Parallels Between Freeport McMoRan and Stratus?

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 27, 2005

Dear Editor,
   Thank you for the update on the environmental abuses of Freeport McMoRan in Indonesia ["Written in Stone," News, Sept. 23]. Thanks also for writing on AMD and Stratus Properties’ attempt to launch a new satellite downtown above Barton Springs – the same one that FM’s Jim Bob Moffett dreamed of in 1990.
   Are these two stories really one story?
   While local opponents to the corporate attack on our water and democratic institutions are not being murdered, the ties and parallels between FM’s activities overseas and those of its "independent" spin-off, Stratus, here at home deserve exploring. One point of departure: the common, official address the two share at 1615 Poydras St., New Orleans, La., as stated in the two companies’ most recent quarterly reports to the SEC. (Go to and enter FCX for Freeport and STRS for Stratus.)
   The parallels in disinformation, water pollution, and disregard of local communities are disturbing. For more than 15 years there has been overwhelming public opposition to Stratus/FM’s efforts to build a new downtown above Barton Springs. Most recently, more than 12,000 people have signed the petition at asking AMD to build their new offices outside the Barton Springs watershed.
   Why the opposition? For the simple reason that building a new downtown above the Edwards Aquifer will ruin Barton Springs.
   Yet (as in 1990) our elected officials are frozen in fear. Large amounts of cash and free computer equipment are spread around in the political, nonprofit, media, music, and film communities in an attempt to buy silence. These divide-and-conquer tactics are straight from Freeport’s 1990 playbook.
   Is the soul of Austin now for sale? It’s up to you. FM/Stratus’ development plans depend on it, and now AMD is betting the same.
   As before, it takes a community to save a community spring.
Bill Bunch
SOS Alliance
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