Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Big Polluters Are Big Campaign Donors

List of top polluting contributors is led by We Energies.

By - Mar 29th, 2018 10:42 am
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An aerial view of We Energies’ twin Oak Creek and Elm Road coal-fired power plants south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Image from Google Earth.

An aerial view of We Energies’ twin Oak Creek and Elm Road coal-fired power plants south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Image from Google Earth.

Executives with about a dozen papermakers, utilities, and other companies accused of dumping excessive pollution into Wisconsin waterways in 2016 and 2017 are also generous campaign contributors in most cases.

The companies were named in a recent Environment America Research & Policy Center report on excessive pollution by industrial facilities across the country. The report said that 29 times between January 2016 and September 2017 Wisconsin companies exceeded the amount of pollution the state allows them to release. The excessive materials that were dumped in Wisconsin waters included mercury, arsenic, copper, and chlorine.

The report, which reviewed federal Clean Water Act compliance data for its findings, claimed the companies in Wisconsin and across the country rarely face state or federal penalties for exceeding pollution limits.

Environmental groups and Democrats have accused Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Department of Natural Resources, which issues and enforces pollution permits, of being too lenient on businesses when enforcing state environmental laws.

Employees and political action committees (PACs) with 13 of the 14 companies with operations in Wisconsin contributed about $926,800 to Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and June 2017. Walker received more than one-third of those contributions, for about $342,150.

The companies identified in the report with the most campaign contributions between January 2010 and June 2017 are:

  • Wisconsin Electric Power. The company is part of the WEC Energy Group, whose executives and PAC contributed about $534,400 to legislative and statewide candidates, including about $185,800 to Walker.
  • Wisconsin Public Service Corp., whose executives and PAC contributed about $256,400 to legislative and statewide candidates, including about $110,400 to Walker.
  • Green Bay Packaging, whose executives contributed about $36,340 to legislative and statewide candidates, including about $16,950 to Walker.
  • Dairyland Power Cooperative, whose executives contributed $30,570 to legislative and statewide candidates, including $1,450 to Walker.
  • Nextera Energy Point Beach, whose executives and PAC contributed about $29,300 to legislative and statewide candidates, including about $6,460 to Walker.

3 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Big Polluters Are Big Campaign Donors”

  1. Terry says:

    No surprise to anyone even paying vague attention over the last few years…

    Career Politician Scott Walker and republicans sold off Wisconsin’s natural resources and environment to the highest corporate bidders in return for campaign donations. They simultaneously gutted the DNR for a reason!

    Now we get to drink mercury, arsenic, copper, and chlorine laced water on top of the manure and lead contaminated water! Thanks Walker! Thanks republicans!

    Dump Walker 2018
    Dump ALL republicans 2018

  2. Yi Haa says:

    This is the way politics is done in the US – what’s the surprise? Do you really think that Google gets nothing in return for the millions they contribute to the DNC?
    The fake outrage is astounding.

  3. Terry says:

    @Yi haa, no fake outrage needed there is plenty of authentic outrage I assure you. Your comment is a cop out and a fatalistic excuse. The reality is, Career Politician Scott Walker and republicans changed the campaign finance laws to allow unlimited corporate donations. These corporate donors then flooded the state with unlimited Dark Money and republicans, now beholden to their corporate masters sold off the state to them allowing them to destroy our environment. Last I checked I don’t recall google dumping arsenic, lead, mercury, chlorine or copper into our once pristine rivers and streams. Sorry, but you are WRONG.

    Dump Walker 2018

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