Monday, August 31, 2009

We Have Lost Our Minds; NPMA, Part I

by Rich Kozlovich

Originally I intended this as a part of my five part “common sense” series. However, after reading some of the details of the NPMA/NRDC agreement in Pest Control Technology magazine, and talking to Bob Rosenberg, I believe that things have gotten so bad I intend to do a separate series on the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

They have shown a pattern of activity that has led to what I believe is a serious betrayal of the pest control industry by our “elected” representatives at NPMA. Part I is meant as in instructional piece, Part II will challenge the philosophy behind this action, and Part III will challenge the people behind this philosophy.

The Leadership of the National Pest Management Pest Control Association has now created a partnership with one of the most radical environmental groups in this nation and we are supposed to believe that this is, as Rob Lederer says, good for the industry. And what is the “good” role that the National Resource Defense Council going to play in directing the future of the structural pest control industry? They will “help” us decide what will constitute “green” pest control. There will be more about this in Part II.

I am willing to bet that if the elected NPMA leadership asked the general membership what they thought of this beforehand they would have gotten an earful that would have pierced their ear drums.

So that there is no mistake about who this Trojan horse is, I have linked and quoted information directly from the Activist Cash web site. I am a firm believer in the old axiom that birds of a feather flock together.

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the utility infielder of nanny groups. Because its name implies a wide-ranging universe of issues, the group can be counted on to inject itself into just about any debate where there’s an environmental argument to be made. Washington PR firm Fenton Communications has made use of the NRDC in a variety of public campaigns, the most famous example of which was the 1989 “Alar-on-apples” food scare.

Following the release of a report called “Intolerable Risk” — which claimed that Alar was “the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply” and blamed the chemical for “as many as 5,300” childhood cancer cases — Fenton and NRDC went on a five-month media blitz. The campaign kicked off with a CBS 60 Minutes feature seen by over 50 million Americans. Despite the fact that the claims were completely unfounded, hysteria set in. Apples were pulled off of grocery shelves, schools stopped serving them at lunch, and apple growers nationwide lost over $250 million.
Currently, NRDC is focusing a great deal of its vast resources fighting against genetically improved foods.

The Wall Street Journal printed one of David Fenton’s internal memos, after the Alar-on-apples scandal was publicly debunked. Here’s Fenton in his own words: “We designed [the Alar Campaign] so that revenue would flow back to the Natural Resources Defense Council from the public, and we sold this book about pesticides through a 900 number and the Donahue show. And to date there has been $700,000 in net revenue from it.”

NRDC joined forces again with Fenton Communications in 1998 to promote a food-scare campaign called “Give Swordfish a Break!” which was operated by SeaWeb, an organization created by Fenton specifically for this campaign. Nearly all of the funding for this effort came from pass-through grants solicited by NRDC on behalf of SeaWeb. Two years later the anti-swordfish campaign folded, with both groups claiming victory. The whole promotion was based on the myth that Atlantic swordfish were being over-fished to the point of extinction. But according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, that simply wasn’t true.

American Corn Growers Association

At a March 21, 2000, press conference, the organic marketer-funded Center for Food Safety unveiled a petition demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration begin requiring warning labels on all genetically improved foods. Among the co-signers of this document were the American Corn Growers Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

With its all-American name, the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) brings to mind visions of Heartland cornfields and a simple farm life straight out of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” But in reality, ACGA represents a farming style more Cuban than American.

Center for Science in the Public Interest

“The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is the undisputed leader among America’s “food police.” CSPI was founded in 1971 by current executive director Michael Jacobson, and two of his co-workers at Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law. Since then, CSPI’s joyless eating club has issued hundreds of high-profile—and highly questionable—reports condemning soft drinks, fat substitutes, irradiated meat, biotech food crops, French fries, and just about anything that tastes good.”

Earth First!

In 1997-98, the Trees Foundation, which serves as the fiscal agent for various Earth First! groups, reported to the IRS that it received funding from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Trees noted that the NRDC money was “specifically designated for” three California groups “for their work in the Headwaters Forest protection effort.” One of these groups was the Ecology Center, where Karen Pickett runs the Headwaters campaign. Pickett is also the keeper of the cash for the Earth First! Direct Action Fund.

Another group that NRDC “specifically designated” should get pass-through money from the Trees Foundation was Redwood Justice. Redwood Justice’s main program is paying the legal bills for Earth First! leader Darryl Cherney’s lawsuit against the FBI.
A spin off this group is the super radical Earth Liberation Front (ELF). “Three workers sleeping at a construction site were able to escape after the terrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF) set fire to an unfinished, 200-unit condominium development late one night in August, 2003. "It could have killed someone," said San Diego fire captain Jeff Carle.”

Environmental Media Services

SeaWeb’s wholly unnecessary “Give Swordfish a Break!” campaign, conceived and directed by Fenton Communications, was originally designed as a cooperative campaign with the Natural Resources Defense Council (SeaWeb and NRDC are still Fenton clients). In its typical role as media “front” group, Environmental Media Services heavily promoted the swordfish boycott on behalf of both NRDC and SeaWeb for two years, ending with a hollow declaration of victory in August 2000.

Environmental Working Group

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Working Group are both clients of leftist PR firm Fenton Communications, based in Washington, DC. David Fenton, who runs this firm, also sits on EWG’s board.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes a remarkable number of anti-consumer activists on various advisory committees. When invitations to join the current EPA Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee were issued in August 2001, the Environmental Working Group’s Sean Gray made the list, as did Erik Olson of NRDC, John Vickery of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and Troy Seidle of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

NRDC and EWG have been tag-teaming both EPA panels and the public for several years. In one celebrated episode, both groups’ representatives pulled out of Vice President Gore’s “Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee” in 1999, claiming that even Al “Earth in the Balance” Gore wasn’t banning pesticides fast enough for their liking. The two organizations co-released a (later debunked) report in 1996 claiming that 45 million Americans were drinking “contaminated” water. Not surprisingly, EWG pointed the finger of blame at “pesticide runoff.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace USA are both clients of leftist Washington PR boutique Fenton Communications. David Fenton’s flacks have perfected the art of the food scare, including NRDC’s Alar-on-apples fundraising scam in 1989, SeaWeb’s ridiculous 1988 swordfish boycott, and the more recent StarLink corn fiasco.

Greenpeace is the largest environmental organization in the world, with an international membership of over 5 million and offices in over 20 countries. Forbes magazine once described it as “a skillfully managed business” with full command of “the tools of direct mail and image manipulation -- and tactics that would bring instant condemnation if practiced by a for-profit corporation.” But Greenpeace has escaped public censure by hiding behind the mask of its “non-profit” status and its U.S. tax exemption.

Humane Society of the United States

When the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the United States Navy because it believed “human-generated noise -- including active sonars – ha[d] a negative effect on marine mammals,” the Humane Society of the United States was happy to sign on. The two groups have also sued Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, O’Hare Airport, and others. The Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) coalition counts both HSUS and NRDC as members. KAW aims to scare the public about the supposed “overuse” of antibiotics on farm animals. They were also both members of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Foodspeak coalition. Members hoped to avoid lawsuits for false claims against food companies by overturning food disparagement laws.

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

Ruckus Society

While the Ruckus Society’s Tzeporah Berman (who coordinates rainforest programs for ForestEthics in Vancouver) oversaw a Canadian anti-logging campaign on the ground, NRDC put economic pressure on companies like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kinko’s, Nike, 3M, and Starbucks, each of which pledged to avoid buying products derived from British Columbia rainforest timber.

The Ruckus Society was founded in late 1995 by two giants of the radical environmentalist movement: Mike Roselle and Howard “Twilly” Cannon. Roselle was a founder of Earth First! (of 1980s tree-spiking fame), the group which spun off the domestic terrorist Earth Liberation Front in 1992. He also co-founded the radical Rainforest Action Network. Cannon built his extremist credentials as a front-line activist and ship’s captain with Greenpeace’s French and Russian anti-nuclear campaigns.


SeaWeb began as a “project” of the NRDC, with a start-up grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Now that SeaWeb has been spun off and enjoys relative independence, its leaders still collaborate with NRDC program directors on a variety of promotions, including the wholly unnecessary (and thoroughly debunked) “Give Swordfish a Break!” campaign. NRDC’s opinions on which species of menu fish are politically correct enough to eat can be found on SeaWeb’s “Seafood Choices Alliance” web site. Greenpeace USA and SeaWeb are both clients of leftist Washington PR boutique Fenton Communications, the widely-acknowledged kings of the modern food scare.

What can you say about a group of alarmist publicity-seekers whose greatest passion is “saving” fish species that aren’t even endangered? Are they crazy? Power-hungry? Misguided, as the U.S. government has said? Sadly, SeaWeb is just one in a long line of recent entrants into the food-scare industry. And judging from the the company it keeps, SeaWeb is a prime example of the well-networked Nanny Culture. Its pockets are deep, its friends are powerful, its tactics are disingenuous, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have allied on numerous occasions to combat modern livestock farms, most notably joining with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance in 2003 to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for increased restrictions on pork farmers. The Sierra Club also promoted NRDC's notorious Alar on apples" food scare. The two groups have collaborated multiple times to lobby the U.S. government against biotech foods, and are members of the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign, a slick PR project that frightens Americans away from the conventional meat supply with reckless claims about the use of antibiotics in livestock.

Founded in 1892 by John Muir to "make the mountains glad," the Sierra Club is the oldest and arguably the most powerful environmental group in the nation. But its concerns are no longer limited to the happiness of the valleys. Once dedicated to conserving wilderness for future human enjoyment, the Sierra Club has become an anti-growth, anti-technology group that puts its utopian environmentalist vision before the well being of humans.

Tides Foundation

NRDC predates the Tides Center by several years, so it was never formally a Tides “project.” But it did enjoy similar “startup” assistance from the Tides Foundation during its early years. To date, Tides has used its “pass-through” granting structure to funnel over a quarter of a million dollars to NRDC, without ever acknowledging where the funds originally came from. In one example, the Tides Foundation was the funding vehicle through which NRDC received funds in 1989 to hire Fenton Communications, its PR firm of choice, to promote its much-hyped and thoroughly debunked Alar-on-apples food scare.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) calls one of its flagship programs the “Safe Food Fight.” And with WORC, the emphasis is always on fighting. After all, over 80% of WORC’s funding comes from big-money foundations, and they’re not paying WORC to be calm and rational.

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists often brags about its cooperation with other environmental groups. Among the organizations with which UCS works closely, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stands at the top of the list. UCS and NRDC regularly co-host press conferences, co-sign petitions, and co-author reports. Both groups are members of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition and the Save our Environment Coalition.

Committed to an “open-minded search for truth,” and armed with “unrivaled scientific expertise,” the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) “doesn’t say anything [it] can’t back up with solid evidence.” At least, that’s what its fund-raising letters say. The reality is quite different.

Western Organization of Resource Councils

Natural Resources Defense Council has collaborated with the Western Organization of Resource Councils in the past, most notably on matters of mining policy. During the years of the Clinton administration, NRDC and WORC co-signed at least three letters to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, urging that stricter standards be used for determining mining rights for coal in Western states. In one case, the two groups joined with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace to sue the Bureau of Land Management over the terms of its coal mining-rights leasing program.

These groups have promoted every misanthropic philosophical flavor of the day that has come down the pike for the last fifty years and if we are to believe all that is said, and I for one do, they have done it with lies, deception and junk science. We aren’t just partnering up with the NRDC; we are now in bed with every radical group in the world and they will have a say in everything that we do from now on!

And Rob Lederer thinks that this is a good thing!


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