Shame! Delaware Nature Society gives its top “Conservation” award to Governor Jack Markell.

Sucking up to the Devil:  It’s just not Natural ….
Delaware “Nature” Society gives its top “Conservation” award to Governor Jack Markell on April 13, 2016.
See this link for a version of the “Nature” Society press release on it’s annual meeting.
We have seen a number of outraged emails and Facebook posts about this, and rightly so. In fact, though, it is “Natural,” It’s consistent with the mission and purpose of the Delaware “Nature” Society to give an award to a notoriously anti-environmental governor.
If you have to be convinced that Jack Markell has a horrible record on environmental matters you probably don’t read Green Delaware stuff regularly.  Just, for one example, think of the no-public-involvement reopening of the mega-polluting Delaware City Refinery.
The “Nature” Society was basically set up as a front for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, one of the worlds worst environmental offenders.   it is one of numerous such corporate-front “environmental groups.” It took orders from DuPont management and was largely staffed with DuPont retiree volunteers.  Now that DuPont is dissolving, we don’t know who the new owners will be.
A key obstacle to environmental success is the lack of integrity of so many orgs claiming to represent environmental concerns.  The “environmental community” is, to say the least, variable in quality and deeply divided in loyalties.
This is not really surprising.  There is no profit to be made in opposing special interests.  On the other hand, there is big money to be saved by polluters in delaying and evading laws and regulations.  Anybody can use words like “environment,” “conservation,” and “nature” regardless of what interests they truly represent.   There is little real accountability in NGOs.  If they sell out, how will you know?  What can you do about it if you do know?
Thus, we find endless scandals, some publicized and some not.  The Sierra Club and Clorox.  The Sierra Club and Chesapeake Energy (natural gas).  The National Audubon Society and Monsanto.  The Nature Conservancy and every big polluter on earth.  And so on ….
The picture, though, is always mixed.  Just because the National Audubon Society sells out to Monsanto doesn’t mean that the Delaware Audubon Society has (It hasn’t).  Sierra Club members in some places do lots of good work.   In every big org some people are doing good work and others, not.
People are manipulable and tend to give money to the orgs able to afford expensive corporate-style marketing (begging) campaigns. These orgs tend to be similar in mentality to regulatory agencies, big-money foundations, and polluting corporations.  Regulators and industrial lobbyists naturally get along best with these while often regarding grassroots activists with fear and loathing.  The only solution to this is for people to smarten up and support, instead, local, community-based groups doing real work on locally-relevant issues.
Two illustrative anecdotes about the “Nature” Society from my own experience:
(1)  Years ago, when Delmarva Power was being deregulated, laying the groundwork for big rate increases and various scams such as “Bloomgate,” part of the plan was to shut down Delmarva Power’s portfolio–never very large–of conservation and efficiency programs–greenie-weenie light bulbs, energy audits, etc.  Delmarva was doing this with the support of, among others, Delaware’s “Public Advocate” and John Byrne of the Delmarva-power-influenced University of Delaware.
Green Delaware, pretty much alone, opposed this, and we noticed that Delmarva Power was installing, in the lobby of the “Nature” Society headquarters at Ashland, displays and adds for the very programs it was in the process of shutting down.  We pointed out to the “Nature” Society that the Delmarva Power displays were helping the electric company mislead the public.  Dick Fleming of the “Nature” Society responded that the displays were fine, as long as Delmarva gave money to the “Nature” society, which had just added a Delmarva rep to it’s Board of Directors.
(2)  Fewer years ago, DuPont was getting permits for a new “acid plant” at the Delaware City Refinery.  This was a very “heavy” form of industry plainly not allowed in the protected Delaware Coastal Zone.  Green Delaware again objected.  At a permit hearing–this was in the days when real hearings were still held on permits–DuPont was unable to answer hard questions but offered a grant to the DNREC to benefit horseshoe crabs.  I stood up, pointing out that there was something remarkable about an applicant publicly offering a bribe to a regulatory agency during a formal permit hearing.  The hearing officer wasn’t troubled, DNREC was happy to accept the bribe and the permit was duly issued.  The “Nature” society was also present at the hearing and also had a concern:  that the offered bribe wasn’t big enough!
I could write up many more such examples….
The “Nature” society award list also includes Jen Adkins, executive director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, a front organization for regulatory agencies and the biggest river-polluters in the area.
Also notable is an award to Jeff Montgomery, recently retired from the Wilmington News Journal.  Montgomery was an outstanding reporter for many years and well deserves an award, though he doesn’t enhance is standing by accepting one in such bad company.
Possibly some of the other awardees–listed in the link above–are also deserving.
Beyond doubt Delaware’s media will report the Nature Society award to Markell without including other points of view.  Is it any wonder the public is confused about Markell?
OK, as well as all this scumbaggery, thousands of good people in Delaware care about Delaware’s natural resources and public health.  Good work is being done.  There are people who have supported Green Delaware–though rarely with money–for many years.

ACTION ITEMS:

(1)  Don’t give money to the Delaware “Nature” Society!

(2)  Give the “Nature” Society a call and tell them how you feel about the award to Markell:  Brian Winslow, Executive Director, brian@delnature.org, 302.239.2334, ext. 124

PLEASE NOTE:  Delaware has a presidential primary election on Tuesday, April 26.  With Democrats like Carper and Markell banging the drum for Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ supporter better turn out and vote (!).

 

 

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