Koch Industries tops political spenders among leading water polluters

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John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment America

Washington, DC– Koch Industries topped the list of large-scale industrial water polluters spending money on lobbying in 2014, shelling out a whopping $13.8 million, according to a new report. The enormous spending came after facilities owned by Koch Industries and their subsidiaries dumped more than 6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the nation’s waterways in 2012.  

The Environment America report, “Polluting Politics,” comes as several House lawmakers are pushing to block a rule that would restore Clean Water Act protections to the waterways that filter and feed the drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans. A House Oversight subcommittee will hear testimony on the rulemaking today.

“As it turns out, the same companies that are polluting our waterways with toxic chemicals are also polluting our politics with their spending,” said Ally Fields, clean water advocate at Environment America and author of the report.

Environment America’s report analyzed political spending from top releasers of toxic chemicals into the nation’s waterways, as reported in the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2012.

Other top polluters spending big on lobbying in 2014 were DuPont with $9.3 million, and Tyson Foods with $1.2 million. Both companies’ facilities dumped millions of toxic chemicals into the nation’s waterways in 2012.

Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to more than half of the nation’s streams. The House has already introduced a bill this year to block the EPA plan. Today the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Interior Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the “impacts of EPA air and water regulations on the states and the American people,” where the clean water rule is expected to come under attack.  

The proposal has proven very popular among the general public, who submitted more than 800,000 public comments in support of the rule during a public comment period last year.

“It’s clear that our nation’s polluters have deep pockets, but hundreds of thousands of Americans have raised their voices in support of doing more to protect our waterways, from the Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound,” Fields said. “It’s time for Congress to listen to citizens, not the polluters, and let the EPA finish the job to protect our waterways.”