Consumer Watchdog Calls for Governor Brown to Fire Two DTSC Officials for Conflicts of Interest

  Consumer Watchdog Calls for Governor Brown to Fire Two DTSC Officials for
                            Conflicts of Interest

PR Newswire

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 6, 2013

Top Managers at The Department of Toxic Substances Control Invested in
Companies Holding Permits or Subject to Corrective Actions

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer
Watchdog today called for Governor Jerry Brown to fire two top officials at
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for conflicts of interest.
The letter said that the officials may have violated the California Code of
Regulations by holding six and seven figure interests in companies regulated
and/or licensed by the department while making decisions that could have
affected those companies. "We are writing to ask that you dismiss two top
managers at the California EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control—Chief
Deputy Director Odette Madriago and Deputy Director Stewart Black—for
conflicts of interest," the letter by consumer advocate Liza Tucker said.

See letter here:
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/lettergovbrowndtsc3-6-13.pdf

Tucker is the author of a scathing report, Golden Wasteland, on how the DTSC
is falling down on the job of regulating hazardous waste handlers and
generators in the state by cutting out-of-court deals with serial breakers of
environmental laws, levying wrist-slap fines, and refusing to revoke permits.

See report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/golden-wasteland-report

See complete media coverage here:
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/about/in-the-news?page=1

The Consumer Watchdog letter said that according to government 700 forms
covering the years 2006-2012, Ms. Madriago invested as much as $100,000 each
in Chevron, BP Amoco, and Abbott Laboratories, and up to one million dollars
in General Electric. Mr. Black holds stock in Royal Dutch Shell, and has
invested up to $100,000 in chemical company McKesson. He has also invested in
GE. "These companies either hold permits before the DTSC or have been the
subject of corrective actions," said Tucker. "At the same time, Ms. Odette
Madriago has claimed that the department has no authority to regulate
refineries broadly, when in fact the department does in fact have statutory
authority. Refusing to act can be a conflict of interest in itself," said
Tucker.

Ms. Madriago was Acting Chief Deputy Director in 2011 when the DTSC lowered a
fine against a division of Abbott called Abbott Vascular, to below $100,000 so
it would not have to publicly report the fine to the Securities and Exchange
Commission. That concern indicates that public reporting of the fine could
have materially affected its stock price.

Tucker also said that DTSC officials are held captive by the industry they
regulate. "It doesn't help that we have a revolving door between regulators
and industry lawyers and lobbyists," she said. In a recent Bay Area NBC news
report, DTSC Director Debbie Raphael was seen walking away with hazardous
waste industry lobbyist and lawyer Peter Weiner. "Ms. Raphael had no time to
answer public questions about the department's problems, but plenty of time to
lunch with Mr. Weiner on Valentine's Day," said Tucker.

Mr. Weiner worked as an assistant on toxic substances control issues for
Governor Brown during his first administration and his colleague at the San
Francisco branch of the Paul Hastings law firm is Mr. Robert "Bob" Hoffman,
former chief counsel at the DTSC and CAL EPA Chief of Staff. He represents
hazardous waste management companies and companies that want to develop
abandoned and contaminated property before the department.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

Website: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org
Contact: Liza Tucker, +1-310-392-7931 direct, +1-626-372-1964 cell