WASHINGTON – Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) launched a $150,000 television ad campaign featuring two 15-second spots highlighting the fact that New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson has repeatedly voted to protect MTBE producers and oil companies that used MTBE, while taking campaign cash from corporate polluters who benefited from those votes. The ads are running on broadcast television and cable networks in the Albuquerque media market.
“Letting polluters off the hook for contaminating New Mexico's water with MTBE is just one glaring example of how Heather Wilson has left New Mexico families behind with her votes in Washington,” said Navin Nayak, LCV Senior Vice President for Campaigns. “What else would you expect from a Washington insider like Heather Wilson, who has taken hundreds of thousands from oil companies and other special interests and then voted their way?”
This ad campaign is the latest in a coalition effort from several environmental and conservation groups to defeat Wilson. Last month, LCV named Wilson to its 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list. Additionally, LCV Action Fund has raised more than $125,000 for Martin Heinrich’s Senate campaign via its GiveGreen website.
Wilson voted to protect MTBE producers and oil companies that used MTBE. Wilson voted for the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Bush energy bills, which each included a provision shielding makers of MTBE from lawsuits for contaminating drinking water. The provision would also apply to oil companies that refined or sold gasoline containing MTBE. Wilson also voted specifically against removing the MTBE liability provision from the 2005 energy bill. [HR6, House Vote 145, 4/11/03; HR 4503, House Vote 241, 6/15/04; HR6, House Vote 129, 4/21/05; House Vote 132, 4/21/05]
Wilson accepted more than $60,000 from MTBE producers in years surrounding her MTBE votes. During the 2002, 2004 and 2006 election cycles, Wilson accepted $61,500 in campaign contributions from three major producers of MTBE: Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy and Lyondell Chemical. During that time period, Wilson received $25,000 from Exxon Mobil, $32,500 from Valero Energy and $4,000 from Lyondell Chemical. All three companies faced lawsuits for MTBE contamination. [Environmental Working Group, “Like Oil and Water”; Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Responsive Politics; Bloomberg, 7/25/05]
Wilson received tens of thousands more from oil companies and refiners that used MTBE. In addition to MTBE producers, Wilson received thousands of dollars from oil companies that faced lawsuits for refining or selling gasoline containing MTBE. These companies include ChevronTexaco, which contributed $16,500 to Wilson during the 2002-2006 election cycles, and Marathon Oil, which contributed $3,000 to Wilson during that time period. [Environmental Working Group; Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Responsive Politics]
EPA: MTBE is “a potential human carcinogen.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, the available data “support the conclusion that MTBE is a potential human carcinogen at high doses.” [EPA, MTBE summary page]