Wingnuts in Sheep’s Clothing

Meet the kooks and corporations behind the astroturf group called ECO.

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It’s not easy being green — the brown opposition is well-funded and sneaky, with fake populist tactics that make it hard to spot the wolf in sheep’s clothing. To learn more about the astroturf groups who are lobbying against the Kyoto global warming treaty, we contacted the Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR). A project of the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., CLEAR ferrets out anti-environmental groups and their funders: the mining, logging, petrochemical, and land-developing industries who profit from pollution and wilderness destruction. Starting with Henry Lamb’s perversely named Environmental Conservation Organization, we trace here the interlocking directorates — and corporate sponsors — of some of the extremist groups who’ll give up their carbon-spewing smokestack when you pry it out of their cold, dead hands:


Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) The brainchild of property-rights firebrand Henry Lamb, ECO is an anti-environmental umbrella outfit counting more than 300 Wise Use groups as members, with a phone and fax network and a monthly newsletter called Eco-logic, which promotes Wise Use efforts to stop the global warming treaty, and Lamb’s conspiracy theories of a United Nations New World Order. Funded by: Allnet Telecommunications, Land Improvement Contractors of America, American Farm Bureau Federation.

Henry Lamb A former executive with the Land Improvement Contractors of America, Lamb co-founded Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) in 1990 as a front group for land developers to fight Clean Water Act protections for wetlands, then turned it into a network for Wise Use groups nationwide. He recently co-founded Sovereignty International Inc., an anti-United Nations property-rights group. Prominent in the anti-environmental and property-rights movements, Lamb publishes newsletters and gives radio interviews attacking the U.N.’s Man and the Biosphere Program, World Heritage Treaty, Convention on Biological Diversity, and Convention on Climate Change.
Staff Member of:
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Executive Vice President
Board Member of:
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Board of Directors
National Wilderness Institute, National Advisory Board
Sovereignty International, Chairman of the Board

Steve Symms The former U.S. senator from Idaho, elected in the 1980 “Reagan Revolution,” was the voice of the anti-environmental movement on Capitol Hill and the champion of various failed “takings” bills. His signal achievement was a bill that built new off-road vehicle (ORV) trails in the national forests. Retired in 1992, today he sits on the boards of a half-dozen of the most arch-conservative, anti-environmental groups in the country. Symms’ specialty is defending individual property rights at any cost.
Staff Member of:
Freedom Alliance, President
Board Member of:
Defenders of Property Rights, National Advisory Board
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Board of Advisors
National Wilderness Institute, National Advisory Board
Freedom Alliance, Board
American Conservative Union, Board of Directors
American Policy Center, Chair of the Board

Nancie Marzulla A Justice Department attorney in the Reagan administration and a veteran of the Wise Use litigators the Mountain States Legal Foundation, Nancie Marzulla co-founded the Defenders of Property Rights (DPR) in 1991 with her husband Roger, who served as assistant attorney general under Ed Meese.
Staff Member of:
Defenders of Property Rights, President and Chief Legal Counsel
Board Member of:
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Board of Advisors
American Land Foundation, Property Rights Task Force Member

Fred Singer A former University of Virginia professor and former chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dr. S. Fred Singer is one of a half-dozen preeminent doubters of ozone depletion and global warming science. Singer claims science skeptics like him are being silenced by a conspiracy of feds, enviros, and liberal journalists. Today he heads the Science and Environmental Policy Project, advises several corporate-funded science mills, and rails against global warming science. For this he’s amply rewarded: In 1994 Nightline revealed that Singer has accepted consulting fees from Exxon, Shell, Arco, Unocal, and Sun Oil.
Staff Member of:
Science and Environmental Policy Project, Director
Board Member of:
American Council on Science and Health, Board of Scientific and Policy Advisors
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, Scientist Advisor
Cato Institute, Editorial Advisory Board
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Board of Advisors
National Policy Forum, Member of Environment Committee
Science and Environmental Policy Project, Board of Directors

Hugh Ellsaesser A meteorologist and guest scientist at California’s Lawrence Livermore nuclear laboratory, Dr. Hugh Ellsaesser is another widely quoted global warming skeptic. He doesn’t deny that CO2 buildup causes global warming — he argues that we should just sit back and enjoy it. He’s also a scientific advisor to the Lyndon LaRouche group 21st Century Science Associates, which publishes an anti-environmental magazine promoting LaRouche’s wacky Neo-Nazi cult.
Board Member of:
21st Century Science Associates, Scientific Advisory Board
Consumer Alert, Advisory Board
Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), Board of Advisors
George C. Marshall Institute, Science Advisory Board
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, Advisor
Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Scientific Advisor

Sovereignty International Inc.
Property-rights group Sovereignty International Inc. (SII) is a leading promoter of United Nations paranoia, claiming that environmental regulations are part of a plot to establish a “one world government” — a theme echoed by militia groups nationwide. SII was founded by ECO’s Henry Lamb; the American Sheep Industry Association’s Tom McDonnell, who has collaborated with LaRouche propagandist Rogelio Maduro to attack U.N. biodiversity programs; and Dr. Michael Coffman, who did a speaking tour this summer sponsored by the John Birch Society. His topic: The U.N.-corporate-environmentalist conspiracy to seize control of private land in America, hand it over to wild animals, and herd all the humans into crowded communities. SII’s Web site consists of a single malfunctioning page on the server of Liberty Matters, a property-rights project. Funded by: Unknown.

National Wilderness Institute
Dedicated to wilderness destruction, NWI boasts a board of heavy hitters including Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Reps. Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), and former Bureau of Land Management honcho Don Hodel, architect of the famed Hodel policy which allowed county governments to bulldoze new roads across federal wilderness lands. Today NWI attacks the Endangered Species Act and the U.N. Biodiversity Convention, defends the petroleum economy, and publishes NWI Resource magazine, with articles like “The Magic of Property Rights” and “Ecosystems: Where Do They End?” Funded by: Hardwood Manufacturers Association.

American Conservative Union
With board members like Ralph Reed, Becky Norton Dunlop, Tom Clancy, Jesse Helms, and Newt mentor Grover Norquist, you pretty much know where the ACU is coming from, but on global warming they’ve staked out a unique position: “I can just see it now — some guy in the Pentagon says, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. President. If you want to send that extra carrier battle group into the area, we’ll have to shut down the electric power grid to California for two weeks to stay under our emission caps.'” Funded by: Unknown.

American Policy Center
Chaired by another extreme-right demagogue, Thomas DeWeese, this property-rights propaganda mill makes no bones about it: There is no global warming, there’s a global leftist conspiracy to deceive the American people and wreck our economy — for reasons that remain unclear. To protest the treaty negotiations in Kyoto, APC has called a nationwide “Strike for Liberty” on Dec. 6; patriotic citizens “can participate simply by wearing red, white and blue arm bands, or driving their cars with the lights on, blowing the horn.” Web site bonus: An amazing screed accusing Al Gore of genocide. APC also publishes EPA Watch, a survey of environmental regulatory activities, and Foreign Policy Focus,an anti-U.N. nativist newsletter. Funded by: Unknown.

Freedom Alliance
Founded by Oliver North, the Freedom Alliance passes as a right-wing think-tank and citizens group, but mostly it’s the direct-mail fundraising machine that grew out of Ollie North’s legal defense mailings in the Iran-contra affair. Its newsletter, The Free American, promotes North’s political ambitions and attacks gays and other unholy types. In one issue, Freedom Alliance president and former Senator Steve Symms attacked the Supreme Court for overturning Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2 ballot measure: “Now, because of their perverted lifestyle, a minority of citizens is granted special treatment in soliciting state contracts. Does this make sense?” Funded by: Unknown.

Defenders of Property Rights
Founded by Reagan Justice Department lawyers Roger and Nancie Marzulla in 1991, Defenders of Property Rights is part of a national network of right-wing law firms and legal foundations that serve as a pro bono Wise Use legal defense fund. DPR pursues anti-environmental lawsuits through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a conservative court whose 16 judges were all appointed by Reagan and Bush; DPR’s directors reportedly plan strategy at an annual meeting sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. Funded by: Carthage Foundation, Hardwood Manufacturers Association.

American Land Foundation
Founded by property rights leader Dan Byfield, ALF (formerly the Farm Credit Property Rights Foundation) underwrites anti-environmental research and boasts a who’s who of the movement on its property rights task force. Last year ALF teamed with two other Wise Use groups to form Liberty Matters Inc., yet another Wise Use networking effort, with a fax news service and a focus on feeding stories to small-town and conservative media about the evils of environmentalism, especially when it bears the taint of the U.N. Today Liberty Matters sponsors two segments — and chooses the guests — on the program “Morning View” on Paul Weyrich’s conservative NET cable channel. Appearing this Friday: Dr. Michael Coffman of Sovereignty International. Funded by: Unknown

American Council on Science and Health
Led by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, this corporate-funded science mill stoutly defends silicone breast implants, DDT, and of course, the polluting technologies that cause global warming. In a new report, ACSH scientists accept global warming as real, but argue that we should just “adapt” to climate change and learn to live with any increase in catastrophic weather and infectious diseases — for the sake of the “global economic system.” Incredibly, one of the authors is an M.D. Funded by: Scores of major corporations and conservative foundations, including Exxon, Mobil, Ford, and the Olin and Scaife foundations.

Cato Institute
This libertarian think-tank is well-known for defending private property and the unmitigated free market. It’s also home to Dr. Patrick Michaels, a leading skeptic who argues that global warming models are fatally flawed, and that we should take no action because new technologies will soon replace those that emit greenhouse gases. Funded by: Scores of major corporations and conservative foundations, including Amoco, ARCO, Dow Chemical, and the Koch family foundation.

Science and Environmental Policy Project
This corporate science mill began in 1990 as an offshoot of the Moonie-funded think-tank Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy. Its goal is to discredit global warming, ozone depletion, and acid rain. Its director, physicist Dr. S. Fred Singer, is a former chief scientist for the Department of Transportation who has received thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” from Exxon, Shell, Arco, Unocal, and Sunoco. Singer lambastes global warming science in regular editorials in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times. Funded by: Monsanto, Texaco, Philip Morris, and the Bradley, Forbes, and Smith Richardson foundations.

The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition
TASCC director Steven Milloy, a cheerleader for rolling back environmental regulations in the 104th Congress, calls himself “The Junkman,” and his Web site “Junk Science” sounds that familiar refrain: Thousands of scientists are wrong about global warming, and a handful of polluter-funded scientists have it all figured out. Funded by: 3M, Amoco, Chevron, Dow, Exxon, General Motors, Philip Morris and other big corporations.

21st Century Science Associates
This Lyndon LaRouche group publishes the anti-environmental magazine 21st Century Science & Technology, which in addition to promoting LaRouche’s wacky Neo-Nazi cult and global conspiracy theories, is home to associate editor Rogelio Maduro, author of The Holes in the Ozone Scare. That book became Rush Limbaugh’s ozone bible. Funded by: Unknown.

Consumer Alert
This astroturf group calls global warming science “scare stories” and funds the Web site, with a bi-weekly update called “May Cooler Heads Prevail.” Consumer Alert’s networking project, the National Consumer Coalition, formed the so-called Cooler Heads Coalition in May, “to dispel the myths of global warming.” Cooler Heads is run by a vice president from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a longtime sponsor of the Wise Use movement. Funded by: American Cyanamid, Chemical Manufacturers Association, Chevron, Monsanto, Philip Morris, and other big corporations.

George C. Marshall Institute
As David Helvarg reported in last week’s MoJo Wire, the George C. Marshall Institute is another conservative think-tank, a long-time “Star Wars” promoter and the first player to attack the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1995 finding that human activity is probably changing the climate already. Funded by: Scaife and Bradley foundations.

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
A pseudoscience think-tank funded in part by the nuclear industry, CFACT says the real disaster would be the Climate Change Treaty, because “any proposed cuts in greenhouse gases…would have a major, indeed catastrophic, negative impact on people worldwide.” CFACT’s president David Rothbard defends organochlorine pesticides, champions the bovine growth hormone BST, and calls environmentalists “green locusts.” Funded by: Carthage Foundation, U.S. Council on Energy Awareness.


Coalition for Vehicle Choice
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Frontiers of Freedom Institute
National Center for Public Policy Research
People for the West!
Robert Balling, Jr.
Dr. Patrick Michaels

The Environmental Working Group’s CLEAR site tracks hundreds of anti-environmental groups and their funders, complete with a searchable database. EPA’s global warming Web site explains the science of global warming and the international effort to control it. Corporate Watch’s Kyoto site tracks big-business influence on the treaty negotiations.


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