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Fort Smith votes down pursuit of Whirlpool fines

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 19, 2014 at 12:21 p.m.

FORT SMITH — Leaders in Fort Smith have rejected a plan to use the city's nuisance laws to fine Whirlpool Corp. for contamination at a former plant site.

According to the Southwest Times Record, the Fort Smith Board of Directors voted 5-2 Tuesday to reject an attorney's officer to seek a fine against Whirlpool for contaminating soil and groundwater with the chemical trichloroethylene decades ago. Whirlpool is working with state environmental officials on a cleanup plan for the site.

Ward 1 Director Keith Lau said he opposed the proposal because of questions on whether the city had the legal authority to prosecute or collect fines under the nuisance ordinance.

At-large Director Philip Merry Jr., who supported pursuing fines, said the city has the authority to enforce an ordinance already on the books.


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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

FreeSpiritMan says... February 19, 2014 at 4:31 p.m.

OMG, please don't fine a great corporation like that who moved jobs to Mexico. Fort Smith idiots.

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TheBatt says... February 19, 2014 at 4:34 p.m.

Whirlpool cares so much for Ft. Smith that they cut all those jobs and move them to Mexico, leaving behind a toxic waste site... Good grief!!!

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HOTDEMN says... February 19, 2014 at 5:54 p.m.

HEY, lay off. They're "Job Creators" . Mexican jobs. Make sure they get their tax subsidy too.

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cwbird says... February 19, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.

Hooray for the Fort Smith Board of Directors!

I know that if I was leading a company that was considering starting or moving an operation and Fort Smith was being considered as a location, a vote the other way would probably have eliminated that consideration. Why would I want to subject my company and myself to a city that would seek to fine my company for certain pollution after my company had stopped the pollution more than 30 years ago, was cooperating with all authorities, and was being proactive in the cleanup.

As for Whirlpool moving the jobs to Mexico, it's sad that Fort Smith residents lost them, but, as I understand it, the operation had become unprofitable quite a while before it was closed. No company can survive if it continues to operate at a loss and no executive of a company should keep his job if he or she continues to make decisions that lead a company to unprofitability.

All that said, I would like to see the United States and Arkansas, in particular, become manufacturing giants and greatly reduce our imports of manufactured goods. It's not that way today because manufacturing in the US is more expensive than it is in the countries we import from. China, for instance, produces over 50% of the steel in the world and 10 times what the US does. Any examination of Walmart shelves will find that (I think) a majority of the goods on their shelves is imported and much of that comes from the Far East. Try to find a television or a phone or any electronic device that is manufactured in any quantity in the US.

There is all this groaning and lamenting over jobs lost, but it seems that the ones doing all the groaning and lamenting haven't a clue as to why the jobs were lost, even though they believe they do. Ronald Reagan said nearly 50 years ago, "Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so."

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RaylanGivens says... February 19, 2014 at 6:17 p.m.

Good for my hometown; a bunch of lawyers don't get rich while getting $10 for the city of FS

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