by Scott Shields, Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:35:06 AM EDT
Raw Story made a great catch this morning, drawing attention to an Earth Day website put up by Richard Pombo's House Committee on Resources. The site is a disgusting attempt to smear the environmental movement and whitewash the impact of industrial pollution on the planet, essentially claiming that environmental problems don't really exist.
The House Committee on Resources invites you to celebrate the achievements made in protecting the environment over the past several decades. Environmental trendlines continue in the right direction, with cleaner air and fresh water for all Americans. But too often, environmental headlines seem to predict impending apocalypse.
Good news doesn't sell as well as bad news, and the "sky is falling" sensationalism of environmental activists lead people to falsely believe that our environment is getting worse when it's actually getting better....
Unfortunately, the positive trendlines don't fill the pockets of America's environmental activist industry. Scare tactics and sensational rhetoric have enabled the top 30 organizations to generate billions in annual revenue, according to public documents. But how much of this money is spent on real, hands-on, "muddy boots" conservation work for the environment? Almost none. Instead, it is spent on lobbyists and lawyers, partisan politics, direct mail, and more and more sensational fundraising campaigns.
This is, to put it as nicely as possible, propaganda. And this propaganda -- in the form of a professionally designed website hosted on government servers -- is patently unethical, if not downright illegal. I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that this site, with its nakedly partisan attacks on activists, violates the propaganda ban set by the Congress. The Bush administration has already been rebuked for its use of propaganda by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Is the Republican Congress next?
Setting aside the legality and ethics of the site, its attacks on scientists and environmentalists are laughable. The "myths" the site claims to dispel are straw man arguments. Last time I checked, "[e]conomic growth harms the environment" was not one of the chief claims being put forward by the environmental movement. Rather, it seems to me that the exact opposite claim has been repeatedly made by mainstream environmentalists, that development of new, more environmentally responsible technologies can help to grow the economy. That's exactly the case being made by the Apollo Alliance, for example.
The Apollo Alliance provides a message of optimism and hope, framed around rejuvenating our nation's economy by creating the next generation of American industrial jobs and treating clean energy as an economic and security mandate to rebuild America. America needs to hope again, to dream again, to think big, and to be called to the best of our potential by tapping the optimism and can-do spirit that is embedded in our nation's history.
This website, full of slander and smear, is just the latest example of Republican rule in disarray. Their policies have run headlong into a wall of scientific facts, so their response is to create a website backed with the imprimatur of the United States Government to muddy the waters and confuse the debate. It's the final flailings of a weak Republican majority desperately trying to stay in power. It's as pathetic as it is disgusting.