Environment

Chemical Industry Wages War on Environment & Health

A news release from the Environmental Working Group reveals that "the chemical industry plans to conduct a covert campaign attacking the growing movement in California for more chemical safety testing, with tactics including the creation of phony front groups and spying on activists, according to an internal American Chemistry Council (ACC) memo. ...

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Sheep's Clothing

A group calling itself Partnership for the West (PFTW) was formally unveiled in late October and aims to influence environmental legislation in Washington. "The group plans to work on 'restoring a common sense balance to economic growth and conservation in the West,'" notes Bill Berkowitz, adding that this "sounds nice, until you see who's behind it. Claiming to be a grassroots lobby group, PFTW actually represents a kinder, gentler and more politically savvy brand of anti-environmentalism. ...

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Chemical Industry PR to Counter Health Activists

Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, two public interest lawyers, report that they attended "the recent conference of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), called 'Communicating in a Volatile World.' ACC is the trade association for the 180 largest manufacturers of chemicals in the U.S. Until recently, ACC was known as the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The ACC conference was a real eye-opener. It revealed the ACC's genuine fears about the accomplishments of environmental health activists.

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This is Your Brain on Public Relations

The Environmental Working Group has obtained and analyzed documents from a briefing book assembled by Frank Luntz, a top public opinion researcher for corporate lobbyists. The briefing book offers a PR playbook on how to frame the current wholesale rollback of environmental and public health protections while avoiding a stinging public backlash.

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BP & B-M in the UK: Greenwashers Under Fire

In Britain "Burson-Marsteller, the public relations agency used by the oil, GM, tobacco and chemical industries, is to represent the government's pollution watchdog, in a move that environmentalists yesterday described as 'barmy'." B-M's clients have included biotech behemoth Monsanto, and B-M's spying on food activists in the US in 1990 inspired the founding of PR Watch.

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Scientist Resigns Over EPA's 'Wetlands Pollute' Study

"A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biologist has resigned in protest of his agency's acceptance of a developer-financed study concluding that wetlands discharge more pollutants than they absorb, according to a statement released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). EPA's approval of the study gives developers credit for improving water quality by replacing natural wetlands with golf courses and other developments. ...

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Pesticide & Lawn-Care Groups Plan National Campaign

An alliance of pesticide and lawn-care industry associations and companies, calling itself the Evergreen Foundation (EF), has raised over $200,000 in seed money for a "national marketing campaign to consumers throughout the United States to promote the economic, environmental and lifestyle benefits of healthy landscapes and green spaces at home, work and play," Lawn & Landscape magazine reports. "Careful use of pesticides and fertilizers, prudent use of water, managing noise and air pollution are among the issues the EF plans to tackle in its campaign.

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Belated Courage

Following recent revelations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency misled the public about air quality in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attack, the New York Daily News has been crowing about how columnist Juan González "was the first to sound the alarm" that ground zero was a toxic dump after 9/11. As Cynthia Cotts points out, however, the newspaper "was not always so crazy about González's scoop.

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Asbestos Bill Attracts Corporate Lobbyists

"Major US corporations ranging from Pfizer to Halliburton are mobilizing scores of public affairs professionals across Washington this fall in hopes that the new legislative session will bring an end to years of costly asbestos-related lawsuits," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua writes. "Working separately as the Asbestos Study Group (ASG) and the Asbestos Alliance (AA), hundreds of major companies that have either manufactured or used asbestos are lobbying for protection from more than 600,000 asbestos lawsuits now pending in US courts.

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The Rollback Machine

"Democrats and moderate Republicans alike are accusing Bush of having the worst environmental record in history -- of surreptitiously tearing down the regulatory framework that yielded vast improvements in the nation's air and water quality and land conservation over the last 30 years," writes Amanda Griscom. In response to growing criticism of its environmental policies, the administration has "made every effort to finesse its public-relations strategy, but none whatsoever to change its approach to environmental policies themselves. ...

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