Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bankrupt Rhetoric

In the day job we shill for big energy, so you can take the following with a pinch of salt. But we got this from Riverkeeper the other day. Riverkeeper has hired not-hugely-cheap PR firm Rubenstein to send out releases linking the recent bankruptcy bill to the safety of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant.

The logic is rather tenuous, and certainly gives ammunition to those of us that think that liberal habits of getting holisticallly angry are very ineffective. There's an article in Rolling Stone, which rather upsettingly appeared on our doorstep the other day without us ordering it, saying much the same thing. To paraphrase, it quotes a lot of people saying "could you not have the Free Mumia crowd at an anti-war march?

The release has the headline: "Riverkeeper Raises Concerns Over New Bankruptcy Law & Lack of Corporate Responsibility in the Wake of Disaster". Buried in the release is the small fact that the new new Law has very little to say about corporate bankruptcy, and that Rubenstein might as well bring up the horrible liabilities that would result to households in Westchester if a chemical tanker blew up on the Thruway.

Bankruptcy law allows subsidiaries to file for Chapter 11 without their owners doing so, and vice versa. Claims upon them are indeed limited, as asbestos victims have discovered. But, unless we are much mistaken, the Federal Government has assumed a large chunk of the liabilities from nuclear accidents in any case.

We have our issues with nuclear power, the cost-shifting, the never quite explained radiation levels, the China Syndrome, but even less sympathy for the residents of Westchester, who have previously turned down gas pipelines that might obviate the need for a nuclear power plant. And even less sympathy for cynical PR monkeys trying to foist exploitative non-sequiturs on a credulous public.


At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Rubenstein.....
The inventive Maya Israel, part-time TV actress,
part time PR hack,
has a track record of great hyperbole,
as in when she got the uninterested
Gen. Wesley Clark to run for president,
on a promise of 200,000 grassroots links, and---- after he bit,
having the truth come out that
she had a mere 200 names,
but thought that they could weblink to others, later.
The Clark campaign boxed her up in embarrassment.

What has to be understood in enviroland
is much of the PR is choir-preaching,
meant to keep the pledge money coming in.

It doesn't have to really ever be credible.

Harry, dog on the River


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