By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
The litany of double-dealing is a familiar one. First, there is the Ozone Man himself,
Al Gore, who has already appeased Norwegian whaling interests earlier this year in the name of GATT and now seems intent on using his environmental credentials to forge a similar deal for Mexico on dolphins. Then there is Tim Wirth, the former Democratic senator from Colorado and now a Clinton administration official. Back at the start of this year, Wirth leaked to the Washington Post a memo he had written to the White House urging a firm stance on environmental protection. Wirth has now come forth as a leading broker for the Stevens-Breaux bill as it navigates its way through the Senate.
He has sent handwritten notes to several key senators, asking: "Can you co-sponsor the tuna/dolphin bill? We have worked out a good package with a sound science/enviro base and with Breaux and Stevens as co-sponsors."
From John Chafee comes supportive babble about "ecosystem management" in the Pacific and the necessity to kill some dolphins that more might flourish (to be killed another day). Particular pressure has been applied to the Massachusetts Democrat, Senator John Kerry, a long-time supporter of strong dolphin conservation measures. Kerry is being urged to sign onto the bill by a lobbyist with whom he is particularly intimate--his wife, Teresa Heinz, the vice chair of the Environmental Defense Fund's board of directors and a fanatical espouser of free-market environmentalism.
Heinz is the widow of the late Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, who was heir to the $640 million Heinz food fortune. (John Heinz and Wirth were old friends in the Senate, and co-authored Project '88, a detailed manifesto of free-trade environmentalism.) Teresa Heinz,
a ruling class Portuguese woman who is a sort of green version of Ariana Huffington, remains a leading stockholder in the Heinz Corp., which owns StarKist, the world's largest tuna processor. The Heinz Corp., which has made big investments in "dolphin-safe" tuna, is to its credit resisting pressure from Teresa Heinz and the White House to support the redefinition of "dolphin-safe" and the opening of the U.S. market to tuna from Mexico.
But the bill has another big supporter in Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. He sees an alliance between the administration and Don Young and Ted Stevens as a way to stave off attempts to gut the Commerce Department's budget. And, indeed, Young and Stevens have both opposed measures to zero out Brown's department.
And the green groups? They call the deal a "victory for the environment," and claim that their presence at the embassy meeting in September will allow them future access to the halls of power in Mexico City. One of the most vigorous promoters of the Dolphin Death Bill is the Center for Marine Conservation, an organization that maintains a cozy relationship with corporations such as Anhueser-Busch and Dow Chemical. The Center is run by Roger McManus, whose wife, Dinah Bear, works for the Clinton administration as general counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality.
Sounding very much like a fully fledged free-market environmentalist, Greenpeace USA President Barbara Dudley says her organization supports the Stevens-Breaux bill because "it tears down unfair trade barriers" for Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. "The current Dolphin Safe Tuna laws represent a kind of green protectionism. We need to give Third World nations economic incentives to protect the oceans." Two of the "Third World" nations that will benefit most from passage of the Stevens-Breaux bill are Spain and France. Of course, Greenpeace rakes in millions of dollars a year in the name of the dolphins and the whales.
So the dolphins could soon start dying as a consequence of this legislation, sacrificed by Clinton and the big green groups on the altar of free trade. This bill should be seen as a bellwether. In its wake will come further assaults on U.S. environmental laws, precisely along the lines foretold so accurately two years ago by NAFTA's opponents.