"Industry Wields Sway Over Air Pollution Rules, Enforcement"

Sunflower Electric Power Corp. refused to take no for an answer when Kansas rejected its bid to build two new power plants there. A heavily funded political push eventually won approval, even as the company denied it was engaging in politics. "Yet the company’s success is a telling snapshot of how, when industry flexes its muscles over Clean Air Act issues, it often wins. From Kansas to Louisiana to Texas, Wisconsin and Ohio, community groups have fought new plants, expansions and chronic emissions – only to see industry score victories with regulators and politicians."

"'We’re not protecting public health today,' said Jim Tarr, an air pollution consultant in California who worked as an engineer for the Texas Air Control Board in the 1970s. 'One of the primary reasons we’re not is that the environmental agencies have been co-opted by the people doing the polluting.'

Industry’s influence plays out at every step of the process: From the campaign contributions it spreads to sway policy to its role shaping clean air rules to its resistance to enforcement actions brought by regulators."

Ronnie Greene, Chris Hamby, and Jim Morris report for iWatch News (Center for Public Integrity) December 22, 2011.

Source: iWatch News, 12/30/2011