Making something involves taking something else. This in itself is morally neutral. A cow can be taken and made into delicious beef. A wild field can be made into a farm field. A tree can be taken and depending on the tree it can be made into a wide variety of things. The old causes and purposes, whether the action is motivated by a case or conducted towards fulfilling a purpose reigns in the moral realm.
This leads to where we left off last time. Whether the purpose is "a chicken in every pot", "ending world hunger", or any other ends based activity, evil finds a way. The how of this is a well documented dance of debasement frequently papered over as substitution.
In portions of civilized world that cultivate wheat, there exists bread, a product whose methods of production have been passed down through tradition. The best breads are prepared by specialist bakers. Bread has a short window of time where it may be consumed at its peak quality. As bread degrades over the course of the day, wheat cultures have all developed means of coping with the bread's decline until all of the bread has been eaten. The introduction of train travel and the short life of bread lead to the development of the "Pullman Loaf" to allow an activity resembling baking to occur in a train kitchen and yield something resembling bread. Further "optimizations" and the introduction of chemistry has lead to bread's displacement in the market by still further debased simulacra. These bread-like carbohydrate sponges feature uniform textures with shelf lives that can be measured in weeks. In the type-exemplar "Pan Bimbo" visible mold blooms frequently develop before any signs of staleness appear in a complete reversal from how actual bread degrades over time.
An issue that emerges in sophisticated industry is that the complexity of waste products left after an activity tends to increase with the sophistication of the activity. This in itself is morally neutral. Some things just can't be had at all without producing a bunch of dioxins. Activity proceeding to purpose rather than from cause tends to bury the costs necessary to address waste products in the darkness of the future.
The USG's EPA maintains a "national priority list" of "Superfund" sites contaiminated in a wide variety of ways and presenting a numerous hazards. Back in the 1990s when environmental discussions covered several topics instead of a singular focus on carbon, several example sites on the list dominated the coverage, which was spun as a problem of emergent from private activity. On the contrary, the bulk of superfund sites are listed for consequences of USG activity. Let us consider four of the loudest examples:
- Love Canal - the City of Niagra Falls New York took control of a failed reseidential development that included a canal and proceeded to use the canal as a dump site. Eventually Hooker Chemical company receives authorization to landfill their waste in the canal in 1942. They buy properties buffering the waste disposal site and eventually become the sole user of the site in 1948. In 1952 Hooker capped the landfill with a clay seal. The local school district approached Hooker seeking to buy the site. Hooker turned the site over for a single dollar in 1953 with a recommendation the site only be used for purposes not requiring underground facilities and the following text in the sale agreement:
Prior to the delivery of this instrument of conveyance, the grantee herein has been advised by the grantor that the premises above described have been filled, in whole or in part, to the present grade level thereof with waste products resulting from the manufacturing of chemicals by the grantor at its plant in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and the grantee assumes all risk and liability incident to the use thereof. It is therefore understood and agreed that, as a part of the consideration for this conveyance and as a condition thereof, no claim, suit, action or demand of any nature whatsoever shall ever be made by the grantee, its successors or assigns, against the grantor, its successors or assigns, for injury to a person or persons, including death resulting therefrom, or loss of or damage to property caused by, in connection with or by reason of the presence of said industrial wastes. It is further agreed as a condition hereof that each subsequent conveyance of the aforesaid lands shall be made subject to the foregoing provisions and conditions.
What happened? After taking posession of the dump site the derps began excavating. The first documented violation of the clay seal came in January 1954 with derps digging the basement for an intended school making it down to waste storage drums. The school's final chosen location was a mere 25 meters away. In 1957 the school district sold more land from the disposal site to the local housing authority. An representative from Hooker showed up and once again repeated this the site was not suitable for anything requiring underground facilities. The seal would be repeatedly be breached to run sewer and water lines as well as to steal clay from the seal to use as fill dirt elsewhere. No one could have predicted the ensuing disaster. Occidental Petroleum which acquired Hooker in 1968 was found negligent but not reckless at trial for having sold the property to retards. The retards were indemnified per USG tradition.
- Times Beach - NEPACCO found itself producing substantial amounts of thick oily dioxin residues in a facility that produced military herbicides for the USG's failed attempt at regime selection in Vietnam. For some time NEPACCO had been responsibly, but very expensively sending the dioxin wastes to an incinerator for destruction. Looking for less expensive ways to dispose of the dioxins NEPACCO through a, possibly fictitious, intermediary found waste oil dealer and retard Russell Martin Bliss willing to dispose of the waste for a mere 125 USD per load. Bliss proceeded to mix the dioxin containing wastes with used crankcase oil he sold to refiners throughout the Midwest.
What got attention however was Bliss's "one weird trick" to make your dirt less dusty. He sprayed waste oil on his own farm and horse arena's dirt to keep the dust down. Some folks noticing what he did to his property proceeded to hire him to oil their dirt roads and enclosed horse arenas. When spraying other people's properties Bliss used oil expaned through the addition of the dioxin containing wastes. In May 1971 he did this the first time leading to the deaths of 62 horses over the next several months until a substantial depth of containated soil was removed from the area. His customers and their two young daughters suffered profound illness as well. A month later he sprayed arenas at two more stables killing still more horses while children visiting these sites suffered chloracne. Unfortunately this was a hundred years to late for the aggieved Missourians to get their rope and hang Bliss from a tree until dead. Instead everyone wanked around with a USG CDC investigation.
One year later the settlement of Times Beach, too poor to have paved roads, hired Bliss to do his one weird trick on their 23 linear miles of dirt roads. Not being enclosed as the horse arenas were, nobody in Times Beach was aware what happened until the EPA published a report in 1982 on Bliss's business in their town a full decade later. In the media panic which followed the Feds did a forced buyout of Times Beach, built an incinerator, and made a lot of noise on this low hanging fruit of the superfund list. The place is a park now. Mission accomplished in 1997 at a cost of 200 million USD.
- Valley Of The Drums - Some fellow, likely the property owner A.L. Taylor with a tract of valley land in Kentucky got into the hazardous waste disposal business. He kept sealed drums above ground and exposed to the weather. There were leaks with runoff and a fire in 1966. In spite of awareness of the dump after the 1966 and numerous nuissance complaints neither Kentucky government investigated the site until 1978. A.L. Taylor died in 1977. As recently as 2008 more barrels were found near the "remedied" site. Mostly notable for the open air collection of barrels being very photogenic.
- The Hanford Site - Located along the scenic Colombia river the US Military and US Department of Energy have used the site to do a variety of nuclear things, sloppily. Reactor cooling released several terabecquerels of radioisotopes into the river daily. Per the USG's own 2014 estimates they were spending 3 to 4 billion USD annually on site cleanup and suspected total cleanup of the site would end up costing ~120 billion USD for 2014 values of USD. The figure doesn't include incident specific costs incurred addressing leaks, tunnel collapses, and other ongoing issues complicating the site.
Many USG Department of Energy sites have Hanford like problems on a smaller scale. Many US military installations have listed or listable yet undisclosed dumping ground. Nevada, home to the Groom Lake/Area 51 site notably only has three listed superfund sites. All three of Nevada's listed sites are mining related. The lack of listed USG sites in Nevada draws suspicion when large swatches of Nevada are used for munitions testing including 928 nuclear payloads.