What is the Relationship Between the Waltons and the Environmental Defense Fund?

The Walton Family Foundation is pushing for wetlands restoration along the Gulf Coast Region, which is still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in 2010 (see Walton Family Foundation: Grants for Conservation). In a white paper, "Job Creation from Gulf Coast Wetlands Restoration," written by Mather Economics in June for the Walton Family Foundation, the consulting firm predicted funding for the restorative work would come through the U.S. RESTORE Act.

A wide range of organizations — from the National Audubon Society, to the Environmental Defense Fund — support the RESTORE Act. The Act, signed into law July 6th, now opens the way for restorative funds to clean up an area still impacted by massive environmental contamination from the nation’s worst oil spill. According to a report by WKRG News in Alabama, funds from the legislation cannot be appropriated until all parties involved in the spill reach an agreement on exactly how to tackle the restoration of the massive environmental disaster.

When it comes to the Walton Family Foundation, some may question the relationship between the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) — a large and formidable advocate for the environment — and the Walton Family Foundation. While claiming it "does not accept contributions from Walmart, or other corporations it works with," the Environmental Defense fund still accepts money tied to the Waltons through another channel. According to Stacy Mitchell of Grist.org, the environmental fund has received more than $53 million from the Walton Family Foundation as of May 2012.

In a report published in The Louisiana Weekly, Zoe Sullivan said Walton Foundation documents predict Gulf Coast restorative work would generate jobs with annual wages ranging from around $13,000 to around $54,000.

Although the report produced by Mather Economics is labeled confidential, it is readily accessible through a simple Internet search. The executive summary claims economic models indicate that over a 50-year period of time, "$25 Billion in restoration funding" will generate around "75,000 jobs over the next half century."