Oregon’s Biggest Polluters Spending $13,800,000 to Pollute Politics

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Thomas Moosbrugger

Environment Oregon

Portland, OR – The owner of Georgia-Pacific spent $13,800,000 on lobbying in a single year, according to a new report by Environment Oregon. The enormous spending came after Georgia-Pacific dumped 123,040 pounds of toxic chemicals into Oregon’s waterways in 2012.

Environment Oregon released its Polluting Politics report shortly after the introduction of a bill in the US House of Representatives to block the EPA’s clean water rule, which could restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in Oregon 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 Charlotte Bromley, clean water campaign organizer with Environment Oregon.

Environment Oregon’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.

Major findings of the report include:

  • Heinz Frozen Food Co. dumped 183,744 pounds of toxic pollution into Oregon’s Snake River Watershed in 2012. In 2014, HJ Heinz Co., its parent company, spent $105,000 on lobbying and another $131,900 in campaign contributions to key lawmakers in the 2014 election cycle. 
  • The same year, while Georgia-Pacific Toledo LLC dumped 123,040 pounds of toxic pollution into Oregon’s Yaquina Bay. Koch Industries, Inc., its parent company, spent $13,800,000 in lobbying expenditures, another $7,703,185 in campaign contributions, and was ranked #6 in the nation on the list of worst offenders for total pounds of toxics released. 

Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail the EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to over 61,000 miles of streams in Oregon. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water of nearly 1.7 million Oregonians at risk.

“It’s clear that Oregon’s polluters have deep pockets, but thousands of Oregonians have raised their voices in support of doing more to protect local rivers,” Bromley said. “It’s time for Congress to listen to citizens, not the polluters, and let the EPA finish the job to protect the waterways we love.”

Read the full report here.