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Esquire: Here’s a Plan for the Extraction Industries: Clean Up Your Own Mess

One of the most easily understood, but almost never enacted, concepts in environmental protection is that you should clean up your own mess. Your oil company poisons the groundwater, or your pipeline bursts in someone else’s pasture, you pay to make the folks whole again. How is this not the simplest form of justice short of a punch in the nose? Yet, the extraction industries have spent millions of dollars, and thousands of billable hours, devising ways to stick the American taxpayer with the bill for their malfeasance—or, at the very least, tennis-shoe’ing their own responsibility by ducking into bankruptcy, or into a maze of shell corporations and offshore holding companies.