Hanover County Adopts Chesterfield’s Comp Plan….


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Freedom 21 = Deceptive Greenwashing

One blog reader commented that if Hanover County joined ICLEI (Agenda 21), it would be “disastrous” in terms of property rights. Perhaps his or her comment is based upon the principles of Freedom 21, a far-right, American conservative alternative to Agenda 21? Freedom 21 claims to rely upon the principles of individual liberty, property rights, and free markets to ensure sustainability. Gosh, where have we heard this mumbo jumbo before? It sounds like the argument spewed by Hanover County’s Economic Development Authority, some of our Supervisors, Planning Commission members, and proponents of the disastrous Hanover County Comprehensive Plan Update.

Let’s take a look at the cast of right-wingers behind the “Freedom 21” Campaign:

1. The American Policy Center (APC) founded by PR pro Tom DeWeese. According to investigative journalists Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, authors of “Trust Us, We’re Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future,” the APC attacked longtime environmentalist and author Jeremy Rifkin as “anti-industry, anti-civilization, anti-people” and accused him of preaching “suicide, abortion, cannibalism and sodomy.” The APC’s newsletter EPA Watch accuses the Environmental Protection Agency of everything from destroying the U.S. economy to trying to stop people from taking showers. EPA Watch receives its funding from Philip Morris. Although the newsletter’s former editor, Dr. Bonner Cohen, claimed EPA Watch was as an independent newsletter published and distributed by the APC, it was really a publication of the APCO & Associates PR Group, originally owned by Philip Morris’ Washington legal firm, Arnold & Porter.

2. Henry Lamb and the Environmental Conservation Organization – Lamb is a central figure in the spread of United Nations conspiracy theories throughout the anti-environmental movement. ECO was originally funded by the Land Improvement Contractors Association. Lamb, along with a couple of other right-wingnuts founded Sovereignty International to promote concern over the perceived erosion of U.S. sovereignty at the hands of United Nations environmental policies, oh my!

3. Craig Rucker & David Rothbard of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow – don’t you love the name? CFACT is a “free market think tank” that spreads its lies to the public through research, media exposure, and a national radio commentary called “Just the Facts.” CFACT’s Board of Academic and Scientific Advisors is a “Who’s Who” of climate skeptics and industry-funded scientists. According to their website, Rothbard and Rucker are “two of the primary voices seeking to provide a positive alternative to major environmental groups like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth.” CFACT received $710, 000 between 1991 and 2002 from Richard Mellon Scaife controlled foundations such as the Carthage Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation, (see Media Transparency).

4. The Heartland Institute campaigns on what it calls “junk science,” “common-sense environmentalism,” the privatization of public services, smokers’ rights, the introduction of school vouchers, and the deregulation of health care insurance. According to SourceWatch, even though Heartland calls itself a “genuinely independent source of research and commentary,” its has been a frequent ally of the tobacco industry. Until May 2003, Roy E. Marden, a member of Heartland’s board of directors, was also the manager of industry affairs for Philip Morris. His responsibilities included lobbying and “managing company responses to key public policy issues,” which he accomplished by “directing corporate involvement with industry, business, trade, and public policy organizations and determining philanthropic support thereto.” In a May 1991 document prepared for Phillip Morris, Marden listed Heartland’s “rapid response network” as a “potential spokesperson” among the “portfolio of organizations” that the company had cultivated to support its interests. [6] The Heartland Institute publishes anti-environmental books like “Eco-Sanity” – an internal Philip Morris memo from March 1994 notes that Philip Morris “provided technical comments for the book, “Eco-Sanity.”

5. Chuck Cushman’s American Land Rights Associationone of the leading groups in the anti-environmental Wise Use Movement reached its peak in the 1990’s when it opposed public lands initiatives of the Clinton Administration. With Republicans taking control in Congress and the White House, ALRA had more friends in Washington DC [3] but has still opposed some Republican initiatives [4] and nominees [5].

6. Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum (speaks for itself).

7. Dr. Michael Coffman, CEO of Sovereignty International.

8. Steve Milloy – a columnist for FOX NEWS and a paid advocate for Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil and the Cato Institute. Milloy runs the website Junkscience.com, which is dedicated to debunking what he alleges to be false claims regarding global warming, DDT, environmental radicalism and scare science among other topics.[1] His other website, CSR Watch.com attacks the corporate social responsibility movement. He is also head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, a mutual fund he runs with tobacco executive Tom Borelli, who happens to be listed as the secretary of the Advancement of Sound Science Center, an organisation Milloy operates from his home in Potomac, Maryland. In January 2006, Paul Thacker reported in The New Republic that Milloy received thousands of dollars in payments from the from the Phillip Morris company since the early 1990s, and that NGOs controlled by Milloy have received large payments from ExxonMobil [3].

Ah, the right wing, anti-environmentalists weave quite network of greenwashing.

For more perspectives of these organizations and their corporate sponsors, click here.