Monthly Archives: November 2003

Pirates still active in Delaware … their targets: your health

Green Delaware Alert #28
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Chemical Industry Scumbaggery…. Profits over Precaution
Dirty tricks from “the pirates of the American economy”

November 26, 2003.  Students of Delaware history know that the state used to be a hotbed of piracy. (Thanks to Liz Allen for bringing this story to our attention.)

Pirates still active ….

“Delaware’s most famous–make that infamous–”pirates were Edward Teach or “Blackbeard” and William Kidd, both of whom roved the Delaware Bay to snap up merchant ships laden with goods and bound to and from Philadelphia.”  “Scalawags and scoundrels though they were, early Delawareans were glad to do business with them”trading meat and other provisions for pirate gold. When times were tough, some shore residents even turned to pirating themselves.”  (http://www.outandabout.com/article.php?articleID=304)

Delaware is still a hotbed of piracy. Now, the pirates have names like DuPont, Shell, and MBNA.  Their ships are crewed by the likes of Ruth Ann Minner, Tom Carper, Mike Parkowski, Sam Waltz, and Representatives Melanie George and Joe DiPinto. Orgs such as The Nature Conservancy and the American Cancer Society  are glad to do business with them.  “Unpublic” agencies such as the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) take direction from them.

The American Chemistry Council versus your health

The American Chemistry Council (ACC)( http://www.americanchemistry.com/) , formerly known as the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), is one of the main opponents of the environment and public health movements.  DuPont and other Delaware-based chemical companies have long been leading members and funders of the ACC.  (Other such anti-human lobbies include the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Farm Bureau, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.) Robert F.  Kennedy, in a recent interview  (see Green Delaware Alert #286), called these orgs “… all of these kind of bad characters, the pirates of the American economy.”

Delaware counterparts of the national pirate groups include the Chemical Industry Council (lobbyists:  Wood, Byrd & Associates, Inc.) and the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (SIX lobbyists listed).  These groups largely own and operate the administration of Governor Ruth Ann Minner, just as their national counterparts own and operate the Bush administration.

Precautionary Principle versus profits

The “Precautionary Principle” (see http://www.monitor.net/rachel/r586.html) is about the idea that new chemicals should not be allowed on the market until proven safe.  A classic example of why this is needed is the matter of DuPont, Teflon, and “C8,” reported in the Wilmington News Journal (http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2003/11/23dupontstroubled.html).  The Precautionary Principle is such a “no brainer” that it is making relatively rapid progress into public policies.

Of course, the chemical industry feels the same way about the Precautionary Principle as it does about the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.  It is a threat to profits that needs to be fought at every opportunity. “Profits over Precautions” could well be the slogan of the Chemistry Council.

A campaign of dirty tricks (From prwatch.org):

 

A news release from the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/briefings/acc/) reveals that “the chemical industry plans to conduct a covert campaign attacking the growing movement in California for more chemical safety testing, with tactics including the creation of phony front groups and spying on activists, according to an internal American Chemistry Council (ACC) memo. … It recommends to ACC members that they pay $120,000 a year to Nichols-Dezenhall, [http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=NicholsDezenhall]
a Washington-based firm that hires former FBI and CIA agents, to conduct ‘selective intelligence gathering … about the plans, motivations and allies of opposition activists… Focus on the PP [Precautionary Principle] movement leadership in the U.S., and in particular, California.’ The memo says Nichols-Dezenhall would also ‘create an independent PP watchdog group to act as an information clearinghouse and criticize the PP in public and media forums… The group could be structured as a tax-exempt organization.'” The EWG release spawned articles in the San Francisco Chronicle [http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/11/21/BAG2P380K51.DTL] and the Oakland Tribune [http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~1781839,00.html]. Source: Environmental Working Group, November 20, 2003

 

The gory details, are on the Environmental Working Group web site.

Green Delaware was unable to get a response from the American Chemistry Council.

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