=======================Electronic Edition========================

.                                                               .

.           RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #347           .

.                      ---July 22, 1993---                      .

.                          HEADLINES:                           .

.               THE POLLUTERS' NOT-SO-SECRET PLAN               .

.                          ==========                           .

.               Environmental Research Foundation               .

.              P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD  21403              .

.          Fax (410) 263-8944; Internet: http://www.rachel.org      .

.                          ==========                           .

.  Back issues available by E-mail; to get instructions, send   .

.      E-mail to INFO@rachel.org with the single word HELP      .

.    in the message; back issues also available via ftp from    .

.      ftp.std.com/periodicals/rachel, from gopher.std.com      .

.            and from http://www.monitor.net/rachel/            .

.    Subscriptions are free.  To subscribe, E-mail the words    .

.   SUBSCRIBE RACHEL-WEEKLY YOUR NAME to: listserv@rachel.org.  .



[More than a month ago, in RHWN #342, we urged our readers to

think like their adversaries.  We offered a view of the world

that we believe many polluter's secretly share.  We asked readers

to imagine how they would behave if they were polluters who held

these views.  The following compendium is written from the

viewpoint of polluters.  If you are put off by the negative tone

of some of these ideas, remember that they were suggested by real

people fighting for their lives.]

1) DENY that environmental and health problems are real.  This is

ESSENTIAL to our success.  If the public believes we're

endangering their health, we're in serious trouble.

This idea is so important that it warrants an orchestrated

campaign. If possible, a major metropolitan newspaper, one known

for objectivity and good reporting, should kick off the campaign.

We should commission a half dozen books, written by former public

officials, particularly aging white males with Ph.D. degrees in

science or engineering, challenging the belief that ecosystems

are endangered, and ridiculing the notion that small exposures to

chemicals harm people.

We'll also need a couple of slick magazines devoted to business

and the environment.

As we get into this campaign, we'll need to characterize our

adversaries with epithets and labels, such as chicken littles,

or simply chickens; chemophobes; hysterical housewives;

irresponsible doomsayers; crazies; and so forth.  This part can

be fun.

We will also need to initiate some strategic lawsuits against

people who accuse us of harming them.  We can never keep them

entirely quiet, because they are too numerous, but we can learn

something important from organized crime.  Organized crime does

not beat up every one of its adversaries.  A single

heavily-publicized beating goes a long way toward bringing

everyone into line.  Everyone has a price: most of our

adversaries will not be swayed by money, but will respond well to


Lastly, we will need a federal agency that we can rely upon to

conduct scientific studies that show pollution never harms

communities.  ATSDR [Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease

Registry] is a good candidate, though EPA has often served us

well too.

Anyone who doubts our ability to get proper results from

government, should recall the EPA and the waste industry.  During

the past decade at least 50 highly-placed officials of EPA,

including 3 past administrators, have created and enforced

regulations tailored to benefit the waste industry, and have then

left government to take lucrative jobs in the waste industry.

This revolving door provides all the control we could ever need.

2) DELAY the inevitable.  Learn from the tobacco industry:

they've avoided the obvious for 40 years.  Examine how they have

achieved their phenomenal success.  Here are a few strategies

that work:

Corporate philanthropy: tobacco companies support the arts,

sports events, and local schools, even as they are getting the

kids addicted to a product which, if used as directed, will ruin

their health and eventually kill them.

Crush your adversaries in court.  Hire lawyers born of a marriage

between the bulldog and the shark.  Take no prisoners.

Vigorously defend your absolute right to make and sell any

product, no matter who may be harmed.  Defend at all costs your

right to harm people; it is the essence of a truly free market.

If possible, have the federal government label your product

"hazardous."  This will shift liability onto the government, and

onto the user of the product.

Fund scientific research, especially irrelevant scientific

research. The public has no idea what's relevant.  Funding

research gives the appearance of caring, and provides a basis for

any claims you might want to make.  "Our research shows" is a

much better introduction than, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one

on TV," which also has been shown to work.

Sow the seeds of DOUBT.  A little doubt goes a long way to

confuse the public and delay decisive action.  If there's any

doubt about the science underlying an issue, the media give "both

sides" even if one side has only 0.01% support and the other side

has 99.99% percent support.  Tobacco companies can still find

people with science degrees who will look straight into a TV

camera and say, "I am not aware of any convincing evidence that

tobacco causes cancer."

Our plants in Congress need the merest shred of evidence, the

slimmest shadow of a doubt, to justify a hands-off approach.

In these hard times, it is especially rewarding to emphasize

ECONOMIC DOUBTS about environmental programs.  Claim they're

going to wreck the economy, destroy jobs, cost the taxpayer

billions of dollars.  If it turns out later that these

predictions are wrong, it won't matter; no one remembers such


3) DIVIDE.  Keep your adversaries at each other's throats.  If

they get together, they're formidable.  Divided, they're weak.

Our adversaries are racially and cultural diverse.  They

represent rich and poor alike. Therefore, we have BOUNDLESS

opportunities to split them and set them against each other.



4) DISSEMBLE.  This means lie.  Not that anyone likes to lie, of

course.  But sometimes it's the only expedient way to spread

doubt, divide our adversaries, and make points with the media.

The media almost never look behind what we say--they report it at

face value, so a little lie can go a long way.

5) DESTROY.  When all else fails, destroy your adversaries'

credibility, cohesiveness, and confidence.  Call them commies.

Call them hippies.  Call them at 3 in the morning and curse at

them in Spanish or Korean.  Drive them crazy.  Have the police

"discover" drugs in their cars.  Kill their dogs.  Burn their

homes.  Whatever it takes. (But don't get caught.)

6) DECOY.  Set up smoke screens.  Divert attention away from the

real issues.  Looking for a site?  Announce that you're examining

multiple sites, to keep your adversaries spread thin, unable to

focus on the site you really want.

Hide in a web of enterprises.  The modern trend toward

"enterprise webs" instead of old-style corporations (see Robert

Reich's book, WORK OF NATIONS) offers great opportunity to leave

exceedingly complex paper trails that few can follow.  Contracts,

subcontracts, leases, subsidiaries--all offer opportunities to

conceal who's doing what to whom.

Avoid appearing at public meetings.  That's what we have

government for, to appear on our behalf.

At all costs, avoid direct confrontation with communities.  It

takes a miracle to win a direct confrontation, unless of course

you can turn the situation violent.  A violent confrontation, we

can ALWAYS win.

7) DEFEAT bad legislative proposals.  Simply put: buy votes and

influence.  Money spent on lawmakers and judges is ALWAYS a good


8) DEMAND and require government to use risk assessment wherever

possible.  It is our best tool for having our way with any

community. A well-written risk assessment can prove that anything

is safe.  Risk assessment, more than any other single tool, has

allowed us to continue business as usual.  THIS IS A KEY IDEA.

We must support risk assessment at all costs.

DEMAND public hearings where the public gets only 30 seconds (if

we're generous, 3 minutes) to state its case.  Better yet, have

"public information sessions" where the public can only "ask

questions" and cannot "make speeches."  If they "make speeches,"

cut them off.  That way we control the whole meeting, yet give

the appearance of a democratic process.  Appearing to be

democratic is important.

It goes without saying that meetings should be held during the

day, whenever possible, so working people can't attend.  If you

must meet at night, arrange the agenda so the hystericals get to

speak late in the evening, after the media have left.

9) DEFLECT liability and responsibility, particularly at the

personal level.  The key to the success of the business system is

that individual investors are not held responsible for anything a

corporation does.  If things go bad, chapter 11 bankruptcy bails

everyone out, as in the asbestos industry.  If individuals were

ever held strictly liable for corporate behavior, our privilege

and power would disappear.

In addition, it is important to DEFLECT attention away from

corporate behavior.  Keep the public focused on its own personal

behavior.  Make people feel guilty about their lifestyles.  Keep

people focused on water-saving toilets, setting up recycling

programs, and planting trees.  One of the great success stories

of all time is the way corporations have effectively disappeared

as a public issue.  When was the last time you saw a headline,

"Legislature limits size of corporations" or "Corporate bad actor

loses right to do business."  Not since about 1915 have you seen

such a headline.  Now THAT'S successful deflection.

10) DIRECT AND CONTROL the pace of change.  The inevitable IS

inevitable, but we can control the pace, which is really all we


11) SUPPORT the Big 10 environmental groups when they work to

pass unenforceable legislation, as they've done for 20 years.

Passing unenforceable legislation undermines confidence in

government, splits the environmental movement, wastes taxpayer's

money, bloats the bureaucracy, and convinces the public that real

change is impossible. PERFECT.

12) Keep regulators focused on controlling chemicals one at a

time, instead of controlling whole classes of chemicals.  THIS IS

ANOTHER KEY IDEA.  Controlling chemicals one at a time, risk

assessment by risk assessment, will take centuries or longer.

Meanwhile, the chemicals are profitably in use while we debate.

13) We need to restrict the first amendment to the Constitution,

so-called free speech.  Speech isn't free, it's loose.  This is

one key area where we haven't solidified control, and we need to

work on it.

14) Free trade agreements, like NAFTA and GATT, are keys to the

expansion of our control world-wide.  WE NEED THESE AGREEMENTS.

Not only will they let us have our way with the developing world,

but they will undermine jobs in the U.S.  Who will be blamed for

that? Government.  The more we can convince people that

government is the main problem, the better off we are.

15) We must convince people that it is hopeless to work for

change. Always create the strong impression that nothing

different is possible. It's important for the public to believe

things have always been the way they are today, and always will


16) Paint ourselves green, green, green.  Green is good.  Green

is friendly.  Green is the color of money.

                                                --Peter Montague

Descriptor terms:  business strategies; greenwashing; free trade;

nafta; gatt; liability; corporations; corporate charters; risk

assessment; first amendment; freedom of speech; free speech;



Environmental Research Foundation provides this electronic

version of RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY free of charge

even though it costs our organization considerable time and money

to produce it. We would like to continue to provide this service

free. You could help by making a tax-deductible contribution

(anything you can afford, whether $5.00 or $500.00). Please send

your tax-deductible contribution to: Environmental Research

Foundation, P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403-7036. Please do

not send credit card information via E-mail. For further

information about making tax-deductible contributions to E.R.F.

by credit card please phone us toll free at 1-888-2RACHEL.

                                        --Peter Montague, Editor