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Foundation multi-millions fund ocean privatization campaigns
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Mar 3rd, 2011 9:47 AM
I can very much relate to Stolpe’s research. Environmental politics in California has become severely corrupted by all of the corporate money that flows from Hewlett Packard, Intel, Getty Oil, Bechtel, Walmart and other corporations into foundations. The corporations’ agenda for putting so much money into big NGOs is to coopt, corrupt and eviscerate much of what passes for “environmentalism” in California today, not to “save” fish populations.
Foundation multi-millions fund ocean privatization campaigns

by Dan Bacher

Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” Mark Felt, advised investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to “follow the money” to uncover the truth behind the Watergate scandal.

Nils E. Stolpe, a muck raking journalist, has done just that. Stolpe asks the hard-question: How many millions of dollars are environmental non governmental organizations (ENGOs) receiving from corporate-funded foundations in their drive to take over NMFS and NOAA, to run fishermen’s lives and to destroy fishing communities that have been viable for generations?

A new website - - will give you some idea. “The odds are that unless you’re a foundation/ENGO insider, you’ll be staggered by the answer,” said Stolpe. “Hundreds of millions of dollars just barely cover it.”

“These so-called grass roots organizations have roots that appear to go in only one direction – towards the board rooms of a handful of multi-billion dollar ‘charitable’ foundations,” he emphasized.

“Just as it was important in the Watergate investigations, following the money is also important in determining who is doing what and why in fisheries management and where the impetus for a management ‘revolution’ is coming from,” noted Stolpe. “In order to help untangle what seems to be an overly tangled web, I’m putting together information on the mega-foundations behind the anti-fishing juggernaut and the individuals and organizations that are most heavily involved.”

The above link will take you to the introduction page. From it you can get to the database of granters, grantees, years of the grants and (except for the Walton Foundation, which omits this information on their website) the purpose of the grants.

The “Connections” link in the middle of the page will take you to a web page on which Stolpe has started to list the involved foundations, the involved organizations, the involved individuals and anything else that “fits into this tangled and incestuous web.” He notes that this project is “far from complete and will continue to be a work in progress as long as it’s there”

“The calculations that are now possible provide a perspective of the fishing-related funding of these foundations – and the ENGOs that depend on them – that beg to be shared,” he stated.

For example, in 2008, the ‘Big Four’ foundations poured over $70 million into the ENGO treasuries. These foundations are the Pew Charitable Trusts (Sunoco Oil Company), the Walton Family Foundation (Walmart), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Intel Corporation) and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation (Hewlitt-Packard Corporation).

I can very much relate to Stolpe’s research. Environmental politics in California has become severely corrupted by all of the corporate money that flows from Hewlett Packard, Intel, Getty Oil, Bechtel, Walmart and other corporations into foundations. The corporations’ agenda for putting so much money into big NGOs is to coopt, corrupt and eviscerate much of what passes for “environmentalism” in California today, not to “save” fish populations.

The shadowy Resources Legacy Foundation, a “money laundering operation” for corporations according to North Coast environmental leader John Lewallen, is the prime example. This private corporation funds Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a process rife with conflicts of interests, corruption and institutional elitism and racism.

The Packard Foundation has contributed $8.2 million to fund MLPA hearings through the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, while the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has donated $7.4 million to the widely-contested process. The Laguna Beach-based Marisla Foundation, founded by Getty Oil heiress Anne Getty Earhart, gave another $3 million.

The Keith Campbell Foundation’s contributed $1.2 million to the MLPA Initiative through the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation. Finally, the Annenberg Foundation contributed $200,000 ( (

It is very important to note that organizations that do good work on behalf of recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and Indian Tribes such as Earthjustice, Save Our Wild Salmon and the Institute for Fisheries Resources also receive money from the big foundations, as you can see from the information on this site. However, the big corporate environmental groups that support the MLPA Initiative, catch shares program and the peripheral canal – all attempts by corporate interests to privatize the public trust – definitely receive the overwhelming bulk of foundation funds.

Stolpe added, in reference to the reliance of ENGOs on corporate money to support ocean privatization efforts such as catch shares, “No wonder none of them will admit that our domestic fisheries are in really good shape and getting better. How would they replace those tens of millions of bucks that come rolling in every year like clockwork if they didn’t have a fisheries crisis to fix?”

I agree with Stolpe that many fish populations are rebounding. Rockfish and lingcod populations on the West Coast, after being hit hard by an over-capitalized commercial fleet encouraged by federal government low-interest loans, are definitely on the rebound, due to the most stringent fishing restrictions of any place on the planet.

However, Central Valley salmon and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta pelagic (open water) species have declined dramatically in recent years. Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations have collapsed because of record water exports from the Delta and declining water quality, not because of fishing. A total 798,770 adult chinooks, including 94,223 hatchery fish and 704,547 natural spawners, returned to the Sacramento River and its tributaries to spawn in 2002.

The Sacramento River fall chinook run, the driver of West Coast salmon fisheries, declined from 798,770 adult chinooks in 2002 to only 39,530 fish in 2009. The unprecedented collapse prompted the federal and state governments to close recreational and commercial salmon fishing off the California and southern Oregon coast in 2008 and 2009. This closure caused economic devastation to coastal communities already besieged by the housing market crash and high unemployment levels.

Due to improved ocean salmon numbers, a severely restrictive commercial season and short recreational season opened in 2010.

The National Marine Fisheries Service forecasts an ocean abundance of 729, 893 Sacramento fall chinooks this year, based on modeling derived from a 2010 jack (two-year-old) salmon escapement to Central Valley rivers in 2010. Due to the increased salmon abundance, recreational and commercial fishermen are likely to see more liberal salmon season seasons.

At the same time, the Sacramento adult winter chinook population, an endangered species, plummeted to only 1,596 fish in 2010. To preserve this fragile population, the seasons will have to be crafted around avoiding impacts upon the winter run. Federal biologists recommended that be done through either raising the recreational size limit to 24 inches or reducing the length of the season – or a combination of both.

It is instructive that the factors figuring most prominently in the recent fisheries collapses in California are water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, increases in toxic chemicals and ammonia discharges into Central Valley streams, and the failure of the state of California to regulate agricultural water pollution.

Fishing did not cause the collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail and striped bass populations - the state and federal government's abysmal water management policies and failure to control water pollution did. Catch shares and corporate-funded marine protected areas will do nothing to solve these fishery disasters.

As we watch corporate-funded ENGOs campaign to privatize the public trust through catch shares and fake “marine protected area” programs, Stolpe’s site will be invaluable to journalists, activists and members of public desiring to “follow the money” behind corporate “environmentalism.” I applaud Stolpe for setting up
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Review: The War for Nature's Bounty.Thursday Mar 3rd, 2011 4:36 PM

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