Did an environmental issue disappear because activist groups got a check? It would seem so. The National Resources Defenses Council and Santa Monica Baykeeper sued the city of Malibu in 2008 for ‘groundwater’ pollution. The settlement they reached? Malibu has to ‘fix’ 17 drains, easy enough to rationalize since water can pick up garbage as it falls due to that nature thing that happens – but then they also have to donate $750,000 to the two groups that filed the lawsuit.
How is that helping the environment? It isn’t, but it keeps those environmental corporations in business so they can hire more lawyers to raise more money.
Why would the incredibly environmentally conscious city of Malibu cave into this extortion from people they support? “The litigation was diverting resources that are better used to advance our clean water programs,” said Malibu City Councilmember Jefferson Wagner. A clean water lawsuit was costing them money they wanted to use to have clean water. Most crime happens locally, included the white collar kind, so even if Malibu is incredibly conscious and proactive about the environment, they are easier targets than in actual bad areas where they might not get a friendly judge.
In other words, they were an easy, rich target for a nuisance lawsuit. And it worked. It’s an easy fix for the city because they have already fixed the problem – their new stormwater treatment facility, Malibu Legacy Park, was already being built and came online after the lawsuit was filed. And it’s an easy win for environmental extortionists because all they have to prove is that stormwater got into Santa Monica Bay at the time they filed it.
It’s easy to vilify the rich when fomenting class warfare is all the rage. And I don’t like that our goofy policy of subsidizing solar power to the tune of $44 billion in the last two years is made even goofier by giving state rebates, like $3.3 billion all Californians have to pay for solar power rebates, which only the rich can afford to get in order to apply for the rebate. Like the people in Malibu. But we have to contain smug satisfaction that Malibu is getting attacked by the people they support the most and accept that environmental extortion is not good for anyone.