The environment is very important to Wal-Mart. They discovered the environment as an issue 12 years ago. On their website, Wal-Mart says: “In 1989, Wal-Mart made a commitment to preserve the environment in our communities that we serve.” What went on before 1989? Tell that to the people in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Here’s what Wal-Mart told the Securities and Exchange Commission in their annual report last spring: “The Company recently opened a Supercenter in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. In February of 1999, the Company settled claims made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PDEP) that a subcontractor’s acts and omissions relating to the construction of the Supercenter led to excess erosion and sedimentation of a nearby creek. In the settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to pay a fine of $25,000 and to perform a $75,000 community environmental project in the Honesdale area.” OK, the state found environmental damage, and Wal-Mart paid a fine. But wait. There’s more: “The Company is negotiating settlement of a claim by the United States Army Corps of Engineers that the construction resulted in the filling of approximately 0.76 acres in excess of the permitted fill area of waters and wetlands at the site. The proposed settlement with the Corps will require Wal-Mart to pay $200,000 to a non-profit corporation for the purchase of local wetlands conservation areas and easements. The Company has been reimbursed for these amounts by the contractor on the project.” OK, so it really wasn’t Wal-Mart’s fault, it was the contractor. But wait: there’s more: “The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is threatening to bring suit against the Company and five of its contractors over alleged violations of a 1992 storm water permit issued with respect to various Wal-Mart development sites in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The EPA has presented the Company with penalty calculations of $5.6 million.” As Wal-Mart stores gear up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, it would be good for “Green Coordinators” at each store to remind shoppers of the pending EPA lawsuit against Wal-Mart, and the fact that the Attorney General from Connecticut is also suing the company for polluting streams across Connecticut with stormwater runoff (see newsflash story below). Let’s all celebrate Wal-Mart’s 12 year commitment to the environment by staying out of their store environment on Earth Day. Wal-Mart has sprawled over more than 301 million square feet of earth, yet they want us to associate with their efforts to celebrate Earth Day? Are they talking about the same earth I am?
The Wal-Martians have made a commitment to preserving the environment and celebrate Earth Day. April Fools!