New Energy Weekly – I learned about Love Canal in high school
Last week, I sat down with my friend Cory from the KE Report to discuss energy, Mangrove investor, and how we were doing things differently with New Energy.
The Podcast is up on the site Click Here to Listen. I ramble a bit, sorry.
But in today’s update, I wanted to talk about how Mangrove Investor came to be.
Long before I became an investment analyst, I struggled with the behavior of certain companies. A series of events helped shape my outlook.
I learned about Love Canal in high school.
It’s a horrible story about an abandoned excavation that the precursor to Occidental Petroleum (NYSY: OXY) used as a chemical waste dump. The site was filled in, developed, and people became sick.
So sick, in fact, that the U.S. government had to come to the rescue. It led to landmark pollution regulations, including the formation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, otherwise known as Superfund.
Superfund sites are so polluted that they require the federal government to step in for long-term clean up of hazardous materials.
I ended up working as an environmental geologist for a few years, early in my career. And I dealt with CERCLA and Superfund. I worked on 2 or 3 Superfund sites, including the Piper Aircraft site in Vero Beach, Florida, and the Solitron Devices site in West Palm Beach.
My experiences left me dismayed by the extent of the pollution that companies could create. The problem is always – “who is going to pay to clean up this mess?”
The superfund sites are incredibly expensive. Companies usually go into bankruptcy long before the bill can be paid. And that leaves a community without an employer and with poisoned land.
That’s one major reason I wanted to find companies that do things the right way. Because I don’t ever want to own a company that allows negligence to create massive harm. Unfortunately, It’s easy to accidentally own one of these companies.
Today, giant mining company Anglo American wants to block a class action lawsuit in Zambia over massive lead contamination from one of its mines. The company worked this mine for fifty years – from 1925 to 1974. But they deny any responsibility for the lead pollution left behind.
This is not the right thing to do. Anglo’s management is covering their asses, instead of being pro-active. And it’s because nearly 100 years of negligent mining practices will be expensive to clean up. And they are correct, it isn’t all Anglo’s fault.
But I won’t own their stock. Because who knows how many other locations are just like this one?
No, I’d rather find companies that practice a more responsible form of mining. And that may mean avoiding the legacy operators entirely. Because there are lots of these sites waiting to come to light around the world.
And honestly, I’d rather own companies who embrace their community than ones who operate in spite of them.
This isn’t some politically correct form of investing. This is a direct result of seeing the destruction left by a poorly run company. Communities with depressed home values and no hope. No one wants to live or work near a superfund site.
And it comes back to greed and negligence.
The good news is, there are many good companies out there today. And that’s what we try to highlight with our New Mining label. The companies that mine the metals we need to change our electrical industry must do it correctly, from the start.
That’s one of the reasons we created Mangrove Investor. We wanted to highlight companies that do things the right way.
The good news is that the market liked the latest inflation data. We all feel a little richer again, right? This could mark the beginning of the next bull market. It’s the first real “green shoots” moment we’ve had in 2022.
And while I’m still sanguine about the economy, I think we can start buying stocks again. And that’s good news.
For the Good,