Owners of Texas chemical plant are big campaign donors

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There was an explosion today at the Magnablend Chemical plant in Texas, leaving many concerned about possibility of dangerous gases going into the air.

The plant is in Waxahachie, squarely in the Congressional district of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) who famously apologized to BP last year for pressure the company faced from the White House. Barton and his colleagues have spent most of the year trying to weaken and restrict Environmental Protection Agency regulations. In fact, Saturday's GOP address specifically mentioned too much regulations on chemical companies.

Chemical companies are big political donors--including the owners of the Magnablend plant, David and Darlene Pendery. The pair has donated at least $41,150 to federal Republican candidates and committees since 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The couple has donated at least $13,600 to Mitt Romney's political action committee and his 2008 presidential campaign, $16,350 to the Republican National Committee, $5,000 to Newt Gingrich, and several donations to members of Congress. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Gov. Rick Perry received $1,500 from the couple in 2010.

We don't have much detail yet on what happened, but it's important to know that many politicians are calling for weakened regulations on companies like this-many of whom count executives as their donors.