Nature Conservancy Contributes $500,000 to Yes on Prop. 1 Campaign

http://truth-out.org/news/item/27207-nature-conservancy-contributes-500-000-to-yes-on-prop-1-campaign

The Nature Conservancy, one of the largest recipients of Walton Family Foundation money every year, has joined Big Oil, corporate agribusiness, the health insurance industry, tobacco giant Philip Morris and greedy billionaires in dumping big money into the Yes on Proposition 1 campaign. Opponents of Prop. 1, Governor Jerry Brown’s State Water Bond, responded to the $500,000 political contribution to Prop. 1 from The Nature Conservancy by calling it “disturbing.” Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “Donors to Prop. 1 want this water bond to pass so that they can get something from it: short-term jobs building dams that will be created with public tax dollars, land to manage bought with public funds, and taxpayer-subsidized water to grow permanent crops on unsuitable land.” “Prop. 1’s big dam projects will make very little new water, and the water will mainly go to unsustainable huge agribusinesses,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “Most disturbing is the $500,000 that the Nature Conservancy has contributed to the Prop 1 campaign. The Nature Conservancy has benefited from the gifting of public lands in the Delta by the Department of Water Resources.” She emphasized, “The Nature Conservancy turned a blind eye to oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the ability to manage wetlands, and pumps oil on its own lands. In California, they are turning a blind eye to the issue of how water exports will be accelerated from the Bay-Delta estuary if Prop. 1 passes, and how this water will fill Governor Brown’s Delta tunnels.” “They are supporting water policies that will serve special corporate interests in exchange for the opportunity to manage more conservancy projects in the Delta and throughout California,” concluded Barrigan-Parrilla. The Nature Conservancy, known for its service to corporate interests at great expense to fish, wildlife, the environment and the public trust, received a total of $5,482,699 from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013. This includes $1,545,963 for freshwater “conservation” on the Colorado River, $1,437,986 for freshwater “conservation” on the Mississippi River. $475,000 for marine “conservation,” and $2,023,750 for other “conservation” grants. The Walton Family Foundation is governed by the descendants of Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of retail giant Walmart, a company notorious for the poor treatment of its workers and its environmentally destructive practices around the globe. And the Nature Conservancy is not the only NGO supporting the water bond that is funded by Walmart money. An analysis of environmental grants that the Walton Family Foundation gave to conservation organizations in 2013 reveals that NGOs supporting Proposition 1, the water bond on California’s November 4 ballot, received a total of $10,786,949 in grants while opponents of the controversial measure received none. Supporters of the water bond getting money from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013 include the Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society (the parent organization of Audubon California, a bond backer), the Ocean Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited. The Foundation lists their environmental contributions in three categories: freshwater conservation, marine conservation and other conservation grants. National Audubon Society, the parent organization of Audubon California, received $2,570,767, including $312,100 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River, $2,058,667 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River and $200,000 for marine conservation. The foundation gave the Ocean Conservancy, a strong supporter of the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable “marine protected areas” in California, $1,552,083 for projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Trout Unlimited was awarded $610,650 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River. American Rivers received $424,400 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River. Defenders of Wildlife got $100,058 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River. Finally, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. received $46,292 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River from the Walton Family Foundation. The Walton Family Foundation dumps many millions of dollars every year into corporate environmental NGOs, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy, that promote the privatization of the oceans through “catch shares,” questionable “marine protected areas” and other projects. “It is highly troubling to see the impact that Walmart and a few big foundations are having on the conservation of our resources, as well as the protection of our artisanal and traditional fisheries including tribal fisheries,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) and opponent of Proposition 1. Prop. 1 opponents find it even more disturbing to find out that the Nature Conservancy has joined a rogue’s gallery of corporate interests that want to pass the $7.5 billion bond so they can get something from it, such as land to manage and “restore” after it is bought with public funds, taxpayer-subsidized water to grow permanent crops on unsuitable land that should have never been irrigated, and short-term jobs building dams that will be created with public tax dollars. For more information go to http://www.noonprop1.org.

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