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More Conflicts of Interest On Environmental Improvement Board

By   /   January 25, 2010  /   News  /   No Comments

Is Gov. Richardson stacking the court that can order a state-wide emissions cap of so-called greenhouse gases? As it is, the Environmental Improvement Board is chaired by a man paid by global warming activists to be their spokesman and lobbyist. Now a leader of one of the most aggressive and radical environmental groups will be joining him on the EIB.

James Gollin

James Gollin

According to Joyce Medina, Board Administrator for the New Mexico Environment Department Boards and Commissions, Gov. Bill Richardson has appointed James Gollin of Santa Fe to an open seat on the EIB. She states she has learned of the appointment though “they haven’t sent me anything on it yet.”

Gollin is the president of the board of directors of the Rainforest Action Network, an environmental group co-founded by one of the nation’s first advocates and practitioners of environmental terrorism. RAN was co-founded by Mike Roselle, who helped start Earthfirst!, the first organization to openly advocate and practice eco-terrorism through of acts of destroying property and intimidation of those engaged in practices they deemed objectionable. Arson and other means of sabotage were promoted and taught to Earthfirst! associates.

For more background on Roselle’s activities go here and here for a very critical view. As the linked profile in Time states, “There is no such thing as too extreme for Mike Roselle.”

“One of the most radical of mainstream groups, one of the most mainstream of radical groups.”

Gollin has been president of the RAN board for about eight years. He is credited with leading successful campaigns for RAN and raising millions of dollars for the organization. His personal statement as a donor, supporter and leader of RAN can be read here. He has described RAN as “one of the most radical of mainstream groups, one of the most mainstream of radical groups.”

Before becoming an environmental activist and donor, Gollin worked in investment banking. He made enough money to retire early and become a writer and activist. Gollin and his wife head up the Angelica Foundation, that gives money to what the foundation describes as “environmental, pro-democracy and human rights groups in Southwest US and Latin America.” He sits on the boards of other foundations that support environmental advocacy groups. He also has described himself as an “active private investor, particularly in environmentally-friendly technologies and socially responsible real estate.”

In December 2009, Gollin accepted an invitation to join the board of directors of Democracy Alliance, an organization of wealthy liberals who have pledged to each contribute at least $1 million to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups. (Washington Post background story here). Its supporters include George Soros. Michael Vachon, Soros’ political director, sits on the board of directors with Gollin.

Though RAN started as an organization to protect rainforests and old growth forests, its activities under Gollin’s leadership of its board have expanded to include climate change activism. It has pressured corporations to adopt policies to restrict emissions of CO2. It has claimed credit, for instance, in getting Goldman Sachs to call for “urgent action by public policy makers and regulators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Prejudging Claims on Man-Made Global Warming

The petition which Gollin will hear as a member of the EIB urges the EIB to order a state-wide cap on emissions of CO2 and other gases frequently called “greenhouse gases.” These emissions would be capped at 25% of 1990 levels. To prevail, the petitioners, which include about a a dozen environmental organizations, must prove that these gases are causing the planet’s temperatures to rise and threaten the health and safety of New Mexicans. In its “Statement of Reasons” for the proposed regulation, the petitioners claim that man-made global warming “is already causing adverse impacts on the human and global environment, including New Mexico.” It claims that if New Mexico and other jurisdictions fail to impose the desired cap on emissions, “the world will suffer substantial and potentially irreversible catastrophic consequences.”

Gollin has apparently already prejudged the factual and scientific predicates for imposing a statewide cap on emissions. The organization he chairs has clearly stated that it shares the same beliefs as alleged in the petition he will hear as a member of the EIB. This is how RAN has stated its position on the issue:

Global warming is the most urgent issue of our time. Fossil fuel burning, industrial agriculture and forest destruction cause the climate to change by releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Scientists predict that unless humans significantly reduce carbon emissions, sea levels will rise, and weather patterns will shift violently. Human-caused pollution has left our planet on the verge of a tipping point at which ecosystems will die and release massive amounts of CO2. If that happens, the changes to the climate could be irreversible, countless species will go extinct, and our economic and cultural way of life will be forever altered. RAN is working to curb the global warming crisis. By taking action now, we can reduce emissions by more than 85 percent by mid-century and prevent this climate catastrophe before it’s too late.

Direct Conflicts of Interest

Gollin’s group, RAN, is directly allied with the lead petitioner, the New Energy Economy. NEE is an environmental organization that is part of a national network of activists and advocacy groups called 1Sky. NEE’s affiliation with 1Sky is featured prominently on NEE’s website. It describes 1Sky “as an effort to galvanize a more powerful climate movement.” Among its goals is “to build the necessary power to solve global warming and put America on a new path for energy.”

RAN is listed on the 1Sky site as one of its allies that “has pledged to support 1Sky solutions and are actively engaged in the campaign.”

A call to Gollin asking him why he would not have a conflict of interest in hearing NEE’s petition has not been answered.


Jim formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.