ShareThis Page

Accuser accused

| Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, 8:57 p.m.

Trout Unlimited appreciates the Leader Times' coverage of the Arrowhead Chapter and our plans to remove acid mine drainage from Huling Run in Armstrong County. That story prompted a letter from Will Coggin of the Washington, D.C., Environmental Policy Alliance ( “Hidden agenda” ).

Ironically, Coggin accused Trout Unlimited of having a hidden agenda. In truth, Trout Unlimited has always been open about its goals and funding sources, which includes a diverse group of grass-roots members, environmentally focused foundations and even representatives from the energy, mining and agriculture industries.

Conversely, Coggin's group is hardly as forthright about its agenda and funding sources. Basic research shows that this “alliance” is one of many nonprofit front groups established by Rick Berman & Co., a lobbying and PR firm. Those front groups serve to hide the funding sources for smear campaigns on behalf of clients who don't want to be publicly associated with those shady efforts.

Nonprofit watchdog organizations, like Charity Navigator, offer warnings about Berman-established nonprofits. However, one can understand the appeal to clients whose real agendas would not sit well with the general public. Berman's clientele don't want to be known for opposing commonsense protections to clean water. Who would? But Berman and his hired guns will be happy to take the heat. For a fee, of course.

Joseph T. Mercurio

The writer is legislative action chairman for the Trout Unlimited Arrowhead Chapter in New Kensington.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.