The practice of "green-scamming' - stealing an environmental group's name to further an opposing cause - may be acquiring a whole new meaning on the Internet.
Members of the Pulp and Paper Workers
Resource Council at the Potlatch Inc. mill in Lewiston, Idaho, got
so mad at the Idaho Conservation League for opposing timber sales
that they created a Web site called "Idaho Conservation." Launched
in late February, the site attacked league staffer John McCarthy
for misleading Congress and the public with "selective" photography
of old-growth ponderosa pine trees in the Boise National Forest.
The union says the photographs make the forest look worse than it
ICL members say the union treads on
thin legal ice by using most of the group's name on the Web site
but failing to disclose the union's identity. "Own your own shit,"
McCarthy advised the union. "How can the stinking Potlatch pulp
workers have any credibility with their own stink if they don't
even put their own name on the site?"
never been any attempt to hide ownership of the site," responds
Jerry Klemm, Rocky Mountain regional director of the Pulp and Paper
Workers Resource Council. "We're not out to defame or smear
anybody. We're trying to show people there's another side to
conservation issues." Similar union-run sites are being planned for
the states of Montana, Oregon, Washington and California, union
"It looks to me that they (the
union) are deliberately trying to confuse the public," says Land
and Water Fund attorney Laird Lucas, who won an Idaho
green-scamming case two years ago. McCarthy says his group is
considering its legal options.
Conservation League's real Web site is www.wildidaho.org. The
union's version is at www.idahoconservation.org. - Stephen