New Study: Chemical Insecurity

Media Contacts
Jenny Levin

Baltimore, August 3 – A new Maryland Public Interest Research Group report 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.

Research conducted by U.S. PIRG, the federation of state PIRGs based in Washington DC, 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 Fielding Huseth, advocate for Maryland PIRG.

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.  In Maryland, Clorox’s manufacturing plant located in Aberdeen puts 229,400 people at risk according to the EPA’s Risk Management Plan.
  • 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.

“When public safety takes a backseat to money, its time to take a hard look at our influence culture and work towards moving money out of politics.” said Huseth.

“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,” Huseth added.

“Further delay on this common sense reform is unconscionable and dangerous,” Huseth concluded.