Friday, August 6, 2010

Chemical Insecurity? USPIRG seems to think so in new report

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has been around for a long time, though perhaps doesn't roll off the tongue (or garner as much publicity) as well Greenpeace and PETA.  But yesterday they released a report that identifies "14 chemical companies that endanger the most Americans in the event of a chemical release."  The report called "Chemical Insecurity: America's most dangerous companies and the multimillion dollar campaign against common sense solutions," pulls no punches as it names names...or at least those names that it believes have been lobbying hard against passage of new laws to change security practices at the nations chemical manufacturing facilities.  The most recent bills were introduced recently by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, though passage seems unlikely in this Congress.

According to USPIRG, the 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.

• 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.

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