Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Unfriendly Side of Eco-Friendly

I found this article online and decided to post it here as a reminder to us to not lose sight of our goals; to find a way to co-exist with development while being excellent environmental stewards. This discussion parallels the local discussion on natural gas development.
By Gary Truitt

The term eco-friendly is usually not associated with terms like extortion, intimidation, harassment, and lewd behavior. But there is a dirty underside to the green movement. Several incidents have come to light in the past week that show a different side to the environmental movement than most folks see. Most in the green movement come off as sensitive, caring individuals who only want to do what is right for the earth. And, for many, this is the case. However, some of the more radical elements of the movement will stop at nothing to enforce their eco-agenda. These eco-zealots try to hide behind a pastoral green facade, but you do not have to look too deeply to find the truth.

The battle over atrazine is a prime example of an environmental movement that gives no quarter. When Jere White, Executive Director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, testified before an EPA hearing on atrazine, he became a target for harassment and intimidation by environmentalists. White recently testified before the Senate Ag Committee that environmental law firms have hounded him for depositions and demanded he supply reams of paperwork. “Growers and associations like ours that have provided comments and support for atrazine are now being targeted by the activist trial attorneys. We’ve been hit with subpoenas for massive, expensive and time-consuming production of records unrelated to any litigation. We are being harassed, even bullied, for daring to defend ourselves. The message is clear: If you stand up for atrazine, you’d best be prepared to pay a price,” White testified. According to White, the day after his testimony at the EPA hearing, “The very next day, activist attorneys sought and obtained subpoenas against Kansas Corn, Kansas Grain Sorghum, and me personally.”

What was it that White said to warrant this kind of treatment? White focused his testimony on atrazine as a safe herbicide used by American farmers for the past 50 years. He emphasized that atrazine is one of the most studied molecules on Earth and stressed that, for many farmers, the herbicide is a matter of staying in business during a difficult economy. According to the EPA’s own analysis, the removal of atrazine could cost farmers up to $28 an acre. “Most farmers live next to their fields,” White said. “They raise their children in these environments. If there were any real harm in atrazine, the American farmer would have been the first to notice and the first to care. They value atrazine because it is effective and it is safe. That’s why well over half of all U.S. corn acres are protected from weeds by atrazine.” Anti-atrazine researchers have been scrambling to confuse the issue with a variety of studies and theories. Yet, the actions of one such researcher call into question the legitimacy of such research.

{Paragraph deleted to not mention the researcher's name}

White says these tactics are nothing more than eco-bullying, “We can’t imagine what kind of useful information they hope to find by looking through membership records, leadership programs, or who paid for the ice cream at a farmer’s meeting. But the threat of legal harassment might make an organization or an individual think twice about standing up for a product like atrazine.” The real danger of course is if they are successful with Atrazine, no other aspect of agriculture will be safe. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are calling on the White House to tighten the leash on EPA and lessen the influence of radical environmentalists who seem to have free reign in the administration. Science and common sense had better return to the green movement before it puts the American economy in the red.

No comments:

Post a Comment