It’s happened so often it’s become a predictable pattern. The Yadkin Riverkeeper sends out press releases, creates a flurry of headlines in the press, then lies low when nothing comes of his sensational announcements. Let’s look:
August 7, 2009
This was an announcement of a study done by Dr. John H Rodgers which claimed to link the PCBs found in fish tissue in Badin Lake to Alcoa. Later, the EPA reviewed the study by Dr. Rodgers and concluded:
EPA Review Comments for Badin Lake, February 2010, (pages 2, 8, and 9)
Has anyone ever seen that reported in the press? Dean Naujoks acts like he’s never seen the report, but he referred to another excerpt from it in another of his own press releases.
October 9, 2009
“Alcoa tried to bury this announcement, but it speaks volumes of how contaminated the water is that they have to shut down recreational operations for a weekend during what is a busy time of the year for boaters and fishermen,” said Naujoks. “I wonder how many people who visit the lake heard about this cleanup in advance.”
Alcoa had sent out a press release on October 2nd explaining that the boat access area would be closed for repairs and that final cleanup was being done where a capacitor had been removed near the Narrows dam in 2002. In fact, it appears that Naujoks press statement was partially based on Alcoa’s. The remainder of Naujoks’ statements were purely imaginative.
October 15, 2009
The Yadkin Riverkeeper does not have the standing to file a legal brief with FERC. He did send a letter, although I don’t know why that warrants a press release.
November 9, 2009
“The Yadkin Riverkeeper® has announced that an internal document recently discovered indicates that Alcoa knew it had contamination in Badin Lake caused by its old smelting operation near the lake 12 years ago but hid that investigation from the public, indicating a pattern of deceit regarding its environmental record."
No, Alcoa held a public meeting and the information was reported on the front page of the Stanly News and Press on May 18, 1997, along with a statement from the state Division of Epidemiology that the chemicals posed no risk to public health. Ever hear a retraction from the Riverkeeper?
December 9, 2010
According to the Salisbury Post, the EPA did look into whether a criminal investigation was warranted. That’s the last we ever heard of it.
January 25, 2011
Anyone ever hear that the Yadkin Riverkeeper did sue Alcoa?
February 7, 2011
This may be my favorite, simply because it was such an extreme overreaction by the Riverkeeper. Here’s what happened. The Lexington Dispatch newspaper ran an online poll asking whether people agreed with the Riverkeeper’s intended lawsuit (see point above). The Riverkeeper sent out several email blasts urging his supporters to vote and vote again. When someone beat him at his own game, he complained. He sent out a press release! He called for an investigation! Who did he want called in, the SBI? It was an online poll. It had no scientific validity.
November 11, 2011
Once more, anyone ever hear that the Yadkin Riverkeeper did sue Alcoa?
December 13, 2011
Another press release, this time an actual legal filing, a request for a Declaratory Ruling by the North Carolina Secretary of Administration to determine the true ownership of the Yadkin River bed in Stanly County. When the Department of Administration refused the request, a few news outlets who were watching picked up on it, but there were no press releases.
You really have to wonder if the Yadkin Riverkeeper has any interest in anything other than getting his name in the paper, making frivolous accusations, and saving face when his headlines fizzle. His record clearly does not indicate that he has any qualms about misinforming the public.
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