2001 Department of Justice: “Koch Pleads Guilty to Covering Up Environmental Violations at Texas Oil Refinery” and Pays $10 Million Fine

In a press release in 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice describes how the George W. Bush Administration settled “a 97-count indictment against Koch Industries Inc., Koch Petroleum Group, L.P., and four corporate employees” brought by the Clinton Administration alleging environmental crimes, conspiracy, and making false statements about one of the company’s refineries in Texas. The company was facing more than $500 million in potential fines.

According to Jane Mayer‘s breakout profile in the New Yorker, “During the 2000 election campaign, Koch Industries spent some nine hundred thousand dollars to support the candidacies of George W. Bush and other Republicans.” After Bush was sworn in, the federal government dropped 86 counts and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries agreed to pay $10 million in fines and spend $10 million on abatement, as noted in the press release from the Bush Administration below.

As noted by Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer, the case involved Koch emitting more than 91 metric tons–more than 200,000 pounds–of the toxic chemical benzene into the air and water around Corpus Christi, far exceeding the legal limit under the Clean Air Act: “That is, Koch Industries exposed nearby residents to massive amounts of benzene, which ‘is a well-established cause of cancer in humans.’ It is a ‘group 1’ carcinogen because studies have documented that it causes acute myeloid leukemia in humans, and it may also cause lymphocyte leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.”

Please see research by Greenpeace on Koch Industries Pollution for additional context.

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