Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nuclear plant developer suing enviros over 'slur'

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc, which is seeking to build a nuclear power plant in Idaho, has filed a defamation suit against the SnakeRiver Alliance, an environmental group opposed to the project, after the enviro group's director called the company "scammers."

"We have passed two independent financial audits and if anything were even slightly amiss, we'd have heard about it," said AEHI President and CEO Donald Gillispie. "These radical groups are allowed to make almost any claim they wish, regardless of the facts, and the media rarely questions them. Someone has to hold them accountable. "

If corporations in New Jersey filed suit every time critics like the Sierra Club's Jeff Tittle said something nasty about them, the court calendar would be clogged with defamation actions. Tittle would be so busy answering interrogatories that the state's media would have to file an amicus brief in hopes of preserving their most cherished source of story-making quotes.

Hey, maybe that's the point. The Big Chill. Close down the opposition through legal intimidation. Bleed your opponents dry with court costs. Send them to the sidelines, regardless of the merits of your case, while your project chases its permits.

Or maybe the environmental Davids have gone overboard in using a compliant media to slay corporate Goliaths. Maybe the tactics that win you easy headlines--hyperbole, half-truths and sometimes outright inaccuracies--are beginning to take their toll on the environmental movement's credibility.

What do you think? Click on the "comment" line below and share your thoughts.

NOTE: While attribution is admired, you can choose to answer anonymously if you're afraid of a corporate lawsuit or an environmental tongue-lashing.

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