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Spamming EPA
Winston understands that the high-protein Atkins Diet is all the rage these days. However, that does not mean that EPA should be fed a steady diet of spam.

NRDC is undertaking a spam campaign in an apparent attempt to gain EPA's support for an extremist agenda for reducing mercury emissions from power generation. Specifically, NRDC is promoting a web page with a prepared e-mail message - complete with NRDC supplied "facts" - that internet users can send to EPA with the click of a mouse. NRDC does not explain what value repetitive e-mail messages, i.e. spam, would have to EPA policy officials.

It is noteworthy that the NRDC page for sending the spam e-mails to EPA provides no links to peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports their contentions regarding mercury. Instead, their "Learn More About This Issue" link goes to a popup page that contains yet more unsupported assertions. Even after following a series of links to gain more information, the reader is left without the quality information that would be needed to support NRDC's policy position.

Ultimately, NRDC is engaged in a con. A multi-faceted con. On one side, they are trying to convince EPA to take rash action without regard to the science, or lack thereof, behind the proposal and without considering the economic consequences of such actions. On the other side, NRDC is trying to convince internet users that they can make a difference in public policy not through informed participation but through rhetoric and mindless clicks.

This is not to say that NRDC's campaign is silly or useless. Just the opposite. At the bottom of NRDC's electronic form for spamming EPA is a small, pre-checked box stating "Yes, I want to join the Earth Action Network!" Thus, the real purpose of their spam EPA campaign becomes clear, fundraising. The goal of the anti-mercury campaign seems to be less about changing EPA policy than about fattening the group's coffers. Winston calls it the NRDC diet, you may not loose weight but your wallet will.

  • Click for NRDC campaign
  • Click for CyberActivist.US' Science Policy Forum thread on mercury levels in fish
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