A company with a plant in Ottumwa that the group Environment Iowa listed as the state’s “number one disposer of toxic chemicals into waterways” is accused in a new report of “polluting politics.”
Jon Brotman is with Environment Iowa.”Our report finds the owner of Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation spent $1.3 million on lobbying in a single year. The enormous spending came after Cargill dumped 2.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in Iowa in 2012 alone,” Brotman says. The “Polluting Politics” report was released this week by Environment America shortly after a bill in the U.S. House was introduced. The measure would block the EPA’s rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to waterways across the country.
“While average Americans have submitted 800,000 comments in support of the EPA rule…powerful special interests are using their deep pockets on lobbying and campaign spending to get Congress to intervene,” Brotman said. A spokesperson for Cargill, Mike Martin, told Radio Iowa last year that his company takes environmental stewardship very seriously. “We have a very large pork processing facility in Ottumwa and what we’re talking about here is organic, nitrogen based compounds that have no toxicity to aquatic life, but they do have to be recorded,” Martin said.
The new report from Environment America is also critical of Tyson Fresh Meats, which has several plants in Iowa. The report claims Tyson Foods spent over $1.1 million on campaign contributions and lobbying in 2012, the same year Tyson dumped 1.7 million pounds of toxic pollution into Iowa’s waterways, according to Environment Iowa. “The same companies that are polluting our rivers with toxic chemicals are also polluting our politics with their spending,” Brotman said.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican, is among those opposed to the EPA’s effort to expand its jurisdiction to streams and wetlands. This week, Ernst invited Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy to visit Iowa to learn “first-hand the impact that these regulatory actions are having on everyday Iowans.”