Last week, a Washington Times report shined a light on the all-too-cozy relationship between governors and environmental activist groups, one that has resulted in these outside groups literally constructing the message that the governors are now carrying forward. These new revelations are just the latest evidence of close coordination between elected officials and environmental activists to vilify energy manufacturers.
The activist organizations identified in the report are the same ones that have taken aim at energy manufacturers with the ridiculous legal claim that manufacturing companies are a “public nuisance.” As the Washington Times explains, emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests reveal that state employees are working hand in hand with activists in an effort the media calls “outsourcing government off the books.” This is a disturbing development that shows clearly that, in some governor’s offices, political agendas from outside forces are having a marked influence on government action.
For example, in a June 5 email, Sam Ricketts, director of Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s DC office, wrote to Climate Nexus Executive Director Jeff Nesbit to manage the details of the launch of a new public-facing coalition of governors to press for climate action.
“How come governors aren’t even listed on the website?” Ricketts asked Nesbit, who replied: “They will be! I promise. It’s controlled by WWF [apparently referring to the World Wildlife Fund]. They’re melting down over there. I’ll make sure the 9 governors are listed ASAP.” Nesbit then followed up that he needed to send a joint statement from Governors Inslee, Jerry Brown of California, and Andrew Cuomo of New York to the New York Times.
As the informal, collegial tone of this communication between state government staff and an environmental activist suggests, some governors are obviously working very closely with groups with environmental-driven agendas. The media raises the question of whether state governments receiving consulting help from privately funded activist groups crosses ethical lines, especially in states where time and resources are considered a gift.
Manufacturers have the same concerns, especially given the history of close coordination between activist groups and elected officials that have led to lawsuits against the manufacturing sector. Ongoing efforts to label manufacturers as a “public nuisance” rely heavily on a similar network of activists, politically motivated public officials, agenda-driven media and deep-pocketed funders to launch their broad attacks.
In reality, manufacturers have a strong commitment to creating a cleaner and more sustainable world through innovation and technology. In fact, on November 15, Ross Eisenberg, the NAM’s Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy, offered testimony to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works about manufacturers’ great successes in reducing the environmental footprint of America’s manufacturing sector.
“For virtually every air pollutant regulated by the EPA, the manufacturing sector has made dramatic reductions over the past few decades,” Eisenberg told the committee. “Today’s manufacturing company is a sleek, technology-driven operation that looks nothing like the industrial facilities of the past. With that progress has come a smaller environmental footprint.”
Still, activists and the lawyers who seek to profit from attacks on manufacturers don’t care about manufacturers’ progress. The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will continue to shine a light on these coordinated attacks and begin the process of fighting back. We cannot put manufacturing jobs at risk because of a group of activists, liberal politicians and profit-seeking lawyers want to make some money and score political points.