Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The oil-onion lobbying complex

File this under: it is impossible to be too cynical:
In August, after years of lobbying, Shell received a controversial permit from the Obama administration that allows the company to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic. The permit was approved after a final comment period in April that allowed the public to weigh in on the decision one last time.
Environmentalists and local communities sent in hundreds of letters and signed petitions, arguing that Shell is incapable of controlling a spill in a remote region of the world with limited infrastructure, which is known for stormy seas.
But the docket for public comment also features a few letters of support, including the letter from the National Onion Association, a group that is dedicated to reminding citizens that onions contribute “layers of flavor, color, and texture to a wide variety of dishes and cuisines.” Its website also provides many delicious-sounding recipes prominently featuring onions.
No one picked up the phone at the National Onion Association, nor did Executive Vice President Wayne Mininger, who signed the Arctic drilling letter, respond to a request for comment.
According to an online plagiarism tool, the National Onion Association’s pro-drilling letter is 78 percent identical to language from a Consumer Energy Alliance petition to support drilling in the Arctic. It appears the onion farmer letter only added a few non-substantial lines, such as: “On behalf of U.S. onion producers, shippers and allied industry …”
We can only hope that the low FODMAP  diet catches on, and onions bite the dust.

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