Center for Global Food Issues Calls for Transparency for Environmental Groups Behind Atrazine Campaign
Center for Global Food Issues unveils its new blog entry, The Big Money Behind the Environmental Scare Movement –the attack on atrazine replays the alar scare, which calls for transparency into environmental activists’ work to demonize and ban the herbicide atrazine.
Written by Alex Avery, director of research and education for the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, the new blog entry questions why “activists (should) get a free ride when it comes to full disclosure,” and outlines the significant dollars behind the assault on modern agricultural technologies, particularly the safe and effective herbicide atrazine.
In his blog entry, Avery digs deeper into the public financial records of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the organizations behind the 1980’s “alar scare” and the current campaign against atrazine. Avery cites records that show that by 2004, the tax-exempt organization had received nearly $6.5 million in discretionary grants from the EPA since 1993, noting the EPA conceded all the discretionary grants awarded to the NRDC were awarded without competition. Additionally, Avery contends tax returns show NRDC received $350,000 in government money in 2007; similarly, the allied Land Stewardship Project also receives about 14 percent of its money from government grants.
Furthermore, Avery states in the entry that “according to its most recently available tax return, from 2007, the NRDC received revenues of more than $100 million and has net assets of more than $187 million. According to the Green Tracking Library, former NRDC president and founder John H. Adams had a combined 2006 income of $757,464. Just because the NRDC is officially non-profit does not mean it cannot make money from its attacks. In going after alar, the NRDC caused apple farmers to lose more than $100 million.”
Also notable, Avery highlights quote by PR strategist David Fenton in the aftermath of alar campaign: “We designed [the alar campaign] so that revenue would flow back to the National Resources Defense Council from the public, and we sold this book about pesticides through a 900 number and the (Phil) Donahue show. And to date there has been $700,000 in net revenue from it.”
Avery remarks, “I suggest that reporters, if they really want to fulfill their watchdog function, maybe ask some of these activists where their funding comes from. This is particularly important, as the activist campaign against atrazine is based largely on discrediting the ‘industry-based’ science on which regulatory approval has been at least partially based. If the default assumption is that money is the root of all evil, then transparency should be the price of being taken seriously by journalists and policymakers.”
Avery’s full blog entry is available here: http://www.cgfi.org/2010/06/the-big-money-behind-the-environmental-scare-movement-the-attack-on-atrazine-replays-the-alar-scare/.
About Alex Avery:
Alex Avery is director of research and education with the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute. Since joining the Center in 1994, Alex has represented the Center at the 1996 United Nations World Food Summit in Rome. The Center for Global Food Issues looks at agricultural policy from a global perspective, with reference to both economic and environmental impacts. More information on the web: