Fluor’s business model is dependent on ignoring ‘externalities’ – the significant, largely negative effects business operations have on the local environment, local people and the climate at large. Another way of describing this is to invoke what Naomi Klein and many others have called “sacrifice zones,” or “places that, to their extractors, somehow don’t count and therefore can be poisoned, drained or, or otherwise destroyed, for the supposed greater good of economic progress.”  This is an apt description of what Fluor does—and profits from—all over the world. And in the context of Arizona, what Fluor and its team want to do is to turn South Mountain into such a “sacrifice zone” – sacrificing an O’odham sacred site, the health of the Gila River Indian Community and the health of all Phoenix Valley residents.
It’s true that many companies across the world benefit from externalities and sacrifice zones. But Fluor has a higher—and more negative—profile than many. The company has faced allegations of human trafficking, war profiteering, providing support to repressive governments, significant abuse of taxpayer dollars and improper lobbying. It is also connected to numerous operations where indigenous people, farmers and activists have been violently repressed—and even murdered—in order to push projects forward. And Fluor unquestionably contributes to environmental degradation and human-induced climate change across the globe.