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South Africa Chemicals Co. Sued For U.S. Spying

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

The U.S. division of South Africa’s Sasol chemical plant is facing a lawsuit for industrial espionage and sabotage, filed by environmental activists Greenpeace.

The case, which also involves the Dow Chemical Co. and two public relations firms, was filed in Federal Court in Washington, DC.

Greenpeace claims the two companies hired private investigators to steal its documents, tap its phones, and hack into its computers. Central to the complaint is a community's battle against the pollution of Lake Charles, in Louisiana, near the Sasol plant.

Local residents suffer high rates of cancer and respiratory problems linked to the company's production processes, Greenpeace maintains.

According to Sasol's website, the Lake Charles plant produces commodity and specialty chemicals for soaps, detergents, and personal care products. At the time of the Greenpeace complaint, it was manufacturing ethylene dichloride, a suspected carcinogen, and vinyl chloride.

Sasol has denied the charges.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the primarily African-American town of Mossville, Louisiana, on Lake Charles has won a hearing by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights on their claim that racism allowed 14 heavily polluting industries to be built in their residential community. It marks the first time that an international human rights tribunal has taken jurisdiction over a case of environmental racism in the United States, according to Monique Harden of Advocates for Environment Human Rights.

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