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Environmental Money Machine

The vast majority of large, well known environmental groups are nothing more than money machines

Sep 07, 2011


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Denis Prosperi
Chester Andrew
Bob Smittcamp
Russ Waymire
John "Dusty" Giacone
Joe Marchini
Mark Watte
Kole Upton
Piedad Ayala
Tom Barcellos
Jim Walls

Environmental Money Machine

Ask yourself the following two questions: 1) How many times have you heard of an environmental group spending their own money for some environmental cause?  Answer:  almost never.  And 2) How often do you hear about environmental groups filing law suits against a federal government agency?  Answer:  almost daily.  The reason for this dichotomy is disturbingly simple.  For most environmental groups their purported altruistic activism is actually nothing more than another way for attorneys to make money, and a way for these groups to exert their will over other people at no cost to themselves, all while calling for “donations” from the public to help them protect the environment.  In short, their purported noble environmental activism is in reality nothing but a scam, a money machine.

Examples abound.  A recent investigation by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee brought about (forced) a study by the General Accountability Office, “Environmental Litigation, Cases Against the US EPA and Associated Costs over Time” which found that environmental groups’ attorneys had been paid over $14 million from the Treasury Department’s unaudited “Judgement Fund” between 2003 and 2010 for law suits filed against just the US EPA. On top of that EPA shelled out another $1.4 million in “settlements” between 2006 and 2010 from its federal appropriations.  And rather than going to struggling organizations the vast majority of the money (82%) went to “wealthy” environmental groups that could have, were it a truly noble effort, absorbed their own legal costs.  For example, consider the financial assets of the top three recipients as reported on their 2010 IRS Form 990’s: Earth Justice: $39.2 million, Natural Resources Defence Council: $233 million and the Sierra Club: $67 million.

Equally if not more disturbing is that many of these lawsuts are filed with the support and cooperation of their cohorts within the very federal agencies they are suing - suit us, we'll lose then we'll reach a closed door settlement that gets us what we both want. 

And the above is just the tip of the iceberg, law suits only involving the EPA.  If one considers all the other federal agencies frequently suited by environmental groups (Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Marine Fisheries Service, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, etc.) a full and complete GAO audit and disclosure of payouts from the Judgement Fund will unquestionably find payouts to environmental group's attorneys of many $10s if not $100s of millions over the last 10-15 years.

Without a doubt there are some small struggling environmental groups of true believers working on altruistic, if often misplaced, causes.  But the vast majority of large, well known environmental groups are nothing more than money machines, scams for attorneys and mechanisms for these left-wing socialist ideologues to exert their will over other people.

It is high time for Congress to demand 1) a full, complete and detailed audit by the GAO of environmental litigation payouts by all federal agencies, 2) conduct an investigation into the collusion going on between environmental groups and regulatory agencies and finally 3) force the Treasury Department to open its books and provide a detailed accounting of all the money paid out of its Judgement Fund.

Lance Johnson
Shaver Lake, CA

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