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Is Clinton An “Environmental Champion”?

In its first-ever endorsement of a U.S. presidential candidate, the NRDC Action Fund – a political affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council – released a statement on May 31 backing Hillary Clinton. According to The Washington Post, both Rhea Suh (president of the NRDC Action Fund) and Patricia Bauman (NRDC Action Fund Board Chair) called Clinton “an environmental champion” in their statements to the newspaper.

Suh claimed that “Hillary Clinton is an environmental champion with the passion, experience and savvy to build on President Obama’s environmental legacy,” while Bauman said, “We’re making this historic endorsement because it’s critical for all of us to unite behind an environmental champion and help her beat Donald Trump.” [1]

Curiously, the phrase “environmental champion” doesn’t appear in the organization’s press release. Indeed, their press release doesn’t name a single thing that Clinton had done for the environment as Secretary of State. Instead, it says only that “Clinton understands the environmental challenges,” that “she knows that polluted air and unsafe drinking water are far greater burdens on poor communities,” that “she understands the enormous potential of the growing clean energy economy,” and that she “has the deep knowledge and diplomatic skills to fight for our kids’ future.” [2]

In fact, the press release slips on its own spin when it states: “Americans expect our president to enforce laws that protect our environment not weaken them. We expect our president to fight for clean air, safe water and a healthier planet for all, not embrace and promote the agenda of big polluters.”

But embracing and promoting “the agenda of big polluters” could be an accurate job description for much of what Clinton did as Secretary of State.

A major investigative report by Mother Jones in 2014 revealed “a crucial but little-known dimension of Clinton’s diplomatic legacy.” Mariah Blake wrote, “Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe,” and also “helped U.S. firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves.” [3]

The State Department apparently even helped facilitate a “lobbying blitz targeting the European Union” for fracking. Mother Jones reported, “U.S. lobbying shops also jumped into the fray. Covington & Burling, a major Washington firm, hired several former senior E.U. policymakers – including a top energy official who, according to the New York Times arrived with a not-yet-public draft of the European Commission fracking regulations.” [4] The subsequent EC regulatory framework on fracking included only “recommendations” for governments, not firm requirements – a weak framework that reflected the expressed desires of the lobbyists.

A Covington & Burling Partner is an Honorary Trustee of Natural Resources Defense Council. [5]

Mother Jones further reported: “In late 2011, Clinton finally unveiled the new Bureau of Energy Resources, with 63 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget. She also promised to instruct U.S. embassies around the globe to step up their work on energy issues and ‘pursue more outreach to private-sector energy’ firms, some of which had generously supported both her and President Barack Obama’s political campaigns…As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana.” [6]

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 9.15.13 AM

The Clinton State Department also continued (like previous administrations) to promote genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide across the planet. As Jeffrey Smith, the author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, told Toronto’s Vitality Magazine, “Monsanto has a legendary influence over the U.S. government. If you look at Wikileaks you see that the State Department has been deployed around the world to promote biotechnology and Monsanto’s interests.” [7]

In 2012, investigative reporter Jon Rappoport called the Obama administration “a stealth operative on behalf of Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, and corporate control of the future of agriculture.” [8]

Others have written that Hillary Clinton’s ties to Monsanto “run so deep that she’s now being dubbed the ‘Bride of Frankenfood’.” [9] In 2015, Clinton announced that long-time Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford would be an advisor to her Ready for Hillary super PAC.

The Washington Post called the NRDC Action Fund endorsement “a blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who hopes to upset Clinton next week in the democratic primary in California, a state where environmental issues loom large.” [10]

Is Hillary Clinton “an environmental champion”? Some would argue she’s the fracking Bride of Frankenfood. When added to her war-mongering, and the list of ruined countries bombed into rubble since 2009, “environmental champion” isn’t what comes to mind at all.

Footnotes:

[1] Abby Phillip, “Major environmental group backs Hillary Clinton in its first presidential endorsement,” The Washington Post, May 31, 2016.

[2] Rhea Suh, “Hillary Clinton for President,” NRDC Action Fund, May 31, 2016.

[3] Mariah Blake, “How Hillary Clinton’s State Department sold fracking to the world,” Mother Jones, September-October, 2014.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Board of Trustees, NRDC website (www.nrdc.org).

[6] Blake, op cit.

[7] Interview with Jeffrey Smith, “The Market for GMOs Is About To Tip Over,” Vitality Magazine, July/August 2013.

[8] Jon Rappoport, “Meet Monsanto’s number one lobbyist: Barack Obama,” Naturalnews.com, September 25, 2012.

[9] Mike Adams, “Hillary Clinton Pushes GMO Agenda, Hires Monsanto Lobbyist, Takes Huge Dollars from Monsanto,” Global Research, May 21, 2015.

[10] Phillip, op cit.

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Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.

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