Talking Points on the Environment #9

Environmentalists Who Trade-In Green Policies for Greenbacks

Environmentalists are fond of telling others to be kind to the earth and of extolling the virtues of self-sacrifice, but they apparently have difficulty practicing what they preach:

National Audubon Society: The National Audubon Society opposes most oil and gas exploration. Yet the group has six gas wells on its own land in Louisiana from which it earns some $2 million annually. The Society also takes large sums of money from Exxon USA, Allied-Signal Foundation, Amoco Foundation and other oil foundations -- apparently having no moral qualms about taking cash from so-called "environmental polluters."

Robert Redford: Last February, movie actor and would-be environmental guru Robert Redford decried mining for damaging the environment and labeled it "grand larceny." But Redford owns a company called Sundance, which sells Santa Fe-style gifts, including sterling silver bracelets, jewelry and other gifts made of pewter, cast iron British scales and other items made with materials extracted from mother earth. Redford's distaste for mining apparently hasn't stopped him from making a tidy profit from it.

Sierra Club: William Arthur, a regional director of the Sierra Club, recently made $10,000 from logging on his property. Reportedly, between 80% and 90% of the 10 to 15 acre parcel was cut, despite the fact that the Sierra Club officially opposes more than 20% cuts. One of the trees chopped down was a 270-year-old cedar. The timber was cut by Global Pacific Forest Products, which supplies logs for export -- a practice the Sierra Club also claims to oppose. This incident was not the first time Sierra Club principles gave way to pragmatism: In 1990, Sierra Club California teamed-up with developers to oppose an environmentally-friendly "wind farm" near Gorman, California. The Club's excuse: The facility would have threatened vital condor habitat. The only problem with this rationale is that there are no condors living in the wild in California.

National Wildlife Federation: In 1986, the National Wildlife Federation sold a northern Virginia farm to developers donated by 86-year-old Claude Moore for a nature preserve. Several years later, along with bulldozing its former three-story offices, the Federation bull-dozed trees and shrubs inhabited by butterflies to make way for a new $30 million complex.

Information from: National Policy Analysis paper #115 (The National Center for Public Policy Research: Washington, D.C.), May 1994

Issue Date: May 6, 1994

Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #9, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 Tel. (202) 543-4110, Fax (202)543-5975, [email protected], http://www.nationalcenter/inter.net. For more information about Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #9 contact Bob Adams at 202/543-4110 or [email protected]


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