Texas’ Biggest Polluters Spending Millions to Pollute Politics

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Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

AUSTIN – BASF Corporation spent $2.8 million on lobbying in a single year, according to a new report by Environment Texas. The enormous spending came after their Freeport, Texas facility dumped 2.1 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Texas’ waterways in 2012.  

Environment Texas 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 Texas 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 Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.

Environment Texas’ 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:

  • BASF corporation’s Freeport chemical plant dumped 2.1 million pounds of toxic pollution into the Austin-Oyster Rivers watershed. In 2014, the company spent $2.8 million on lobbying and donated nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions.
  • BASF is a member of CropLife America, which submitted public comments opposing an EPA proposal to strengthen clean water standards.

Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 143,000 miles of streams in Texas. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for 11 million at risk.

 “When powerful special interests spend millions to influence our elections and lobby decisionmakers, they drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” said Sara Smith, Director of the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG). “To make sure we’re able to protect our environment and our health, we need reforms to stop the flow of big money into politics.”

“It’s clear that Texas’ polluters have deep pockets, but thousands of Texans have raised their voices in support of doing more to protect Barton Springs, Galveston Bay, the Trinity River and all of Texas’ great waterways ,” Metzger said. “It’s time for Congress to listen to citizens, not the polluters, and let the EPA finish the job to protect our waterways.”


Environment Texas is a statewide citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces.