One day in the small Mississippi town of Laurel, a 26-year-old expectant mom named Karen Street sat down at the edge of her bathtub-and felt her hip split in two. The episode was so bizarre it wasn't until later, after she saw the doctor, that she realized her bone disease was almost certainly linked to her father-in-law's business. Winston Street ran a machine shop that drilled the gunk out of pipes used by Chevron, Shell and other giants of the oil industry-creating a white powder that covered Karen Street's husband's overalls every night, which then landed in their vegetable garden...and was highly radioactive.
Winston Street didn't know the dust was poisonous, nor did his workers or his family. But someone did know. Indeed, there was evidence that America's Big Oil companies were aware for decades that they were pulling up radium from under the earth, poisoning yards like Street's while dumping radioactive water in unlined pits across the South. Now, to prove that and win justice for his blue-collar clients, an untested young lawyer named Stuart H. Smith and his eccentric team would have to get the better of America's best-known radiation attorney and the global clout of Chevron inside a Mississippi courtroom.
In a gripping tale that reads as if torn from the pages of a John Grisham novel, Crude Justice tells how the Little Guy can take on the behemoth of Big Oil and win...with the help of a good attorney. Recounting more than two decades as a top environmental lawyer in the toxic oil patch of the American South, Smith tells the story of how he upped the ante again and again – getting the best of Chevron, then taking on the world's most powerful corporation, ExxonMobil, with $1 billion on the line, and finally ferreting out the elusive truth behind BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Smith finally builds upon the courtroom drama of his past and the environmental threats of the present – from fracking to the Keystone XL pipeline – to issue a resounding call for America to break its crippling addiction to fossil fuels.
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