As several business owners in North Carolina recently found out, “green” nonprofits aren’t always forthcoming about their agendas. Despite receiving tens of millions of dollars from billionaires like Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, many of these environmental groups have taken to desperate measures to attract support from the general public for their unpopular agendas.
Recently, investigative journalists at the Asheville Citizen-Times and National Review revealed that the Sierra Club had allegedly added signatories to a petition demanding that Duke Energy cease the operations of one of its coal-fired power plants in Asheville, North Carolina. Of the 80 businesses listed on the petition, at least six had never agreed to lend their support to the Sierra Club at all, several claimed to be victims of bait-and-switch, strong-arming tactics and one didn’t even exist.
These businesses reportedly signed up for information relating to the Sierra Club’s environmental agenda, which included helping the group address concerns about the Duke plant’s waste management. Calling for the plant’s outright closure, however, was not something they signed their names to.
These questionable and unethical practices have earned the Sierra Club a spot on Charity Navigator’s “watch list,” a major warning to potential donors and signatories that they may want to think twice before supporting groups that engage in dishonest behavior. Disturbingly, the Sierra Club is only the latest environmental nonprofit to exhibit bad behavior and be forced to address public relations nightmares over the last year.
Last December, Greenpeace “climate activists”damaged Nazca, a world-renowned United Nations World Heritage site, by traipsing across the drawings that are carved into the desert of this ancient Peruvian city.
Greenpeace claimed it was trying to spread the good word about climate change to a nearby conference, whose attendees would fly over the ancient artifact. It also claimed that it was saving the Incan monuments for future generations, all the while blatantly disregarding the fragility of this sacred site by using it as the latest backdrop for a publicity stunt.
Green groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, lobbied last year for the government to brand grocery store steaks with warnings similar to those that appear on cigarette cartons. They have shown how disconnected they are from most Americans with their efforts to ban lead in ammunition and by pursuing other restrictions and even bans on plastic grocery bags, bottled water, fireworks, salt and common household products like pesticides and plastics. These groups once even tried to ban the capture and release of butterflies.
Equally troubling are the actions of these groups’ allies in the government who regularly work to advance their shared objectives through the use of the heavy-handed government regulatory process.
A hard hitting New York Times exposé last year revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency received extensive assistance from the Natural Resources Defense Council in drafting its highly-criticized proposal to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. It is troubling that the federal government would allow a biased environmental organization to offer input into a regulation that will affect much of the power sector.
Alarmingly it seems the EPA is taking things a step further, as outlined in a new New York Times investigative piece. The article reports on the EPA’s efforts to manufacture public support for its own rules and regulations. In the most contentious rulemaking efforts, the EPA has spent taxpayer funds to allegedly generate favorable comments to its official docket in an organized campaign that some have indicated could be a violation of the federal Anti-Lobbying Act.
The EPA’s efforts to confuse the general public on the true level of support for the very regulations the environmental community is alleged to have drafted should outrage every taxpayer.
While most Americans see themselves as compassionate stewards of the environment, they must be aware that the nonprofit green groups many of them support may actually be engaged in a deceptive con game to further their own agendas.
Given the new allegations of collusion between green groups and the EPA, perhaps there should be a Charity Navigator watch list for the federal government.