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Methyl Bromide Global Coalition

Bromide Baron Rap Sheet #7
Political Ecology Group
March 31st, 1997

Address: c/o TriCal, P.O. Box 1327, Hollister, CA 95024 and
Washington D.C. Office c/o Methyl Bromide Working Group, P.O. Box 7178, Washington D.C., 20044
Chairman: Tom Duafala, TriCal Inc..
Tel: (408) 637-0195
Fax: (408) 637-0273

Major Business: Represent the big international producers of methyl bromide, as well as TriCal Inc., primarily in the international political arena.

Activities: Funding research that casts doubt on the broad scientific consensus that methyl bromide poses a serious threat to the stratospheric ozone layer. Directly influencing Montreal Protocol debate on banning methyl bromide.

Operating Budget: Unknown.
Members: The MBGC is composed of six methyl bromide producers, plus TriCal.[1] While the MBGC is quite secretive and does not give out membership lists, it is widely understood that its members also include: Great Lakes Chemical, Albemarle, Dead Sea Bromine, Elf Atochem, Teijin Chemicals and Sanko Chemicals.

The Methyl Bromide Global Coalition (MBGC) has exerted significant influence on all aspects of the methyl bromide debate, inserting itself as a central player in international scientific panels, diplomatic negotiations and public pronouncements on the issue. As such, this small group of corporations has had an utterly disproportionate influence on the Montreal Protocol negotiations -- an international diplomatic forum dedicated to preserving the health of the Planet.

Perhaps the most curious aspect of the MBGC is that it is chaired and coordinated by Dr. Tom Duafala of TriCal Inc.. This has led to a highly inappropriate situation where a plant pathologist employed by a secretive, privately held corporation based in Central California -- a corporation whose business currently depends on methyl bromide fumigation -- is exerting a significant and disproportionate influence on international governmental negotiations to reduce and eliminate the hole in the ozone layer -- a serious threat to the security of the peoples of the world.

Junk Science

The MBGC, led by TriCal's Dr. Tom Duafala, has distorted scientific findings to suit the organization's goals. In one case, the methyl bromide industry circulated alleged "conclusions" of a scientific meeting called Methyl Bromide State of the Science Workshop held in June 1995. In this case however, the "conclusions" were not the workshop's findings, but rather a paper authored by Duafala--although his name and that of the MBGC failed to appear on the first version circulated, lending the appearance that they were the official scientific conclusions of the workshop. This deceptive document contained the methyl bromide industry's "spin" on science, including unfounded claims such as "increasing agricultural use of methyl bromide has had no measurable affect on atmospheric levels [of ozone]."[2] The paper certainly failed to give a true acount of the conclusions of the workshops.

Moreover, government officials in a number of countries were led to believe that this summary was official and that it had, in fact, been approved by the United Nations and independent scientists. As a result, the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as officials from NOAA and NASA were compelled to issue statements warning about inaccurate industry statements, indicating the misleading nature of this publication and pointing to the series of scientific inaccuracies it contained.[3]


Global Lobbyists

While ostensibly formed as a scientific "research" arm of the methyl bromide industry, the MBGC is engaged in lobbying activities at various levels. For instance, when the methyl bromide issue heated up in California in late 1995 and early 1996, the MBGC, as well as its individual members, descended on Sacramento to lobby the California State Legislature.[4]

On a national level, the MBGC's Washington D.C. office is also the Methyl Bromide Working Group's office. TriCal President Dean Storkan describes the MBWG as "clearly a lobbying group."[5] The two "organizations" share the same telephone and fax lines.

And in the Montreal Protocol negotiations, the MBGC -- an association of the largest transnational corporate producers of methyl bromide -- clearly steps beyond the bounds of independent science and into the realm of political lobbying. Indeed, it appears that the MBGC plays a leadership role for the virtual army of corporate lobbyists which invades every gathering of the Montreal Protocol.


Endnotes

  1. Methyl Bromide Global Coalition, "Methyl Bromide Global Monitor," Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1994.
  2. Tom Duafala, Ph.D., "Important Conclusions: Methyl Bromide State of the Science Workshop" Revised version, October 9, 1995.
  3. K.M. Sarma, "UNEP Warning About Inaccurate Industry Statements," Correspondence, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, August 10, 1995; A.R. Kavishankara, M.J. Kurylo, letter to Mr. Lajn McGinchy, August 7, 1995.
  4. California State Assembly Committee of Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials analyses of AB 1735 (May 9 and 11, 1995), and of AB 1 (January 10, 1996), and Senate Committee on Health and Human Services analysis of SB 808 (September 15, 1995).
  5. Dean Storkan, telephone interview, March 25, 1997.