Hillary Clinton, who has been an intense critic of the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan, voted against a bill to prevent groundwater pollution when she was representing New York in the U.S. Senate.
The International Business Times reported:
Facing reports that a controversial fuel additive was contaminating water supplies across America, Clinton as a senator in 2005 opposed a bipartisan measure to ban the chemical–even though Bill Clinton’s Environmental Protection Agency had first proposed such a prohibition. At roughly the same time, one major company producing the chemical also tried to use provisions in a trade deal backed by Hillary Clinton to force local governments in the United States to let it continue selling the toxic compound. At issue was the chemical known as methyl tertiary butyl ether–or MTBE. Though the compound makes fuel burn cleaner, by the end of the 1990s, scientists began detecting an increasing amount of the potential carcinogen in groundwater supplies.
A 2000 federal study forecasted that water in dozens of states risked being contaminated by MTBE, and years later an analysis from an environmental group found that millions of Americans’ water supplies had been contaminated by the chemical. The controversy precipitated lawsuits and led Congress to propose an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that would have banned the compound.
Clinton, along with 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats, voted against the legislation, which ultimately passed the Senate but was not included in the final energy bill.
The New York senator later expressed “concern” about MTBE after a report indicated that it had also been linked to cancer. She, along with others on the Environment and Public Works Committee, also wrote a letter to leaders on the Senate Energy Committee urging Congress to “act to discontinue the use of MTBE,” according to a release from her office.
Eventually, the compound was phased out of of the country’s gasoline supplies, though it still sparks contamination fears.