Cargill’s Tim Loesch, Director, Communications for Cargill Animal Nutrition; released the following statement from Cargill’s Headquarters in Minnesota. Highlight: “We thought this was the best decision for everyone involved in the matter.”
Full Statement from Cargill:
“We have jointly decided to settle the dispute with the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance of Seattle and Re Sources for Sustainable Communities of Bellingham. We thought this was the best decision for everyone involved in the matter. Environmental stewardship is important to Cargill. Over the last several years, we have worked very closely with the state of Washington Department of Ecology and city officials in Ferndale to help ensure our plant is compliant with local and state stormwater regulations, and we will continue to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.”
RE Sources agrees to settlement:
RE-Sources in Bellingham states that “$70,000.00 will go to Supplemental Environmental Projects or ‘SEP’s'”.
Since this is an extra-governmental process the funds then take a journey through a non-government-organization bureaucracy that includes:
- Placing the funds in a third party account
- This account is administered by The Rose Foundation.
- The Rose Foundation is said to have a local board that then allocates the funding settled on by Cargill and RE-Sources.
- Projects “to restore important aquatic resources damaged by pollution” are then chosen through a grant application process.
And although the Fourth Corner uncovered the fact that RE-Sources has in fact received funding in the past from the Rose Foundation. RE-Sources claims none of the funds received in the settlement will go to them or Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.
RE-Sources and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance explain their right to sue and redistribute wealth in this report.
In this case all parties fail to disclose the amount of lawyer fees received by, Smith & Lowney PLLC ;a legal firm in Seattle. In the case described by the Fourth Corner here Teal Jones paid $81,000 into this “SEP” fund and the same law firm of Smith & Lowney collected a reported $89,000.00 in that settlement. The Complete Press Release on the Cargill settlement from RE-Sources is here.
What kind of overhead does it take to get cleanup and restoration done?
- The steps involved seem to remove well over 65% of the funds expended by the Greenmail victim into the bureaucracy instead of the restoration projects. In the Teal Case we know that 52% of the funds extracted were used to pay the lawyers bringing the suit. (NOTE this does not include the legal fees of the Teal Jones company).
- The funds also pass through at least one Foundation(The Rose Foundation) which has a process and a structure of screening and awarding their grants. This consumes even more of the settlement.
- Bookkeeping for these intermediary funds.(From the Statement made by RE-Sources that RE-Sources does not receive any funds from those greenmailed business organizations they sue … more expensive accounting systems would have to make certain this is true; by tracking each successful suit and the disbursement of funds to assure no co-mingling .)
The Fourth Corner believes we should think about a better way:
Is RE-Sources a real asset to the community?:
Why don’t we figure out how to stop threatening jobs, making Lawyers rich and bringing divisive government to Whatcom County? Why not work with the business community in Whatcom County and team up on restoration and our water quality issues. How about making certain that communication is open with the Department of Ecology and then do the work to write up what is exactly required from the community to clean up past issues… BEFORE we call the Lawyers.