Friday Finds: Corporate Espionage Imparts Clear and Present Danger

Sugar beet death sentence, pinko sustainability plots, carbon cap piggy bank

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Judge orders GMO sugar beets to be ripped from the ground
Citing the potential for environmental harm, a federal judge in California has ordered farmers in Oregon and Arizona to rip up hundreds of acres of genetically modified sugar beets, reports the Associated Press. The ruling stems from an Earthjustice lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which issued permits for Monsanto’s GM, Roundup Ready sugar beets without first determining what kinds of effects the genetically modified crops could have on other foods.

Greenpeace accuses corporations of playing spy games
Greenpeace is suing chemical giant Dow Chemical and others for alleged corporate espionage, reports the Washington Post. The environmental activist group, which has taken on such corporate giants as McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Monsanto, accuses the companies of hiring spies from 1998 to 2000 to "perform a range of ‘clandestine and unlawful’ actions to undermine its anti-pollution efforts against the chemical industry," including stealing confidential records and even sending phony volunteers to illegally record calls and hack security codes.

Stimulus money boosts big polluters’ budgets
Some of the nation’s biggest polluters are receiving stimulus funds and a free pass on basic environmental regulations under the guise of job creation and clean energy, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. Coal giant Duke Energy and ethanol producer Dupont are just two of the lucky recipients that have won blanket exemptions from National Environmental Policy Act regulations. It looks like Christmas has come early for some.

States filch funds from greenhouse gas initiative
Cash-strapped states are pinching dollars from environmental funds created by participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system that has generated more than $729 million in just over two years, reports the New York Times. The money, which comes from charging electric power plants for excess carbon emissions, was intended to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, but legislators desperate to close budget gaps are finding the urge to crack open the piggy bank a little too enticing. 

Tea partiers see communist plot in sustainable development plans
The Tea Party is up in arms again, this time over a decades-old U.N. plan known as Agenda 21, which has the outlandish goal of encouraging countries to consider sustainable development in their planning agendas, reports Mother Jones. Tea partiers see the goal as a way to trample civil liberties by forcing citizens into taking buses (gasp!) and are accusing sustainable development advocates of being (bigger gasp!) communists. And the pinko plot seems to be working. NPR recently reported that more commuters are biking to work, especially in larger cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco. Bike on, comrades!

Jessica is a former award-winning journalist. She enjoys wild places and dispensing justice, so she considers her job here to be a pretty amazing fit.