Former New York City mayor and Democratic megadonor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he isn’t trying to dictate how Americans manage their local economies, but his foundation funds a campaign to stop the expansion of petrochemical plants.
Bloomberg’s foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, has poured in tens of millions of dollars to block the construction of 120 petrochemical plants in the U.S. During a Climate Forward event hosted by The New York Times, Bloomberg said he isn’t trying to “tell” anyone what to do, but is “trying to inform” the residents of the science. (RELATED: Dem Megadonor Funds Massive Campaign To Shut Down Key American Manufacturing Sector)
David Gelles, the managing correspondent of Climate Forward, moderated the event and asked Bloomberg about the criticism economic development groups and residents have expressed about the halt in production. “Who are you tell us we can’t grow our economy? To grow our businesses in our own backyard?”
“I’m not trying to tell them,” Bloomberg answered. “I’m trying to inform them of what the best science we have says and then they can make decisions of what goes on in their neighborhood.”
The foundation launched the “Beyond Petrochemicals: People Over Pollution” campaign in September 2022 with the goal of stopping the expansion of petrochemicals and plastic pollution. The campaign targeted three geographic areas — Louisiana, Texas and the Ohio River Valley — to create stricter rules in an effort, it said, to prevent communities from suffering health problems caused by petrochemical production.
As Bloomberg continues to pour money into the petrochemical campaign, representatives from dozens of oil, gas and chemical companies have joined the Louisiana Industry Sustainability Council and criticized Bloomberg’s involvement, the NYT reported.
“Out-of-state elites are sending nearly $100 million to Louisiana to dictate our future and our way of life,” read a document from the council. “Louisianans are the best people to decide what’s right for Louisiana — not Michael Bloomberg.”
.@BeyondPetrochem launched 1 year ago with frontline communities battling the polluting petrochemical industry. Partners have successfully blocked the construction of 5 plants, protecting the health of residents & sending a strong message to polluters. https://t.co/sCipcE4R3u pic.twitter.com/4PqXWSOoZV
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) September 21, 2023
Petrochemicals are used to make a variety of everyday items, including clothing, cars, electronics, fuel, fertilizer and even equipment used in clean energy sources like solar panels. The global demand for petrochemicals remains high due to limited alternatives, but if production in the U.S. halts then many will look to other countries with fewer regulations, according to the NYT.
The petrochemical industry has generated more than $580 billion in revenue annually and is expected to grow to more than $1 trillion a year over the next 10 years, the NYT reported. The demand for plastics — the most common group of petrochemical products — has doubled since 2000 and has surpassed the demand for steel, aluminum and cement, according to the International Energy Agency.
The Bloomberg campaign has already had five successes by allocating grants to local activist groups and by providing multimillion-dollar donations to nonprofit law groups to stop construction at two natural gas facilities, an ethylene plant, a methanol plant and a plastics plant, according to the NYT.
Bloomberg Philanthropies did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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