American Chemistry Council (ACC)

Body: 

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is a top trade association for U.S. and multinational companies that manufacture plastics, petrochemicals and other industrial and consumer chemical products.

The ACC represents nearly 150 different companies, including chemical manufacturing giants like Dow and DuPont, and subsidiaries of many of the largest oil comExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and Total.

The American Chemistry Council brand was established in June, 2000. The ACC's former names include the Manufacturing Chemists’ Association, the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The ACC merged with the American Plastics Council in 2002.

Chris Jahn currently serves as the CEO and President of the ACC, after previously serving as the president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors and the President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI). Previously, Calvin "Cal" Dooley served as the ACC's CEO and President from 2008 to 2019. Cal Dooley is known for his time as President of the Consumer Brands Association and for serving on the House Agriculture Committee as a Member of the House of Representatives from 1991 to 2004.

American Chemistry Council member companies:

As of August, 2020, ACC Member Companies include:

  • 3M
  • American Air Liquide Holdings
  • Arkema
  • BASF
  • Bayer
  • BP Lubricants
  • Cabot Corporation
  • Celanese
  • Chevron-Phillips Chemical Company
  • Dow Chemical
  • DuPont
  • Eastman Chemical Corporation
  • EcoLab
  • ExxonMobil Chemical Company
  • Honeywell
  • Huntsman Corporation
  • LyondellBasell
  • Merck
  • Motiva Enterprises (Saudi Aramco)
  • NOVA Chemicals Corporation
  • Occidental Chemical (Oxy)
  • Olin Corporation
  • PPG Industries, Inc.
  • Procter & Gamble, Chemicals Division
  • Sasol
  • Shell Chemical LP
  • Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA

Marathon Petroleum was listed a member of the ACC until 2018. Marathon Petroleum’s senior vice president Ray Brooks served on the ACC Board of Directors from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.

American Chemistry Council Board of Directors, 2020-2021:

According to ACC press releases published in June, 2017, June, 2018 and June, 2019, the ACC board of directors currently includes the following executives:

Directors serving until Dec. 31, 2020:

  • John Portz, Vice President, General Manager, 3M
  • Dean Cordle, President & CEO, A, C & S
  • Erin Kane, President and CEO, AdvanSix
  • Luke Kissam, Chairman, President & CEO, Albemarle Corporation
  • Mark Kramer, President & CEO, Anderson Development Co
  • Rajeev Gautam, President and CEO, Performance Materials & Technologies, Honeywell
  • Peter Huntsman, President and CEO, Huntsman Corporation
  • Kevin Fogarty, President & CEO, Kraton Performance Polymers
  • Eric Schnur, Chairman, President & CEO, The Lubrizol Corporation
  • Juan Ferreira, Crop Protection and Seed Applied Solutions Leader, Monsanto
  • Anne Noonan, President & CEO, OMNOVA Solutions
  • Jim Gentilcore, President & CEO, PQ Corporation
  • Jim Nicholson, President & CEO, PVS Chemicals
  • Steve Cornell, Executive Vice President, International Operations, Sasol North America
  • Tom Shepherd, Chairman & CEO, The Shepherd Chemical Company
  • John Panichella, President & CEO, Solenis
  • Mike Lacey, President, North America Zone, Solvay America
  • Quinn Stepan, President and CEO, Stepan Company
  • Christophe Gerondeau, President and CEO, Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA

Directors serving until Dec. 31, 2021:

  • Michael Graff, Chairman & CEO, American Air Liquide Holdings
  • Richard Rowe, President & CEO, Arkema
  • Phil McDivitt, President & CEO, Ascend Performance Materials
  • Wayne Smith, Chairman & CEO, BASF
  • Sean Keohane, President & CEO, Cabot Corporation
  • Randy Dearth, Chairman, President & CEO, Calgon Carbon Corporation
  • Inga Carus, Chairman, Carus Corp
  • Mark Lashier, President & CEO, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company
  • Deepak Parikh, Region President, North America, Clariant
  • Mark Costa, Chairman & CEO, Eastman Chemical Co.
  • John Verity, President, ExxonMobil Chemical Company
  • John Paro, Chairman, President & CEO, Hallstar
  • Jim Owens, President & CEO, HB Fuller
  • Craig Rogerson, Chairman, President & CEO, Hexion
  • Michael Wilson, President & CEO, Ingevity
  • Antonis Papadourakis, President & CEO, LANXESS
  • Todd Karran, President & CEO, NOVA Chemicals Corporation
  • B.J. Hebert, Interim President, Oxy

Directors serving until Dec. 31, 2022:

  • Gina Harm, President, Afton Chemical Corporation
  • Brad Crocker, President & CEO, Americas Styrenics (AmSty)
  • Bill Wulfsohn, Chairman and CEO, Ashland
  • Phil Miller, Senior VP, Global Regulatory and Government Affairs, Bayer
  • Mark Nikolich, CEO, Braskem America
  • Lori Ryerkerk, CEO, Celanese
  • Susan Lewis, Senior VP, Integrated Operations & Business Services, Corteva Agriscience
  • Daryl Roberts, Senior VP, Leveraged Operations and Risk Mngmt., DuPont
  • Christophe Beck, President & COO, Ecolab International
  • John Rolando, President, Evonik Corporation
  • Karen Mckee, President, ExxonMobil Chemical Company
  • Pierre Brondeau, President, CEO & Chairman, FMC Corporation
  • James Moffatt, President of the Americas, ICL Group America
  • Bob Patel, CEO, LyondellBasell
  • AB Ghosh, President, North America, Nouryon
  • John Fischer, Chairman, President & CEO, Olin Corporation
  • Greg Adams, VP, Americas, Sabic
  • Thomas Casparie, VP Chemicals Americas, Shell Chemical
  • Frank Bozich, President & CEO, Trinseo

Financial Information:

The ACC's annual budget easily exceeds $100 million in recent years.

The following information was reported by the ACC to the U.S. internal Revenue Service (IRS) in its annual 990 tax filings. 2018 is the most recent year available, as of Aug, 2020.

Five-Year Revenue Totals:

  • 2014: $116,295,491
  • 2015: $117,575,616
  • 2016: $121,467,574
  • 2017: $123,208,482
  • 2018: $127,777,296

Five-Year Expenses Totals:

  • 2014: $117,290,696
  • 2015: $120,932,530
  • 2016: $123,062,092
  • 2017: $122,864,215
  • 2018: $127,095,033  

Five-Year CEO Compensation Totals:

From 2014-2018, ACC CEO and President Calvin M Dooley received an average of $3,849,622 in annual compensation:

Top Independent Contractors:

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide - public relations consulting

$15,568,125 (2014-2018)

Revolution Media Group - public relations consulting

$8,945,052 (2015-2018)

Scito Vation LLC - research consulting

$10,677,600 (2016-2018)

Environmental Resources Management Inc.

$4,337,785 (2014, 2016-2017)

Evidence: 

Undermining and Influencing the EPA

In 2019, Politico reported that David Dunlap, “a former chemicals expert for Koch Industries,” helped the Trump administration kill an Environmental Protection Agency assessment of formaldehyde, dodging a commitment to recuse himself from working on matters related to his former employer. The ACC assisted Dunlap with the effort to delay and dismantle the EPA’s formaldehyde assessment, including by providing Dunlap with favorable research that the ACC itself financed. The American Chemistry Council has ties with Koch Industries, despite the fact that neither Koch nor its subsidiaries are members of the ACC. Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific is a major producer of formaldehyde, and the G-P Chemicals Division president Richard Urshal was the chairman of the Formaldehyde Council, according to the group’s IRS tax filings previously reported by DeSmog. Through Georgia-Pacific, Koch co-founded the Formaldehyde Panel of the ACC, which replaced the Formaldehyde Council in 2010.

In 2017, the Associated Press reported that the ACC pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advocate for a negligent review of chemicals that pose public health risks, leading to a federal appeals court ruling that the Trump EPA “unlawfully excluded millions of tons of some of the most dangerous materials in public use from a safety review.” As reported by The Hill, the ACC “spearheaded the Trump administration’s interpretation of the Toxic Substances Control Act,” a national policy that ACC has fought to weaken for decades.

As reported by the New York Times, American Chemistry Council lobbyist Nancy Beck was appointed by the Trump administration to a position at the EPA that gave her influence over the agency's ability to monitor perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) pollution. PFOA's are known to contribute to "kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems." Beck was involved in re-writing regulatory rules that have now hindered the EPA's ability to track PFOA's, seriously limiting the ability of the EPA to prevent hazardous exposure to the population. When the New York Times asked EPA to comment on its story about ACC lobbyists weaking EPA's rules around PFOA's, the request was answered by another former ACC lobbyst at the EPA, Liz Bowman, who antagonized the reporter.

Federal Lobbying :

In 2019, the ACC opposed the “Norwegian Amendment” to the Basel Plastics Ban, which is aimed at stopping the flow of plastic waste into developing African and Asian nations by redesignating plastic waste, much of which was previously considered to be “clean.”

Calvin Dooley, the former President and CEO of the ACC, supported Trump’s move to address how state regulators wield their environmental legislation authority. He believes states have “...inappropriately used their authority” to block pipelines and fossil fuel development. Dooley supports the construction of natural gas liquid storage hubs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, citing the projects would “accelerate” private capital.  

The ACC supported the “Save our Seas Act of 2018” (S. 3508), praising elements of the bill that reallocated waste management resources to “where they are needed most.” This bill was a victory for plastic, as it directed the attention away from the prevention of plastic production and towards its management.

American Chemistry Council Federal lobbying Expenditures:

  • 2015: $10,050,000
  • 2016: $9,020,000
  • 2017: $7,440,000
  • 2018: $9,280,000'
  • 2019: $7,630,000
  • 2020, Q1 - Q2: $4,440,000

Five-year total lobbying expenditures (2015-2019): $43,420,000

Grand total lobbying expenditures, 2002-2020 Q2: $130,041,641

American Chemistry Council had 64 registered lobbyists in 2019. Registered federal lobbying firms acting on behalf of American Chemistry Council in 2019: 

  • Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
  • Bold Strategies
  • Capitol Holl Policy Group
  • CGCN Group
  • Holland & Knight
  • Mehlman Castagnetti et al
  • Ogilvy Government Relations
  • Olsson Frank et al
  • Russell Group
  • S-3 Group

Bold Strategies is a Louisiana-based firm, headed by  Kyle Ruckert, the former chief of staff of Senator David Vitter, (R-LA), who after leaving the Senate in 2017 began working as a lobbyist for Mercury Public Affairs where he lobbied the Trump administration.

State Lobbying Activity:

In 2019 the ACC endorsed a fee on different types of single-use food-service packaging materials in California, as an alternative to a full ban of disposable plastics.

ALEC and the American Chemistry Council:

The ACC is a recent member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a consortium of state legislators and corporate lobbyists that convene to write model legislation. The ACC was a a “Director” level sponsor of ALEC's 2011 winter meeting. Two ACC lobbyists registered to attend ALEC's 2017 annual meeting in Denver, CO, according to a leaked roster published by Documented.

Pre-emption Against Plastic Bag Bans:

ALEC model bills include pre-emptions of plastic bag ban laws.

Anti-Protest Legislation:

The ACC was among the companies & lobbying groups that signed a 2017 letter to ALEC legislators reported by Alexander Kaufman at HuffPost. The letter asked ALEC legislators to support the ALEC’s model “Critical Infrastructure Protection Act,” to make nonviolent trespass a felony punishable by thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison. These kinds of state fossil fuel anti-protest bills, which became law in 13 states since 2017, reflect industry’s attempts to stop future protests against fossil fuel and petrochemical infrastructure following delays to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The ACC lobbied in favor of laws that passed in Wisconsin and Missouri, and similar bills in Ohio, according to state lobbying disclosure data compiled by Greenpeace USA.

Greenwashing, Misinformation, and Public Relations:

Single-Use Plastic Waste and "Recycling":

The ACC has been a major opponent of plastic bag bans and created the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) in 2005 to promote reuse and recycling of plastic bags.

In 2018, the ACC’s Plastics Division announced three goals that would culminate in a 100% re-use, recycle, and recovery rate for all plastic packaging by 2040. This is a goal that does little to address plastic pollution, nor does it reduce the harmful production of plastic.

In 2011, the ACC released a “Plastics-to-Oil” report, which promotes false solutions gasification and pyrolysis technologies and urges Congress to define them as “recycling.”

In 2009, the ACC convinced the California Department of Education to add positive statements about plastic grocery bags in environmental textbooks and teacher guides. Much of the newly-inserted textbook language was lifted nearly verbatim from letters written by the ACC.

Favorable Research:

The ACC admits to influencing commissioned research, including independent research. The ACC often uses this research as a tool for its lobbying campaigns, such as dissuading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from managing risks posed by toxic chemicals (more details in "Undermining and Influencing the EPA" section, above).

In March, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in full force, the ACC participated in a scientifically-unsubstantiated effort to promote plastic bags and stall progress on state legislation restricting single-use plastics. A 2011 university study sponsored by the ACC was re-circulated, and broadly mischaracterized to appear as if new research had been done examining the novel coronavirus' ability to survive on different surfaces. Ironically, the only study that had been conducted on COVID-19 at the time indicated that coronavirus persists longer on plastic surfances than other materials studied by researchers, like cardboard and copper. Greenpeace USA published a detailed briefing examining how plastics and chemical lobbyists misrepresented this research and used to it attack laws intended to reduce plastic pollution.