U.S. firms sell out again and jump on the palm oil gravy train. The (environmental) press is reporting that two big Washington, D.C. law firms, Holland & Knight and Van Ness Feldman, have taken on palm oil giants as their clients in an effort to overturn the EPA’s somewhat shaky finding against using palm oil in biodiesel. Here’s a link to one story:
I was so pissed off by such brazen opportunism that I fired off emails to two of the lobbyists representing the palm oil goons (Admittedly my first email was short, sweet and a bit irascible) This one is a bit more professional and restrained:
The press is reporting that the palm oil industry, led by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, the Indonesian Palm Oil Board and Neste Oil, has hired your law firm to lobby the EPA in overturning its finding that palm oil-based biodiesel fails to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.
I urge you to rethink your firm’s supportive position on this controversial and dire topic — for the sake of the world your children and grandchildren will inherit from our generation — perhaps the most selfish in the history of the planet.
The unsustainable worldwide demand for palm oil is leading to the destruction of the southeast Asian rainforests, the devastation of precious habitat for critically endangered species, the very death of members of those critically endangered species, such as the intelligent orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, the displacement of indigenous peoples who make a life in the rainforest, and the exacerbation of global warming gases into the atmosphere (not to mention adding to the banana republic graft and corruption of the government of Indonesia and its various communities). In addition, cutting down high conservation value rainforests to develop palm oil plantations that from that point forward could be considered “sustainable” is not sustainable at all and defeats the purpose in the first place. It’s an oxymoronic rationalization.The efforts of your firm to add to this palm oil demand is a pathetic cash grab at the expense of the environment, wildlife and humans. (The European Union is rethinking their decision to use palm oil in their gas formulations based on palm oil’s inherent environmental problems.) But, then again, all your lawyer-lobbyists seem to care about is money and nothing about the dire consequences of palm oil development in Southeast Asia (and around the world, such as in Africa, too).
Not sure how you sleep at night knowing that you’ll be aiding in this environmentally damaging business that is destroying flora and fauna in the wild that will never return once destroyed. (And please don’t answer rhetorically, “On a bed made of money.”)
Attached is a photo of the burning Tripa rainforest that was torched to make way for a palm oil plantation in March (illegally, by the way, thanks to local government and palm oil company collusion and corruption). And another of a dying orangutan displaced by the torching of her rainforest home — and targeted for killing as a pest by palm oil plantation workers. Finally, the last photo is of a mother and daughter orangutan who were circled by bloodthirsty palm oil plantation workers who were going to kill them as pests if not for the last-minute rescue of an environmental NGO.
Thank you for listening. Obviously, this is an extremely passionate topic for many on the frontlines. But clearly this is a matter in which the whole world has a stake.
Here are the photos I sent along with the email (nothing new for us):
Well, I know the first recipient received it because I saw that he glanced at my LinkedIn profile. And get this — his LinkedIn profile says that he’s worked for some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress, including old California liberal lion Alan Cranston (the target of so much bile from my Republican father when I was a kid.) Guess ideals go out the window when money’s involved, huh?
- Indonesia peatland back on protected list in test case | Reuters (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)