A federal jury has awarded $4.4 million to Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, two Earth First! activists who accused the FBI and the Oakland, CA, police of framing them for a 1990 bomb blast that severely injured them. Who really blew up their car? What was Hill and Knowlton PR's role in smearing Earth First! as eco-terrorists?
A year after the Canadian Supreme Court's landmark ruling allowing municipalities to ban the use of lawn pesticides, the chemical industry is fighting back. "In many cases they have been successful in out-organizing the local communities," says Alex Cullen, a member of the Ottawa City Council. In Toronto, for example, public meetings last week on a proposed pesticide ban were overwhelmed by representatives from lawn-care companies sporting T-shirts, handing out pamphlets and offering quick comebacks to any question.
In their resignation letters, the top two members of the Ombudsman Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have accused the agency of covering up the existence of deadly pollution in the area of the destroyed World Trade Center towers in New York. Emergency workers who were sent to the scene and residents of Lower Manhattan are developing serious, and in some cases, life-threatening respiratory ailments and other health problems.
The resignation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ombudsman Robert Martin ends his long-running battle to preserve his office and its ability to independently investigate cases where the agency mishandled Superfund sites. His resignation came on the heels of actions taken by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to disband his office, including sending agents to confiscate his files and his computers, and to change the locks on his office.
The U.S. Interior Department's web site features a video prepared by the Patton Boggs lobbying group to promote exploration for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Its distribution of the video violates a law forbidding federal agencies to engage in PR activities "designed to support or defeat legislation pending before the Congress." The Interior Department is becoming "a cinema house for lobbyists," says Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey.
While formulating its national energy policy, the Bush administration's Energy Department met with 109 representatives of the energy industry and its trade associations from late January to May 17, 2001, but gave environmental groups less than 48 hours to review and comment on the policies.
As of April first, 130,000 hectares of rainforests have been added to New Zealand's National Parks and conservation reserves, thanks to the the unravelling and demise of a devious pro-logging PR campaign run by a government-owned company, Timberlands, and its PR adviser, Shandwick New Zealand. In 1999 a whistleblower leaked hundreds of pages of internal Shandwick documents which formed the basis for the shocking exposé Secrets and Lies: The Anatomy of an Anti-Environmental PR Campaign by Nicky Hager and Bob Burton.
Details of "the great biofraud," as the Washington Times dubbed the affair, emerged just before Christmas of last year. Wildlife scientists in Washington State were accused of "planting" clumps of wild lynx fur in national forests. Supposedly the fraud was planned so the Endangered Species Act could be invoked to close the forest to campers and loggers. In reality, as government employees have insisted ever since the beginning, the whole story is a fabrication.
For years, the Clearinghouse for Environmental Education, Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) did yeoman's work researching the financial ties and extremist rhetoric of the corporate-funded anti-environmental movement. Until recently a project of the Environmental Working Group, CLEAR recently spun off to become independent.