Le Charivari photo by Bill Badon
Nola 99% Spring Dat
vol. i, no. ii
Nola 99% Spring Dat, a collective of New Orleanians, conducted its second charivari on Friday, May 4 against Entergy and its chairman and CEO, J. Wayne Leonard, represented as a giant puppet head on a stick. The charivari was conducted in front of Entergy’s corporate headquarters and next-door at the Hyatt Regency, where Entergy’s annual shareholders meeting was being held.
HEAD OF ENTERGY MAKES ITS DEBUT AT “ENTERGY CHARIVARI” DURING SHAREHOLDERS MEETING Since the group had made no secret of their plan, NOPD was expecting them; as Sgt. Danny Mack told them, its “intelligence unit” has been keeping tabs on all activities related to the Occupy movement and the New England Natural Guard, the latter of whom in March conducted an Occupy Entergy action there inside the corporation’s headquarters. In keeping with the custom of the charivari, once a regular occurrence in the city, participants brought musical musical instruments and noisemakers, including bells, a drum, a posthorn, and a chinese gong. The group is reviving the charivari, a custom that in earlier times was typically directed against an individual whose marriage the community disapproved. Today’s targets are corporate executives and political figures who are seen to be working against the good of the people. But a nod to the tradition is evident in one a sign which said, “Entergy: Divorce ALEC,” referring to Entergy’s membership in the organization comprised of corporate operatives and legislators who meet secretively to craft legislation favorable to big corporations. A passerby chuckled at the sign and said, “Entergy is ALEC; in order for Entergy to divorce ALEC, it would have to divorce itself!” The group’s complaints against Entergy are numerous, but the main ones expressed during the May 4 charivari are its close ties to Koch Industries, its membership in ALEC, its bloated executive compensation, and its refusal to decommission its aging GE Mark 1 nuclear reactors, which are the same make and model of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The group is encouraging people to participate in its activities. Information is posted on its Facebook page, facebook.com/nola99spring. While the public wasn’t paying attention, they say, democracy was being undermined by big corporations, such as Entergy. It’s time for the 99% to get involved in order to demand, and to participate in, direct democratic processes, the only way the 99% can hope to take back control from the corporate elite, the 1%, who work only for their own selfish interests. The charivari, an ancient custom of social satire described as a “noisy, mock serenade,” was brought to New Orleans by the French, and is being revived as an important element of the city’s cultural heritage. Le Charivari Louisianais, a satiric journal after the French Le Charivari, was published in New Orleans in 1842.
ntergy says its name is derived from “a composite of the words enterprise, energy, and synergy.” But why would it morph the word integrity into “entegrity” in the title of its document “Code of Entegrity”? Entergy’s actions suggest it doesn’t abide by the same code of integrity and ethics as the rest of society, and that being a member of the Fortune 500 and the second largest nuclear provider in the U.S. enables it to write its own code of “entegrity” and “enthics.” As a leading generator and provider of electric and gas power to the public, Entergy uses its clout to maintain power over the people. What’s wrong with Entergy is what’s wrong with the U.S.today: big corporations are superceding the will of the people in the democratic process by buying political power through campaign contributions, lobbying, media control, and P.R. campaigns; they put corporate profit and executive compensation above public safety and environmental integrity. While Entergy donates $mns to charities, including support of environmental festivals, no amount of green washing can hide Entergy’s record of tax dodging, lies about the safety and sustainability of nuclear energy, or doublespeak about coal and climate change. Following are but a few ways Entergy usurps the power of people so that it can be more than “the power of people,” as it boasts in its slogan, but to gain and maintain power over people.
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Entergy is a member of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is under increasing scrutiny, as are its member and supporting corporations. Entergy pays lip service to climate change policy, while ALEC’s anti-science stance denies climate change even exists, and writes legislation accordingly. In 2011, Entergy was a “Vice-Chairman” level sponsor of ALEC’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, and it was a sponsor of the Louisiana Welcome Reception. Does Entergy claim its contributions to ALEC as a tax deduction? According to Common Cause, ALEC is flouting federal tax laws by posing as a tax-exempt charity while spending $mns to lobby for hundreds of bills each year in state legislatures across the country.
Corporate Welfare: Subsidies and Tax Dodging What do lobbying and support of ALEC win Entergy? The utilities—gas and electric—industry is second only to the financial industry in the amount of government subsidies it receives. And its taxes are minimal. From 2008 to 2010, Entergy’s profit was $5.5bn; its effective federal tax rate was 2.9%. For the same period, its Louisiana profit was $5.6mn, and It paid only 1% in Louisiana state taxes. page 2
L e C h a r i v a r i May 2012
Partners in Crime: Entergy-Koch LP Entergy is a partner in Entergy-Koch LP with Koch Industries, the privately-held corporation owned by Charles and David Koch, whose work to undermine democracy in the U.S. is the subject of Brave New Film’s Koch Brothers Exposed.
Overcompensation of Executives According to a 2011 Forbes report, Entergy CEO, J. Wayne Leonard had received in 2007 $8.5mn in total compensation, with a five-year total compensation of $40.06mn, includiing Entergy stock. Ownership by Leonard and other executives of large amounts of stock in Entergy provides a personal disincentive for Entergy’s phasing out of environmentally unsound coal, gas, and nuclear energy sources in favor of renewable energy, and provides an incentive for risk taking and borderline, even if legal, insider trading.
Entergy Corporate Headquarters Designated a Crime Scene
by New England Natural Guard, SAGE Alliance March 22, 2012
Another Potential “Fukushima”: Vermont Yankee On March 22, 2012, the New England Natural Guard of the SAGE Alliance designated the day “No Nuke Business as Usual” and conducted an Occupy Entergy action at corporate headquarters in New Orleans. Announcing that Entergy’s license to operate Vermont Yankee nuclear had expired the previous day, they designated the building a crime scene and refused to to leave until CEO J. Wayne Leonard spoke to them about shutting it down. Mr. Leonard, of course, refused to meet with them and ordered them arrested. Their grievances include the following: • Vermont Yankee is a 40-year-old reactor of the same critically-flawed design as those of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant (GE Mark 1 boiling water), which in 2011 catastrophically failed. • Entergy operaties this outdated reactor at 120% capacity at Vermont Yankee. As a result of aging equipment and deferred maintenance, the plant has suffered a massive cooling tower collapse, and a fire. L e C h a r i v a r i May 2012
• Vermont Yankee has leaked radioactive tritium into the Connecticut River, a source of drinking water and recreation for the region’s people. • Lying under oath, Entergy told Vermont legislators pipes did not exist that were later discovered to be the source of the tritium leaks. • Entergy has openly stated their intent to continue operating this reactor in direct violation of a legally binding Memorandium of Understanding it signed with Vermont prior to purchasing the reactor, and in defiance of the people of Vermont and their democratically-elected legislators.
Renewable Energy Can Create More Jobs Than Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power. In the U.S. alone, 1.3 million “direct impact” jobs could be created by a 10-year investment of $150bn in renewable energy sectors (electricity and motor fuel). A proposed “new” nuclear reactor would employ, at most, 700 permanent workers and 4,000 workers on a temporary basis during construction. Cost estimates for constructing a 1500 megawatt (MW) reactor are as high as $12bn. The same investment in nuclear ($150bn) would yield, at best, 58,750 additional jobs, of which 50,000 would be temporary, disappearing after four years. While the coal and oil industries have had massive job losses— in the hundreds of thousands in the past decade, despite continuing subsidies—wind is now poised not only to compete in cost with coal and oil, but to provide more jobs per unit of cost than fossil energies. Although wind is a labor-intensive technology, it is competitive with other energy sources, because it saves money in other ways, such as lower requirements for materials and capital, no fuel and few disposal costs, and fewer costs to the environment. sources, further information: BeyondNuclear.org ctj.org/corporatetaxdodgers50states CommonCause.org SourceWatch.org AlecExposed.org SageAlliance.net THE PEOPLE DEMAND FROM ENTERGY: 1) THE ADOPTION OF A NEW CODE OF INTEGRITY, BASED ON RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND DEMOCRACY; 2) WITHDRAW ALL SUPPORT FROM AND INVOLVEMENT IN ALEC; 3) PAY FAIR SHARE OF STATE AND FEDERAL TAXES; 4) SHUT DOWN VERMONT YANKEE AND OTHER GE MARK 1 REACTORS; 5) INCREASE INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY.
L e C h a r i v a r i May 2012