By Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, co-chair of the CASEnergy Coalition - 05/24/10 11:35 PM EDT
Thank you for allowing me to address the inaccuracies printed in Elliott Negin’s letter (“Double check from whom you get energy information”, May 17). While Mr. Negin is certainly entitled to express his opinion and that of the organization that pays him, readers are entitled to the correct facts when it comes to my support of energy solutions for our nation.
Bob Malone, the former president of BP America, established an advisory group, of which I was a part, in 2006. The committee, which included Leon Panetta, Tom Daschle, Warren Rudman and Alan Simpson, among others, was disbanded in 2009 and any payment I received from BP stopped at that time. It is also important to note that the advisory group was never asked to, nor did it ever, lobby for BP.
Although I am compensated for my work with The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (which is funded by the Nuclear Energy Institute), CASEnergy couldn’t pay me enough money to promote something in which I did not believe. As governor of New Jersey, I was quite familiar and comfortable with nuclear power, and I continue to believe it is an important piece of the puzzle that will solve our growing energy crisis.
We need a reasonable, open debate about our energy needs for the coming generation, which means all parties need to present the facts in an honest and forthright manner. Only then will we be able to devise the solutions that will protect our environment and meet our energy needs.
Negin off the mark about Greenpeace co-founder
Patrick Moore, co-founder and former leader, Greenpeace Co-Chair, CASEnergy Coalition
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) media staffer Elliott Negin might be concerned about health, science and environmental stewardship, but you’d never know it from his personal attack in response to an editorial by me and my CASEnergy Co-chair, Governor Christine Todd Whitman.
I left Greenpeace in 1986 after co-founding it with several others in 1971. I’ve been actively critical of many of the group’s positions since then. For 20 years after my departure, the group considered me a harsh opponent but never denied my 15-year, well-established history as founder and long-time campaign leader.
That changed when I very publicly stated that Greenpeace, the rest of the environmental movement and myself were wrong to have lumped nuclear power (a good technology) together with nuclear weapons (a bad one) as though all things nuclear were evil.
Negin, a Union of Concerned Scientists media spokesperson (paid, I assume, though he doesn’t say), should note the following:
The birth of Greenpeace (September 21, 1971) has been celebrated very publicly by the organization for almost 40 years (simply enter the search terms ‘Greenpeace anniversary’ to see some examples).
The significance of September 21, 1971, is that the Phyllis Cormack, renamed the Greenpeace for the purposes of the voyage, set sail that day from Vancouver, with a skipper and a crew of 12, for Amchitka to protest atmospheric nuclear testing in the Aleutians. The rest of the 12 and myself have always been considered among the co-founders of the organization, along with a number of others who worked on the campaign but stayed on land.
Media reports are easily found on the Internet detailing my involvement in the founding in September 1971 through to my negotiation with David McTaggart over the 1979 creation of Greenpeace International, to my directorship on the international board to my departure in 1986.
It was only a few years ago though – when I publicly criticized Greenpeace on its position on nuclear technology – the historical revisionism began; one day I was cited as a Greenpeace founder by the organization, and the next day I was off the list of founders - I suppose for my pro-nuclear, clean-air heresy.
So much of what Negin says about me is demonstrably false. Ironically, he says nothing at all about UCS and the fact its views on nuclear energy have failed to keep up with the times in a CO2-averse world. Rather than parrot deeply flawed Greenpeace talking points, Negin should join the important discussion about what America should do about its energy future.