Statement from EWG President Ken Cook on Wyly Air Pollution Stance

EWG Calls For Boycott of

For Immediate Release: 2 p.m., EDT, March 16, 2000
Contact: Mike Casey 202-667-6982

WASHINGTON - Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Kenneth A. Cook today made the following statement.

See clarification of Kenneth Cook's statement.

"For 25 years, millions of citizen-environmentalists have fought well-heeled polluters to create the clean air laws and protections that billionaire Texas financier Sam Wyly has told The New York Times he opposes.

"By improving public health, these laws have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and billions of dollars in health and productivity costs. They've also streamlined our economy by prompting American industry to produce goods and services with less waste. When these protections aren't enforced, the results are bad. Wyly's home state is a perfect example. It now boasts the smoggiest city, the second most polluted waterway, the most expired water pollution permits and a dismal record of enforcing basic environmental and public health protections.

"The bottom line is that without these protections, Wyly's renewable power brokering services would not be marketable today.

"None of that, however, has stopped Wyly from taking profits and funneling them into $2.5 million worth of lying about the air pollution record of Governor Bush.

"If ever the public needed a prototype for sleazy, political big-spenders who are drowning out the political voice of average citizens, it has one now.

" is doing some good things, and it has won the support of some in the environmental community. However, the Times article suggests that it's time for the environmental community to reassess that support.

"Over seven years, EWG has conducted dozens of computer investigations into air pollution and the dirty campaign money that blocks clean air progress. We've been critical of Democrats and Republicans, and we have made few friends inside the Clinton-Gore Administration, I'm sure.

"These experiences have taught me that Mr. Wyly's propaganda-driven efforts should not be silently tolerated.

"So, I am calling on environmentally concerned citizens to send a message to Mr. Wyly in the only language he seems to understand... money. And the way to send that message is to boycott until Mr. Wyly and his son leave its board and relinquish all control over the organization."

Here is what Wyly had to say in a story on the front page of the New York Times business section on March 16 ("A Texas Financier Is No Stranger to Controversy," by Barry Meier):
"Mr. Wyly said he had no immediate plans to pay for ads against Vice President Al Gore during the general election, but Mr. Wyly added that he and another son, Andrew, a Dennison University student whom he credits with the promotions against Mr. McCain, have kicked around ideas. They would be built around the theme that Mr. Gore, whose environmental record might appeal to some voters, was a regulation-happy Democrat who would not be good for business or the environment."

"Be green without being red," said Mr. Wyly, testing out a slogan on a listener. "Al Gore is an heir to the old czars and commissars. He never saw a regulation he didn't like."



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