TX PEER
Navigation Bar

Merry Toxic Christmas in Texas

Gov. George W. Bush's Quiet War
on the Texas Environment:

The Money Connection

In the first two segments of Bush's quiet little war on the Texas Environment, PEER examined how the Governor's appointees at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) weakened environmental regulations to benefit polluting industries.

Their efforts included undermining proposed new federal public health standards, rolling back environmental regulation, and manipulating pollution data in an attempt to help the industries they were charged with regulating.

The third and final installment of this series highlights some of the major polluting industries that benefited from reduced penalties or regulatory rollbacks by the Bush appointed TNRCC board. It also documents approximately $1.4 million in campalign contributions from industry polluters to Governor Bush.

How to Make Smog

Ground level ozone is formed when Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile organic compounds (VOC's) mix with sunlight in the summer to bake. This is commonly called smog. An inventory of sources for these smog-forming chemicals include automobiles, trucks, buses, industrial smokestacks and gasoline stations.

Studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency have shown that from an overall economic perspective, the least expensive way to reduce ozone pollution is to control stationary industrial sources. By 1995, the EPA was exploring new stricter controls on ozone pollution.

Working for Polluters

In Texas, after taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campalign contributions from representatives of polluting industries, Gov. Bush's administration got to work defending the interests of the polluters.

Company

VOCs tons/year NOx tons/yr $ to GWB
ALTURA ENERGY LTD. 7701 2848 (See Amoco & Shell)
ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA 1614 19,987 $1,000
AMOCO CHEMICAL COMPANY 3180 12,936 $11,00
ARCO PERMIAN 846 1817 $27,500
CENTRAL & SOUTHWEST SERVICES, INC. 395 55,012 $28,250
CHEVRON CHEMICAL COMPANY 811 1426 $4,000
CITGO REFINING AND CHEMICALS CO. 1949 1870 $5,000
COASTAL REFINING & MARKETING, INC. 2037 9333 $34,250
CROWN CENTRAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION 796 685 $4,000
DUKE ENERGY 1871 5190 $13,000
EL PASO ELECTRIC COMPANY 17 2935 $2,000
EL PASO ENERGY CORPORATION 109 5057 $8,000
ENRON 656 6824 $301,500
ENTERGY GULF STATES, INC. 57 7190 $15,000
EXXON 5825 23,475 $14,000
HOECHST CELANESE CHEM. GROUP, LTD. 687 2787 $1,000
HOUSTON INDUSTRIES INC./RELIANT 469 74,800 $47,000
HUNT OIL COMPANY 35 2054 $109,000
HUNTSMAN CORPORATION 3557 4656 $5,000
INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO. 4148 2472 $5,000
KOCH REFINING COMPANY, L.P. 2134 6151 $28,000
LYONDELL INCORPORATED 3490 14,142 $3,500
LYONDELL-CITGO REFINING CO. LTD. 3368 5572 (See Lyondell & CITGO)
MARATHON ASHLAND PETROLEUM LLC 718 932 $4,000
MOBIL OIL CORPORATION 6043 8290 $9,500
ROHM & HAASTEXAS INCORPORATED 1273 1717 $2,000
SOUTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE CO. 289 24,840 $13,000
STERLING CHEMICALS, INC. 751 1377 $87,000
TEMPLE-INLAND FOREST PRODUCTS 1218 378 $32,500
TENNECO 636 0 $5,000
TEXAS EASTMAN DIVISION 3723 5866 $8,500
TEXAS UTILITIES ELECTRIC COMPANY 1270 127,676 $73,000
TORCH ENERGY MARKETING, INC. 156 2016 $1,000
UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION 3106 6828 $3,500
VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION 4482 5669 $38,500
TOTALS 69,417 454,808 $944,500

Beginning in August of 1995, only nine months into Gov. Bush's first administration, his TNRCC appointees began an aggressive campalign to build public support against proposed EPA ozone standards. This campalign is one of the most visible examples of the close relationship between Gov. Bush and polluting industry.

The public opposition from Gov. Bush's appointees against the new proposed federal standards for ozone and particulates are covered in Part One and Two of the series. Efforts included attempts to statistically juggle monitoring data and personally influence Congress to reject the new standards. The agency also conducted a slick public relations campalign producing materials that distorted the ozone pollution problems that were sending Texans to the emergency rooms.

Ultimately the efforts by Governor Bush's administration to completely stop the new stricter federal standards failed. However the did succeed in weakening the proposed federal standards to save his supporter millions of dollars in pollution control costs.

Supplemental Environmental Programs

Another example of campalign contribution and concern is the TNRCC's Supplemental Environmental Programs (SEP's) In exchange for paying a reduced penalty, a company found guilty of violating environmental laws could propose a program that would reduce pollution, enhance the quality of the environment or increase environmental awareness in the public. These programs were developed as a way to put resources back into a community that had suffered from pollution due to a violation of state environmental laws.

As PEERdocumented in Part Two of this series, under the Bush administration this program was subverted, and used to subsidize business activities for the violating company that would have occurred normally or had no environmental benefit to the surrounding community.

Between 1996 and 1998 companies that took advantage of these Supplemental Environmental Programs contributed $116,461 to Bush's gubernatorial campaligns.

SEP Company

Amount to GWB

ASARCO

$1,000

CHAMPION INTERNATIONAL CORP

$4,500

DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY

$30,000

FINA OIL & CHEMICAL COMPANY

$9,000

JOBE CONCRETE

$1,000

OCCIDENTAL

$21,000

PHILLIPS 66 COMPANY

$21,111

TEXAS INDUSTRIES

$15,600

ULTRAMAR DIAMOND SHAMROCK

$13,250

Total

$116,461

Rolling Back Regulations/ Hydrogen Fluoride Controls

Another anti-environmental initiative in Texas covered in Part Two of this series was a rollback of state regulations that have no corresponding federal regulation or requirement. The regulations concerning hydrogen fluoride were important to the coal burning utilities and the semiconductor industry. They contributed over $112,700 to Bush's campaligns.

Company

Hydrogen Fluoride emmissions (lbs.)

$ to GWB

Advanced Micro Devices

305

$1,000

Motorola

5200

$6,500

National Semiconductor

886

$2,000

Owens Corning

50,000

$36,500

Shell Oil

870

$42,700

Texas Instruments

17,060

$20,500

Weatherford

1000

$3,500

Totals

75,321

$112,700


Other Attacks on Texas Environmental Regulation

Many of the policy changes made by the Bush appointees at the TNRCC to weaken environmental protection cannot be directly linked to benefit a specific company. However several of the policy changes including cutting the enforcement budget, requiring prior notification before conducting annual inspections, and the shift to voluntary compliance for enforcement measures send a clear signal to the polluting industries that their financial support was paying off

In addition to the contributions that we have already listed, Gov. Bush accepted over $10,000 from major polluters and $239,000 from their agents and lobbyists.

Companies

Ranking in top 100

$ to GWB

Cabot

70

$1,000

General Motors

60

$7,000

Trane Co.

88

$2,000

Total

 

10,000

Agents ad Lobbyists

$ to GWB

Baker & Botts

$88,000

Texas Chemical Council PAC

$11,000

Vinson & Elkins

$133,000

Worsham, Forsythe et. al.

$7,000

Total

$239,000


Pollution Pays in Presidential Politics

The greatest source of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels by motor vehicles, and electric power plants. Members of the trade associations for these industries have stepped up their campalign contributions to influence the upcoming elections.

In November of this year The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance published a study analyzing campalign contributions to leading candidates in the Race for President. During just the first nine months of this year, George W. Bush has received $521,714 from members of the Edison Electric Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

This represents 80% of the total hard money contributions from these industries. This total is almost four times more than all other Presidential candidates combined have received from companies belonging to these trade associations.

Next Week

Stay tuned: Part Two of Superfund: A super deal for Texas Polluters.


Bush Home

The Bush Legacy Stories


Home | About | National | PEER PRESSure | Feedback | Search |  

TX PEER · P.O. Box 1522; Austin TX · 78767-1522
Tel: (512) 441-4941 · txpeer@PEER.org 
TX PEER
Go to TXPEERs homepage Click to jump to the top of the page