"Major US corporations ranging from Pfizer to Halliburton are mobilizing scores of public affairs professionals across Washington this fall in hopes that the new legislative session will bring an end to years of costly asbestos-related lawsuits," PR Week's Douglas Quenqua writes. "Working separately as the Asbestos Study Group (ASG) and the Asbestos Alliance (AA), hundreds of major companies that have either manufactured or used asbestos are lobbying for protection from more than 600,000 asbestos lawsuits now pending in US courts.
"Democrats and moderate Republicans alike are accusing Bush of having the worst environmental record in history -- of surreptitiously tearing down the regulatory framework that yielded vast improvements in the nation's air and water quality and land conservation over the last 30 years," writes Amanda Griscom. In response to growing criticism of its environmental policies, the administration has "made every effort to finesse its public-relations strategy, but none whatsoever to change its approach to environmental policies themselves. ...
"Two top Environmental Protection Agency officials who were deeply involved in easing an air pollution rule for old power plants just took private-sector jobs with firms that benefit from the changes," Knight Ridder's Seth Boronstein reports.
"Last week," notes columnist Paul Krugman, "a quietly scathing report by the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed what some have long suspected: in the aftermath of the World Trade Center's collapse, the agency systematically misled New Yorkers about the risks the resulting air pollution posed to their health.
Nearly two years after the collapse of the World Trade Center, the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general reports that the failure of EPA officials to properly inform New Yorkers of the dangers of the fallout can be traced to inside the White House. "The news that White House staff ordered the EPA to minimize potential health dangers near Ground Zero was bad enough," NY Daily News' Juan Gonzalez writes.
"Pacific Lumber, the Northern California redwood logging giant whose clear-cuts have made it among the most vilified companies in the West by environmental groups over the past 15 years, is getting a makeover," the San Jose Mercury News writes.
A former landfill near Denver is being turned into soccer fields to be used yearly by more than a half-million people, the Denver Post reports. That has county officials spinning a success story for waste management. But public health advocates are crying "foul." The site, which is part of a several million dollar containment project, will also include a dog park and the county's hazardous household waste facility. "You'll be able to run your dogs, dump your hazardous waste and play soccer all in the same place," Jefferson County facilities manager Lee Suttie said.
Inter Press Service reports that "The recent appointment of fast food giant McDonald's to the advisory board of an environmental group has drawn accusations of 'green washing' from environmentalists and led one board member to resign in protest. Paul Hawken, a well-known activist and environmentalist respected for his strong opposition to corporate globalisation, resigned two weeks ago from the Green Business Network... .
Responding to an in-depth Washington Post expose, The Nature Conservancy has hired Edelman PR Worldwide for damage control. The Post's multi-part article portrayed the environmental non-profit, which has $3 billion in assets, as a willing dealmaker for the benefit of its corporate supporters and trustees. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, the Arlington, Va.-based group is desperate to avoid Congressional inquiry into its activities.
"Conspicuously missing from the ubiquitous Iraq war critique was the subtle agenda of water rights in the parched Middle East region," writes Leah C. Wells. "The dialogue about access to clean water is commonplace in peace talks throughout the Middle East, but Western diplomats rarely broach the topic. An anonymous U.S. State Department official quoted in National Geographic said, 'people outside the region tend not to hear about the issue (of water).