Union Carbide Off, Oxy on, Polluters A-List

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Union Carbide Corp., which once symbolized American corporate villainy abroad because of a deadly gas leak in India 11 years ago, has been rehabilitated by a prominent business ethics watchdog.

At the same time, Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. found itself a newcomer on the fourth annual ranking of the worst environmental offenders by the Council on Economic Priorities, a nonprofit group based in New York.

Occidental found itself on the list because its toxic releases are three times the average of the 16 oil companies studied, and almost twice the average of the 12 largest chemical companies, said Paul Hilton, coordinator of the council’s Campaign for Cleaner Corporations.

Occidental spokesman Howard Collins disputed the council’s findings. “We think it’s a misrepresentation,” he said. “They ignore everything we’ve done in achieving environmental goals.”


The council removed Union Carbide from its list, commending the chemical company’s safety program and efforts to help victims of the Bhopal gas disaster.