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Ecopornography Revisited

When the going gets tough, call the PR department, and ask it to come up with a spiffy new acronym. It's a recognized ploy with a long history.

Here we go again.

The bold, ambitious plans to push solar power plants, windmill farms, and other green facilities is causing a major backlash among industries used to having their way with government policy -- coal companies, oil companies, the usual suspects.

The latest effort is being led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with three million members nationwide (some of those members are almost certainly very uncomfortable with what's coming; maybe there will be a mutiny; one can only hope).

Their line is that selfish interests (you and I) are out to block everything. Everything. The new acronym is BANANAs as in "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything." They have a website, natch, called Project No Project, which lists 112 energy projects nationwide the Chamber claims have been delayed or blocked over the past few years. These include not only big coal plants that definitely should be blocked, and oil and gas ventures ditto, but also wind projects, solar projects, and others that sound benign, at least on the surface.

But this is all about politics, not energy.

The Chamber's hope is to implant the idea that we of the green persuasion, and our new federal allies, are against everything and in favor of nothing. This is fatuous flapdoodle and not likely to gain much traction, he said hopefully, but the Chamber is about to spend large sums to try to give the argument credibility. Newspaper ads this week in honor of Earth Day, the works.

And for good measure, they've trotted out two more new acronyms: NOPE (Not on Planet Earth) and CAVEs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) to go along with the venerable NIMBY (Not in My Backyard).

So take this as a heads up; we'll see how it plays out. Just remember, this is about changing the subject, little else.

PS: My first book contribution was a chapter in The Environmental Handbook in 1970 titled "Ecopornography, or How to Spot an Ecological Phony." It discussed how oil companies, chemical companies, timber companies, and myriad others were spending big bucks on print ads (mostly, back then) touting their credentials as good environmental citizens. The ads were twisted at best, outright lies at worst. Plus ça change.

Tags:  coal

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