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AUSTIN, August 5 -- A new Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) report, Chemical Insecurity: America’s most dangerous companies and the multimillion dollar campaign against common sense solutions, identifies the 14 chemical companies that endanger the most Americans in the event of a chemical release. These companies also spent more than 70 million dollars lobbying and bankrolling the campaigns of the Members of Congress on the committees that oversee chemical security policy.
TexPIRG’s research also shows how many of the lobbyists hired by these 14 companies participate in the so-called “revolving door” of lobbying employment—moving from positions on the committees of jurisdiction to lobbying the members on them.
“The Chemical and Water Security Act would protect the public from the consequences of an attack or accident at the most dangerous chemical facilities, but the pay-the-piper culture of influence in Congress has kept this common sense legislation from becoming law,” said Melissa Cubria, TexPIRG Advocate.
Key findings of the report include:
- The fourteen companies with the most people in the danger zones in the event of an accident or attack on one of their facilities are: Clorox, Kuehne Chemical, JCI Jones, KIK Custom Products, DuPont, PVS Chemicals, Olin, DX Holding, Solvay, Valero, Occidental Petroleum, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, and Sunoco.
- The Clorox Company, Kuehne Chemical, and JCI Jones Chemical each own facilities that together put more than 12 million people at risk.
- These fourteen companies and their affiliated trade associations spent $69,286,198 lobbying the committees with jurisdiction over chemical security legislation in 2008 and 2009 —Energy and Commerce and Homeland Security in the House, and Environment and Public Works and Homeland Security and Government Oversight in the Senate.
- The political action committees (PACs) of these fourteen companies and the PACs of their affiliated trade associations gave $2,187,868 in the 2008 election cycle and the 2010 cycle to date directly to the campaigns of members of the committees of jurisdiction over chemical security legislation.
- These fourteen companies and their affiliated trade associations employ 20 ‘revolving door’ lobbyists who previously staffed the committees of jurisdiction over chemical security and toxics before becoming lobbyists on those same issues.
"Once again we see the same DC two-step occurring: legalized bribery through campaign contributions and industry lobbyists writing their own regulation or blocking common sense reforms. We saw it in the bank meltdown, we've seen it with the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf. In this case, the results could be unfathomable: death and catastrophic environmental damage from a terrorist attack because an industry is too greedy to police itself," said Andy Wilson, an organizer for Public Citizen Texas who specializes in campaign finance issues.
“When public safety takes a backseat to money, it’s time to take a hard look at our influence culture and work towards moving money out of politics.” said Cubria.
“The Senate should waste no more time bringing comprehensive chemical security legislation to the President’s desk. As the BP accident in the Gulf of Mexico shows, worst case scenarios really can happen, and they can produce worse than worst case results,” Cubria added. “Further delay on this common sense reform is unconscionable and dangerous.”
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