View Full Version : How Green Became the Color of Money

Keith Millea
01-18-2011, 08:12 PM
January 14, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment (Part Three)

How Green Became the Color of Money

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
In the Clinton era, the contours of environmental politics settled into a triangulated landscape, bounded by the Executive Office Building and its agency outlets (where administrative fiats were handed down with devastating finality); the committee rooms of Congress (where the chairmen of the all-important appropriations committees dole out pork and pollution); and the grey mansions of the special interest lobbies, both environmental and industrial, stacked along K Street. Daily the inhabitants of these centers of power determined the levels of lead in the blood of children in south-central Los Angeles; the number of Chinook salmon chewed up by hydro-electric dams on the Columbia River; the gallons of dioxin flushed into the Mississippi; and the fate of such animals as the grizzly bear, whose habitat can remain protected public land or be transformed into clearcuts or cyanide-laced heap leach gold mines.
At the top of the Executive pyramid squatted Bill Clinton. His interest in environmental matters was, and had always been, opportunistic. Environmental quality and economic progress should advance hand-in-hand, Clinton counseled. If they don’t, well, there will always be time to fix the damage to the planet later.
The surest field guide to Clinton’s world comes in the form of a list of his campaign contributions through the 1980s, stretching from his successful bid for a second term as Arkansas governor in 1982, after the voters had kicked him out in 1980 following his first term. Long before Clinton hit the national spotlight (with a crashingly tedious keynote speech to the 1988 Democratic convention in Atlanta), the big money had its eyes on the young governor.
Badly shaken by his 1980 upset and determined never to offend corporate power again, Clinton let the word go forth: the high and mighty had a man they could trust in the governor’s mansion in Little Rock. The tycoons responded in appropriate fashion. Money flowed south from Wall Street, from the big securities firms, banks and investment houses: Merrill Lynch, Goldman, Sachs, Drexel Burnham, Citicorp, Morgan Stanley, Prudential-Bache.
Indeed the scandal that dogged Clinton through his first term—Whitewater—traced its origins to just such a collusion between Clinton and corporate money. Of the 1,070 major news stories written about the Whitewater scandal between 1992 and 1996, some 90 percent concerned themselves with the cover-up question: if or how the Clinton White House suppressed evidence in the wake of Vince Foster’s suicide. Almost all of the remaining stories dealt with the efforts of Governor Bill and the First Lady of Arkansas to keep their friend James McDougal’s Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan afloat.
All of these reports overlooked the actual origins of Whitewater, which began with a land deal. In 1978 Bill Clinton, then attorney general of Arkansas, was in the midst of his first campaign for the governship when he and Hillary, along with Jim and Susan McDougal, bought 230 acres in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. Though the title to the land was in the Clintons’ name, the couple put no money down. McDougal did not yet have the S&L, and was a financial fixer and property dealer. He fronted the money for the down payment on the loan.
The land’s previous owner-of-record was a partnership called 101 River Development, which bought it from a local business group. 101 had held the property for only three days, and went out of business a couple of weeks after the sale. The original seller of the land was International Paper, a $16 billion a year timber giant, Arkansas’ largest landowner with 800,000 acres in the state and with 7 million acres of land across the US.
International Paper’s powerful presence in Arkansas dates back to the 1950s with the arrival of Winthrop Rockefeller. The New York-based timber company had long been backed by Rockefeller interests and when Winthrop went south, the company made a similar migration and set about building up his empire in the state.
The Whitewater sale came at a time when the timber giant was following the pronouncements of candidate Clinton with keen attention. The young attorney general was vowing that as governor he would restrict the use of clearcutting on land held by the big timber companies, such as International Paper, Georgia-Pacific and Weyerhaeuser. These paper and timber companies had gone on a logging binge in the mid-1970s, clearcutting thousand-acre chunks of forest at a time. Clinton promised to introduce legislation banning the practice as soon as he entered the governor’s office.
The mysterious 101 River Development had given the Clintons and the McDougals a very good deal, selling the land for $500 an acre. Non-river front property in the area was selling at the time for nearly twice that amount.
The Whitewater sale went through in August of 1979. Clinton won the governorship in November of that year. Environmentalists eagerly awaited action from the new governor on clearcutting and other issues pertaining to the impoverished state’s very serious problems with water and air pollution. But the promises of the campaign trail soon lost their fire. Indeed Clinton’s commitment to them was pallid from the start. His two predecessors in the governor’s mansion—Dale Bumpers and David Pryor—had both tangled with the timber companies on the matter of clearcutting with a far more vigor than was ever displayed by Clinton.
The newly-elected governor formed a task force on clearcutting stocked with conservationists. The task force swiftly took heat from loggers and executives at Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific. A startled Clinton kicked off the greens and replaced them with industry hacks and recommended voluntary compliance with the soft new regulations.
In what proved to be a fatal blow, Clinton reneged on a pledge to poultry king Don Tyson of Tyson Foods. The governor refused to raise the legal weight for trucks on Arkansas highways to 80,000 pounds. In 1980, Tyson and other moneyed interest shifted their support to Republican Frank White, who soundly defeated Clinton.
After Arkansas voters turned out Clinton at the end of his two-year term, Bill left the governor’s mansion and went to work at the Little Rock law firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings. Hillary was at the Rose law firm. Both legal outfits represented the timber giants of Arkansas before state regulatory bodies such as the Pollution Control Board and the Department of Ecology.
Clinton recaptured the governor’s office in 1982, the same year that Jim McDougal bough Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. Among those contributing to candidate Clinton’s campaign treasury were International Paper, Georgia-Pacific and Tyson Foods. Their investment was swiftly rewarded. Clinton redux was now equipped with a philosophical approach to regulation that was highly congenial to the resource industries and to the poultry factories.
Tyson in particular became a key ally of Clinton after the latter learned his lesson from the trucking dispute. Tyson planes ferried the First Family on its travels and Tyson funds poured into Clinton’s campaign coffers.
In return, the poultry magnate received roughly $12 million worth of tax breaks during Clinton’s years as governor. Nor was Clinton diligent in monitoring the environmental record of Tyson foods or of the poultry industry in general. During Clinton’s years as governor the White River turned into a cesspool. Animal wastes from the poultry and cattle industry polluted the river so badly that 400 miles of streams became unfit for swimming. In 1983, Clinton dallied for 17 months before taking action to control damage from a Tyson plant in Green Forest, Arkansas, which, after a sinkhole developed, poured a million gallons a day of chicken waste into the water table.
The disastrous impact of Tyson’s chicken farms on the Arkansas River is fairly well-known. Less notorious but even more toxic are the pulp mills of International Paper, Georgia-Pacific and James River. International Paper’s mammoth mill at Pine Bluff was one of the most toxic in the world, venting nearly two million tons of chemicals each year into the air and water.
From 1982 forward, Clinton argued that compliance to environmental standards could best be achieved on a voluntary basis, rather than by the imposition of exigent (and politically perilous) rules and regulations. To this end Governor Clinton stacked his pollution control board with members friendly to industry. In 1985 he promoted and signed into law a huge tax break for industrial corporations of his state, including the big timber companies. This easing of the corporate fiscal burden was offset by a regressive sales tax on the citizenry.
Clinton’s big offering to the timber companies was a measure called the Manufacturer’s Investment Sales and Use Tax Credit, know by its green critics as the “IP bailout law,” after International Paper. Under this program state tax breaks were approved for more than $400 million in projects by International Paper and three other pulp and paper mills that then state Senator Ben Allen of Little Rock called “the worst corporate citizens in Arkansas”—all this in a state with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the nation and where 29 percent of the children and half of the state’s black population lived in poverty.
A few years later officials tried to keep International Paper and two Georgia-Pacific mills off a toxic waterways list, despite overwhelming evidence that they were contaminating rivers with dioxin and rendering the eating of fish from them an unacceptable cancer risk. Meanwhile, International Paper, while taking repeated advantage of the manufacturers’ sales tax credit, was ladling out money to their favorite politician, candidate Clinton.
Clinton also supervised a land deal highly favorable to the timber giants. In later years, taunted with the fact that his state ranked 48th in environmental quality, Clinton would make much of the fact that as governor he had acquired thousands of acres for state-owned forests. Two types of deals were involved here. In one set of transactions state-owned lands with profitable timber on them were swapped to the big companies in return for parcels of their land which had been recently clearcut. And, in other instances, the state simply acquired at inflated prices lands which the timber companies had recently logged off its best trees.
Nourished by these benefices, the timber companies and Don Tyson, urged Governor Clinton—then nearing the end of his third term—to consider challenging Dale Bumpers for the senate seat he had held since the early 1970s. These predacious companies had no love for Bumpers. The senator had led the charge to reform forest policies on federal lands, culminating in the passage of the National Forest Management Act of 1976.
Bumpers was also a spirited critic of clearcutting and pesticide-spraying by the timber giants in Arkansas. But by this time Clinton was already contemplating a run for the White House and so instead the timber companies, along with other corporate interests, bankrolled the Democratic Leadership Council—Clinton’s launching pad to the national scene and the presidency.
As president, Clinton performed many kindly deeds for big timber. But for International Paper, in particular, Clinton wrought two spectacular favors as president. He refused to take any action to stem the flow of raw log exports from the West Coast, where International Paper held about a half million acres of forest land. And the generous Habitat Conservation Plans in the southeast tirelessly promoted by Interior Secretary and fellow DLC alum Bruce Babbitt allowed International Paper and Georgia-Pacific to continue to cut trees on land occupied endangered species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker.
When the Whitewater scandal finally exploded, Clinton’s attorney general Janet Reno searched for a special prosecutor and finally came up with Robert Fiske, of the law firm of Davis, Polk and Wardell. At the time, this high-powered New York law firm was also represented International Paper in pollution cases across the country, including Arkansas.
Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart and Jackson Stephens are familiar pillars of the Arkansas power structure. Yet during Clinton’s years as governor, the timber companies were the most potent of the lot. Combined, International Paper, Weyerhaeuser, Georgia-Pacific and Potlach controlled more than two-and-a-half million acres of land in Arkansas and operated more than 90 timber mills.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Jan Klimkowski
01-18-2011, 10:44 PM
Keith - thanks for posting this typically insightful piece from Jeffrey St Clair.

He's particularly good on the land deal at the heart of Whitewater, and on Clinton's sorry bought and owned ass.

Keith Millea
01-18-2011, 11:34 PM
Thanks Jan,I never got into all that Whitewater stuff.What I do know about though is how all the named timber companies operate.The US Forest Service,and BLM (Bureau of Land Management)are Federal agencies,and therefore political in nature.They are bound to Govt.statutes/plans.Thus,there were those that lived in the mountains out here in a certain district that found out that the Forest Service was not following the approved sustainable logging plan,and were overcutting.The local people took the FS to court,and actually won their case.The Forest Service was forced to stop all logging in this District for like 10 years.Amazing!

The timber companies,on the other hand own hundreds of thousands of acres of timberland,and they have little if any regulation held to them.So,what we got with these companies are whole areas clearcut.They had/have a policy of cutting as much as they can NOW,and then they pack up and leave and go to Arkansas,Georgia,or Maine etc.What's left behind is pure eco-destruction.

Magda Hassan
01-18-2011, 11:55 PM
It is truly heart breaking to see a forest that has been clear felled. It is something that I don't think most people know about or have seen with their own eyes. If they did more people would be moved to prevent this sort of crime. :banghead:

Keith Millea
01-19-2011, 12:20 AM
This used to be a forest.........

Keith Millea
01-23-2011, 12:17 AM
January 21 - 23, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
"Gestures of Goodwill"

Given his attenuated record in Arkansas no one should have expected President Bill Clinton to live up to his campaign promises of attacking “special interests” and defending the “little guy.” Any precious illusions about such a possibility disappeared even before the inauguration, when Clinton stock-piled his administration with an assortment of corporate lawyers (Mickey Kantor and Bernard Nussbaum), financiers (Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs), lobbyists (Howard Paster and Ron Brown) and corporate executives (Mack McLarty).

Eager to demonstrate to CEOs that business need not fear the Democrats, Clinton was just as accommodating to big corporations as his Republican predecessors. He pushed through the NAFTA agreement, extended an R&D tax break worth billions to big business, halved his proposed corporate tax increase, dropped his carbon tax and won the enthusiastic endorsement of the auto industry by breaking a campaign pledge to force the Big Three car makers to increase fuel efficiency by 40 percent.
By late 1994, the elite press was congratulating Clinton for his wise policies and wondering why CEOs were more appreciative of his efforts on their behalf. “For all the arguments about whether Bill Clinton is a new Democrat or an old one, when it comes to pushing US business interests abroad, no recent president has demonstrated Clinton’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and dive into the sometimes grubby details of international deal-making,” wrote the editors of Time.

Business Week also expressed pleasure at Clinton’s approach. “Guess who’s coming to dinner—lunch and breakfast—since Bill Clinton moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?” asked the magazine. “After years of hobnobbing with Republican presidents, blue-chip CEOs are discovering that they can do brisk business with a Democratic chief executive, too.” Business Week observed that Clinton’s “outreach campaign [to the corporate sector] transcends anything the Democrats attempted before.” The DNC’s finance director, Terry McAuliffe, was quoted as gloating that big corporate donors were “screaming to give us checks.”

One man much pleased with the Democrats was Dwayne Andreas, top man at Archer-Daniels-Midland. Once known as the “kingpin of GOP fundraising”—his signature was on the check found Nixon’s Watergate burglars—Andreas changed trains in 1992 when it looked as if Clinton might capture the presidency. In the two years that followed Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic candidate, Andreas gave the party some $270,000 in soft money contributions.

In return for his public cheerleading for Clinton’s 1993 budget plan, Andreas got ethanol (the “alternative” corn-based fuel of which ADM was the world’s largest producer) exempted from Clinton’s BTU tax proposal, an exemption that opened the door to so many other challenges that ultimately the entire plan was scuttled. Clinton also quietly maintained a Bush-era tax subsidy for ethanol that ended up costing the government an estimated $3.4 billion.

But Clinton’s biggest gift, granted a mere one week after Andreas co-chaired a fundraising dinner that netted the Democrats $2.5 million in June of 1994, was an EPA ruling that by 1996 one-tenth of all gasoline sold in the United States had to contain ethanol. ADM, which produced 70 percent of the nation’s ethanol, gained an estimated $100 million a year as a result of this environmentally dubious decision.
Don Tyson, the Arkansas poultry tycoon and head of Tyson Foods, seemed to prosper no matter which party was in power. But his success during the early Clinton years was so staggering that he and his company were soon being investigated by a special prosecutor. The immediate focus: gifts of Super Bowl tickets, travel and a scholarship for the girlfriend of Clinton’s first Agriculture Secretary, Mike Espy, who was charged with overseeing and enforcing rules on the chicken industry. (Espy was acquitted in a jury trial. But Tyson Foods pleaded guilty to corruption charges and agreed to pay $6 million in fines.)

Tyson’s expansion into the fishing industry—soon becoming the second largest company fishing for Pacific whiting—also became the subject of controversy. In 1993 and 1994, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown took the highly unusual step of vetoing his own department’s Fisheries Council in two decisions that collectively meant millions of dollars for Tyson Foods.

In the first case, which came a year after Tyson purchased the Arctic Alaska Fishing Company (and renamed it Tyson Seafood Group), Brown allotted 70 percent of the highly-prized whiting catch to Tyson and other companies with massive factory trawlers and reserved only 30 percent for small fishermen, who have been increasingly edged out of the business by the giant firms. The Commerce Department’s Pacific Fisheries Management Council had suggested that the trawlers get just 26 percent.

In 1994, the Council ruled that factory trawlers, of which Tyson owned two, should pay 20 times more for permits than small boat owners, reflecting their far larger capacity. But Brown stepped in again, ruling that the ratio be cut to 12-to-1, thereby saving Tyson $800,000 with the stroke of a pen.

* * *
When Clinton came to DC, he brought Mack McLarty, formerly with the natural gas behemoth ARKLA and a golfing pal of the tycoons of Arkansas, with him as chief of staff. Along with the corporate lobbyist Vernon Jordon, McLarty played a decisive role in choosing Clinton’s cabinet, including Alice Rivlin at the Office of Management and Budget, Bruce Babbitt at Interior, Ron Brown at Commerce and former Al Gore staffers Carol Browner as administrator of the EPA and Katie McGinty as supervisor of the White House Office of Environmental Quality.

All were cut from the same pro-business, anti-regulatory cloth spun by the Democratic Leadership Council. In a move that was later to yield useful dividends, the Clinton transition team also stocked the administration with a cluster of 24 top-level staffers from the ranks of DC-based environmental groups. At the head was George Frampton, former president of the Wilderness Society, picked to serve as assistant secretary of Interior.

It didn’t take McLarty long to exert his veto power over environmental policy. The administration’s initial budget request to Congress included a provision to reform federal policies governing gold mining and subsidized grazing and timber sales on public lands. Widely supported by greens, these provisions would protected millions of acres of public forest and grassland from clearcutting, mining and livestock grazing, while saving the federal treasury nearly a billion dollars a year. Instead, it started a firestorm in the public lands states of the West. A group of western Democrats, led by Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado (who later skipped to the Republican side of the aisle), wrote an angry letter denouncing the provision and threatening to launch a filibuster against it on the senate floor. McLarty swiftly invited the bellicose senators to the White House where he obediently agreed to pull the measure from the budget request.

Bruce Babbitt, whose office had drafted the proposal, found out about the McLarty’s deal-making the next night at a cocktail party. His unlikely informant was Jay Hair, still the head of the National Wildlife Federation. “The son of a bitch,” Babbitt raged. “He didn’t even have the fucking courtesy to ask me about it or even to tell me what he’d done.”

McLarty’s cave-in occurred on the eve of the first ever-presidential summit on environmental issues: the Presidential Conference on Northwest Forests, held in Portland, Oregon, on April 2, 1993. The timber summit, as it came to be known, had its roots in the acrid controversy over the northern spotted owl and the clearcutting of ancient forests on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest.

The spotted owl, which lives only in large stands of old-growth trees, had been listed as a threatened species in 1990. The following year William Dwyer, a federal judge in Seattle, halted all logging on 6 million acres of old-growth forest in Oregon, Washington and northern California. The Reagan-appointed judge excoriated the government for a “systematic disregard” of the nation’s environmental laws. The timber industry predictably bellowed that the injuntion was going to put them out of business and throw 100,000 millworkers and loggers onto the unemployment lines. Environmentalists responded that the decline in the owl’s population was just the beginning of a larger annulment of old-growth dwelling species, including dwindling stocks of Pacific salmon, marten, Pacific fisher, and marbled murrelets—all imperiled by logging. The most puissant predators of the forest, Weyerhauser, Georgia-Pacific and International Paper, which owned their own highly productive lands, were not affected by the injunction and, in fact, had seen their profits soar.

During their campaign swings through the Northwest, Clinton and Gore promised that within 90 days of taking office he would convene a summit to resolve the “timber crisis” once and for all. “I want to produce a legal plan for managing these forests,” Clinton assured voters, “and get the logs rolling back into the mills.”
So on April 2, 1993, Clinton summoned his top cabinet officials, corporate executives, millworkers, loggers, economists, bureaucrats, the Cardinal of Seattle, forest sociologists, academic and agency scientists and mainstream environmentalists to Portland, Oregon.

The timber summit itself proved to be an orchestrated piece of theater designed to allow Clinton to demonstrate his affection for nature and to show that he “felt the pain” of laid off millworkers. At the same time, the President humbly deferred to the true source of the timber workers’ economic woes: Weyerhaeuser vice president Charlie Bingham, who commanded the exportation of billions of board feet of raw logs to mills overseas. Bingham and Clinton had known each other for years.

At the close of the day, Clinton bragged of taking the conflict “out of the courtroom and into the conference room,” and promised that his administration would produce a “scientifically credible and legally responsible plan” within in a mere 90 days. The stated goal of the plan was to provide a steady flow of timber to Northwest mills and to protect the federally-owned habitat of the northern spotted owl and Pacific salmon stocks.

Insinuated into every line of Clinton’s screed, however, was the promise that the roar of chainsaws would be sacrosanct in the federal woods, immune from even modest attempts to slow the frenzied pace of the logging of ancient trees or the export of unprocessed logs. And so it came to pass.

Clinton swiftly assembled a task force of federal bureaucrats, headed by Forest Service research ecologist Jack Ward Thomas and forester Jerry Franklin, who also happened to be a board member of the Wilderness Society. The scientists devised eight options for the president’s consideration. None of them permitted enough logging to satisfy Clinton’s political objectives to appease the timber industry and other corporations watching from the sidelines. Clinton and his Interior Secretary, Bruce Babbitt, instructed the team to concoct another alternative, the infamous Option Nine.

While Option Nine reduced the amount of logging allowed on national forest lands, it failed to set aside any permanently protect old-growth forest preserves, and permitted clearcutting in most ancient forest groves and inside the most vital spotted owl and salmon habitat. In fact, the environmental analysis accompanying the Clinton plan admitted that this politically-driven approach placed hundreds of species at increased risk of extinction, including the spotted, marbled murrelet and dozens of stocks of salmon and steelhead trout.

The scientists working on the project were prohibited from talking to the press, and their leader, Jack Ward Thomas, promptly shredded documents that revealed the fake science behind Option Nine.

Months later, Clinton tapped Thomas as the new chief of the Forest Service. Leaders of the DC environmental groups dutifully claimed Thomas’s appointment as a major victory, despite his role in developing the new old-growth logging plan.
Thomas was known as a brilliant ecologist, but also as an arrogant and mean-spirited quisling, dating back to his days managing a Forest Service research station in eastern Oregon called the Starker Forest. The Starker Forest was meant to be immune from industrial logging. Here stood one of the last untouched stands of old-growth ponderosa pines in the Blue Mountains. It had become a Mecca for scientists studying the ecology of old-growth systems in the dry interior West. As chief research ecologist, Thomas managed the land and decided who could conduct studies there. When research money began to dry up in the 1980s, Thomas secretly sold an area of prime forest to Boise-Cascade, which promptly clearcut it. When scientists protested, Thomas threatened to kill their research projects and ban future studies on the forest.

Within months of assuming his new post in the Clinton administration, Thomas approved the biggest timber sale in the modern history of the Forest Service. The so-called Prince-of-Wales timber sale on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska called for the clearcutting of thousands of acres of ancient rainforest and the construction of more than 100 miles of logging roads into an ecologically fragile and previously roadless landscape. The sale, which wnt to Lousiania-Pacific, prompted strenuous objections from numerous biologists and geologists within the Forest Service.

But Thomas didn’t tolerate internal dissent. In the spring of 1994, Thomas fired two Forest Service whistleblowers. Ernie Nunn and Curtis Bates had both stood up to the timber and mining companies in Montana. The pair first ran into trouble back in 1990, when they signed a letter which described the Forest Service has being dominated by the whims of the extractive industries and out of touch with the environmental concerns of the American public. That letter sparked such a revolt inside the Forest Service that the Bush administration attempted to sack the dissident forest supervisors. This Republican bid failed, rebuffed by congressional hearings and public outcry. Four years later, with a Democratic president and a Democratic congress, Thomas moved swiftly and with impunity to fire Bates and Nunn.

Despite these outrages, many of the big green groups remained locked in a necrotic embrace with the Clinton administration. The Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, a long-time pal of Al Gore, hailed the Option Nine logging plan as a “fair and reasonable compromise.” The National Audubon Society’s Brock Evans, long touted as the best environmental lobbyist on the Hill, pronounced it a “shaky victory.”

The Clinton administration floated a draft version of Option Nine before the public. Then Bruce Babbitt called on environmental leaders to annul the very legal injunctions they had won in Judge Dwyer’s courtroom against logging in spotted owl habitat. As a “gesture of goodwill” to the Clinton administration, Babbitt demanded that the environmentalists swallow a raft of timber sales in ancient forests. If they refused, Babbitt warned, the Clinton administration would ask Congress to overturn the injunction with what’s known as a sufficiency rider, a despicable legal tactic from of the Reagan/Bush years. With such a rider, Congress can simply over-ride existing legal hurdles, such as the Endangered Species Act, and make the logging immune from future challenges in the federal courts.

Lawyers for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (the self-proclaimed “dream team” of environmental law firms) forthwith arm-twisted its clients into handing over several thousand acres of old-growth forest for logging and then, months later, relinquished the Dwyer injuction itself.

Grassroots greens vigorously resisted this surrender. But the Defense Fund, which held a near monopoly on non-profit environmental litigation, threatened to abandon any clients who refused to go along with its advice. One of the strange pathologies afflicting contemporary environmentalism is that a conservation group without a law firm behind it suffers extreme pangs of institutional impotence. “The problem was that SCLDF’s arguments stemmed from political, not legal, judgments,” recalls Oregon environmentalist Larry Tuttle. “And those arguments were shaped in large measure by their own economic self-interest, that is their right to sue and reap heft attorneys’ fees from the government, and not the future the forests or the spotted owls.”

Eventually, the environmentalists collapsed. And in the spring of 1994, the logging of ancient forests resumed for the first time in four years. Things had indeed been better with George Bush and gridlock.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.


Keith Millea
01-29-2011, 01:59 AM
January 28 - 30, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money

A Touch of Babbittry
Bruce Babbitt's inglorious role in brokering the Deal of Shame, which restarted logging in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest, shocked many greens. After all, Babbitt was viewed as one of them. He had been president of the League of Conservation Voters, and many had seen him as the eco-chevalier of the Clinton administration. But the gratuitous stab in the back should have surprised no one.

Babbitt came from a big-time ranching family fed and fattened on the western traditions of cheap water, free range and unregulated mining. When mineworkers in Arizona walked off the job citing unsafe and unfair working conditions at the Phelps Dodge silver mine in the early 1980s, then Governor Babbitt called in the National Guard to crush the strike on behalf of the mining company, which had long planned the confrontation in consort with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School as a test case for breaking strikes and unions with permanent "replacement workers."

Babbitt also strong-armed federal park officials in order to secure approval of a resort complex near the rim of the Grand Canyon. The resort was owned by a long-time friend and political supporter.

But Babbitt is perhaps most notorious for his single-minded pursuit of Colorado River water. The multi-billion dollar Central Arizona Project channeled millions of 'acre feet' of precious water into sprawling developments absurdly located in the Arizona desert to assuage the thirst of real estate czars in Phoenix and Tucson. While Babbitt supported mighty water allocations to his state, he opposed them for his neighbors, vigorously objecting to water claims made by California and Utah. These western water battles brought Babbitt into the embrace of the infamous Richard Carver, a commissioner in Nye County, Nevada. Carver was a key leader of the 'county supremacy' movement, which asserts that the federal government does not have the constitutional right to own land. Carver promoted his cause at gatherings of far right groups across the West, most notably at the Jubilation, an event organized by the racist Posse Comitatus.

In August 1994, Carver ignited a war with the federal government when he mounted a bulldozer and plowed an illegal road into the Toiyabe National Forest, nearly running over two Forest Service rangers. Carver, who touted Babbitt as one of his closest friends, threatened to shoot anyone who tried to stop him. Although harassment of a federal employee is a felony, punishable by a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison, six months passed and the federal government took no action. Finally, only a civil suit was filed, and that against the Nye County government itself, no Carver. Some local BLM and Forest Service rangers believed that Babbitt intervened with the Department of Justice investigation on behalf of his friend Carver.

Other friends of Bruce Babbitt haven't fared nearly so well. Take Jim Baca, who came from one of the oldest Hispanic families in the Southwest and who served for several years as the lands commissioner for the state of New Mexico, where he acquired a reputation as a progressive and hard-nosed conservationist. But Baca's anti-cattle grazing stance earned him the enmity of ranchers throughout the West. Over the objections of the National Cattlemen's Association and the American Mining Congress, Babbitt chose Bace to oversee the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency in charge of administering about 250 million acres of public lands in the West—lands long viewed as the private dominion of cattle ranchers and gold mining companies.

Baca tried to make ranchers pay market rates for the use of public grasslands. (At the time, ranchers paid less than a fifth of grazing rates charged on private and state lands—a $200 million a year subsidy.) Then Baca went after the gold companies. The feisty new head of the BLM became a vigorous advocate for the repeal of the 1872 Mining Law, which allowed gold and silver mining companies to claim title to public lands for as little as $2.50 an acre and then pay no royalties on the billions of dollars of minerals they extract. Baca fought for an 8 percent royalty on mining of all public minerals and for an end to the transfer of federal lands to mining companies. Finally, Baca became the first BLM director to openly advocate for the need for more legally-designated wilderness. He supported setting aside nearly 20 million acres of high desert and mountain country in Utah, Idaho and Oregon as wilderness: closed to logging, mining and grazing.

This ran Baca athwart very powerful interests, many residing in the Democratic Party. Baca's most vicious opponent turned out to be the Democratic Governor of Idaho, Cecil Andrus, former Secretary of the Interior and a former employee of the Wilderness Society, where Baca had once served as a director. In December of 1993, Andrus attacked Baca in a letter to Babbitt, pronouncing: "My friend, frankly, you don't have enough political allies in the West to treat us this shabbily." Later, Andrus, who after retiring as governor joined the boards of two mining companies, threatened publicly, "It's either Baca or Babbitt. One of them's gotta go."
A few days later Babbitt announced in the Washington Post that Baca had been unceremoniously transferred from his BLM post to a vague new role as a policy advisor to Babbitt. There was a problem. No one had told Baca about the move and he resisted, publicly.

"I thought that Babbitt at least owed it to me as a long-time friend to explain why I was being ousted," Baca said. "I wanted him to ask me for my resignation personally." Babbitt, chastened by criticism from the press, pulled back. He held off removing Baca for a month. Then he called Baca into his office and told him to either accept the demotion or tender his resignation. Baca resigned. A month later, as he contemplated a run for governor of New Mexico, Baca said, "Babbitt can't stand up for his principles, because he has no backbone."

The Baca debacle was eerily reminiscent of a similar purge of federal land managers during the first Bush administration, when White House chief of staff John Sununu engineered the removal of regional directors of the National Park Service and Forest Service who had stoop up against the timber, mining and oil companies which wanted increased access to the public lands adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. This firing of federal land managers sparked roars of protest from environmentalists, prompting congressional hearings and stories in the press and on TV. However, the national environmental leadership remained strangely mute following the removal of Baca.

The man Babbitt chose to replace Baca, Mike Dombeck, was much friendlier to ranching and mining interests. Six months after his appointment Dombeck drafted a secret memo to Bruce Babbitt outlining a plan that would have seemed radical during the tenure of James Watt. As a budget-cutting measure, Dombeck advised Babbitt that the BLM could either turn over 110 million acres of federal land to the states or sell them off to the highest bidder. An attempt earlier in the 20th century to dispose of public lands and resources had sent former Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall to prison in the Teapot Dome scandal.

Babbitt's right hand man at Interior was Tom Collier. Before joining the Clinton administration, Collier and Babbitt worked together at the DC law firm / lobby shop Steptoe and Johnson, where their clients included many of the same companies they were later in charge of regulating at Interior, including Burlington-Northern, Aluminum Companies of America, Canadian Forest Industries Council, Canyon Forest Village Corp., Sealaska, Yavapai-Prescott Tribe and the Forest Industries Committee on Timber Taxation and Valuation.

One of the companies previously represented by Collier and Babbitt was Norwegian Cruise Lines, which held a lucrative permit for cruise visits into Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska. For years the company and former Alaska Senator Frank Murkowski pressured the National Park Service to increase the number of cruise visits into the narrow fjords of Glacier Bay. The Park Service resisted, fearing harmful affects from the huge ships on orca, gray whales and other marine life. In fact, Park Service biologists were hoping to curtail the number of cruise ships permitted in the bay, if not ban them outright. Then Babbitt and Collier intervened. They overruled Park Service scientists and arbitrarily raised the number of cruise ship visits, leading to millions in profits for their former clients.

* * *
In the spring of 1995 the Clinton administration's merciless pursuit of free trade pacts collided head on with the world's most glamorous animal: Delphinus delphis—dolphins to you.

Here's how this ugly episode went down.

For many years Mexico had been whining about being prohibited from selling its canned tuna north of the border. The US had mandated that only dolphin-free tuna be imported into the country, requiring methods of fishing that don't snag dolphins as part of the tuna haul. This prohibition was one of the great victories of the 1980s, but no sooner was the NAFTA agreement signed by the Clinton administration than Mexico denounced the US tuna law as a cruel restraint on free trade and demanded its rescission.

Prodded by Mickey Kantor, the chief US trade rep, the Clinton White House speedily assented, but cautioned that some national environmental organizations would have to be wheeled forward to provide political cover against assaults from the volatile and potent dolphin lobby. Enter the Environmental Defense Fund, a fanatical espouser of free trade as the salve for more or less everything. EDF was vociferously pro-NAFTA and had positioned itself as a long-time foe of dolphin protection laws as "ideologically unsound."

The crucial meeting to settle the dolphins' fate took place at the Mexican embassy in Washington, DC in July of 1995. Here US and Mexican bureaucrats hunkered down with executives from the Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Marine Conservation. Carefully excluded from this parlay were pro-dolphin groups such as Earth Island Institute and the Humane Society. Also shut out were the congressional members and staffer who had framed the 1992 law protecting the dolphins, seven million of which had perished in the waters of the eastern Pacific between 1970 and 1992.

The secret session in the Mexican embassy was not an auspicious occasion for the world's brainiest mammal. The conspirators agreed that the 1992 law should be over-turned and new statutory language devised that would allow Mexico's dolphin-lethal tuna to roll north into US supermarkets. Staffers from the EDF and World Wildlife Fund would write the new bill in language congenial to corporate-friendly greens with help from Bud Walsh, an attorney who had labored for big business and the Wise Use Movement.

Next came the task of selling dolphin death on the Hill. In the forefront of the lobbying was former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth, who had been brought on by Clinton to serve as Undersecretary of State for global environmental affairs. Wirth dispatched hand-written notes to crucial senators urging them to sign on to the bill and promoted it as a a "good package with a sound science/enviro base with Breaux and Stevens as sponsors."

Now, when it comes to environmental matters John Breaux of Louisiana and Ted Stevens of Alaska were four-square for rape and pillage and long carried water for Don Tyson, Arkansas's chicken and fish king. But some seasoned observers of Beltway politics were puzzled at Wirth's stance for the dolphin killers. Early in 1995 Wirth had taken the trouble to leak to the Washington Post a memo he'd sent to the White House urging Clinton to stand firm against those around him counseling sell-outs of Mother Nature.

But the dark side of Tim Wirth's environmentalism goes back to his days in the senate and his friendship with Senator John Heinz, the ketchup heir, with whom he had drafted "Project 88," the detailed manifesto of free-market environmentalism, which zestfully encouraged replacement of federal laws and regulations with cash inducements for corporate pillagers to behave themselves.

After Senator Heinz's death, Wirth and his wife Wren grew especially close to his widow Teresa Heinz. Following a period of grieving, the widow soon pressed forward into a romance with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. The tinder ignited at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, where they mightily impressed other junketeers by conversing in French.

Teresa Heinz, the daughter of a Portuguese doctor, was brought up as a child of empire in Mozambique, went to university in apartheid South Africa and apparently brought with her to the United States an ardent veneration for the capitalist system, and indeed for capitalists. Fortified by Heinz millions, Teresa made her way onto the board of the Environmental Defense Fund and—in the late 1980s when the EDF was heavily involved in various Amazonian promotions and fundraising endeavors—used to sweep into the western Amazon in great style, gazing with marked disfavor on the unruly rubber-tappers mustered at the Rio Branco airport to meet her. Frantic EDF staffers would plead with the seringueiros to shed their radical buttons and signs lest Madame Teresa conclude that the EDF had fallen into bed with Third World revolutionaries, instead of promoting parks from which Indians and rubber-tappers could swiftly be evicted.

Being a member of the Heinz family added clout to Teresa's stern ideological views, clout in the form of a fortune then estimated at between $670 million and $740 million. Hence the moral crisis for Senator John Kerry. Teresa Heinz lobbied forcefully for the new death-to-dolphins bill. But her new husband (the couple had married in July of 1995) was a doughty dolphin ally, possibly because this splendid mammal is not profuse on the St. George's Banks, nor in other haunts of the New England fishing fleet.

If a last-ditch defense of the 1992 law was to be mounted, John Kerry was the very man to lead it. But the senator had new cares and burdens. When he gave up Morgan Fairchild for Teresa Heinz and joined with her in the refreshments of matrimony, Kerry was asked whether he would use his wife's fortune to stake his political races. Kerry said he wouldn't. Unless, that is, his opponent also put up family money.

In the waning days of 1995, Massachusetts's Gingrich-loving Governor, William Weld, announced that he would challenge Kerry. The wealthy Weld proved a formidable opponent. Kerry thus confronted an enormous temptation to turn to his wife for help. His zeal for the dolphins declined markedly.

Meanwhile Teresa busily pressed the Heinz Corporation, whose subsidiary, Star-Kist, is the world's leading tuna processor. Having invested millions in dolphin-safe fishing fleets and having mined excellent publicity for its "dolphin-safe tuna," Star-Kist was loath to see the 1992 law changed. It claimed that the new law would cost the company 6,000 jobs in American Samoa. Nonetheless, Teresa, one of the Heinz Corporation's largest stockholders, lobbied Star-Kist to adopt a more cold-blooded attitude toward the dolphins. All this work paid off in 1997 when congress finally passed the dolphin death act.

In December of 1995, Teresa Heinz, through her foundation, disbursed the largest single environmental grant in US history: $20 million for an environmental center to promulgate the free-market economics her late husband outlined before his death.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)


Keith Millea
02-04-2011, 07:58 PM
February 4 - 6, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


"Smoke Screens"
How is power really leveraged in Washington? Read Bob Packwood's diaries. The private record of this disgraced Oregon senator and top recipient of campaign contributions from the timber industry from 1985 to 1995 tells the story.

Packwood told the chief lobbyist for the National Lumber Wholesalers Association that if the Lumber Wholesalers wanted him to gut the Endangered Species Act, a hefty contribution was needed. Money duly flowed into Packwood's campaign treasury—and he promptly began attacking the spotted owl.

Packwood was a Republican. Democrats are no different. The leading recipient in the House of timber industry money during that same period was Norm Dicks, the Democrat from Washington.

After the Republicans seized control of Congress at the end of 1994, green groups cried tremulously that foxes were in charge of the coup. They were partially right. At the Senate Interior Committee, chaired by Frank Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Rey became chief of staff. In his previous job, Rey was the top lobbyist for the American Forest and Paper Association, a $60 million a year lobbying giant. Under Rey's watch the rewriting of the nation's environmental laws began.

The green groups looked in desperation to the White House and the veto power which was all that stood between nature and the corporate predators. But the mighty veto sword remained in its scabbard. Clinton and his number two, Al Gore did nothing. The truth is that the fox had been in charge of the coop long before November of 1994.

Consider the career of Peter Knight. From 1979 to 1991, Knight worked as chief legislative aide for Senator Al Gore. Then he was tapped as chairman of the vice presidential campaign that designated Gore as electoral flypaper for the green vote. Knight duly became vice chairman in charge of personnel for the Clinton-Gore transition team, overseen by deal-maker extraordinaire Vernon Jordan, who counted among his innumerable obligations to the corporate sector the duties of lobbyist for the timber industry.

Peter Knight later emerged in shining armor as a lawyer-lobbyist for the Washington law firm of Wunder, Diefenderfer, Cannon and Thelen. Among this firm's prime clients, with who Knight dealt on a regular basis, were Manville of asbestos fame, the solid waste giant Browning Ferris Industries and two of the nation's largest forest products companies: Riverwood and Kimberly-Clark. The firm also represented the American Forest and Paper Association, where Mark Rey once toiled to make the wild woods safer for the chainsaw.

• • •
Why was the reaction to the Clinton betrayals on the environment so subdued? Perhaps, like the Christian Right during the era of Bush, the Beltway greens felt there was nowhere else to turn. It was also clear that many lodged their hopes in Vice President Al Gore.

Gore's reputation among the Washington press corps as environmentalist was largely based on his grandstanding at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and his tedious book Earth in the Balance, which stressed environmental discipline for the Third World, while neglecting to mention the corporate plunder of North America's forests, river and mountains. (This is nothing new, of course. Heading the rush to the Amazon to protest deforestation in the late 1980s were many US politicians who would be aghast at the thought of curbing the depredations of timber companies operating in North America.)

Gore was a tireless promoter of free-market environmentalism, and the probable ghost-writer of Clinton's noxious "the invisible hand has a green thumb" line. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Gore argued with increasing stridency that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy bearing down on the American environment. He was a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused with an inchoate technophilia.

Several of Gore's protégés landed top posts in the Clinton administration, led by Carol Browner as EPA administrator. She had served as Gore's legislative director from 1989 through 1991, before leaving to become the head of Florida's Department of Environmental Quality. During her tenure in Florida, Browner took two particularly high profile stands. The first was a capitulation to sugar-growers and developers that allowed continued (though slightly filtered) dumping of pesticide-lace water into the Everglades. Second, Browner allowed the Walt Disney Company to destroy 800 acres of vital wetland habitat in central Florida, in exchange for a pledge from the eco-imagineers at DisneyWorld to "recreate" several thousand acres of wetlands, a feat which remains well beyond the capacities of modern science.

At EPA, Browner wasted little time in promoting ideas such as wetland trading, which during the Bush administration had met with howls of derision from the green lobby. One of her very first actions was to the put the imprimatur of the EPA on the Everglades deal she had brokered a few years earlier in Florida. This was a precedent of sorts: the first time the federal government had officially sanctioned the pollution of a national park.

Following in Gore's footsteps, Browner initiated a campaign to reinvent the EPA by beginning to peel away "excessive environmental regulations." The theme here echoes back to the late 1970s and the writings of Stephen Breyer, then an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy, who Clinton elevated in 1994 to a spot on the Supreme Court. Breyer postulated that federal regulations should be evaluated through two tests: risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis. The costs of pollution control would be weighed against the heavily-discounted benefits of human health and environmental quality—a certain recipe for more hazardous waste landfills, dioxin-belching incinerators and higher cancer rates.

Browner's first target was the so-called Delaney Clause in the Food and Drug Act, which placed a strict prohibition against any detectable level of carcinogens in processed food. Though long the bane of the American Farm Bureau and the Chemical Manufacturer's Association, the Delaney Clause remained inviolate, even through the Reagan and Bush years. Within months of taking office Browner announced that she felt this standard was too severe and moved to gut it. "We just don't have unlimited financial resources to enforce all these measures and that can create a backlash," Browner complained. "So we need to be realistic. We need the strongest possible standards, but we need flexibility in how to achieve those standards."

* * *
When Bill Clinton journeyed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the fall of 1997 to preside over the creation of a new national monument, he quipped to reporters that it was disappointing there was so much fog in Arizona. He complained that he could hardly see across the giant chasm. That wasn't fog, Mr. President, it was smog, clogging the air in one of the most remote and least populated areas in North America.

Grand Canyon is not the only national park threatened by bad air. In the parks of the California Sierras, King's Canyon, Yosemite, and Sequoia, the toxic compounds in the air are stunting tree growth and killing alpine flora. Similar situations afflict Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and Quatico-Superior, the luscious country of forests and lakes on the Minnesota and Canadian border.

The situation in America's cities was even worse. In places such as Salt Lake City and Minneapolis, more children were getting sick and more elderly people were dying from just breathing the air than at any time since the mid-1960s. Yet the deterioration of America's air aroused little attention from the nation's major media outlets or politicians.

Indeed, one of the least covered environmental stories of 1996 was the EPA's announcement of new air pollution standards, proclaimed on a hot news day: the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 29, when most Americans were out shopping their way into the next holiday. On that Friday the EPA finally delivered its long-awaited new report on air quality, concentrating on smog and soot. The EPA's last assessment was in 1987.

Industry had been awaiting the EPA report, which was ordered by a federal court in 1992 after a successful suit by the American Lung Association and a coalition of environmental groups, with considerable nervousness. And with good reason.
The story begins more than 20 years ago, in the policy battles preceding the passage of the Clean Air Act. Environmental policymakers and their scientific advisers were looking at two principal classes of compounds fueling the smog process: hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

Now the particles have come home to kill; our air has indeed become more toxic. No fewer than 185 different scientific studies all tend to that conclusion. Around 60,000 Americans die prematurely every year from respiratory illnesses and heart attacks linked to fine particle exposure. Some 250,000 children a year fall victim to aggravated asthma and other respiratory disorders caused by breathing toxic air, and the rate has increased by 11 percent since 1980. Respiratory problems are now the leading cause of hospital admissions of children. In all, nearly 74 million Americans are daily exposed to harmful levels of particulate air pollution.
In the 1970s the bureaucrats decided that it would be easier to control hydrocarbons as emitted in vapors of various solvents, including benzene, kerosene, gasoline, and partially burned fuel in automobile exhaust. Regulation would be a matter of controlling nozzles at the gas pumps, adding tailpipe catalysts to burn unused fuel, controlling the vapors in dry cleaning shops, and so forth.

This option seemed simpler than what would be required for even a minimal assault on oxides of nitrogen, generated by combustion of fuels such as coal, gas, kerosene, and crude oil, and controlled by lowering the temperature of combustion. Simpler maybe, but wrong. As a 1992 study sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences showed, two decades' worth of stringent regulatory effort on hydrocarbons has yielded very little in the reduction of air pollution--certainly nothing like the progress predicted.

Industry's nervousness at the EPA review of air quality stemmed from the fact that the early decision to go easy on oxides of nitrogen meant in effect giving a pass to the utilities, incineration plants, and oil refineries. But it's clear now that if air quality is to be improved, these industries must be targeted.

The Geneva Steel Co. in Provo, Utah, provided one particularly vivid illustration. In the 1980s Dr. C. Arden Pope, an economist at Brigham Young University, got some students to start examining hospital admissions in Provo, cross-referencing them to levels of production at the Provo steel plant. The students' findings were dramatic.

When Geneva Steel was running full-tilt, admissions for lung ailments shot up, with the rate doubling for young children. The test had the virtue of extreme clarity. The area is inhabited by Mormons, who don't smoke, and there is no other industry. The perpetrators were clear enough: tiny particles from the steel plant, one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. Pope's study caused a huge commotion in the enviro-scientific and enviro-bureaucratic circles. Other studies confirmed the particularly lethal effect of fine particulates containing arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, vanadium, and zinc. The EPA's previous focus had been on large particulates, such as road dust, fly ash, cement kiln dust, and other construction-related pollution.

In anticipation of the EPA report, industry lobbies--among them the Air Quality Standards Coalition spearheaded by Geneva Steel--tried to discredit the health data and science while simultaneously stressing that the utilities, steel plants, and refineries had done all they could do, and that once again the regulatory axe should fall on the motorist and the dry cleaner down the block. Speaking for the American Petroleum Institute, Paul Bailey said that fine particulate matter was no big deal and people seemed "actually to adapt to it." Speaking for the Automobile Manufacturers, Gerald Esper said that the publicity over increased deaths caused by exposure to fine particulates was exaggerated because "many of the deaths are of elderly people and others who are sick who would have died within days anyway."

By late summer in 1997, the 1,500 page report was tossed nervously around the government, from the EPA to OMB and through Al Gore's office at the White House. The EPA's scientists recommended that standards on ozone and fine particulates be drastically tightened. Carol Browner had given herself bureaucratic cover by establishing a review group of industry scientists. The latter group recommended far more modest tightening of the standards. Browner ended up splitting the difference between the two. As a result, the EPA estimated that somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people will continue to die each year from breathing toxic air.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01282011.html)


Jan Klimkowski
02-04-2011, 09:39 PM
Jeffrey St Clair nails the false saint of the green movement:

Gore's reputation among the Washington press corps as environmentalist was largely based on his grandstanding at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and his tedious book Earth in the Balance, which stressed environmental discipline for the Third World, while neglecting to mention the corporate plunder of North America's forests, river and mountains. (This is nothing new, of course. Heading the rush to the Amazon to protest deforestation in the late 1980s were many US politicians who would be aghast at the thought of curbing the depredations of timber companies operating in North America.)

Gore was a tireless promoter of free-market environmentalism, and the probable ghost-writer of Clinton's noxious "the invisible hand has a green thumb" line. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Gore argued with increasing stridency that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy bearing down on the American environment. He was a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused with an inchoate technophilia.

Several of Gore's protégés landed top posts in the Clinton administration, led by Carol Browner as EPA administrator. She had served as Gore's legislative director from 1989 through 1991, before leaving to become the head of Florida's Department of Environmental Quality. During her tenure in Florida, Browner took two particularly high profile stands. The first was a capitulation to sugar-growers and developers that allowed continued (though slightly filtered) dumping of pesticide-lace water into the Everglades. Second, Browner allowed the Walt Disney Company to destroy 800 acres of vital wetland habitat in central Florida, in exchange for a pledge from the eco-imagineers at DisneyWorld to "recreate" several thousand acres of wetlands, a feat which remains well beyond the capacities of modern science.

At EPA, Browner wasted little time in promoting ideas such as wetland trading, which during the Bush administration had met with howls of derision from the green lobby. One of her very first actions was to the put the imprimatur of the EPA on the Everglades deal she had brokered a few years earlier in Florida. This was a precedent of sorts: the first time the federal government had officially sanctioned the pollution of a national park.

Keith Millea
02-05-2011, 12:48 AM
St Clair mentions our great Republican Senator Bob Packwood at the beginning of his latest segment.I thought it would be good to introduce people to Ex-Senator Packwood,so I found this article.Packwood was slime,and it was because he couldn't keep his hands off women that he finally was brought down.

Page 1 of 7

The other Packwood scandal - ex-Sen. Bob Packwood's misuse of influence and campaign funds - includes related articles - Cover Story

Common Cause Magazine (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/), Winter, 1995 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/) by Vicki Kemper (http://findarticles.com/p/search/?qa=Vicki Kemper)

1 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/)
2 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_2/)
3 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_3/)
4 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_4/)
5 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_5/)
6 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_6/)
7 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_7/)
Next (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/ai_17833317/pg_2/)
In the stranger-than-fiction world of Washington politics, it's worth remembering that former Sen. Bob Packwood once had to be dragged from his office and then carried onto the Senate floor--feet-first--before he'd vote on a campaign finance reform measure.

It was the cleaning woman who tipped off the sergeant-at-arms and a couple of aides to Packwood's hiding place on that February midnight in 1988, but even after the authorities unlocked Packwood's office door the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee refused to surrender, using his shoulder to try to keep them out.
The police prevailed, but Packwood won where it counted; the campaign finance reform bill, like similar ones before and since, was killed by a Republican-led filibuster. Packwood was thus freed to return to what we now know was his senatorial style: trading favors, wielding power, selling access, chasing campaign cash--and groping women.

We know because six years later it was again women--former staffers, campaign aides and lobbyists--who blew the whistle on Packwood, charging him with what amounted to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct. And when the Senate Ethics Committee began to investigate, Packwood again tried to bar the door--denying the charges and then saying he couldn't remember what he'd done, all the while stonewalling investigators and working to discredit his accusers. But for all his altering of diary entries, Packwood could not rewrite history.

In the end the Ethics Committee's unanimous vote recommending Packwood's expulsion from the Senate was based on more than his abuse of women. While the committee's investigation had confirmed "at least 18 separate unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances" and numerous instances of evidence-tampering, it also concluded that Packwood had "abused his position of power ... by engaging in a deliberate and systematic plan to enhance his personal financial position by soliciting, encouraging and coordinating employment opportunities for his wife from persons who had a particular interest in legislation or issues that [he] could influence."

In fact, the diaries reveal far more than that. Packwood's diaries and supporting documentation--correspondence, staff memos, records of votes and committee testimony, plus reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC)--indicate that:
* Packwood not only sought financial favors from persons needing his legislative or regulatory help, but also did their bidding: speaking at committee hearings; instructing his staff to write memos to address their concerns; sponsoring and tailoring legislation; putting in a good word with regulators; championing the nominee for a government job.

* He was almost always soliciting campaign funds, and he judged most contacts, meetings and some political decisions according to how much support--and money--they would generate. In a September 1992 diary entry he recounted a visit from a local businessperson. "He gave me $1,000," Packwood said, adding, "that's worth 10 minutes."

* In some cases Packwood knowingly skirted or violated federal campaign laws.

* Packwood and key supporters and lobbyists operated in a small, incestuous, revolving-door world. Former aides became lobbyists, fundraisers, campaign consultants and corporate executives; lobbyists and executives became friends and sycophants.

* In addition to using his own Senate office and employees for political campaign purposes--and attempting to cover it up--Packwood advised his Republican colleagues to destroy any evidence of such activities in their own offices.

* Some of Packwood's "requests" for contributions to his legal defense trust fund stopped just short of extortion.

Packwood's diaries depict a world in which money rules, and where the people and special-interest groups that provide it have extraordinary power. The evidence provided by the Packwood case suggests that the current political and campaign financing system works because the people in office need the people with the money--and vice versa. The system creates, in Packwood's words, "a happy relationship"--for an extremely narrow group of individuals and interests.

Bob and the Fat Cats

October 18, 1989: I did have time to come back to the office, talk to Tim Lee and Tim says he'll be happy to put up $10, 000 a year for Georgie. Talked to Ron Crawford. He'll put up $7,500 a year for Georgie. That's three out of three and I haven't even hit up [Name Deleted] or Steve Saunders. I've got to handle this carefully. I don't want in any way there to be any quid pro quo. I'm not going to do anything for these guys that I would not do anyway. ... I think I'll ask them for $5,000 apiece and hold it in reserve and indicate to Georgie that if she can make $20,000 I'll make sure she gets another $20,000. Then I'll come up with more and that will give me enough of an asset base to be able to buy a small two bedroom townhouse.

March 27,1990: I said, "Well, if you're going to support Georgie in the style to which I'd like her to become accustomed..." And he laughed. He says, "Yeah, I'll guarantee the $7,500 for five years." And he said, "If you're chairman of the Finance Committee I can probably double that." We both laughed. I don't intend to do that. I frankly don't intend this supplement to Georgie to last more than five years in any event. I'd also talked with Tim Lee today to re-verify his $10,000 and $10,000 from Bill Furman for Georgie. She'll have basically $30,000 to $40,000 in income for five years as long as I remain in the Senate.


Keith Millea
02-05-2011, 01:28 AM
The reporter who knew too much: how Florence George Graves developed the Packwood story - ex-Sen. Bob Packwood's sexual miscoduct - Cover Story - Interview

Common Cause Magazine (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/), Winter, 1995 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1554/is_n4_v21/) by Vicki Kemper (http://findarticles.com/p/search/?qa=Vicki Kemper)

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Ask Florence George Graves why she was so dogged in her reporting of the story of Bob Packwood's sexual misconduct, and she's likely to respond, with characteristic self-deprecating humor, that she had "bought the Common Cause line" about one person being able to make a difference.

In fact, the end result of the Bob Packwood-sexual misconduct saga is a dramatic representation of the truth of that almost-trite aphorism. If not for Graves' insightful, persistent and principled reporting--fueled by her passionate commitment to truth-telling--it's more than likely that the former Republican senator from Oregon would still be chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

The final outcome was also made possible, Graves is quick to point out, by the many other "one persons"--Packwood victims, former staff members, Washington Post editors, senators, Senate Ethics Committee staffers and others-- who told the truth or worked to find it, often at great personal risk.

But it was Graves, working alone from her home in suburban Boston in 1992, who began to connect names, dates and details to the years-old rumors of Packwood's sexual misconduct, and it was her reporting that uncovered a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by one of the nation's most powerful senators. Graves eventually learned of more than 40 women who said they had been subjected to Packwood's uninvited sexual advances, and with reporting that was both sensitive and tough she persuaded several of them to go on the record.

As difficult as that was, getting the story published was an even greater challenge. An early agreement Graves had with Vanity Fair fell apart, and other media outlets she approached didn't want to pursue the story. Still, she continued to gather information. Finally Graves approached the Washington Post, which teamed her with investigative reporter Charles Shepard, and on November 22, 1992, the newspaper ran a front-page story on allegations of Packwood's sexual misconduct. Packwood had succeeded in delaying publication of the story until after he'd won reelection to a fifth term, but he couldn't stop the resulting furor, additional revelations and Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Not that he didn't try.

By the time an ashen-faced Packwood announced in September that he would resign his Senate seat rather than face certain expulsion, almost three years had elapsed since publication of the first Post story. And amidst the pathos, drama and new revelations surrounding the end of the story, many forgot how it all began--and who had begun it. At her home in Massachusetts, Florence Graves sat in stunned silence, watching the events on television.

Graves has also been investigating other aspects of sexual politics on Capitol Hill. Last year she reported how some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had prevented a key witness from testifying in the Anita Hill--Clarence Thomas hearings. A Radcliffe College public policy fellow and a visiting scholar at Brandeis University, Graves is writing a book about the intersection of sex, gender and power in Washington politics and media. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as awards from the Pope Foundation and Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

And, all facetiousness aside, Graves means what she says about "the Common Cause line." After all, she helped create it. As the founding editor of Common Cause Magazine, Graves proved that a small public-interest magazine could make a big difference in political journalism and good government. Under her leadership the magazine helped set the standard for investigative money-in-politics reporting and won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence and several of the country's most prestigious reporting awards. The magazine's investigations prompted congressional hearings, government investigations and changes in federal policies.

Graves spoke from her home.

Common Cause Magazine: How did you get started working on the story about Sen. Packwood's sexual misconduct?

Florence George Graves: The, story is really a direct result of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. I watched those hearings, along with millions of others, in October of 1991, and it seemed to me that one of the most obvious follow-up stories was the problem of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. It's hard to have been in Washington and covered Congress and not have heard rumors that many women have been subjected to unwanted advances by some members of Congress.
Doing a story like that takes a lot of resources, so I waited for the big media. I assumed the story was so obvious that someone would do it. And by April of '92, when no one seemed to be taking it on, I decided I would look into it myself.

CC: Was this a story about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill in general, or were you specifically looking into the case of Sen. Packwood?


Keith Millea
03-12-2011, 04:00 AM
February 18 - 20, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


Getting Gored
From the beginning, Al Gore was fully in synch with the Clinton two-step on the environment. The first environmental promise Al Gore made in the 1992 campaign, he soon broke. It involved the WTI hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, built on a floodplain near the Ohio River. The plant, one of the largest of its kind in the world, was scheduled to burn 70,000 tons of hazardous waste a year in a spot only 350 feet from the nearest house. A few hundred yards away is East Elementary School, which sits on a ridge nearly eye-level with the top of the smokestack.

On July 19, 1992, Gore gave one of his first campaign speeches on the environment—across the river from the incinerator site, in Weirton, West Virginia. He hammered the Bush Administration for its plans to give the toxic waste burner a federal air permit. “The very idea is just unbelievable to me,” Gore said. “I’ll tell you this, a Clinton-Gore Administration is going to give you an environmental presidency to deal with these problems. We’ll be on your side for a change.” Clinton made similar pronouncements on his swing through the Buckeye State.

Shortly after the election, Gore assured neighbors of the incinerator that he hadn’t forgotten about them. “Serious questions concerning the safety of the East Liverpool, Ohio hazardous waste incinerator must be answered before the plant may begin operation,” Gore wrote. “The new Clinton/Gore administration will not issue the plant a test burn permit until all questions concerning compliance with the plant have been answered.”

But that never happened. Instead, the EPA quietly granted the WTI facility its test burn permit. The tests failed twice. In one, the incinerator eradicated only 7 percent of the mercury found in the waste when it was supposed to burn away 99.9 percent. A few weeks later, the EPA granted WTI a commercial permit anyway. They didn’t tell the public about the failed tests until afterward.

Gore claimed his hands were tied by the Bush Administration, who had promised WTI the permit only a few weeks before the Clinton team took office. But by one account, William Reilly, Bush’s EPA director, met with Gore’s top environmental aide, Katie McGinty, in January 1993 and asked her if he should begin the process of approving the permit. He says McGinty told him to proceed. McGinty said later that she had no recollection of the meeting.

Gore persisted in maintaining that there was nothing he could do about it once the permit was granted. A 1994 report on the matter from the General Accounting Office flatly contradicted him, saying the plant could be shut down on numerous grounds, including repeated violations of its permit.

“This was Clinton and Gore’s first environmental promise, and it was their first promise-breaker,” says Terri Swearington, a registered nurse from Chester, West Virginia, just across the Ohio River from the incinerator. Swearington, who won the Goldman Prize in 1997 for her work organizing opposition to WTI, has hounded Gore ever since, and during the 2000 campaign she was banned by Gore staffers from appearing at events featuring the vice president.

The decision to go soft on WTI may have had something to do with its powerful financial backer. The construction of the incinerator was partially financed by Jackson Stephens, the Arkansas investment king who helped bankroll the Clinton-Gore campaign. According to EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman, during the period when the WTI financing package was being put together, Stephens Inc. was represented by Webb Hubble (who later came into Clinton’s justice department and was indicted during the Whitewater investigation) and the Rose law firm (to which Hillary Clinton belonged). Over the ensuing seven years, the WTI plant has burned nearly a half-million tons of toxic waste—5,000 truckloads of toxic material every year—spewing chemicals such as mercury, lead, and dioxin out of its stacks and onto the surrounding neighborhoods. The inevitable illnesses have followed.
* * *
On other crucial matters, Clinton cynically deployed Gore to split environmentalists and thus advance pro-business policies, as in the fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The environmental defects of NAFTA were manifold and had helped to energize broad opposition to the agreement. When it looked like the pact might go down, Gore pledged to Clinton that he could wrest an endorsement of the trade deal from top environmental groups.

Gore turned first to his long-time friend Jay Hair, who proved the perfect person to marshal support for NAFTA. He was, after all, the self-proclaimed leader of the Gang of Ten, executives of the ten largest environmental outfits, including his own National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Izaak Walton League, World Wildlife Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth. The Gang met six times a year in such pleasing settings as Kodiak, Alaska; Telluride, Colorado; Jackson, Wyoming; and the beaches of Belize.

Hair knew he could sell the other eco-executives on the meager environmental provisions in NAFTA, so he outlined the political calculus at work. Hair said the greens' endorsement would buy the administration's backing for high priority environmental reforms, such as protections of ancient forests, reform of mining law and strengthening of the Endangered Species Act.

The more conservative and policy-oriented groups speedily aligned themselves behind Hair, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlilfe Fund, Nature Conservancy, Conservation Foundation and the National Audubon Society.

When the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth refused to endorse NAFTA and instead joined the opposition, Hair dashed off threatening letters to the executives of both organizations, accusing them of treachery.

In the end, the resistance of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth didn't matter. The groups assembled by Hair were more than enough for the purposes of Clinton and Gore. Days after the trade deal squeaked through Congress, John Adams, head of NRDC, claimed credit, boasting about "breaking the back of the environmental opposition to NAFTA."

A few months later the famous environmental "side accords" to NAFTA were formally declared to be worthless.

* * *
What we now recognize as “the Gore style” was fashioned in the earliest days of his political career. The young congressman picked out safe issues on which to cut a posture. He’d fully digested the lessons of his own masters’ thesis, that television had shifted the balance of power from the Congress to the Executive branch. He became a zealous promoter of TV cameras in Congress and contrived to be the first to speak to those cameras from the House floor. Characteristically, his premier message concerned the therapeutic value of filming House proceedings on a day-to-day basis: “It is a solution for the lack of confidence in government.” Anyone who has watched C-Span for the past twenty years would surely come to precisely the opposite conclusion.

Gore would seize on an issue that could be easily exported to the Sunday talk shows, such as children’s nightwear treated with Tris, a flame retardant that turned out to be carcinogenic. Those particular hearings in May of 1977 were the first to bring young Rep. Gore onto the network news shows, and he made full use of the opportunity. “Did it trouble you,” he howled theatrically at one industry executive, “that the children of this country might have tumors, carcinogenic or otherwise, produced by the chemical that would be used in all this sleepwear?”

From perilous nightwear he turned his attention to infant formula, another sure-fire TV grabber, where he and the shapely Tipper discoursed on the virtues of breastfeeding. On the heels of fiery sermons against Nestlé for its infant formula, came Gore’s efforts to enact a national organ transplant database. This talent for converting minor issues into major TV opportunities was no doubt what prompted Gore’s enthusiasm for Clinton’s pollster Dick Morris when the latter arrived to bail out the Clinton White House in l995 and l996.

“Around Washington he’s what we call ‘a glory boy,’” a Democratic Party insider told Gore Vidal. “He gets to the House and starts running for the Senate. He gets to the Senate and starts running for the White House. There’s no time left to do any of the real work the rest of us have to do.”

The legislative venue for Gore’s grandstanding was the House Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigation. Gore had lobbied strongly to be appointed to this subcommittee, correctly assaying its screen-time potential. In short order he developed an inquisitorial style, matched off the floor by his mercilessly abusive treatment of his staff. His sponsor was the powerful Michigan Democrat John Dingell, the auto industry’s greatest friend on Capitol Hill and, later, the most virulent opponent of clean air legislation. Dingell can himself be a merciless interrogator and evidently saw Gore’s potential. Gore would describe himself later as Dingell’s spear-carrier.

Gore’s skills at self-promotion carried his name into the news and afforded him a certain national reputation as a crusading liberal. But at the substantive legislative level Gore remained emphatically on the center-right. Take the issue that perhaps defines the Democratic Party’s social mission more than any other: labor rights. In the dawn of the Carter presidency, with Democrats controlling both houses, a bill came before the House aimed at expanding unions’ picketing rights. Famously in America, one has the right to strike (barely), but not the right to win, because picketing—a vital component of any serious strike—is so circumscribed by legal restrictions it is effectively useless as a coercive tool in many fights with employers. So this vote was a big one. The AFL-CIO felt confident of victory, but it missed the fact that newly arrived Democrats like Gore felt no loyalty to labor and were intent on advertising that disposition to their business contributors. Gore provided one of the crucial votes that turned back labor’s bill.

As a House member Gore was virtually a poster boy for the National Rifle Association. In 1978 he voted to block funding for the implementation of new federal handgun regulations, explaining many years later that, “when I represented a rural farm district in the House of Representatives there wasn’t a problem [with handguns] perceived by my constituents.” In 1985, after he had moved from representing the crackers in the 4th District to being the junior senator for all the people of Tennessee, he voted for what the NRA called “the most significant pro-gunners’ bill in the last quarter-century”…

As a Congressman, Gore spoke of his belief in “the fetus’ right to life.” He was a relentless supporter of the Hyde amendment, which banned federal funding for abortions for poor women. In one early version of Hyde’s bill, there was language allowing exceptions to the ban in the case of rape. Gore voted against that.
The most far reaching of all the measures dreamed up by the conservative right to undercut Roe v. Wade was an amendment put forward by a Michigan Republican, Mark Siljander, in 1984. It carried a one-two punch. First, it defined the fetus as a person from the moment of conception. Second, it denied federal funding to any hospital or clinic that performed an abortion. Gearing up for his Senate run that year, Gore was one of seventy-four Democrats to vote for Siljander’s ultimately unsuccessful measure.

Those votes returned to haunt Gore as his political ambitions went national and he bid for more support than he’d ever needed in the 4th District or even the entire Volunteer State. By 1988 he was brazenly rewriting his political biography. He and his staff were well aware that his votes against choice—only four years earlier—would be brought up by his opponents. “Since there’s a record of that vote,” an aide told US News & World Report in March of 1988, “what we have to do is deny, deny, deny.”

The problem returned briefly in 1992 and again in the Democratic primaries in 2000, when Bill Bradley, challenging Gore for the nomination, used the occasion of a debate in the Apollo Theater in Harlem, to flourish and then read out a letter Gore had written to a Tennessee constituent in 1984, in which had stated: “It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. I hope that some day we will see the current outrageously large number of abortions drop sharply. Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent human life must be protected and I have an open mind on how to further this goal.”

When confronted with contradictions between his pretensions and his deeds, Gore reflexively performs a ritual of numbed incantation. “I believe a woman ought to have the right to choose,” he kept repeating to his interlocutors in 1992, and he did the same thing at the Apollo in 2000. Someone less rigid could have said, “Look, I’ve evolved.” Freed from his lawyers, Bill Clinton can go through such a routine effortlessly. But Gore, the perfect child of demanding parents, can never admit error, even in retrospect. In 1988, even as both Al and Tipper issued their fabrications about their use of marijuana, Tipper said, “It was either admit it or lie, and we would never lie.”

One unlovely hoof print after another tracks its way across Gore’s legislative voting record. In the 1980s, when the IRS proposed new regulations denying tax-exempt status to private schools that barred black students, Gore was among those in Congress who tried to undermine the regulations.

Likewise, in Gore’s supposed devotion to the environment, there has always been a vast rift between stirring proclamation and legislative reality. Back in the late 1970s, two of the hottest environmental battles concerned the Clinch River Breeder Reactor and the Tellico Dam, both within the purview of the TVA. As it was planned, the Clinch River reactor was not only a $3 billion boondoggle of the first water, but was also destabilizing in terms of the arms race, since it was scheduled to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The Congressional battle over the planned reactor stretched from the mid-1970s to 1983, when, amid growing national disquiet about nuclear power, it went down to defeat.

Gore was a fanatic defender of the reactor, the most ardent of all the Tennessee House delegation. When the Republicans briefly captured the Senate in 1981, the senior senator from Tennessee, Howard Baker, became majority leader and made protection of the Clinch River project one of his priorities. He and Gore kept the fight going until the end. Arkansas’ Senator, Dale Bumpers, gave an entertaining account of this in a 1997 speech: “I remember in 1981, Republicans took over this place and Howard Baker, the senator from Tennessee and one of the finest men ever to serve in this body, became majority leader. I was trying to keep any additional nuclear plants from being licensed—and it was not a tough chore. A lot of people had made up their minds at that point that the nuclear option was not a good one. I fought for about four years to kill the Clinch River Breeder. But I was up against the majority leader. And as everybody here knows, as the old revenuer said, when they announced United States v. Jones, he turned to his lawyer and said, “Them don’t sound like very fair odds to me.” And it was not very fair odds to go up against the majority leader on the Clinch River Breeder, which was going to be built in his beloved Tennessee. Howard Baker could always just pull out that one extra vote he needed. The vote was always close, but you are majority leader, you know, you can just call somebody over and say, ‘I need your vote,’ and you usually get it. Finally, one year I was ahead by about six or seven votes as the votes were being cast, and I think Senator Baker decided that he was done for, and he turned everybody loose that had committed to him [those] who did not really like the idea of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor and only voted for it to accommodate him. He turned them loose, and I think we won that day by about seventy to thirty. Happily, that was the end of the Clinch River Breeder.”

In 1984, Al Gore took Baker’s Senate seat and, over the next eight years, voted for the nuclear lobby 55 percent of the time. As vice president and author of Earth in the Balance (which stays fairly mute on the topic of nuclear power) Gore, along with his former legislative staffer, Energy Department Assistant Secretary Thomas Grumbly, tried to bring the Clinch River scheme to life again as the Fast Flux Test Facility in the Hanford nuclear reservation in the State of Washington.
Then there was the Tellico Dam, the first big test of America’s greatest environmental law, the Endangered Species Act. A law passed in 1973 during the Nixon presidency, which also saw creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. The dam, on the Little Tennessee River, was 95 percent complete when biologists discovered the imperiled snail darter species still clinging on in the stretches of the river that were to become the reservoir behind the dam. Environmentalists brought suit against the dam project, and eventually the Supreme Court ruled that the Endangered Species Act required that the dam not be completed.

The Little Tennessee was one of the few wild rivers left in the state unmolested by the TVA. The dam wasn’t needed for flood control and wouldn’t generate power. All it would do was store water and divert it to another dam nearby. The recreation benefits were negative, since the Little Tennessee was a famous trout stream and popular with canoeists. In fact, the only purposes of the dam were to line the pockets of the cement producers and construction nabobs of Tennessee, and to afford an amenity for the “Timberlake” community being planned by Boeing. As Mark Reisner puts it in his book Cadillac Desert, “It was like deciding to put a 50,000 seat Superdome in the middle of Wyoming and then building a city of 150,000 around it to justify its existence.”

Shocked that the Act could threaten huge pork barrel projects, the very lifeblood of Congress, the legislators set up the so-called “God Squad,” which would pass judgment on species-endangering schemes, using cost-benefit analysis as the standard. In the case of the snail darter, the God Squad, led by economist Charles Schultze, did its homework. “Here is a project that is 95 percent complete,” Schultze concluded, “and if one takes just the cost of finishing it against the benefits, it doesn’t pay.”

The fight over the snail darter was fierce and bitter because the stakes were so high. If the pro-dam forces could win a waiver of the Endangered Species Act here, then such a waiver would inevitably be the first of many. Gore was among the leaders in the effort to get this waiver, and in the end Congress exempted the dam from compliance and overturned the Supreme Court’s injunction. As the defenders of the snail darter predicted, the path to destruction of the Endangered Species Act now lay open, and first down that path had been none other than Al Gore.
After he and the other pork-barrelers got the vote that exempted the dam, Gore announced triumphantly, “It was unfortunate that the controversy over the snail darter was used to delay completion of the dam after it was virtually finished. I am glad the Congress has now ended this controversy once and for all.”

How Gore, Howard Baker, and James Duncan (the Republican Congressman in whose district the dam was located) consummated their awful victory was vividly described by Representative Bob Edgar, a Democrat from suburban Philadelphia: He recounts how on June 18, 1979, Gore and his colleague Duncan pushed through, as a rider to the appropriations bill, a measure allowing the Tellico Dam to go forward. “Duncan walked in waving a piece of paper. He said, ‘Mr. Speaker! Mr. Speaker! I have an amendment to offer to the public works appropriation bill.’ Tom Bevill and John Myers [two dreadful reps] of the Appropriations Committee both happened to be there. I wonder why. Bevill says, ‘I’ve seen the amendment. It’s good.’ Myers says, ‘I’ve seen the amendment. It’s a good one.’ And that was that. It was approved by voice vote! No one even knew what they were voting for! They were voting to exempt Tellico Dam from all laws! They punched a loophole big enough to shove a $100 million dam through it, and then they scattered threats all through Congress so that we couldn’t muster the votes to shove it back out. I tried—lots of people tried—but we couldn’t get that rider out of the bill. The speeches I heard on the floor were the angriest I’ve heard in elective office. They got their dam. That is the democratic process at work.”

The foes of the dam had one last hope, that President Jimmy Carter would veto the bill. But Carter too was bushwhacked. The Baker-Gore forces threatened to withhold support for the Panama Canal Treaty, which Carter was fighting for at the time.

Gore supported a scheme to transplant some of the snail darters to the nearby Hiwassee and Holston rivers, where they survived. But the larger damage was done. As David Brower, America’s greatest environmentalist, said in retrospect, “This was the beginning of the end of the Endangered Species Act.” After the snail darter came other species and other waivers, the most notorious of them engineered under the auspices of Vice President Gore. In the Pacific Northwest the spotted owl and marbled murrelet, in the Southeast the red-cockaded woodpecker, in Southern California the gnatcatcher—all were as chaff under the chariot wheels of the timber and real estate industries, who successfully lobbied the vice president and his minions for the all-important waivers. Like refugees in wartime, imperiled species were assigned one holding pen after another, issued temporary “safe” passes, while Gore’s appointments in the Interior Department and the Council on Environmental Quality felt the heat from developers and timber barons and crumbled.

The way American politics works, it took a reputed environmentalist to destroy America’s best environmental law. In l98l, there wasn’t a major environmental group in the country that didn’t bugle its frantic alarums at the approach of the Reaganauts and that Beelzebub of the greens, James Watt, Reagan’s Interior Secretary. The Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, National Audubon, the Natural Resources Defense Council, all raised millions of dollars on the specter of Watt and the havoc he would wreak on environmental regulations. In fact, the pathetic and maladroit Watt never stood a chance. He set back the cause of environmental pillage by at least a decade.

But when Watt was gone and Reagan was gone and Bush was gone, the Democratic “greens” came back to power, and they accomplished triumphs that the Republicans had never dared dream possible. Gore, who had reinvented himself as an environmentalist, largely on the basis of Earth in the Balance, was embraced by the Big Green organizations. They used his entirely mythical green credentials as a way of getting their membership to overlook Bill Clinton’s own adversarial relationship with nature while he was governor of Arkansas.

Yet consider Gore’s record by Big Green’s own criteria. Like all the major environmental organizations, the League of Conservation Voters functions as an outrider for the Democratic National Committee, and its annual ratings of Congress members are notoriously skewed against Republicans. Gore’s lifetime rating from the League is 64 percent, meaning he was in sync with the League’s positions two-thirds of the time. This is not much when you look at such green stars of the League as Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tim Wirth of Colorado, George Miller of California, or even a Republican like the late John Chafee of Rhode Island, all of whom were consistently ranked in the 90s. The League’s rating of Gore in his House years ran at an average of about 55 percent, with one year down at 30 percent, which put him in harness with such world-class predators as Don Young of Alaska.

Gore didn’t make many friends in the House, but his propensity to techno-flatulence (e.g., “The government is just a big software program”) soon prompted him to sniff out a kindred soul in the form of a pudgy young Congressman from suburban Atlanta who had a marvelous facility for rotund phrase-making on any issue to hand. From the time he was first elected, in 1978, Newt Gingrich was positioning himself with precisely the same blend of opportunism, albeit at a noisier level, as Al Gore was.
The two consecrated their amity in a group called the Congressional Clearing House on the Future. They met monthly, published a newsletter and hosted lectures by futurists and pop scientists including, Carl Sagan and Alvin Toffler. But these monthly klatches were not enough to satiate Gore and Gingrich’s passions for heady chat about meta-technical trends, artificial intelligence, the population bomb, and extraterrestrial life (Gore believes ardently that We Are Not Alone). The two would meet for dinner at each other’s houses. Poor Tipper, hoping for a romantic candle-lit evening with her spouse, would open the door to see the beaming, porcine features of the rising Republican star from Georgia on the doorstep. The relationship didn’t end when Gore reached the Senate. In fact, in 1985, he and Gingrich co-authored a bill titled the Critical Trends Assessment Act. The legislation called for the creation of a White House Office on Futurism (WHOOF) to “study the effects of government policies on critical trends and alternative futures.” In his career in Congress, Gore was rarely the principal author of a bill. This was an exception, albeit a doomed one. Although the two battled for WHOOF strenuously, it never went anywhere.

Soon after his arrival in Congress, Gore formed the Vietnam Veterans Caucus with John Murtaugh, Jim Jones, and Les Aspin. For Gore, the caucus opened up a useful avenue into hawkish Democratic circles, where men like Aspin and Sam Nunn were doing the Pentagon’s work, proclaiming that “Vietnam Syndrome” was sabotaging the nation’s vital sinews. Gore picked up the lingo quickly enough: “I think it is important to realize that we do have interests in the world that are important enough to defend, to stand up for. And we should not be so burned by the tragedy of Vietnam that we fail to recognize an interest that requires the assertion of force.”

With such language, Gore established himself early on as “safe” from the point of view of the Pentagon and the national security complex. Safety meant never straying off the reservation on such issues as America’s right to intervene anywhere it chooses. Gore backed Reagan’s disastrous deployment of US Marines in Lebanon in 1983. He supported the invasion of that puissant Caribbean threat to the United States (population 240 million) by Grenada (population 80,000). He later chided his 1988 Democratic opponents for their failure to embrace this noble enterprise. At a time when many Democrats wanted to restrict the CIA’s ability to undertake covert actions, Gore said he wouldn’t “hesitate to overthrow a government with covert actions,” a posture he ratified with his approval of the CIA’s secret war in Afghanistan. This, the largest covert operation in the Agency’s history, ultimately saddled Afghanistan with the Taliban fundamentalists, destroyers of cities, stoners of women, harborers of Bin Laden, and overseers of that country’s rise in status to the eminence of world’s largest exporter of opium and heroin to the United States and Europe.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.
Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01282011.html)
Click here to read Part Five. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02042011.html)


Keith Millea
03-12-2011, 04:11 AM
February 25 - 26, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


More and More Gore
The fall of 1993 saw Gore broker a bizarre deal to trade missiles for dead whales. On September 23 of that year he entertained Norway’s prime minister, Gro Brundtland, at the White House. Brundtland, a fellow Harvard grad and a longtime friend of the vice president, sought Gore’s backing for Norway’s effort to overturn the International Whaling Commission’s ban on the hunting of minke whales in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. For years this had been Norway’s aim, but they’d had little success with the Bush Administration.

Early in 1993, the Norwegian fleet flouted international law by killing nearly 300 whales, supposedly for “scientific” and “experimental” purposes, although a later investigation disclosed that Norwegian minke whale meat had ended up in the fish markets of Japan. American environmental groups lashed out at Norway and demanded that the US take action to punish the rogue whalers. Under a US law known as the Pelly Amendment, the Commerce Department can impose trade sanctions on nations that violate the whaling ban.

But Norway had so far escaped without even a mild rebuke. This was, in part, because Norway had softened up Congress and Clinton’s Commerce Department through a $1.5 million influence-peddling campaign, led by the lobby firm Akin Gump, home of former DNC chairman Robert Strauss and that master of persuasion Vernon Jordan.

At the time of his meeting with Brundtland, Gore had several things on his mind. One was the situation in Bosnia. The Norwegians had one of the largest contingents of troops on the ground there, and Brundtland was under pressure to pull the peacekeepers out, a move that Gore, who was overseeing much of the Bosnian crisis for the administration, was desperate to avoid. Second, Gore was less than enthusiastic about an outright ban on whaling, feeling that it would impede his efforts to secure free trade pacts.

A White House transcript of the meeting, marked confidential by Gore’s national security adviser, Leon Fuerth, records Brundtland denouncing environmental groups as “extremists” and liars. She tells the vice president that she doesn’t want her nation’s whaling fleet monitored “because that would allow Greenpeace to track them and disrupt our activities.” Then Brundtland went on, “We do feel bullied, even by you simply evaluating the use of sanctions. Especially after several nations in the IWC have tried to change the organization from a whale monitoring mission to a forum to ban whaling outright.”

Gore tried to placate the Norwegian prime minister, agreeing that the environmental groups had unfairly beat up on Norway. “As in arms control, there are those who attempt to exploit uncertainty for their own ends,” Gore said. “This strengthens my argument for the need of a scheme that will allow resumption [of whaling], while removing the basis of suspicion that the RMS will be violated.”

In the end, Gore agreed that the Clinton Administration would refrain from imposing sanctions on Norway and would work with Brundtland to weaken whale protection regulations at the IWC. To seal the agreement, Gore and Brundtland forged an arms deal involving the sale of $625 million worth of air-to-air missiles made by Raytheon to the Norwegian military.

* * *
Across the board, setbacks for the greens came at a dizzying pace during the Clinton Administration. A plan to raise grazing fees on Western ranchers was shelved after protests from two Western senators, one of whom, Max Baucus from Montana, later marveled at how quickly the administration caved. The EPA soon succumbed to pressure from the oil industry and automakers on its plans to press for tougher fuel efficiency standards, a move Katie McGinty defended by saying enviros were “tilting at windmills” on the issue.

Tax breaks were doled out to oil companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Department of Agriculture okayed a plan to increase logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest temperate rainforest. The Interior Department, under orders from the White House, put the brakes on a proposal to outlaw the most grotesque form of strip mining, the aptly-named mountaintop-removal method. With Gore doing much of the lobbying, the administration pushed a bill through Congress that repealed the import-ban on tuna caught with nets that also killed dolphins. The collapse was rapid enough to distress so centrist an environmental leader as the National Wildlife Federation’s Jay Hair, who likened the experience of dealing with the Clinton-Gore Administration to “date rape.”

The White House quashed a task force investigating timber fraud on the National Forest, which had uncovered several hundred million dollars’ worth of illegal timber cutting by big corporations, including Weyerhaeuser. The task force was disbanded, some of its investigators reassigned to, as one put it, “pull up pot plants in clearcuts.”

As ugly as things got, the big green groups never abandoned Gore, swallowing his line that he was “after all, only the vice president.” It is a hallmark of the Gore style that he knows how deftly to exploit public interest groups even as he betrays their constituents. Like the Christian right during the Bush era, the Beltway greens felt there was nowhere else to turn. They had never trusted Clinton, who as governor had turned a blind eye to fouling of the White River by Don Tyson’s chicken abattoirs and shamelessly pandered after corporate cash during the primaries. Gore was the man on whom they had pinned their hopes.

Gore, they remembered, was the man who had held the first hearings on Love Canal and helped usher the Superfund law into being. Here was the man who popularized the term “global warming” and had warned of the dangers of the deterioration of the ozone layer. Here was the man who had led a contingent of Democratic senators to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where he chastised George Bush’s indifference to the health of the planet. Here was the man who had written [I]Earth in the Balance, which called for the environment to be the “central organizing principle” of the new century and stressed strict environmental discipline for the Third World.

But, as Brent Blackwelder of Friends of the Earth pointed out, during all his years in Congress, Gore’s record on environmental issues was far from sterling. In fact, he voted for the environment only 66 percent of the time, a rating that put him on the lower end of Senate Democrats. Moreover, Blackwelder says, Gore functioned rarely as a leader in Congress but more as a solo operator pursuing his own agenda.
That agenda, from the beginning, has been in line with his roots as a New Democrat. Gore has been a tireless promoter of incentive-based, or free-market, environmentalism, often remarking that “the invisible hand has a green thumb.”

Since the mid-1980s, Gore has argued that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy now bearing down upon the global environment. He has always been a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, and a man suffused with an inchoate technophilia.

But Gore was also shrewd. He knew the environmental movement from the inside out, knew well that what the big green groups based in DC craved most was access. As vice president, he arranged to meet at least once a month with the Gang of Ten, the CEOs of the nation’s biggest environmental outfits. It became a way for Gore to cool their tempers and deflect their gripes from him to the president, or more often, to Cabinet members such as Robert Rubin, Ron Brown, Mack McLarty, or Lloyd Bentsen. Moreover, Gore made sure to seed the administration with more than thirty executives and staff members from the ranks of the environmental movement itself, headlined by Babbitt, the former president of the movement’s main PAC. Others came from the Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

This experience was a new one for environmental lobbyists who had lived through the exile of the Reagan-Bush era. “It was good to have people in the White House call you by your first name,” Brock Evans, once regarded as the most effective green lobbyist in DC, reflected at a gathering of environmental activists in Oregon in 1993. Evans’ gratified cry summed it all up. Official greens got a bit of access, and that was about it.

The main conduit to the ear of power was Katie McGinty, formerly on Gore’s Senate staff. Few people are closer to Gore than McGinty, one of only two staffers permitted to call the Veep “Al.” (The other is Leon Fuerth.) McGinty grew up in Philadelphia, the daughter of an Irish-American cop in Frank Rizzo’s police force. She got a degree in chemistry at St. Joseph’s University and soon went to work for ARCO, the oil/chemical giant. A few years later McGinty pursued a law degree from Columbia in the Science, Law, and Technology program. Before joining Gore’s Senate staff, she did a stint in DC as a lobbyist for the American Chemical Society, where she fine-tuned the techno-speak that Gore finds irresistible in a staffer. In answering a reporter’s question about her favorite hobbies, McGinty once said, “Hiking and reading books on civic realization.” It was a response only Gore could find exciting. McGinty became Gore’s top environmental aide in 1990, helped him research Earth in the Balance, and accompanied him to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In 1993, McGinty, then only twenty-nine, was tapped to head the White House Office of Environmental Policy, a newly created panel that Gore pushed for to give him more of a presence inside the White House. The move didn’t sit well with members of Congress or with some Clinton staffers, who felt Gore was grasping too much power. Ultimately, the office was merged with the Council on Environmental Quality, which oversees compliance with environmental laws by federal agencies. McGinty was named as its chair.

The years from 1993 to 2000 were bleak ones for environmentalists, as Clinton and Gore retreated from one campaign pledge after another. “Katie seemed out of the loop most of the time she was there,” a seasoned environmental lobbyist told me at the time. “Or that’s how she made you feel. Katie’s great talent was to seduce you on the phone. She made you feel as if she was your best friend, a secret Earth First!er, who was shocked and pained when the inevitable betrayals came. Katie never delivered bad news herself, but she was always there to console us. She was very, very adroit at soothing irate enviros, calming them down so that they wouldn’t attack the administration.”

At the height of the budget negotiations in 1998, McGinty shocked many in DC when she abruptly announced that she was resigning from her post and was moving to India to take a job at the Tata Research Institute in New Delhi. TERI, as it’s known, is an obscure sustainable development group that receives funding from the UN and works on energy, biotech, and forestry issues. McGinty’s husband, Karl Hausker, an employee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (an outpost of the national security establishment), had been assigned to India. Many thought McGinty would stay in DC, where her power in the administration would increase as the 2000 election approached. But apparently Tipper Gore convinced McGinty that she should follow her man.

Tipper had taken an unusual interest in McGinty’s personal life. In 1995, she learned that McGinty had repeatedly postponed her marriage to Hausker, citing the “crushing workload” that kept her tied down at the White House. Evidently eager that McGinty cement her union and therefore leave Washington, Tipper intervened, handled the wedding arrangements and shipped the newlyweds off on a month-long honeymoon to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Papua, New Guinea.

In 2000, McGinty returned to the United States from India. It didn’t take her long to find a job—not with the Gore campaign but as the legislative affairs director of Troutman Sanders, a DC law firm with a reputation for defending the worst corporate polluters and using its lobbying might to carve up environmental legislation. In these unsavory surroundings, McGinty stayed true. “There would be no higher priority I would have,” she had once said, “than to help or serve Al Gore.”

Opportunity did not dally. In the spring of 2000, McGinty co-founded a group called Environmentalists for Gore, designed to undercut the growing sentiment for greens to support Bill Bradley in the Democratic primary contests. Bradley was endorsed by Friends of the Earth in 1999, and this slap in the face had set off alarm bells in the Gore camp.

Among McGinty’s labors for Gore in 2000 was her input in his energy plan, which promises $68 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for utilities. It so happens that among the biggest clients of McGinty’s new firm, Troutman Sanders, are American Electric Power, the Southern Company and the Edison Electric Institute, one of the main opponents of stringent new air pollution standards. When confronted with this confluence of interest, McGinty answered irrefutably, “I provide advice and have provided advice to anyone who asks me. Does the vice president ask for my views? Absolutely. Do people in the business community ask me for my views. Absolutely. And is that anything new? Absolutely not.”

* * *

Al Gore has always been fascinated with the CIA and the technology of snooping. In 1994, he ordered the agency to conduct an analysis of the causes behind the collapse of nation states. Gore was hoping to prove his thesis that environmental factors, such as deforestation, overpopulation, desertification, and poor sanitation, were the prime culprits. So the CIA spent the next six months entering more than 2 million pieces of information in its computers to come up with an answer. The result: the CIA’s analysts reported that civilizations fall because of extreme poverty and high rates of infant mortality.

But Gore didn’t give up on the spooks at Langley. In 1998, he convinced Clinton to issue an executive order expanding the agency’s charter to include two new projects: the environment and free trade. The CIA quickly adapted to its new mission. In the summer of 1999, the London Daily Telegraph reported that the CIA had been spying on Michael Meacher, environment minister for the Blair government, presumably because Meacher—nearly alone among the Blairites—had been skeptical about Monsanto’s plans to dump genetically engineered, or GE, crops on Europe.

The snooping came to light after the Telegraph made Freedom of Information Act requests to several US government agencies asking for any files on British ministers and elected officials. Most agencies replied that they had no files, while a few kept short biographical briefs, which they duly turned over. The exception was the Environmental Protection Agency, headed by Al Gore’s former staffer, Carol Browner. The EPA replied that it had a file on Meacher but refused to turn it over, saying it “originated within the Central Intelligence Agency.” The CIA also refused to release the file.

Meacher had drawn fire not only from Monsanto but from the US State and Commerce departments for his recalcitrance on GE crops. He had taken the position that such crops should not be commercially grown in Europe until they have been proved not to pose health problems or environmental risks. Meacher had also moved to reformulate a government panel on genetically engineered crops by reducing the number of industry representatives. The US maintained that any restrictions on Monsanto’s ability to market its GE crops was an unfair restraint on trade. Gore, himself, made frequent calls to members of the Blair government to drive home the point.

Meacher expressed astonishment that the CIA had a file on him, and said he had no idea what the reason might be. Chris Prescott, head of Friends of the Earth’s London office, offered one. “The immediate fear is that the CIA is working hand in glove with Monsanto to do anything they can to force this technology down our throats, whatever Democratic politicians have to say. What business is it of the CIA’s to worry about any politician’s views about biotechnology products?” Apparently, Prescott missed Clinton’s new directive to the Agency made at Gore’s instigation.

To be continued.


Keith Millea
04-08-2011, 05:12 PM
March 11 - 13, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


The Keys to the Treasure Trove
Most of America’s remaining oil reserves, salmon, native settlements, grizzly bears, ancient forests and public lands are packed into one state: Alaska. For more than 15 years, the fate of Alaska’s natural environment was shaped by two men: Senator Frank Murkowski and Congressman Don Young.

Murkowski and Young were an odd but savagely effective tandem. Murkowski, the millionaire, was a banker by trade, harmonized to the elite power circles of Washington, DC, a man who moved seamlessly from the Foreign Relations Committee to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which he ruthlessly chaired in the mid-1990s.

An examination of Murkowski’s financial records revealed that during his tenure as chairman of this powerful committee Murkowski owned at least $50,000 of stock in the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, the largest purchaser of timber from the national forests. At the time, Louisiana-Pacific also controlled the Ketchikan Pulp Company, which held an exclusive 50-year contract to log timber from southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Through the 1990s, Murkowski intervened numerous times to keep timber flowing into LP’s Ketchikan pulp mill despite evidence of extreme environmental problems on the Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest and the last intact temperate rainforest in the US.

Murkowski’s advocacy for Louisiana-Pacific was undiminished even after the company was convicted of repeated violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act at the Ketchikan mill.

Don Young, who was elected to the House in 1973, was a different character altogether. He was a former trapper and riverboat captain, whose congressional office resembled a cheap Ketchikan taxidermy: its walls covered with the skins of Alaskan grizzlies, the lacquered corpses of King salmon and the severed heads of caribou, Roosevelt elk and Sitka black-tailed deer.

Like Murkowski, Young’s stock portfolio was flush with rape-and-pillage companies, such as Homestake Mining, whose profits originated in the subsidies and regulatory exemptions doled out by the committees commandeered by the grizzled Alaskan.
In 1992 Young stood like Jeremiah on the floor of the House and excoriated the congress for refusing to open the fragile plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil production, warning of dire shortages, gas lines, soaring prices and looming threats to national security.

Then, four years later, Young calmly pleaded his case for the lifting the ban on the exportation of Alaskan crude oil by proclaiming: “There’s an oil glut in America. Prices are too low. There’s nowhere to market our product, except Japan.”

* *

The real power in environmental politics is held by those who control the money of the federal government. Here the key player for more than two decades was Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, who dominated the Appropriations Committee of the Senate. Hatfield had long cultivated an image as a “senator of conscience,” leading to his nickname “St. Mark.”

Hatfield won warm praise in the press for his act of “intellectual conscience” in breaking ranks with his party and casting the vote which killed the Balanced Budget Amendment in early 1995. This was no such thing, but merely one more instance in which Hatfield served as an agent for the timber, mining, grazing and aluminum industries, which depend on billions of dollars a year in federal subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare. Hatfield’s wished to preserve his power as Appropriations chairman and not be hobbled by balanced budget restrictions.
Much of Hatfield’s liberal reputation derived from his early opposition to the war against Vietnam. In fact, fearing his anti-war stance might cost him the 1966 senate election, Hatfield loudly advocated the saturation bombing of Haiphong and Hanoi to bring the war to a “rapid conclusion.”

In the 1980s, Hatfield accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash, gifts and artwork from the president of the University of South Carolina. The university also offered a full scholarship to Hatfield’s son, although he failed to meet the institution’s meager admissions standards. In exchange, Hatfield steered millions in grants to the university.

The Senate Ethics Committee delayed its investigation of the matter until after the 1990 senate election, where Hatfield narrowly defeated a maverick Democrat named Harry Lonsdale. During this campaign, Hatfield had received backing from many of Oregon’s leading environmentalists and national environmental groups. In 1992, the ethics committee finally determined that Hatfield had violated the Ethics in Government Act and issued a mild rebuke of the senator.

This was not the first time Hatfield’s ethical conduct had been called into question. In 1984 the FBI investigated Hatfield for possible criminal violations involving his dealings with the Greek financier Basil Tsakos. Tsakos had paid Hatfield’s wife Antoinette $55,000 to find him an apartment in the Watergate complex, which he never rented. In return, Hatfield agreed to use his influence to help Tsakos build an oil pipeline from Somalia to Nigeria. Hatfield eventually fought off the lodging of bribery charges, but ended up donating the $55,000 “finder’s fee” to charity.

Hatfield, a born again Christian, also benefited from more than a half million dollars in forgiven loans from wealthy members of his “prayer circle.” Several of these loans originated from Del Dellenbach, a timber industry magnate from Medford, Oregon, who served in Congress in the early 1970s. Of course, those personal loans pale next to the millions of dollars that the timber, mining, agriculture and energy companies shoveled into Hatfield’s political war chest.

During the 1980s Hatfield teamed up with former Idaho Senator James McClure to perfected the art of the appropriations riders, laws quietly attached to spending bills which mandated that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management increase the amount of clearcutting on public lands, despite the impact on water quality or endangered species. The most notorious of these riders was affixed to the 1990 Interior Appropriations Bill. Known in environmental circles as the Rider From Hell, this provision overturned two federal court injunctions halting logging in ancient forests in Oregon and Washington, mandated that the Forest Service sell twice its normal amount of timber to Northwest logging companies at highly subsidized rates and shielded all of those timber sales from any legal challenge. The half-million acres of clearcutting authorized by Hatfield’s Rider From Hell was a primary factor in the listing of the Marbled Murrelet and coastal salmon stocks as threatened species.

Hatfield and McClure’s partner in many of these outrageous escapades was Rep. Les AuCoin, a liberal Democrat who represented northwestern Oregon from 1974 until he vacated his seat for an unsuccessful bid to unseat Senator Bob Packwood in 1992. After his defeat, AuCoin vowed to reside forever in Oregon and swore he would never move back to DC or work as a lobbyist. Three months later, AuCoin joined the DC law firm of Bogle and Gates as chairman of its Government Relations Group. His clients included Weyerhaeuser, International Paper, the Global Forest Management group, Northwest Forest Resource Council (a timber industry trade group) and Westinghouse.

Unlike Hatfield and AuCoin, McClure was unabashedly pro-industry. As the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, he single-handedly halted the designation of millions of acres of federal land in the West as wilderness. His enmity towards the Endangered Species Act was legendary. In 1989, he boasted, “We don’t have spotted owls in Idaho, because we shoot them at the border.”

McClure fought off numerous attempts to reform the 1872 Mining Act. After retiring from the Senate in 1990, McClure wasted little time cashing in on his enormous influence. With two former staffer members from the Natural Resources Committee, McClure established a DC law firm called McClure, Gerard and Neuenschwander to further lighten the burdens on mining corporations that do business on public lands. McClure’s clients included some of the world’s largest mining companies: Barrick Resources, Battle Mountain Gold, Coeur d’Alene Mines, Cyprus Amax Minerals, Homestake Mining, Newmont Gold, Phelps Dodge and Stillwater Mining, which operated a toxic gold mine north of Yellowstone National Park.
McClure and his cronies turned political power into gold.

To be continued

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01282011.html)
Click here to read Part Five. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02042011.html)
Click here to read Part Six. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02182011.html)
Click here to read Part Seven. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02252011.html)


Keith Millea
04-08-2011, 05:19 PM
April 8 - 10, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Green Establishment (Part 9)

How Green Became the Color of Money

Munich in the Big Woods.
The Wilderness Society was founded in 1930 by three early heroes of the environmental movement: Aldo Leopold, Benton McKaye and Robert Marshall.

McKaye and Marshall were both socialists, who believed that corporate-owned forest land should be seized by the federal government. Leopold was the father of modern forest ecology and author of Sand County Almanac, the classic text on “land ethics.”

The modern Wilderness Society, with its cautious political approach and $20 million a year budget, bears little resemblance to the lean and radical organization started by Leopold and Marshall. The Society’s board of directors is culled from the elite ranks of corporate America and the social register. In the 1990s, the board included John Bierworth (former CEO of defense contractor Grumman International), David Bonderman (CEO of Continental Airlines), oil heiress Caroline Getty, Christopher Elliman (Rockefeller heir) and Gilman Ordway (heir to the 3M chemical forture).

The Wilderness Society’s staff spends most of its time raising and reinvesting money. Indeed, during the Clinton era the membership development, operations and financial staff of the Wilderness Society was three times the size of its conservation staff. Even so, in 1993 the Society shoveled out nearly $2 million in contracts to outside telemarketing companies to do additional fundraising.

An analysis of the Wilderness Society’s stock portfolio in the mid-1990s revealed an unsavory map of strange investments for a putative environmental organization. For example, the country’s self-proclaimed defender of America’s last pristine lands owned thousands of shares of stock in Caterpillar, Cummins Engines, John Deere, Eaton and Ryder, corporations that build bulldozers, logging trucks, diesel engines and other heavy equipment used to invade roadless areas. They also held investments in defense and energy companies, such as AMP Inc, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Consolidated Edison, FPL Group, General Electric and Loral.

The Society occupies sumptuous quarters on 17th Street in DC. The halls, dressed in original prints by Ansel Adams, amplify the man-made connections between nature’s grandeur and plutocrats’ splendor. According to its annual report, starting in 1997 the Wilderness Society began paying $6 million a year for the DC Headquarters, nearly a third of its annual budget.

Behind such Beltway greens as the Wilderness Society now stand the real power brokers of environmental politics: the shadowy syndicate of foundations known as the Environmental Grantmakers Association, which annually channels more than a half billion into the coffers of the nation’s major green groups. Oil is the color of money here.

The Pew Charitable Trusts entered the world of environmental funding cautiously. In 1994, Pew staffer Tom Wathen rejected a modest grant proposal by a broad swath of greens saying, “I like it, but my board’s very conservatie and they’d never approve it.” The proposal was for a campaign to end the logging of native forests on public lands.

Yet the big foundations no longer function simply as dispensers of cash to green groups. At the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s 1992 retreat on an island in Puget Sound the Association’s president at the time, Donald Ross, boasted that the foundations were quite capable of running their own environmental campaigns. “I think funders have a major role to play,” Ross said. “And I know there are resentments in the [environmental] community towards funders doing that. Well, too bad. We’re players and they’re players.”

Sharing Ross’s vision of a more interventionist role for foundations was Pete Meyers, who ran the W. Alton Jones Foundation in the 1990s. In 1991, Ross and Meyers decided to develop a national campaign to protect the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest. They called their manufactured group Americans for the Ancient Forests and proclaimed that their mission was to pass legislation in congress preserving the last of the old-growth trees.

To oversee their operation, Ross and Meyers picked Bob Chlopak, who ran the elite DC lobbying firm of Cholpak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates. Chlopak’s major clients included General Electric and the Office of the President of Mexico. In the late 1980s, Cholpak served as the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign, where he forged close ties with many Democratic Party power-brokers, including Al Gore and James Carville.

The Environmental Grantmaker’s Association’s network of foundations seeded American’s for the Ancient Forests with $2 million, some of which was diverted from hungrier and more militant green groups, such as the Native Forest Council and Project Lighthawk. When the money began to roll in Chlopak trilled to an Oregon environmentalist: “This contract has bought me my New Jersey beach house.”

In theory, Chlopak was supposed to defend the forests in the strong language of dollars. Instead he counseled greens against pressing the Clinton administration too hard. Finally he convinced them not to pursue passage of the very bill for which his organization had been created. Chlopak counseled that the Clinton administration should be given the latitude to develop its own plan for the management of the spotted owl and the Northwest’s old-growth forests, the plan which would become the infamous Option Nine.

When Bruce Babbitt demanded that environmentalists give up their court injunction and permit logging to restart in spotted owl habitat, Chlopak, instead of lobbying the administration to back off, urge the greens to capitulate to the deal. When the dazed greens acceded, Chlopak shut down the offices of Americans for the Ancient Forests. Mission accomplished.

Activists in the Pacific Northwest are only now beginning to appreciate the extent of Chlopak’s betrayal. The truth began to emerge shortly after the recently-elected Republican congress debated legislation purporting to slash $20 billion out of the 1995 budget, the so-called Rescissions Bill. When the legislation finally emerged from the floor of the House, it was loaded like a MIRV warhead with anti-environmental amendments aimed at everything from institutionalizing current livestock grazing practices to lowering drinking water standards to lifting a court injunction against logging on the Tongass National Forest. The most threatening of all of these measures was the Salvage Logging Rider, cooked up by Don Young, Mark Hatfield and Slade Gorton.

The rider promoted the traditional bogus claim of a “forest health crisis” in which millions of acres of public forestland were either burned over, decadent or diseased—a situation which, the legislators argued, could only be cured by increased logging, chainsaw surgery. The Salvage Rider mandated that the Forest Service sell 5 billion board feet of timber (twice the amount sold in 1993). The measure contained sufficiency language that exempted all of those timber sales from compliance with environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, and shielded them from any possible legal challenges brought by environmentalists.

Big timber backed the bill with messianic vigor, while the environmental lobby dubbed it the “logging without laws” bill, confident it would meet with a stern veto from Clinton. After all, the greens reasoned, the Clinton administration had promised to veto any “sufficiency language riders” affecting Northwest forests. This was a key part of the notorious deal with Chlopak and Babbitt.

When the first version of the Rescissions Bill arrived at the White House, Clinton did veto it. Mainstream greens cheered the president in full-page ads in the New York Times. These accolades were over-loud and premature. In fact, concern for his own pet project, Americorps, which the bill would have gutted, was the real spark for Clinton’s veto.

Within days of the veto, the White House helped draft a new version of the bill which contained both the Americorps funding and the anti-environmental riders. The Clinton-approved version saild through the House, but could have been stopped in the Senate with an objection from a single senator.

Environmentalists had placed their hopes in Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, who had intimated that she might launch a filibuster against the bill. But when the time came Murray was nowhere to be found. It turned out that Clinton had called Murray the night before the scheduled vote and demanded that she drop her challenge. The compliant senator quietly fled town for a leisurely weekend in Seattle.

After the final vote, Mark Hatfield strode to the podium in the well of the Senate chamber, a sly grin on his face: “I would like to read this into the record. It is a letter denoting the Clinton administration’s total support for this bill.” In a final twist of the knife, the letter Hatfield brandished was signed by Clinton’s OMB director Alice Rivlin, a former adviser to the Wilderness Society.

At the signing ceremony, Clinton rationalized his latest betrayal: “Yes, I support this salvage provision. I believe we need to do more salvage logging.”

Nothing could better illustrate the shattered condition of the green lobby. When the most egregious assault yet on American environmental laws came before the Senate, not a single senator could be roused to oppose it. Not one.

A quarter century after the first Earth Day, the corporate counter-attacked launched in the 1970s was nearly complete. As citizens virtuously warehouse their newspapaers, seek redemption in glass bottles and aluminum cans and recycle their direct mail pleas from mainstream environmental groups into properly source-separated containers, they may be too busy acting locally to notice the thoroughly degraded national picture.

To be continued

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01282011.html)
Click here to read Part Five. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02042011.html)
Click here to read Part Six. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02182011.html)
Click here to read Part Seven. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02252011.html)
Click here to read Part Eight. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair03112011.html)


Keith Millea
04-16-2011, 05:55 PM
April 15 - 17, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


Bush Saddles Up

"I’m both a compassionate conservative and a passionate conservationist,” pronounced Interior Secretary Gale Norton in late February 2001, during a speech at Bob Packwood’s Dorchester Conference, an annual confab on the Oregon Coast for western Republicans. “There are better approaches than top-down, Washington-based decision-making to protect our environment,” she said. “I believe there are good ideas all over America. I respectfully disagree with those who say that to be good stewards of our national treasures, we must be willing to sacrifice jobs.

Norton didn’t elaborate on what she meant by this. She didn’t unveil her agenda at Interior, other than to say that she believed Snake River Chinook salmon could be saved without tearing down the four dams that have brought them to the brink of extinction and that the oil that lies under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could be exhumed without so much as a stain on the tundra. But the people in the audience got her drift.

“When you compare Gale to Bruce Babbitt, you know that help is on the way,” said Paulette Pyle, a lobbyist for pesticide and agribusiness concerns.

Take those national monuments created during the closing hours of Clintontime. Many right-wingers and latter-day Sagebrush Rebels wanted Norton to get rid of them with a stroke of the pen. But that’s not Norton’s style. As she told The Washington Post, “I’m not Jim Watt. I’ve matured.” Instead, Norton decided to leave the designations in place, but she signaled that it might be okay to explore for oil or coal inside them. That’s how you can be “a good steward of our national treasures” without “sacrificing jobs.” This cynical maneuver set the template for the Bush approach to natural resource policy.

The early read on Norton was that she is a lot smarter and more politically savvy than her mentor James Watt. Norton understood what many of the Republican ultras failed to notice: the national monument designations were mainly political fluff that imposed few real restrictions on commercial activities inside the boundaries.

Bush backed up Norton’s nefarious scheme. “There are parts of the monument lands where we can explore without affecting the overall environment,” mumbled Bush in an interview with the Denver Post. “It depends upon the cost-benefit ratio. There are some monuments where the land is so widespread, they just encompass as much as possible. And the integral part, the precious part, so to speak will not be despoiled. There’s a mentality that says you can’t explore and protect land. We’re going to change the attitude. You can explore and protect land.”

It was easy to see where this kind of boasting was headed. The Bush administration advanced on multiple fronts, aimed at forcing the environmental community to blink and sign-off on a deal. Perhaps protection of the national monuments in exchange for limited exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Or vice versa. Some believed that the Bush inner circle (namely Cheney and Norton) were less anxious to drill in ANWR than it was to resurrect old Reagan era schemes involving the Rocky Mountain Front, the eastern flank of the mighty range running from north of Denver through Wyoming and Montana. Oil, coal, shale oil, and, if you believed the oil industry’s press releases, the largest trove of natural gas on the continent.

Here’s another example of the Norton two-step. Norton offered as proof of her green bona fides a plan to boost the budget of Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal trust account that is used to purchase threatened lands with unique natural values. To the uninitiated this sounded like a laudable endeavor. After all, under past Republican administrations the billion-dollar LWCF had lain moribund: either unused because of rightwing opposition or juggled around in order to help conceal the true size of the federal deficit.

But the kicker was that the LWCF is not financed through the general fund but by (surprise!) royalties from oil drilling on federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. So any hike in LWCF funding would necessarily involve an increase in public lands oil leases, an unyielding obsession of the Bush team.

There was another hitch. Norton adored the LWCF because it fit snugly into her free-market environmentalism mantra, which dictated that private property rights are sacred and not to be trampled upon by imperious federal regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act or Clean Water Act. According to her neo-Lockeian worldview, if the federal government wanted to regulate use of private lands it should pay compensation or simply buy the property out right. Of course, this kind of cash-box conservationism spells a death knell for many environmental laws and, if taken to its logical extreme, was also a surefire way to bankrupt the federal treasury faster than the Bush tax cuts.

One of Norton’s early missteps was her pick for the number-two position at Interior: Steven Griles, an oil and mining industry lobbyist. Griles was one of those Washington political poltergeists who scurries back and forth between the government and private sector wreaking havoc for his cronies in the mining and oil industries. Under Reagan, Griles toiled in several different slots in the Interior Department, most deviously at the Office of Surface Mining, where he strove to obstruct any limits on the machinations of big coal. His tenure there, highlighted by an unflinching defense of even the most rapacious forms of strip mining, has earned him the lifelong enmity of anti-mining activists from Arizona to West Virginia.

For as much as the anti-federal government crowd excoriates Washington as a kind of post-modern Babylon, once they’ve settled inside the Beltway, few of them seem to return to their homesteads in the hinterlands even after their careers as so-called public servants have expired. Griles, for instance, cashed in on his experience at manipulating the government in the service of industry by becoming a top corporate lobbyist at the coyly named National Environmental Strategies.

In tapping Griles, Norton snubbed Dick Cheney’s flyfishing buddy John Turner, thought to be the frontrunner for the post. Turner, who lives near Cheney in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, served as director of the Fish and Wildlife Service during Bush I. Back then he was viewed as something of a moderate in a Department headed by the zany Manuel Lujan, who once opined that perhaps some species, like the spotted owl, simply weren’t equipped to handle the rigors of life in the modern world and should be allowed to gracefully enter the oblivion of extinction.

Ultimately, Turner’s nomination was sabotaged by Wise Use zealots and their congressional stooges, most notably Senator Larry Craig, who chafed at his reluctance to openly defy the edicts of the Endangered Species Act.


To get a better grip on where the Bush crowd was going, it was necessary to look into some of the more remote corners of the Administration, where much of the real dirty work was hatched and carried out. Take the decidedly unalluring Office of Management and Budget. OMB spearheaded a stealth attack on environmental regulations, much as it did during the previous Bush Administration. “What regulations Bush didn’t kill outright, they simply starved to death for lack of funds,” said Larry Tuttle, director of the Portland-based Citizens for Environment Equity.

One of the more obscure outposts at OMB was the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It’s the equivalent of a Star Chamber for corporations seeking relief from pesky environmental and safety standards. To head this outfit, which one Senate staffer dubbed “the office of corporate ombudsman,” Bush named John Graham, a long-time hired gun for polluting industries. Graham now runs the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, which has received millions in financial aid from dozens of oil, timber, chemical and mining companies, including: ARCO, Boise-Cascade, BP, Chemical Manufacturer’s Association, Chlorine Chemistry Council, DuPont, Electric Power Research Institute, General Motors, Monsanto, National Association of Home Builders, and Waste Management.

Graham’s routine was to solicit money from big corporations facing litigation or legislation to curb shoddy, toxic or dangerous business practices. He then writes a book, paper or article debunking the supposed dangers of the corporate misbehavior, citing “risk analysis” studies showing that the costs to the company of correcting the problem far outweigh the risk to the public.

For example, according to a report by Public Citizen, in 1991 Graham sought money for his center from Philip Morris. Five months later, Graham asked the tobacco company to review a chapter in his book on second-hand some. Since then Philip Morris has repeatedly cited Graham’s work t undermine the EPA’s efforts to regulate second-hand smoke.

Here’s another example: Graham served on the EPA’s dioxin review board, where in 2000 he put forward the inane theory that small doses of dioxin might actually help prevent certain forms of cancer and urged the EPA to include in its profile of the deadly chemical a note stating that is was “an anti-carcinogen.” Had Graham prevailed, this absurd footnote would have made it extremely difficult for EPA to hold the line on dioxin emissions.

“A person with such disdain for public priorities should not be given a last-ditch veto over the will of the public,” warns Joan Claybrook, director of Public Citizen. “Installing an industry –funded flack in such a crucial position would harm the public for generations.”

Despite toiling for biotech companies and the pesticide-happy agribusiness giants of California’s Central Valley, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman was thought by many liberal pundits to be something of a beacon of hope inside the Bush cabinet. She waltzed through her confirmation hearings and wasn’t even confronted with a single nagging question on her plans for the largest and, frequently the most deviant, agency in the Agriculture Department, the US Forest Service. But only two months into her tenure, things over at the Agriculture Department began to look very bleak indeed.

Before Clinton left office, the US Forest Service completed its much-ballyhooed plan for roadless areas on national forest lands. An election-year scheme designed to boost Al Gore’s standing with greens, the plan called for banning most new roads and some forms of logging in so-called roadless lands 5,000 acres and larger in the national forests. In the end, the proposal, which was riddled with loopholes, fell far short of the expectations of most environmentalists. Even so, the plan was wildly popular with the public and opinion-makers.

The roadless area rule was set to go into effect on March 13, 2001. But the timber industry, in the nadir of another of its frequent slumps, fumed at the idea and goaded Bush into slapping a hold on the plan soon after the inauguration. Then in separate suits the state of Idaho and timber giants Boise-Cascade asked a federal court in Idaho to overturn the rule, putting forth the fantastical theory that the plan hadn’t been subjected to enough public review.

In fact, the case should have been dismissed outright, because the roadless area plan had gone through more public review than any environmental impact statement in the last 25 years. “There were mare than 1.6 million comments and 600 public meetings,” said Tim Hermach, director of the Native Forest Council, based in Eugene Oregon. “This plan was studied to death.”

But the Bush administration lawyers, put in the indelicate position of having to defend a plan they wanted to see abolished, simply threw up their hands, telling the judge they would be willing to suspend indefinitely implementation of the plan. “This was their first opportunity to defend the policy and they’ve come in with an offer to suspend it,” said Tom Preso, an attorney for Earthjustice, which represented numerous environmental groups that intervened in the case. The Bush administration is giving every indication that they want to bring bulldozers back into the national forests. It’s certainly a far cry from the vigorous defense of the rule promised by Attorney General John Ashcroft during his confirmation hearings.”

In reality, this constituted an orchestrated winking game between the Bushies and their pals in industry---the suit and the pleadings were coordinated between the plaintiffs and the defendants. This incestuous scam pointed toward a key Bush strategy: let third-parties do the heavy lifting on the most controversial issues in order to deflect some of the political heat.

A similar scenario played itself out in Alaska, where the Bush administration allowed the state’s congressional delegation and governor, Democrat Tony Knowles, to take the lead on the heated issue of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, a scheme that enjoys little public sympathy. Indeed, the Administration quietly urged Knowles to push the state legislature into approving a $1.85 million appropriation to a front group, called Alaska Power, which would in turn lobby congress and unleash a nationwide public relations campaign backing oil drilling in the tundra.

Through the 2000 campaign, Bush reminded the those who live in “blue areas on the map” that he owned a ranch and sympathized with the plight of the small farmer. This was prefabricated pablum for the rural folks and Bush, aside from his antipathy for the estate tax, apparently didn’t mean a world of it. In early March, family farm groups, already staggering from give-away trade pacts, chronically depressed prices and relentless consolidation, were dealt another blow when Ag Secretary Veneman invalidated a referendum approved in 2000 to end a mandatory promotional program that farmers said was corrupt. The farmers charged that their own money was being used against them to pursue ecologically destructive and price depressing factory hog farms. “The vote proved that we don’t want money going out our pockets for factory farms and corporate control anymore,” says Roger Allison, of the Missouri Farm Crisis Center. “ But they sabotaged it, declaring war on the family farm and on democracy.”

Most of the money from the check-off program funds the National Pork Producers Council, the trade association for the big pork processors that are putting small farmers out of business. The director of the council, Al Tank, served on George Bush’s agriculture transition team.

Meanwhile, under the mantra of states’ rights, the Agriculture Department and Christie Todd Whitman’s EPA moved quickly to ease pollution rules on big industrial farms and feedlots. In Oregon, for example, diary and beef cattle from factory ranches generate about 7.5 million tons of manure a year, much of it ending up in streams and rivers. In 1998, EPA found that 18 of the large ranches were violating the meager requirements of the Clean Water Act and began handing out fines and issuing corrective orders. Now the Republican members of the Oregon congressional delegation demanded that Whitman and Veneman to withdraw the fines, halt inspections and turn enforcement over to the western states.

A similar move was afoot in Ohio, where the Farm Bureau and other lobbyist for the megafarms told Whitman to make EPA inspectors stay out of Ohio and other Midwestern states and allow state agriculture departments (not even the environmental agencies) to decide how much pollution the meat factories can release into streams and rivers.

“Each state knows how to handle their situation better than the feds,” said Ohio Farm Bureau president Terry McClure. McClure said he was encouraged by Bush and Whitman’s receptiveness to the idea.

This proved to be another key element of the Bush approach to the environment. Using code words such as state primacy, local control and bottom-up planning, the Bush environmental team moved to swiftly devolve regulatory power from federal to state and local authorities---bodies over which industry enjoys an even tighter stranglehold than they do the feds. Over at EPA, Christie Todd Whitman lived a double life. On the outside, she has sounded like a perkier version of her predecessor, Carol Browner. Whitman bragged about getting the once taboo words “global warming” into Bush’s first address to congress, publicly chafed about the decision to strip federal funding from groups that advocate abortion overseas, and, during a trio to Trieste, told European environmental ministers that the Bush administration, unlike Clinton/Gore, would pursue mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions. Whitman garnered glowing press coverage citing her courage and feisty independence.

Then the plank was sawed off behind her. Bush announced that there would be no carbon caps and told Whitman to stop referring to carbon dioxide as a “pollutant.” Dick Cheney was rolled out of the hospital in time to do damage control, saying that Whitman had merely been a “good soldier” attempting to defend a “misguided” policy. Then Whitman herself was ushered forward to make a public retraction. She cited the looming energy crisis as the rationale for continued US intransigence on the build-up of greenhouse gasses.

The whole affair looked silly and amateurish. But it was actually a calculated maneuver. The Bush strategy was to hype up the California power crunch into a national energy emergency, which they intended to use to advance their agenda on multiple fronts: increased drilling and exploration; suspensions of clean air rules; new tax credits for oil and gas companies; and more subsidies for nuclear power. The CO2 retreat served as a kind of public sacrifice to illustrate their seriousness.

Less widely reported was Whitman’s move to reduce existing air quality standards in the Great Lakes region. On March 18 2001, Whitman announced that the EPA would relax pollution rules for gasoline in Chicago and Milwaukee. Whitman said the move was needed in order to keep gas prices from “spiking” this summer. Of course, this merely creates another incentive for the oil companies to price gouge and offer up environmental regulations as a handy scapegoat.

How was the Bush team be able to get away with it? Well, they used a time-worn strategy that Gale Norton called the “collaboration approach”, which entailed getting a few Democrats and one or two mainstream environmental groups to sign off an end-run around federal laws and regulations. It quickly yielded fruit. The carbon cap retreat was praised by three top Democrats: Sen. Robert Byrd, the coal companies’ one-man praetorian guard, John Breaux, the dark knight of the oil lobby, and Rep. John Dingell, loyal servant of the Detroit automakers.

Of course, there’s nothing innovative here. In Clintontime, this was known as triangulation. The new fusion politics looked a lot like the old variety.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Click here to read Part One. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair12312010.html)
Click here to read Part Two. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01072011.html)
Click here to read Part Three. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01142011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair0212011.html)
Click here to read Part Four. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair01282011.html)
Click here to read Part Five. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02042011.html)
Click here to read Part Six. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02182011.html)
Click here to read Part Seven. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair02252011.html)
Click here to read Part Eight. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair03112011.html)
Click here to read Part Nine. (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair04082011.html)


Keith Millea
04-23-2011, 03:23 PM
April 22 - 24, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Environmental Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


Panda Porn
Back in the good old days, a corporation with an unappetizing relationship to the natural world would often try to burnish their image by luring an executive or top staffer from an environmental group onto their board or into their public relations department, where they could offer testimonials to the toxic firm's newfound reverence for Mother Earth.

But times have changed.

Now it's the environmental groups who seem to be on a shopping spree for corporate executives. For a ripe example of this repellent trend let us turn to the World Wildlife Fund. In December of 2002, WWF introduced Linda Coady, then a senior executive at Weyerhaeuser Co, as vice-president of the World Wildlife Fund's newly created Pacific regional office..

Weyerhaeuser is the great behemoth of the timber industry, which has rampaged through the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest leaving ruin and extinction in its wake. Weyerhaeuser has operated in Canada for many years, but in the late 1990s the company dramatically accelerated the pace of its clearcutting in British Columbia—in part, because it had largely liquidated its vast holdings in Washington and partly to flee the constraints of US environmental laws and lawsuits.

Before advancing to Weyerhaeuser, Coady sharpened her teeth at Macmillan-Bloedel, aka Mac-Blo. Macmillan Bloedel made billions by clearcutting all but the tiniest sliver of Vancouver Island before being bought out by Weyerhaeuser. (That sliver was spared only after 900 people got arrested for blocking logging roads in 1993. Needlesstosay, no World Wildlife Fund execs soiled their Gore-Tex rain jackets in those stormy protests.)

Neither company has ever shown the least regard for the rights of the First Nations of Canada, who lay claim to much of the remaining coastal forests of British Columbia. And the Canadian government has chosen to allow the timber companies to clearcut those lands before the claims have been settled. Indeed, Weyerhaeuser was sued by the Haida Nation for illegally clearcutting their land in the Queen Charlotte Islands, which they call Haida Gwaii.

"They've come and wiped out one resource after another," Guujaaw, chief of the Haida in British Columbia, told me. He notes that Weyerhaeuser logs the old growth and ships it straight to its mills in Washington State. The Haida get no money and no jobs. "We've been watching the logging barges leaving for years and years," said Guujaaw. "And we have seen practically nothing for Haida."

The moss-draped forests of British Columbia are even more vulnerable than those of Washington, Oregon and Alaska. There are few environmental laws to restrain the appetite of the timber companies and the environmental movement itself is understaffed and overwhelmed. Now, defenders of Canadian ancient forests must contend with a conservation group run by a timber executive.

The result of this mismatch shows up starkly on the ground, where the clearcuts ramble farther than the eye can see and the salmon, bears and birds of the deep forest are vanishing at a heartbreaking rate. At the top of the list is the northern spotted owl, the very symbol of the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest. In the US, the owl is afforded a minimum level of protection under the Endangered Species Act.

But in Canada the reclusive raptor enjoys not even the pretense of such a safe harbor; its nesting and foraging habitat-200 to 800 year-old stands of Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce-are leveled without quarter or regret. As a result, scientists expect that the bird will soon go extinct, perhaps within the next decade.

"It feels like we are taking care of the dodo," said Ken Macquisten, a veterinarian and managing director of the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. "We have gone from managing owl populations to managing individual birds."

With a Weyerhaeuser honcho running the biggest conservation group in the region, the prospects for the owl-and nearly every other creature that calls the deep forest home-seem bleak indeed.

Of course, it's hard to work up too much of a froth about this latest merger of clearcutters and self-advertised nature defenders. After all, the World Wildlife Fund functions more like a corporate enterprise than a public interest group. It practices retail environmentalism and has made millions upon millions hawking its panda logo, a brand as zealously marketed as Nike's "swoosh". But, of course, it's done almost nothing to save the panda, penned in by rampant deforestation and poaching, except peddle pictures to trophy wives and innocent third graders. Call it panda porn.

But the panda cash machine isn't the group's only source of money. The World Wildlife Fund also rakes in millions from corporations, including Alcoa, Citigroup, the Bank of America, Kodak, J.P. Morgan, the Bank of Tokyo, Philip Morris, Waste Management and DuPont. They even offer an annual conservation award funded by and named after the late oil baron J. Paul Getty. It hawks its own credit card and showcases its own online boutique. As a result, WWF's budget has swelled to over $100 million a year and it’s not looking back.

Where does all the money go? Most of it goes to pay for plush offices, robust salaries, and a tireless direct mail operation to raise even more money. In 2002, WWF's CEO, the icy Kathryn S. Fuller, pulled in a cool $250,000 a year, including benefits. This is the remorseless logic of modern environmentalism, in which non-profits are more obsessed with fundraising than the corporations that they are supposed to be battling. Indeed, the relentless cash hunt leads them serenely right into corporate boardrooms, hands out, mouth gagged.

Remember it was WWF that outraged many environmentalists and human rights activists by giving an award to Shell Oil, the company that stood mute as its partners in the murderous junta of generals that ran Nigerian lynched Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other environmentalists fighting Shell's foul operations on Ogoni land in the Niger River delta.

This self-induced moral blindness is par for the course. The World Wildlife Fund is one of those outfits that believes capitalism is good for the environment. It has backed nearly every trade bill to come down the pike, from NAFTA to GATT. WWF has also sidled up to some very unsavory government agencies advancing the same neo-liberal agenda across the Third World, including US AID.

The World Wildlife Fund is so paranoid about its image that it sued-and won-to force the World Wrestling Federation to change its name, lest it sully its "WWF" trademark. Of course, if you really care about the environment your money would probably be better spent by watching some World Wrestling extravaganza on pay-per-view rather than investing in a membership to WWF. At least, the wrestling provides some laughs. Your contribution to WWF will fatten the salary of a timber executive such as Linda Coady parading around in the guise of an environmentalist. It gives cross-dressing a bad name.

When the Haida launched their battle against Weyerhaeuser and its rich army of lobbyists and lawyers, Guujaaw observed: "You cannot buy the lifestyle we have with money."

It's a lesson that the environmental groups like World Wildlife Fund should take to heart before they discover that they've become little more than the well-paid zombies of the corporations they have gotten into bed with. But don’t hold your breath.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.


Jan Klimkowski
04-23-2011, 04:11 PM
Panda Porn indeed.

Jeffrey St Clair is becoming the primary chronicler of the selling out of the green movement, and its transformation into the marketing department of multinational, Gaia-raping, corporate capitalism.

Keith Millea
04-29-2011, 10:11 PM
Panda Porn indeed.

Jeffrey St Clair is becoming the primary chronicler of the selling out of the green movement, and its transformation into the marketing department of multinational, Gaia-raping, corporate capitalism.

Yes,exactly.This book needs to be read by anyone who calls themselves an environmentalist.St.Clair is opening the doors,and we all need to take a good look at the rot that is present in the core of our so-called earth protector organizations.

And,this can't go on forever,but more to come.Sorry..........

Keith Millea
04-29-2011, 10:17 PM
April 29 - May 1, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Environmental Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


From Greenpeace to Greenwash

Over the past quarter-century, Greenpeace has gone from one of the more radical environmental groups around to a gateway into the corporate world. More and more a stint at Greenpeace seems to be prerequisite on the resumé of top-flight public relations honchos. Greenpeace has already seen former executive Patrick Moore defect to the timber industry in Canada and Paul Gilding (former CEO of Greenpeace International) set up a consulting firm for such corporate villains as DuPont, Monsanto and Placer Dome Mining.

One of the most high-profile Greenpeacers to cash in is Lord Peter Melchett, former head of Greenpeace UK, who in 2002 took a position with Burson-Marsteller, the notorious PR firm. While at Greenpeace, Lord Melchett led the group's high-profile campaign against genetically-engineered foods, targeting, in particular, the products of Monsanto, a Burson-Marsteller client.

According to a company press release, Lord Melchett will head a committee advising companies on how to deal with thorny issues such as GM food, toxic waste, oil drilling, nuclear power, child labor and sweatshops in the developing world. Burson-Marsteller executives told the Guardian newspaper of London that his lordship will also dispense advice on how Burson-Marsteller clients can counter environmental protests.

Lord Melchett knows the protest scene from the inside. He's been called the José Bove of Britain, after he was arrested in 2001 for destroying a plot of genetically-engineered sugar beets in Norfolk. But the Eton-educacted Lord Melchett's knows the corporate world even better. Melchett is a member of the House of Lords, his father headed British Steel and his great-grandfather founded the ICI chemical empire.

Greenpeace executives in Britain said they saw no conflict of interest in Lord Melchett's defection to the dark side. "Anyone who knows him will know that he hasn't changed his agenda at all," said Stephen Tisdale, then director of Greenpeace UK. "He sees Burson-Marsteller as a conduit to some very influential companies who would not normally talk to environmentalists. In some ways, Greenpeace held him back, and he has become more radical after leaving last year."

That last bit is a stark admission of how thoroughly impotent Greenpeace has become. For those who have forgotten, Burson-Marsteller is the pr firm of last resort. They rushed to defend Union Carbide after the company killed 2,000 people and injured thousands more in Bhopal, India. It also ran cover for Babcock and Wilcox after the company's nuclear reactor suffered a near meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. They've represented Exxon and Monsanto, big tobacco, the Argentine junta, Indonesia's Suharto, the Saudi royal family, and Nicolae Ceausescu, the late Romanian dictator.

Lord Melchett joined some old friends at Burson-Marsteller. Richard Aylard, the former head of Soil Association (which represents organic farmers) and Gavin Grant, a former environmental adviser to the Body Shop, both worked full-time the pr giant. While the others have severed their ties with environmental groups, Lord Melchett remained on the board of Greenpeace International.

In an email to John Stauber, former director of PR Watch (http://www.prwatch.org/), a former Greenpeace executive lamented that Lord Melchett's defection was a sign of the moribund condition of the big time environmental movement.

"The Lord Melchetts of the activist (and now corporate) world are only one symptom of a broader contagion. Is there even a real environmental movement anymore? How accountable are NGOs to their own base? ... Look how little is being accomplished in addressing Global Warming in the U.S. at a time when it's obviously a national security issue and a global security issue. I think this is in part because the environmental groups don't believe in mass movement building like they used to. Most of us are treated like consumer and spectator activists -- expected to pay our membership dues and trust that full-time salaried activists will solve the issue -- without expecting to get involved ourselves. How easy it is to confuse salaried NGO actors with real movement leaders. And when they leave to work for corporations, if they haven't built a base that can carry on the radical push for change, how weak the organizations become that they leave behind. But alas, Lord Melchett hasn't even fully left Greenpeace: Should Greenpeace International allow an employee of Burson-Marsteller on their board?"
The question might well be reversed. Given Greenpeace's utter corrosion does it really serve the interests of the corporate spin doctors to recruit from their ranks anymore? These days picking up a Greenpeace staffer is little different than hiring away a pr flack from any other corporation.

To be continued.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html) and Grand Theft Pentagon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567513360/counterpunchmaga). His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky (http://www.easycartsecure.com/CounterPunch/CounterPunch_Books.html), is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.


Keith Millea
05-16-2011, 03:34 PM
May 13 - 15, 2011
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Environmental Establishment

How Green Became the Color of Money


Obama and the Man in the Hat
Although America's greatest Interior Secretary, Harold Ickes, who had the post for nearly a decade under FDR, was from Chicago, the playbook for presidential transitions calls for picking a Westerner for Interior, as long as the nominee isn't a Californian. Pick someone from Arizona or New Mexico or Colorado. Of course, Colorado has produced two of the worst recent Interior Secretaries: James Watt and Gale Norton. Ken Salazar may make it three.

And why not? After all, Salazar was one of the first to endorse Gale Norton's nomination as Bush's Interior Secretary.

By almost any standard, it's hard to imagine a more uninspired or uninspiring choice for the job than professional middle-of-the-roader Ken Salazar, the conservative Democrat from Colorado. This pal of Alberto Gonzalez is a meek politician, who has never demonstrated the stomach for confronting the corporate bullies of the west: the mining, timber and oil companies who have been feasting on Interior Department handouts for the past eight years. Even as attorney general of Colorado, Salazar built a record of timidity when it came to going after renegade mining companies.

More Here: (http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair05132011.html)

Keith Millea
02-03-2012, 08:07 PM

Weekend Edition February 3-5, 2012

Slime Green
The Sierra Club Took Millions From Fracking Industry


Last week, I wrote an article (http://corporatecrimereporter.com/chesapeake01282012.htm) about how Chesapeake Energy, through its fracking activity, was destroying the rural way of life in West Virginia.

After the article ran, an insider called me with a tip – Sierra Club has taken money from Chesapeake Energy.

I called Sierra Club on Monday and asked – Are you taking money from frackers – in particular Chesapeake Energy?

Waiting for a response, I called Sierra Club activists in West Virginia to see if they know anything.
Two of them – Jim Sconyers and Beth Little – e-mailed Michael Brune, the executive director of Sierra Club, and asked him whether the Club has taken money from Chesapeake Energy.

Brune writes back to Little and Sconyers:
“We do not and will not take any money from Chesapeake or any other gas company. Hope all’s well with you both.”
Simultaneously, I get an e-mail from Maggie Kao, the spokesperson for the Sierra Club.
On Tuesday, Kao writes to me: “We do not and we will not take any money from any natural gas company.”

I write back – I understand you do not and will not.
But have you taken money from Chesapeake?
That was Tuesday.
All day Wednesday goes by.
All day Thursday goes by.
And I can’t get an answer.
Then Thursday night, Kao writes says – okay, Brune can talk to you at 7:30 pm EST.

And by the way, Kao says – check out this story just posted in Time magazine.
The headline: How the Sierra Club Took Millions from the Natural Gas Industry – and Why They Stopped. (http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2012/02/02/exclusive-how-the-sierra-club-took-millions-from-the-natural-gas-industry-and-why-they-stopped/)

Turns out, Sierra Club didn’t want the story to break in Corporate Crime Reporter.
The millions from frackers.

And how as late as Tuesday, Sierra Club tried to mislead it’s own members about the money.
According to the Time report, between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy – one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking.

Time reported that the group ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010 – and the Club says it turned its back on an additional $30 million in promised donations.
Waiting to speak with Brune.

And ask him what he meant by:
“We do not and will not take any money from Chesapeake or any other gas company.”

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter (http://corporatecrimereporter.com/chesapeake02022012.htm).