Bill Knight column for Mon, Tues., or Wed., Dec. 7, 8 or 9
The total for Illinois violators is $1,869,236,103, which is the third-worst state in the country, behind New Jersey and Texas.
The data base, “Violation Tracker,” is an online report of corporate misconduct created by Good Jobs First, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for corporate and government accountability. The first national search engine of its kind, this initial version covers environmental, health and safety cases initiated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Food and Drug Administration, Justice Department, Mine Safety & Health Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Additional violations (banking, antitrust, wage and hour, etc.) will be added later, the group said.
In Illinois, the report lists 994 violations at more than 100 companies. The 10 biggest Illinois companies on the list are Abbott Laboratories (pharmaceuticals, in Abbott Park), which paid $1.5 billion for 1 incident investigated by the FDA; CF Industries (chemicals, in Deerfield), which paid $194 million for 20 incidents brought by the EPA, OSHA and FRA; SunCoke Energy (coke-making, in Lisle), which paid $103 million for 97 incidents reported by the EPA and MSHA; Boeing (aerospace/military contracting, in Chicago), which paid $16 million for 10 incidents investigated by the FAA, DOJ, EPA and OSHA; United Continental (airline, in Chicago), which paid $7.5 million for 69 incidents brought by the FAA and OHSA; Egan Marine (barge services, in Lemont), which paid $5.3 million for 1 incident reported by the EPA; Titan International (off-highway wheels and tires, in Quincy), which paid $4.5 million for 5 incidents reported by the EPA and OSHA; Coalfield Transport Inc. (coal mining, in Marion), which paid $3.6 million for 229 incidents investigated by the MSHA; H. Kramer & Co. (metal heat treating service, in Chicago), which paid $3.1 million for 3 incidents reported by the EPA and OSHA; and Caterpillar (construction equipment, in Peoria), which paid $3 million for 30 incidents brought by the EPA, OSHA, FRA and MSHA.
Other Illinois-based companies and their fines over the same period include Archer-Daniels-Midland ($4.7 million), Behr Iron & Steel ($962,000), John Deere ($12,400), Sears ($473,000) and Walgreen’s ($348,000). Some of these violations were committed by subsidiaries and some occurred in other states.
Nationally, companies paid more than $60 billion in penalties in civil and criminal cases. The largest violator was BP, which alone paid penalties of $25 billion, mostly tied to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.
By industry, the largest penalties were paid by companies involved in automotive, chemicals, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and utilities.
“Just about every day, there is a new case of corporate malfeasance — bribery, tax evasion, price-fixing, defrauding of government or consumers, environmental violations, unfair labor practices and much more,” Good Jobs First said. “Given the frequency of these scandals, it is difficult to keep track of which corporation has done what. Yet we have to try, and that is the mission of Violation Tracker.”
The complete, searchable findings are at www.goodjobsfirst.org/violation-tracker.