As the Michigan primary approaches, Hillary Clinton has been making sure to tout her efforts to help Flint. But her record tells a different story.
In 2005, while she was running for re-election as New York’s U.S. Senator, Clinton voted against a measure to ban the manufacturing of a known carcinogen that had affected drinking water supplies for millions of Americans. A chemical called methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which is an additive that makes fuel burn cleaner, had found its way into 31 states’ drinking water wells by 2000. Three years later, the Environmental Working Group estimated that some 15 million Americans were drinking water contaminated with MTBE. Amid this news, seventeen states filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of MTBE.
As International Business Times reported, one of the manufacturers of MTBE was ExxonMobil, a major supporter of the Clinton Foundation. In 2005, Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) introduced an amendment to a sweeping energy policy bill that would have banned the use of MTBE. While the amendment passed overwhelmingly with 70 votes in favor and 26 opposing, Hillary Clinton joined 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats in voting against the measure. According to OpenSecrets.org, Clinton raised over $74,000 from the oil and gas industry for her 2006 re-election effort. To date, ExxonMobil has given roughly $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Shortly after the amendment’s passage, the Environmental Working Group reported that an EPA draft risk assessment proved a link between MTBE and increased cancer rates:
An EPA official who reviewed an earlier version of the document told Environmental Working Group (EWG) that the risk assessment’s most notable finding for the first time links MTBE to cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, with toxicological endpoints similar to known carcinogens such as benzene and butadiene. Previously, EPA had classified MTBE as a “possible” cause of cancer, and concerns about contamination centered on the fact that in small doses its foul stench renders water undrinkable.
While Hillary Clinton expressed concerns over the use of MTBE, she still nonetheless voted against the final bill that included language discouraging the use of the toxic chemical. While MTBE was phased out of gasoline products in the last ten years, International Business times recently reported that there are new outbreaks of MTBE contamination in Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.