Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Corporate Library
Environmental Defense
Environmental Media Services
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


Live by the Lawsuit, Die by the Lawsuit
Some NGOs just love to sue. They sue the government, they sue industry, they sue anyone they can. Heck, if Winston were a conspiratorial-minded watchdog he would almost suspect that certain NGOs get funding from trial lawyers and not necessarily for the most purely altruistic reasons.

Sometimes, however, the tables get turned. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an environmental watchdog that is no stranger to courtrooms, recently found themselves in the unusual position of being a defendant, and they were not amused.

Grist Magazine, based on a story in the Wall Street Journal, reports that CBD was sued by an Arizona rancher. It seems that CBD has posted photos on its website that allegedly showed the destruction of land that the rancher had leased from the US Forest Service for grazing. CBD "claimed that bad grazing practices caused the devastation."

The rancher sued CBD for defamation and "produced new photographs of the same areas, shot from different angles, to support his contention that the center exaggerated its claims." The jury agreed and "awarded Chilton $600,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages."

A senior CBD official was quoted as saying that "paying up may devastate the center." CBD will appeal even though they admit "that its photos weren't representative of all the land Chilton leases..."

Grist explains that the rancher "employed activist tactics to win a lawsuit against a conservation group, and his success may inspire other ranchers to fight back against greens."

Winston explains that watchdogs should be careful who they bite, because their target may just bite back

  • Click for Grist article.

    CRE Homepage