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Environmentalists: Who Is Saving What?

January 02, 2002

Thanks to Alexander Cockburn for reminding progressives that all advocates are not equal ("An Enron Tale of Strange Bedfellows," Commentary, Dec. 28). The Natural Resources Defense Council has a number of positions to answer for. Its joining with Edison and other private utilities in recommending a no vote on Proposition 9's attempt to fix deregulation of the electric industry followed its affirmation of Enron as described by Cockburn.

More recently, it has remained silent on the Playa Vista development's impact on the Ballona Wetlands. No wonder, then, that environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would opine against Ralph Nader's run against a Democratic Party equally mute on these same issues. Perhaps a glance at the NRDC's donor list might explain the aforementioned lapses.

Richard Baker

Beverly Hills


Bravo, Mr. Cockburn. It takes literary courage and accuracy to call it as it is. Many of us have torn up membership cards in the scourge of corporate environmentalism (spelled compromise). Every panic letter about the environment (and I've received a plethora of them, as an environmentalist since 1971), accompanied by an urgent "please send today" postcard and a more urgent plea for money to "fight the cause," is a red flag waving to me: Will the (paid) representatives of the organization really represent the environmental issue with integrity?

For the last five or 10 years my answer would be "no." It seems that keeping the staffs of the organizations paid is often more important than representing the issues.

Jill Swift


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