Via America’s Lawyer: For more than a decade the EPA has turned a blind eye to dangerous PFAS chemicals being pumped into the ground by the fracking industry. Also, Johnson & Johnson considers bankruptcy filings in order to settle injury liabilities tied to its talc-based products. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss more.

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Transcript:

*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Fracking companies have been using chemicals that break down into dangerous chemicals called PFAS and they do it for decades. As a matter of fact, P, this, this, this is a chemical that’s in our environment for 1 million years. Obama’s EPA said, okay, you can use it for fracking. Then Trump took over. Yeah, you can use it for fracking. Biden, you know, who knows. What are we, what’s going to happen here? What’s your take on this story?

Farron Cousins:                  It’s truly disgusting. You have back in 2011, again, Obama’s in charge. You’ve got, you know, the, the good guys in charge of the EPA, right? And their scientists tell them, listen, you can’t approve these certain chemicals for fracking operations because over time these chemicals will break down and form PFAS and PFOA, I believe it was. And they understood, the scientists said, these are what we call forever chemicals because they don’t go away. They’re biopersistent, bioaccumulative, they build up in the human body and they stay there and they cause cancers. Don’t do this EPA their own scientists said and the heads of the EPA said, okay, but we’re going to do it anyway.

Mike Papantonio:             Well they change, wait, wait. They actually changed the data to make it sound like it was okay. They changed their spin on the data. They knew it caused kidney cancer. They knew it to cause testicular cancer. They knew it caused gastrointestinal issues that could shut down your gastrointestinal system. They knew it caused a whole host of injuries because a blue ribbon scientific panel was put together and they determined, yes, PFAS will do that. Now PFAS is in your drinking water and fracking in part put it there because as it moved through the system being used for fracking, it moved right into the aquifer and from the aquifer right into your drinking water.

Farron Cousins:                  And, you know, I, I know we’ve talked a hundred times probably on this show about DuPont’s role in, in, in PFAS with the Teflon and everything. But you have to bring it back to that too, because it turns out you had a, a DuPont guy was one of the ones pushing the EPA to make this happen. It all comes back to DuPont, you know, with the PFAS chemicals. And that is what is so disgusting about this. The EPA at that time, they knew about the Teflon issues. They knew PFAS. They knew who this guy was from DuPont pushing it on them.

Mike Papantonio:             Let me tell you the newest, the newest part of the story, 3M made the product first. They even had more information than DuPont had about how this was killing laboratory animals by the hundreds, killing primates, killing monkeys. And when it started killing monkeys, we know this, the studies that you do on primate studies are the closest picture you can get to what the same product is going to do to human beings. It was causing cancer. It was causing failure of the liver system. Failure of the renal system. It’s shutting down their neurological system and they hid this, hit it from the EPA. And I don’t make, doesn’t make any difference anyway, because when the EPA found out about it, they didn’t do anything about it.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And you know, this is one of those stories, this was a massive story in the New York Times and massive in the sense of it was a very long story, but it’s not a very covered story.

Mike Papantonio:             No, no.

Farron Cousins:                  And that’s what gets so infuriating about this.

Mike Papantonio:             Media won’t, media will not cover this story.

Farron Cousins:                  Just like with the Juul story. That should be front page news.

Mike Papantonio:             Media is so owned and operated by advertisers and political affiliations. They don’t cover news anymore, unless it’s going to make them a lot of money in advertising dollars. That’s just the truth.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And I mean, you know, you and I’ve worked corporate media, just like we’ve worked this media, we’ve seen it firsthand.

Mike Papantonio:             Johnson and Johnson may be trying to send their talc liabilities into bankruptcy to protect the company’s profits. Here’s a company that murdered, there’s no other way to put it. Why do we look at manslaughter differently when a person drinks a fifth of Jack Daniels drives 90 miles an hour through a school zone and kills a child, why do we look at that person different than we’re looking at Johnson and Johnson? The material they had that showed that the product they were making would cause cancer in women, slow ugly death that they had right in their file cabinets. And now this is a company that’s worth half a trillion dollars and they’re looking for bankruptcy protection from some, you know, from some cat up in New York who’s going to say, yeah, yeah, I’m a bankruptcy judge. I’m going to give you that protection. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  Again, just another horrendous story here, because we know in the, you know, the lawsuits have already shown this J & J is preparing, you know, all these massive, massive pay, payouts. And they said, well, how can we reduce this? Well, we’ve pulled baby powder off the market. You know, about a year or so ago, I guess it was. And we knew that there was asbestos in there, we knew that other talc fibers were also causing horrendous problems. So let’s do what all these other corporations do. What we have seen so many companies get away with. Let’s file for bankruptcy, we’ll create, and this is tentative. They haven’t decided anything. They’re discussing it. You create a little bitty shell company. So you shift all the profits over to the big company, J & J keeps those. And you shift all the liabilities over here to little bitty subsidiary that has no money to pay out.

Mike Papantonio:             No, no surprise. This is called the Texas two step. The law is developed in Texas to where a company that has killed hundreds of people, thousands of people, that might be worth half a trillion dollars like this company, can say, you know what, yeah, we killed all those people. We made billions of dollars. We fooled the regulators for long enough. We spent a lot of money on politicians so we could get away with it. Now this is the real deal. CEOs get to keep all of the billions of dollars they were paid over those years and we’re going to go bankrupt. And the family that has a mother or a daughter or sister dying of disease, an ugly, ugly cancer, cervical cancer, that we don’t have to pay them anything. That’s the new norm. And you know the only person talking about it that’s, that is outraged, is Elizabeth Warren. She’s the only person who’s taking leadership on this issue. The media won’t even talk about this story.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Why? Because it’s Johnson and Johnson because they get paid too much money from Johnson and Johnson. You think MSNBC is going to cover this story? You think CNN is going to cover this story? Hell no they’re not.

Farron Cousins:                  Absolutely not. And if they do, it’s only going to be in the terms of dollars and cents. What is this going to do to the J & J stock? What’s it going to? No, they’re not going to talk about the diseases. They’re not going to talk about the deception and the lies and the documents. They’ll only talk about, well, financially speaking, this might make good sense. They’re, they’re, they’re ridiculous. They’re bought off.

Mike Papantonio:             And nobody goes to prison. They have killed thousands of people and nobody goes to prison under our new American culture. Ugly story.

Farron Cousins:                  It is.

Mike Papantonio:             This could happen though.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.