Enbridge, operator of the world’s largest crude oil pipeline system, focuses on carrying petroleum from Western Canada—including the notorious tar sand fields of Alberta—to refineries in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. It and its affiliates have other pipelines in several parts of Canada and United States and operate Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company. In July 2010 the company’s U.S. subsidiary Enbridge Energy Partners L.P.
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For most of its eight-decade history, Nalco has quietly gone about its business of producing specialty chemicals for water treatment and industrial processes. It had a higher profile in the 1970s when it challenged federal efforts to phase out the use of lead in gasoline and one of its subsidiaries was charged with botching the safety testing of drugs and chemicals.
BP (formerly British Petroleum) has become one of the world’s most controversial giant corporations because of its involvement in a series of major environmental and industrial accidents. The company has been the target of intense criticism for its role in the April 2010 explosion at a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and caused an underwater leak that has spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating the most serious environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Chevron, once part of the Standard Oil empire, has grown over the past quarter century into the world’s fourth largest petroleum company, thanks to a series of ambitious acquisitions: Gulf Oil in 1984, Texaco in 2001 and Unocal in 2005. The purchase of Texaco brought with it a massive environmental lawsuit that has dragged on for more than a decade. This is only one of a host of controversies surrounding Chevron’s environmental and human rights record around the world.
Massey Energy is one of the largest coal companies in the United States, and certainly one of the most controversial. In April 2010 the company received a great deal of negative attention when an explosion at one of its mines in West Virginia killed 29 workers. It later came out that the mine in question had been cited more than 1,000 times for safety violations, and that Massey had similar problems at many of its other facilities.
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