Tales From The Swamp: Gillespie Lobbied for Company that Polluted VA Waterways

Today, Ed Gillespie participated in a “Clean Water” forum in a feeble attempt to cover up his own record working for a company that lobbied on waste regulation and was fined thousands for major environmental violations in Virginia and elsewhere. In 2005 and 2006 the Virginia Environmental Quality fined Tyson tens of thousands for water violations along Virginia’s Eastern Shore and in Henrico County for illegal wastewater seeping into a local stream and for causing two fish kills in the Chickahominy River.

Learn more about Ed the Swamp Creature at EdTheSwampCreature.org.

Lizzy Price, American Bridge spokesperson, made the following statement:
“Ed Gillespie will say anything to further his own political career, including greenwashing his own lobbying record. The truth is that Gillespie is the ultimate Swamp Creature – he made millions at the expense of Virginians and the health of Virginia’s waterways – and he can’t be trusted to keep Virginia’s rivers clean.”

BACKGROUND:

2005-2007: Gillespie Lobbied For Tyson Foods Inc. According to lobbying disclosure reports filed with the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records, Gillespie lobbied for Tyson Foods Inc. from 2005 to 2007.  The firm declined to disclose the specific issues Gillespie lobbied on, choosing instead to simply list “General Representation.” [U.S. Senate Office of Public Records, accessed 3/16/14]

  • 2007: Tyson Foods Lobbied On Energy, Tax Credits, Food Labeling, Immigration and The Classification Of Manure As A Hazardous Substance. According to the Associated Press, “Tyson Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat processor, spent $550,000 in the first half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form.  The company lobbied on several issues, including energy, tax credits, food labeling and immigration.  Tyson also lobbied on legislation that would exempt manure from being considered a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.  In addition to Congress, the Springdale, Ark.-based company lobbied the White House and the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security.” [Associated Press, 8/31/07]
2005: Tyson Foods Was Fined $18,400 For Environmental Violations On Virginia’s Eastern Shore. According to the Virginian-Pilot, “Poultry giant Tyson Foods Inc. has agreed to pay an $18,400 fine and upgrade its chicken processing plant on Virginia’s Eastern Shore to settle several environmental violations from last year.  According to a proposed settlement with state regulators released this week, problems surfaced at the Accomack County complex last May, when an inspector from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality saw wastewater spilling from an earthen holding pond into a local stream.  Slaughterhouse wastes were seen seeping onto the ground from a malfunctioning pump station nearby, according to case records.” [The Virginian-Pilot, 2/26/05]

Tyson Foods Was Fined For Environmental Violations That Killed Fish In Henrico County. According to the Associated Press, “Tyson Foods Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc. have agreed to pay fines under proposed settlements with the state, which had accused the two poultry companies of environmental violations.  Under its agreement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson would pay a $25,700 fine for causing two fish kills last summer in a tributary to the Chickahominy River.  The fish died after the company’s processing plant in Henrico County released too much ammonia and other substances into the creek.” [Associated Press, 2/21/06]

Tyson Foods Agreed To Pay Nearly $4 Million In A Settlement With The EPA Over Alleged Violations Of The Clean Air Act. According to a news release from the Environmental Protection Agency, “Tyson Foods, Inc., has agreed to pay a $3,950,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of Clean Air Act regulations covering the prevention of chemical accidents at its facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced… As part of a consent decree lodged…in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Mo., Tyson has agreed to conduct pipe-testing and third-party audits of its ammonia refrigeration systems to improve compliance with the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requirements at all 23 of the company’s facilities in the four Midwestern states.  Today’s settlement stems from a series of eight separate incidents between 2006 and 2010 in which accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia at Tyson facilities resulted in property damage, multiple injuries, and one fatality.” [Environmental Protection Agency, News Release, 4/5/13]