By Elliott Negin, Media Director, Union of Concerned Scientists - 05/17/10 10:11 PM EDT
Christine Todd Whitman and Patrick Moore certainly have a right to promote nuclear power as the answer to U.S. energy needs (“Energy innovation: An economical path forward,” May 12). But Hill readers have a right to know that they are paid mouthpieces for the nuclear industry.
Whitman and Moore have been pushing the nuclear industry line for nearly four years as co-chairs of the benignly sounding Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. But they don’t mention the coalition was founded and is solely funded by the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry trade association. NEI paid the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton a reported $8 million in 2006 to create a campaign promoting nuclear power. Hill &
Whitman is trading on the fact that she once headed the Environmental Protection Agency, albeit under an openly anti-environment administration. After leaving the agency, she started the Whitman Strategy Group, which, according to its website, offers the “know-how companies need to navigate through the maze of ever-changing laws, governmental red tape and business bureaucracies….”
Not only has Whitman been offering her “know-how” to the nuclear industry, she also has been working for the oil industry. Late last month Newsweek reported that none other than BP hired Whitman in 2007 at $120,000 a year to serve on an advisory board. She isn’t keen on disclosing that, either. Last week a number of news organizations published an op-ed by Whitman on BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The disaster, she wrote, shouldn’t stop us from pursuing additional offshore drilling. She also took the opportunity to plug nuclear power in the piece. There was no mention of the fact that BP and the nuclear industry pay her handsomely.
Moore, meanwhile, is trading on the fact that, according to him, he co-founded Greenpeace, which is not true. Although he did play a key role in Greenpeace Canada, he actually applied to work there a year after the organization was founded. In any case, in the mid-1980s Moore turned 180 degrees and started hiring himself out as a spokesman for the logging, mining and chemical industries, among others. And he is no stranger to Astroturf groups. In 1991, the same year he started a PR firm called Greenspirit Strategies, he was appointed the director of the British Columbia Forest Alliance, a front group set up for the logging industry by Burson-Marsteller, the same PR firm that represented Exxon after the Valdez oil spill and Union Carbide after the Bhopal chemical disaster.
Elliott Negin, Media Director, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, D.C.
A generation is in danger if energy crisis continues
As a parent of a beautiful 4-year-old girl, I often wonder what her future will be like. I wonder if she will sneak out with friends at night or get suspended from school or watch a really cool movie with a boy she likes. However, I cannot guarantee her a future if we continue to harm our planet the way we are doing at this moment. It is up to us to shape not only the future of our planet, but also the future of our children.
There are alternative fuel sources that need to be harnessed immediately in order to guarantee a future for our children and for us.
We have to make the stand now against misuse of our planet. We have to urge President Obama to actually begin the change he promised instead of pushing our nation further in to debt.
Rosy Estrada, New Carrollton, Md.
Attorney General Holder needs to do his homework
Now that history has repeated itself with Holder’s castigation of Arizona’s illegal immigrant law followed by his admission that he had not read the law, I believe I have figured out the source of the problem: The attorney general’s dog keeps eating his homework.
Al Sartor, Walnut Creek, Calif.