Polluting Politics

Political Spending by Companies Dumping Toxics Into Our Waters
Released by: Environment Illinois

Illinois’ Biggest Polluters Spending Millions to Pollute Politics

The owner of Tyson Fresh Meats Incorporated spent $1,163,838 on lobbying in a single year, according to a new report by Environment Illinois. The enormous spending came after Tyson Fresh Meats Incorporated dumped 2,559,460 pounds of toxic chemicals into Illinois’ waterways in 2012.  

Environment America 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 Illinois 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 Ally Fields, federal clean water advocate for Environment Illinois.

Environment Illinois’ 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:

  • Tyson Fresh Meats Incorporated dumped 2,559,460 pounds of toxic pollution into Illinois' waterways. Its owner, Tyson Foods Incorporated, spent $1,163,838 on lobbying in the same year.

Right now, polluters are lobbying their allies on Capitol Hill to derail EPA’s plan to restore Clean Water Act protections to 48,782 miles of streams in Illinois. Loopholes in the law currently leave the waterways that feed the drinking water for 1,680,948 Illinoisans at risk.

 “When powerful special interests spend millions to influence our elections and lobby decision makers, they drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” said Fields. “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 Illinois polluters have deep pockets, but thousands of Illinoisans have raised their voices in support of doing more to protect Lake Michigan,” 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.”