November 4, 1999
PUSH FOR POLLUTER IMMUNITY
Austin...Texas Governor George W. Bush has led the fight to shield
corporate polluters from prosecution under the nation's most extreme
"environmental audit privilege" law. According to records released
today by Texas PEER, Gov. Bush agreed to moderate Texas law under
threat of federal intervention and loss of the state's power to enforce
national environmental statutes.
During his first year in office, Gov. Bush supported a sweeping audit
immunity law shielding corporations who performed internal environmental
reviews from criminal and civil prosecution. The law was enacted despite
opposition from the U.S. Justice Department and Texas prosecutors
who expressed concerns that the bill would cripple pollution enforcement
by conferring greater legal protections upon corporations than individual
It took federal regulators nearly two years, culminating in face-to-face
negotiations with Gov. Bush, to secure changes in the law that deny
immunity to corporate polluters who—
> create a serious threat to public health;
> break federal criminal laws; or
> economically profit from environmental violations.
Secrecy of corporate pollution violations remains a central part of
the Texas audit immunity law. Texans who suffer health effects or
other damage as a result of covered misconduct may not have access
to the data even in court.
NOTE: More on polluter immunity. Next week we look at specific cases
and the threat of prosecution faced by state environmental employees.
The following week, Texas PEER lists the corporations who have escaped
prosecution and the extent of their financial gratitude.
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· P.O. Box 1522; Austin TX ·
441-4941 · txpeer@PEER.org