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Walmart Charity Gives $9.2M to NGOs Backing CA's Water Bond, Zero Dollars to Its Opponents

Photo of the Los Angeles River by Laurie Avocado, via FlickrAn analysis of environmental grants that the Walton Family Foundation gave to conservation organizations in 2013 reveals that NGOs supporting Proposition 1, the water bond on California's November ballot, received $9,234,866 in grants while opponents of the controversial measure received none.

The Walton Family Foundation is governed by the descendants of Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of retail giant Walmart.  

"The Walton Family Foundation continues a philanthropic vision begun by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton," according to the Foundation website. "Across diverse areas of giving that include education reform, freshwater and marine conservation and community and economic development, Walton family members carry forward the timeless Walton value of creating opportunity so that individuals and communities can live better in today's world."

Supporters of the water bond getting money from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013 include the Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society (the parent organization of Audubon California, a bond backer), Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited. The Foundation lists their environmental contributions in three categories: freshwater conservation, marine conservation and other conservation grants.

The Nature Conservancy received a total of $5,482,699 from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013. This includes $1,545,963 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River, $1,437,986 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River, $475,000 for marine conservation, and $2,023,750 for other conservation grants.  

National Audubon Society, the parent organization of Audubon California, received $2,570,767, including $312,100 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River, $2,058,667 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River and $200,000 for marine conservation.

Trout Unlimited was awarded $610,650 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River.

American Rivers received $424,400 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River.

Defenders of Wildlife got $100,058 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River.

Finally, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. received $46,292 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River from the Walton Family Foundation.

On the other side, opponents of the water bond include the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Striped Bass Association, California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), Center for Biological Diversity, Central Delta Water Agency, Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton, Factory Farm Awareness Coalition, Friends of the River, Food and Water Watch, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Restore the Delta, San Francisco Crab Boat Association, Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association, Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermens' Association, South Delta Water Agency, Southern California Watershed Alliance and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

Guess how much money the Walton Family donated to these organizations in 2013? Zero.

Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's  Associations, said, "It is highly troubling to see the impact that Walmart and a few big foundations are having on the conservation of our resources, as well as the protection of our artisanal and traditional fisheries including tribal fisheries."

The Walton Family Foundation is known for dumping millions of dollars every year into corporate environmental NGOs, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy, that promote the privatization of the oceans through "catch shares," questionable "marine protected areas" and other projects.

For more information about the Walton Family Foundation and the environmental NGOs that it funds, go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/20...

About Proposition 1:  

California Proposition 1, the Water Bond (Assembly Bill 1471), is on the November 4, 2014, ballot in California as a legislatively-referred bond act. This measure replaced a previous measure known as Proposition 43.[1]

The measure, upon voter approval, would enact the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Proposal 1, if approved, would:

Authorize $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, such as public water system improvements, surface and groundwater storage, drinking water protection, water recycling and advanced water treatment technology, water supply management and conveyance, wastewater treatment, drought relief, emergency water supplies, and ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration.

Appropriate money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

Require certain projects to provide matching funds from non-state sources in order to receive bond funds.

For more information about the water bond including arguments pro and con, go to: http://www.cavotes.org/vote/el...

Go to CA State Page
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