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Originally Posted: 26 September 2011
[Ed. Note: UPDATE as of October 20, 2011: Condor Habitat-wrecking Developer Wins Eco-villain Rubber Dodo Award
The Center for Biological Diversity today announced the long-awaited winner of our 2009 Rubber Dodo Award: real-estate bigwig Michael Winer. As portfolio manager for the giant real-estate firm TAREX, Winer is a main man behind the largest developments in California and Florida, which would destroy tens of thousands of acres of endangered species habitat. In California, TAREX is leading the Tejon Ranch in building two entire new cities, destroying thousands of acres of federally designated "critical habitat" for the endangered California condor. Tejon is also home to the California red-legged frog, San Joaquin kit fox, and other protected species on California's precious Tejon Ranch. In Florida, TAREX is investing in the St. Joe Company's cursing of the Florida Panhandle with tens of thousands of acres of high-end developments.
Says Center Senior Counsel Adam Keats: "Under Winer's money-obsessed leadership, TAREX has become the poster child for unsustainable, endangered species-killing sprawl. . . . There is good reason that even Wall Street commonly calls TAREX a 'real estate vulture.'"]
It’s time to pick the most outrageous eco-villain of 2011. The Center for Biological Diversity established the Rubber Dodo award in 2007 as a way to spotlight those who do their very best — that is, worst — to destroy wild places and drive species to oblivion. The award, named after the most famous extinct species on Earth, is given out every year.
INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
Previous recipients of this prestigious faux-accolade were former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), mega-land speculator Michael Winer, infamous for his work on Tejon Ranch (2009), polar bear opponent Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007), who set a record low in the number of plants and animals he placed on the endangered species list.
The 2011 nominations (drum roll, please):
Syngenta. Syngenta is one of the world’s largest pesticide manufacturers and the maker of atrazine, a widely used weed-killer that’s been linked to significant human and wildlife health problems, including birth defects, impaired fertility and certain cancers. Some 80 million pounds of atrazine are applied every year in the United States. The herbicide has already been banned by the European Union, and the EPA is considering taking this dangerous chemical off the market here as well. Syngenta, through its powerful lobbying group, is one of the leading proponents of measures to gut the Clean Water Act and allow unregulated pesticide applications in our waters. The lobbying group is also actively trying to stop the Center for Biological Diversity’s landmark lawsuit to get the EPA to review the effects of hundreds of pesticides on imperiled species prior to their approval for use.
Rep. Steve Pearce, (R-NM) Pearce is the leading voice of radical anti-environmentalism in Congress. He and his followers are trying to sacrifice imperiled species — including the rare dunes sagebrush lizard — on the altar of filthy fossil fuel development and give timber corporations unfettered access to our national forests. As ringleader of the latest offensive against the Endangered Species Act, Pearce promotes his agenda through lies to create fear in rural communities and anger toward environmental laws and even environmentalists themselves. Pearce, who has accepted nearly $1.2 million from Big Oil and Gas since 2002, promotes a radical agenda that’s dangerous to a democratic society because it relies on cynical manipulation rather than science, facts and the law.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. No business lobby does more to halt efforts to address the global climate crisis than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber spends tens of millions lobbying to protect the interests of its huge, polluting corporate interests — and more than 90 percent of mid-term election candidates it financially supported were climate deniers. The Chamber has fought every significant measure in Congress meant to curb global warming and has provided powerful support for political cronies to stop the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution that hurt people, the environment and our prospects for a healthy climate. The Chamber has also consistently opposed bedrock environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, even when many of its own members disagree with its extremists positions.
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