Take one Greg Abbott add some Koch money and you get policies that put Koch profit over the safety of people in Texas.
According to Abbott’s latest campaign finance report, the Koch Brothers donated a total of $100,000 to the Abbott campaign. Koch interests donated $75,000 following the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Company. That explosion killed 15 and injured 160 people. It destroyed 200 homes and caused a total of $100 million in property damage.
The subsequent investigation revealed numerous safety violations at the West Fertilizer company, including unsafe handling and storage of anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate. OSHA found poor labeling of ammonia storage tanks as well as replacement hoses that were not tested for pressure.
Although sensible people recognize the purpose of safety standards is to prevent tragedies like the West Fertilizer Company explosion, in Koch world safety standards mean government interference in the free market. It comes as little surprise that they would provide Abbott with a $100,000 to date incentive to place Koch profits above the safety of Texas voters and their families.
Abbott already has a record of looking after his donors at the expense of Texas cancer patients. It was a safe bet that he would react the same way when it comes to choosing the self-interests of Koch Industries and similar corporate interests even after the devastating explosion in West.
Five months after an ammonium nitrate explosion that killed 15 people in West, Attorney General Greg Abbott received a $25,000 contribution from a first-time donor to his political campaigns – the head of Koch Industries’ fertilizer division. The donor, Chase Koch, is the son of one of the billionaire brothers atop Koch Industries’ politically influential business empire. Abbott, who has since been criticized for allowing Texas chemical facilities to keep secret the contents of their plants, received more than $75,000 from Koch interests after the April 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. storage and distribution facility, campaign finance records filed with the state showed.
In fact, the Kochs’ investment in Abbott is already reaping results. Abbott changed a decades old standard in Texas under which Texans had a right to know about the dangerous chemicals in their neighborhoods. He blocked the release of chemical inventory lists to the public. Abbott went on to propose that if Texans are concerned, they can just drive around to spot sites with hazardous substances. If they see something suspicious, they can ask the companies to disclose what sort of hazardous substances they have. Of course, the companies will be cooperative and tell people everything they want to know.
“You know where they are if you drive around,” Abbott told reporters at an event in Austin. “You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do and they can tell you, ‘Well, we do have chemicals or we don’t have chemicals.’ And if they do, they tell which ones they have.”
According to Abbott, you are entitled to that information, as a member of the community so that means you will get it.
You, as a community member of this state, can go to any chemical facility in the entire state of Texas and say, ‘Identify for me all chemical you have on your facility, And you are entitled to get that information.
Now don’t you feel better? All you have to do is ask and these corporations who paid Abbott off to block public access to lists of their hazardous chemical inventories. They will tell you everything you want to know because, according to Greg Abbott, you are entitled to that information as a member of the community.
The Koch Brothers are not the only corporate donors that Greg Abbott cares more about than Texas community members.
Abbott got an additional $12,500 from three members of the Texas Chemical Council. Dow Chemical and
Honeywell International donated $5,000 each, while the Vice President of Formosa Plastics Corporation donated $2500.
The bottom line is Greg Abbott doesn’t want Texans to know if there are hazardous substances in their neighborhoods because his donors paid him off to keep that information secret.
A Davis aide rebuked Abbott for his willingness to put Texans at risk in the name of protecting his donors.
The only thing more outrageous than Greg Abbott keeping the location of chemical facilities secret is telling Texas parents they literally need to go door to door in order to find out if their child’s school is in the blast radius of dangerous explosives. Parents have a right to know whether their kids are playing hopscotch next door to the type of facility that exploded in West.
Elections are about choosing between candidates and their respective visions for the future. In Texas, the choice is literally a choice between a sensible governor like Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott who is willing to play a chemical version of Russian roulette with your life.