A corporate control drama easily overshadowed low-key citizen protests outside the DuPont Co.’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday – an annual event that in the past has seen angry activists occupy a factory water tower and rappel down the Hotel DuPont.
More-subdued “Keep Your Promises DuPont” picketers at the company’s Chestnut Run headquarters entrance along Del. 141 nevertheless vowed to keep pressing demands for more details on company’s plans to meet pollution liabilities in the mid-Ohio Valley. Concerns are increasing with the approach of a company split that will spinoff some of the greatest liability risks into a new company, Chemours.
About 20 people greeted arriving workers and shareholders with banners and signs making their point, including one depicting company Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman in “Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil” poses.
The campaign is tightly focused on long-running contamination of public water supplies and groundwater around the company’s Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. One class-action case alone produced a $235 million, long-term medical monitoring agreement for residents exposed to drinking water tainted with the Teflon-related chemical C-8, branded a “likely” carcinogen by a federal science advisory panel.
“Our demands haven’t really changed,” said Jeffrey Dugas, a group campaign manager “We didn’t expect anything as a result of the vote. We think DuPont still owes us answers. The fact that the status quo has been maintained kind of reinforces the fact that we need to continue our presence.”
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