commonly recognized. The significance of property rights trumping human rights is that the former are assumed to be inviolable, even though, in actual fact, that is not true. Indeed, in practice, the states' claims to real property is usually easier to assert (via eminent domain) than the claim to dispose of people as it likes, unless the security of the nation is threatened.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:16:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Private corporations and public corporations (0+ / 0-)

    are both artificial bodies organized to distribute liability from real persons to fictional ones. The members share common interests. So, if we sit back and let private corporations nominate candidates for leadership positions in public corporations, we can expect them to serve their common interests. If we want popular povernment, the people have to nominate candidates. Political parties, also corporate entities, are no more likely to represent the people, either.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:07:47 AM PST

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