Below are Ring of Fire’s top stories from the past week.

Wal-Mart Stores Caught Dumping Hazardous Waste into California Drains, Company Pleads Guilty

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges on Tuesday for dumping hazardous waste from Wal-Mart stores into sanitation drains across California. As part of the plea deal, the company has been ordered to pay $81 million in fines, which will also cover charges to the company in Missouri. They also pleaded guilty in the Western District of Missouri for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) after improperly handling pesticides. … Read more.

Rick Perry Denies Affordable Care to Texas Poor

The state of Texas has turned away billions of dollars that could have provided health care to 1.5 million of its poor residents. Texas has refused to participate in Medicaid expansion because it is part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. While the state has the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country, and the state’s share of the cost would have been only 7 percent of the total, Texas Republicans felt that “even $1 in the name of ‘Obamacare’ was a dollar too much,” NPR reports. … Read more.

Papantonio: Big Pharma Uses Humans as Guinea Pigs

Fracking Monopolizes Water Availabililty in Water-Stressed States

Advances in hydraulic fracturing and drilling technology over the past decade have made it easier for the oil and gas industry to extract large quantities of oil and natural gas from shale and rock formations across the US. But the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is far from “natural.” The natural gas industry is using extensive amounts of fresh water for its extraction process, and leaving a trail of polluted water tables in its wake. At the same time, the industry is targeting areas like California and Texas that are already facing water shortages. …Read more.

Chicago to Close 54 Low-income Schools, Spend $100 Million on Basketball Arena

In March, Chicago revealed a plan to close 54 elementary schools, mainly in low-income and African American communities. The city, under leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, claims that the closings are needed to close a $1 billion city deficit, according to The Contributor. This month, the city announced that it will dedicate as much as $100 million in public funds to facilitate the construction of a new basketball arena for DePaul University. … Read more.