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Killing Right-to-Know: The CMA asks its members to ante up

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All this activity costs a lot of money. Almost immediately after the passage of Prop. 65, the CMA board raised member companies' dues by 11 percent to establish a State Initiatives Contingency Fund to fight RTK's spread to other states. The fund spawned the CMA State Toxics Initiative Work Group - in 1989 the troublesome word "toxics" was removed from the name, and its scope was expanded beyond RTK - which secured pledges from member companies for an emergency fund to fight state-level initiatives.

In 1995, the fund stood at $1.3 million. CMA had dipped into it five times, spending more than $1.5 million in just one key state:

  • In 1989, $298,000 to fight a toxics use reduction initiative in Massachusetts, which never reached the ballot;

  • In 1990, $800,000 to fight the "Big Green" omnibus environmental initiative in California, which was defeated with a total expenditure by the corporate sector of $15 million;

  • In 1992, $720,000 to successfully oppose a right-to-know initiative in Ohio;

  • Again in 1992, $500,000 to defeat a toxics tax initiative in Massachusetts;

  • And in 1994, $800,000 to oppose a Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group initiative prohibiting corporate contributions to ballot campaigns, which was "soundly defeated."

(view entire document)

But the contingency fund wasn't enough.

In 1988, CMA decided to dramatically increase its support of state-level Chemical Industry Councils to achieve "parity with our collective federal effort." The cost to CMA over the first six years of the program was set at $10.8 million; after that the state CICs were on their own. Imagine how much pollution could have been eliminated if the members of the CMA had instead invested those millions into prevention, controls and non-toxic alternatives.

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last updated: march.27.2009

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