Since 2000, Big Ag companies have been fined more than $600 million in penalties for environmental offenses, according to data from Good Jobs First’s Violation Tracker. Some of the largest fines were for companies that significantly underestimated emissions from their operations.
The single biggest fine came from a 2003 settlement for an estimated $340 million after Archer Daniels Midland’s “failed to accurately estimate its emissions from hundreds of process units,” according to the Department of Justice. ADM has since promised to capture much of its carbon but has fallen short.
Environmental fines have ebbed and flowed over the years, but there was a clear drop off in penalties during the Trump administration. More than a hundred rules relating to carbon emissions, water pollution, toxic substances and others were rolled back during Trump’s administration, according to The New York Times.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that advocates for solving environmental problems, accused Andrew Wheeler, Trump's pick to lead the EPA, of putting "polluting industries' profit margins" ahead of the environment and health of Americans.
Note: This data doesn't include environmental violations from meatpacking or other livestock businesses. Good Jobs First's tracker includes federal, state and local fines.