Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Treasury Secretary Nominee Lawrence Summers and Environmental Racism

June 16, 1999

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said yesterday that a dispute between Republicans and President Clinton that threatened to delay the confirmation of Lawrence Summers as Treasury Secretary may be settled within two weeks.

Senate Republicans have threatened to block all presidential appointments–including Summers’–in protest over Clinton’s surprise appointment of an openly gay San Francisco philanthropist as ambassador to Luxemburg. The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing tomorrow for Summers’ nomination to the post vacated by Robert Rubin.

Summers surrounded himself with controversy in 1991, when a memo he wrote as chief economist for the World Bank was leaked to the environmental community. The memo advocated exporting "dirty industries" and toxic waste from rich countries to developing countries.

Summers wrote: "Shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDC’s [less developed countries]?" and added "I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted." The memo rationalized sending toxic waste to developing countries by saying "the concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand."


  • Alexander Cockburn, journalist, writer and editor of Counterpunch, a weekly political newsletter.

Related link:

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.