On CBD and Marita Noon's piece in ET of September 16, 2011
On September 20, 2011 I received a demand notice from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in response to an article we had published here on September 16, 2011 by Marita Noon. We stand by our decision to publish the article on, among other reasons, the important merit of counter-acting exactly what CBD has attempted to do since then.
An e-mail from Kieran Suckling, CBD’s Executive Director, to Marita Noon was in reference to what we consider as Noon’s well-researched piece “The Center for Biological Diversity is a Litigation Machine Masquerading as a Friend to Animals.”
“The post falsely asserts the Center for Biological Diversity ‘extorted’ money out of the BrightSource Corporation via a legal settlement agreement. However, the Center received no money or any form of benefit from the legal settlement. Here is the joint press release about the settlement by the Center and BrightSource which says exactly that. By publishing Noon’s false and malicious post, you are illegally defaming the Center. Please remove the post today and inform me when you do.”
However, their press release does not say that “no money or any form of benefit” was received. In fact, it does say that a benefit was received:
“The Center for Biological Diversity and BrightSource Energy, Inc. reached an agreement today to provide additional protections for the desert tortoise and other rare species affected by the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project in the Mojave Desert.
Under the terms of the agreement, BrightSource will arrange for the acquisition and/or enhancement of thousands of acres of desert tortoise and other desert habitat. The specific lands identified for acquisition and/or enhancement will be made public when agreements are completed with the willing sellers.”
“Additional protections for the desert tortoise and other rare species” is a fungible benefit. The press release does not show that no money was received. As a matter of fact, the actual agreement itself has never been released and other than the claims of the two parties, we have no idea what it really says. Money is never mentioned in the CBD press release but, unquestionably, the lands involved have a high dollar acquisition cost borne by BrightSource.
ABC News’ website features an article on the CBD/BrightSource Energy agreement that says:
“Long before studies showed one of the world”s largest solar projects could harm or kill more than 1,100 tortoises in the Mojave Desert, the threatened creature”s longtime champion already had signed off on the project.
Months earlier, the Center for Biological Diversity had agreed not to sue or challenge Oakland-based BrightSource Energy Co.”s project – expected to cost $2 billion – in exchange for additional protections and a swath of desert tortoise habitat elsewhere. Any finer points of the deal remain a mystery because the agreement is confidential.”
Additionally, referencing law suits filed over federal approval of six solar plants, Mother Nature Network says the following:
“Among the six is the 370-megawatt Ivanpah plant in the Mojave Desert, for which BrightSource Energy broke ground in October. BrightSource already made some concessions after the Center for Biological Diversity, known for litigation on development it believes threatens the environment, raised concerns.”
Other authors have come to the same conclusions about CBD. In TucsonCitizen.com, blogger Hugh Holub titled his post “Another example of environmental extortion.” His comments are about another “agreement” involving CBD on another solar project.
Suckling states that Noon “falsely asserts the Center for Biological Diversity ‘extorted’ money.”
Noon never said “money,” her reference to “extortion” is a dictionary definition that shows “extortion” includes “securing favors.”
CBD did threaten BrightSource Energy. BrightSource did settle.
A threat of lawsuit is “intimidation.” By threat of lawsuit, CBD received “favors” in the form of expensive tortoise habitat and as the ABC News post says: “Any finer points of the deal remain a mystery because the agreement is confidential.”
CBD’s threat toward me, their threat toward other sites who’ve posted Noon’s work, and to Noon personally, (all of which I’ve seen) are more examples of “intimidation” with the intent of securing “favors” in the form of removing a post that shows them as the bullies I now know them to be. We will never remove the article.