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.
"If you've ever given money to an environmental organization ... you might even be a terrorist, or at least an accomplice. At least that's what Nick Nichols seems to think. Nichols views wouldn't matter if he were just another backwoods loser. On the contrary, environmental watchdogs fear he's at the vanguard of efforts to exploit the nation's post-September 11th mood by tarring the entire green movement as extremists. ...
"Titled 'Rhode Island Positioning,' the memo distributed two weeks ago by public-relations consultant Jody Powell to the dozens of lawyers and consultants representing the nation's lead-paint companies was a straightforward exposition on how to spin public perceptions," writes the Providence Journal.
As Bob Burton revealed last year in PR Watch, the whaling industry is using "scientific research" as PR subterfuge to revive commercial whaling.
Literally before the dust had cleared at Ground Zero, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the city's news media rushed to assure people that the city's air was safe. Now evidence is accumulating that these reassurances may have been tragically wrong, as investigators find dangerous levels of PCBs, mercury and asbestos thrown into the air by the disaster. "Many people who live or work in lower Manhattan are convinced that they have not been told the truth," reports Alyssa Katz. "They say that they're sick--throats sore, lungs hacking.