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Pressemitteilung vom 9. Dezember 2003

Strategiepapier wird Umweltorganisation zugespielt

US-Chemieindustrie: Geheimkampagne gegen Chemikalien-Tests

Die amerikanische Chemieindustrie plant eine Geheimkampagne gegen Sicherheitstests für Chemikalien. Ein entsprechendes Strategiepapier wurde der Umweltorganisation Environmental Working Group zugespielt. Demnach versucht das American Chemistry Council (ACC), dem auch die deutschen Konzerne BAYER, BASF und DEGUSSA angehören, "das Vorsorgeprinzip zu stigmatisieren", um den "Informationskrieg" gegen die Umweltbewegung zu gewinnen. Im Rahmen der Kampagne sollen eine "unabhängige Bürgerinitiative" gegründet, Journalisten angeworben und "Pläne, Motivation und Verbündete von Umweltaktivisten" gesammelt werden (Auszüge des Konzeptpapiers s.u.).

Philipp Mimkes von der Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren: "Dieses Strategiepapier bietet einen seltenen Einblick in die doppelzüngige Vorgehensweise der Chemieindustrie. In Werbekampagnen ist von "Responsible Care" und "intensiven Anstrengungen für den Umweltschutz" die Rede - gleichzeitig werden Kritiker bespitzelt und selbst elementarste Sicherheitsvorkehrungen mit allen Mitteln bekämpft. Der Schutz von Umwelt und Verbrauchern ist für die Industrievertreter offenbar vollkommen nebensächlich." Mimkes fordert den BAYER-Konzern auf, das ACC zu verlassen und sich deutlich von der Kampagne zu distanzieren.

Der Verband der amerikanischen Chemieindustrie will im Rahmen der Kampagne "Vertreter von Minderheiten und Verbraucherschützer" anwerben, da diese in der Öffentlichkeit "glaubhafter" als Unternehmensvertreter wirken. Zudem sollen "schockierende" Beispiele für angeblich übertriebenes Vorsorgedenken, wie die Verbreitung tödlicher Krankheiten wegen fehlender Pestizide, präsentiert werden. Hintergrund ist, dass die Bemühungen der EU, Tausende von Chemikalien erstmalig auf Umwelt- und Gesundheitsrisiken hin zu untersuchen, bei amerikanischen Umweltverbänden und Behörden (besonders in Kalifornien) auf großes Interesse stößt.

Precautionary Principle Campaign Proposal

California's business community has done little to date to counter the Precautionary Principle (PP), largely allowing PP proponents to control the debate and spread their messages unfettered. Should this trend continue, industry runs the risk of allowing the PP to gain additional momentum, with potentially much broader and more severe implications. Moreover, California is a bellwether state, and any success enjoyed here could readily spill over to other parts of the country.

In order to help California industry build awareness and respond to legislative and regulatory attacks on an as-needed basis, the American Chemistry Council is supporting and recommends an aggressive awareness campaign as outlined in the following strategies and tactics.

Strategies

1. Define the issues on our terms to stigmatize the PP, win control of the message war and build awareness of the negative consequences associated with its implementation.

2. Generate support for our position by identifying, recruiting and mobilizing non-traditional allies in the scientific, academic and activist communities to call into action when needed to fight, or preempt unwelcome initiatives.

3. Selectively challenge our adversaries and position their demands and political agenda as contrary to the best interests of Californians.

Tactics

1. Establish a computerized issue monitoring system to track all media, political, policy and regulatory information flow in California with regard to the PP. ID and catalogue the negative effects of the application/ implementation of PP and create a database for use by the coalition and allies for targeted response to initiatives.

2. Conduct and publicize an economic-impact study to dramatize the potentially devastating impacts to industry and consumers should California broadly adapt PP-based legislation and regulation. The study could specify threats to both innovation and technology-development, as well as provide region-specific breakouts (e.g., LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Imperial Valley) so as to create multiple media-pitch opportunities and to generate support among target audiences.

3. Use satire and humor to demonstrate how, taken to its logical extreme, application of the PP would set Californians back to the stone ages. Tactics, through third-parties, would include websites, posters, bill boards, radio placements and internet communications.

4. Harmonize messages through materials by developing an "information and response package", including a fact sheet with substantive arguments and media-friendly sound-bites for use by the coalition and third party allies.

5. Media outreach - Provide a steady stream of information: studies, reports and other media products to advance the message and agenda of the coalition. Approach and educate conservative columnists and talk radio hosts on the issue to stimulate debate.

6. Recruit and energize the business community by creating and publicizing a coalition-sponsored business roundtable or lecture series and/or conferences to educate potential allies about the PP and the consequences of its implementation. These could be held in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego and done in conjunction with other business associations and/or California based think tanks.

7. Conduct selective intelligence gathering about the plans, motivations and allies of opposition activists on an as needed basis. Focus on the PP "movement leadership" in the U.S., and in particular, California.

8. Recruit and energize non-conventional third party critics. Mobilize existing critics of the PP while identifying, recruiting and arming new highly credible third party allies in from appropriate communities (e.g., the minority community, consumer activists, regulatory watchdogs, think tanks) to deliver messages critical of the PP concept that highlight the negative consequences of PP implementation. Encourage the formation of a second, non-business led coalition that can be used to provide testimony, demonstrations, press conferences and other defensive and pro-active situations.

9. Create an independent PP watchdog group to act as an information clearinghouse and criticize the PP in public and media forums. For too long the "common sense" appeal of the PP has gone unopposed. This group would serve as a rallying point for industry and third-party voices in the debate and seek out opportunities to reactively and proactively raise the profile of the negative consequences of the PP. It is possible that the group could be structured as a 501(c) (3) or 501(c) (4) tax-exempt organization.

10. Mount protests timed with debate/discussion/votes on PP-related legislative proposals. Mobilize recruited allies and PP watchdog group to vocally and visibly air arguments against the adoption of the PP in public forums, e.g., outside the capitol and/or local government hearing room.

11. Draft and sponsor ordinances/resolutions rooted in risk management and sound science. Just as activists convinced the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance requiring the PP to factor into their decision-making, industry and its third-party allies could propose ordinances/resolutions that call on municipalities and the state government requiring "sound science" to factor into theirs.

12. Fund a documentary and associated media blitz that examines "shocking" negative past consequences of the PP, in the context of present-day CA situations if possible. Possible topics include: the Peruvian outbreak of cholera; African nations' battle with malaria without DDT, vis-à-vis the possible spread of West Nile virus.

PROPOSED FIRST YEAR BUDGET

Based on their previous experience executing similar tactics for other clients, Nichols-Dezenhall estimates that the communications/public affairs program outlined in this memorandum would cost in the range of $12,500 - $15,000 per month (not including out-of-pocket expenses, e.g., travel costs, materials, printing, ally reimbursement, other costs listed below) during periods of intense activity, and $5,000 - $7,500 per month when the legislature is out of session.