Just how low can an ENGO go?

Demand that “Conservation Minnesota” sever ties with incineration giant Covanta

It’s no secret that many mainstream ENGOs (“Environmental Non Governmental Organizations,” more simply “Environmental Groups”) have slipped more and more into the pockets of the polluters they are supposed to be opposing.  As they’ve made their transitions from member-support to grant-support, they’ve lost control of their own agendas, and, in many cases, have lost their souls.  So now, hearing from one, we don’t know whether it’s really Pew talking, or the Energy Foundation, or Monsanto, or Chesapeake Energy, or Covanta, or Waste Management, or whatever….

But personally, I’m not seen anything as nauseating at the “partnership” between “Conservation Minnesota” (closely tied to the League of Conservation Voters) and giant garbage burner operator Covanta.  And in this case, there’s no need to wonder:  “Conservation Minnesota” boasts of it:

“Covanta Energy is supporting Conservation Minnesota’s work to reduce waste, increase recycling, and reduce the pollution that is warming Minnesota’s climate.   It is all part of Covanta Energy’s commitment to use the 4 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover) as the hierarchy to manage waste with the best results for our environment.”

Some months ago I spoke to Paul Austin, Executive Director of “Conservation Minnesota.”  Austin said his office in downtown Minneapolis was near the Covanta-operated garbage burner presently seeking an expansion of burning, in the fact of strong community opposition.  He said the money given to Conservation Minnesota by Covanta was “small,” in the vicinity of ten thousand dollars, but could not or would not tell us the exact amount.  I asked Austin if Conservation Minnesota had consulted with any of the neighborhoods under the smokestacks before signing on with Covanta.  He said not.  Austin hadn’t done any “due diligence” on Covanta’s pollution of Minneapolis.  Austin hasn’t returned subsequent calls.

Worse, Austin sits on the national Board of the League of Conservation Voters.  (Pumping Covanta‘s toxic lies into the top levels of the US “environmental community?”)

Worse, Austin is identified as the contact person for one of the three main 2013 “Collaborative Legislative Initiatives” of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, which claims to speak with one voice for Minnesota’s “Environmental Community.”  The priority, supposedly?   Increasing use of solar energy in Minnesota, via a Solar Energy Standard (SES) “a policy that will ensure Minnesota gets 10 percent of its energy from solar by the year 2030.”   Who could disagree with that?  Details of the proposal were not available, but little birdies are singing to us that it’s likely to involve an increased “renewable energy” quota that would include garbage incineration and “biomass” burning.

Of course, Conservation Minnesota and other compromised orgs do some good work.  But as long as this kind of moral squalor is tolerated it will continue to eat them up from the inside.  And the bad guys will snicker as they buy them off for trivial–to them–sums.

Minnesota, especially, needs help, as the dirty burner people have their hooks so deep into the political system, regulatory agencies–the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency actively promotes garbage burning while mostly ignoring recycling–and, obviously, the mainstream “environmental community.”  Covanta, and Hennepin County, have been systematically buying off all sorts of individuals and organizations.  We’ll report on some more of these.  (Many other Minnesota communities are also suffering from incinerator pollution.)

Help out by asking “Conservation Minnesota” and the League of Conservation Voters to sever ties with Covanta:

David Hartwell, Chair, Board of Directors, Conservation Minnesota:  hartwell@bellcomb.com [Update Feb 24, 2015, now it it Lucy Rogers, lucy.rogers@wolf-ridge.org, 218-353-7414]

Paul Austin, Executive Director, Conservation Minnesota: paul@conservationminnesota.org

Gene Karpinski, Executive Director, League of Conservation Voters: gene_karpinsky@lcv.org

And if you have a minute, CALL “Conservation Minnesota:” 612-767-2444

Alan Muller

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