Polluting Politics

Political Spending by Companies Dumping Toxics Into Our Waters
Released by: Environment Colorado

The owner of Cargill Meat Solutions spent $1.3 billion on lobbying in a single year, according to a new report by Environment Colorado. The enormous spending came after Cargill Meat Solutions dumped 462,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into Colorado’s waterways in 2012.

Environment Colorado released its “Polluting Politics” report shortly after the introduction of a House bill to block the EPA’s clean water rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in Colorado and across the country.

“As it turns out, the same companies that are polluting our rivers with toxic chemicals are also polluting our politics with their spending,” observed Emily Hiltz, Clean Water Organizer, Environment Colorado.

Environment Colorado’s report links discharges of toxic chemicals as reported in the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2012 with federally reported campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.

Cargill Meat Solutions dumped 462,000 pounds of toxic pollution into Colorado’s waterways. Its owner, Cargill Inc., spent $1.3 billion on lobbying in the same year.
Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 73,000 miles of streams in Colorado. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for over 3 million at risk.

Unable to make it to the release today, County Commissioner Tim Mauck, remarks “Don't be fooled by what others are willing to spend to make Congress think the Clean Water Act is bad for business. From the inception of the Clean Water Act in 1972 until it was weakened by the first Supreme Court ruling in 2001, Colorado's gross domestic product increased more than ten-fold from $13.6 to $181 billion.”

Katie Flemming-Dahl from Common Cause, a democracy advocacy group agrees and adds, “There are millions of Americans who care about protecting the environment, millions more who care about having healthy drinking water, and lakes and rivers where children can play. Groups like Environment Colorado have stepped up and directly into the fight to protect our water from pollutants that harm people, animals and our way of life.” Flemming-Dahl continues, “They do this even in the face of the enormous wealth and power the polluting industries have and wield.”

“It’s clear that Colorado’s polluters have deep pockets, but thousands of Coloradoans have raised their voices in support of doing more to protect The Platte River Hiltz said. “It’s time for Congress to listen to citizens, not the polluters, and let the EPA finish the job to protect our waterways.”