Green Leader Says Corporate Shakedowns Will Continue

EDF logoTaking measure of the new political construct nationally, and of the overall blowback against the global warming movement’s corrupt science and disturbing public relations, you’d think the Environmental Defense Fund’s Fred Krupp would be somewhat humble and conciliatory. Instead he has taken some tips from his union allies in the “Green Jobs” movement and is issuing new threats against businesses who reject climate change environoia, as exhibited in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post:

We have well-financed enemies in this fight, and it is time to sharpen the nation’s focus on the businesses that obstruct vital progress.

For EDF, that means our historic interest in cooperation over confrontation will be recalibrated. We will always negotiate where possible, and we will continue to look for collaborative opportunities and flexible solutions. That is who we are, and we will continue to pursue those goals.

But there are companies that continue to choose short-term profits over public health, and who feel they are better off opposing progress. These companies have friends in the Congress, and they believe they will have more political leverage against the Environmental Protection Agency as the balance of power shifts in Washington next year.

Meanwhile, they are already marching into the courts to challenge virtually every breath EPA takes in this area. Our view is that the public and the investor community need to have far greater awareness of the companies engaged in indiscriminate obstructionism. We will look for ways to hold them accountable through every reasonable lever at our disposal. We will learn to be as tough with them as they have been with us.

We are evaluating everything from engaging more actively in corporate governance — the annual meeting of shareholders and outreach to boards of directors — to more active involvement in state Public Utility Commissions where the rubber meets the road on the scope of pollution — or pollution reductions — associated with major capital investments. And we are looking at a variety of ways to involve the public more actively in a conversation about who the big emitters are, where they operate, and what steps they are taking to reduce their pollution.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and we would rather spend our time working on smart policy and win-win solutions. But we have no choice. We cannot allow the efforts of a few powerful companies to block necessary progress for the rest of us.

Of course, just because political circumstances change doesn’t mean the inherent nature of the environmentalist mafia should change. Last year EDF and other groups upped their efforts to sic the Securities and Exchange Commission on corporations to get them to make climate-related disclosures in their filings:

“As the nation responds to the challenges of global warming, investors have a right to know which businesses are forging innovative solutions for the 21st century and which are lagging behind,” Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said in a release.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tracks emissions of carbon dioxide from industry, but investors say they want to know more about corporate strategies to reduce pollution from other planet-warming gasses as well as carbon dioxide.

At the time I suggested if Krupp was going to demand a SEC pat-down of business, that he should be forced to show his junk first:

According to EDF’s tax return for Fiscal Year ending in Sept. 2007 (the most recent available on Guidestar), the organization spent $3.5 million for travel. Undoubtedly that paid for a lot of plane trips, vehicle rentals, etc. Got a breakdown of that for us, Fred? What kind of carbon offsets are you buying to cover that? (We demand transparency!)

And according to the 2007 annual report, EDF has 10 offices throughout the U.S. and one in Beijing. Can you provide a carbon impact assessment for us? You’ve got three offices in California, and three in the Northeast Corridor of the U.S. (four if you add Raleigh). No opportunities for consolidation there to minimize greenhouse gas impact? And are you mostly served by coal-burning utilities or something else?

And finally, what mode of transportation are your 318 employees and 43 voting board members using to get to work every day? Any SUVs? Pick-up trucks? Other gas guzzlers? Or are they buying into the EDF vision and riding mass transit or driving hybrids? With more than $85 million in revenues in 2007 alone at your disposal, I’m sure you can take care of these little things for your people as you practice what you preach.

As the Washington Examiner showed in its recent “Big Green” editorial series, Krupp, EDF and other outsized environmentalist nonprofit groups are raking in huge dollars via their intimidation racket against business. According to its most recent tax returns, EDF is sitting on more than $145 million, and Krupp is paid nearly a half-million dollars annually, surpassing the income of most “climate denier” think tank leaders.

Now Krupp says they are going to get even more aggressive, propagandizing and litigating against companies because they refuse to give in to a political agenda based on a scientifically discredited foundation. Apparently there is an endless flow of money to groups who will stop at nothing — not even a transformational election — to attain their economically ruinous goals.

Paul Chesser is an NLPC Associate Fellow.

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