EPA Watch

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

EPA Watch was a newsletter edited by Bonner Cohen that accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of everything from destroying the U.S. economy to trying to stop people from taking showers. It was part of a campaign by the U.S.tobacco industry to destroy the EPA's credibility, after the EPA's ETS Risk Assessment concluded in 1992 that secondhand cigarette smoke was likely to cause lung cancer.

A Philip Morris strategy document describes EPA Watch as an "asset" created by PM funding allocated "to establish groups . . . that have a broader impact for PM."[1]

Another Philip Morris strategy memo, by PM vice president of Corporate Affairs Ellen Merlo, discusses plans to promote "EPA Watch/Bonner Cohen as expert on EPA matters, i.e., regular syndicated radio features on EPA activities, . . . news bureau function, speaking engagements, whatever can be done to increase his visibility and credibility on matters dealing with the EPA."[citation needed][2]

Dr. Bonner Cohen was editor of EPA WATCH from 1992 to 1999.[citation needed][3]

EPA Watch was supposedly published by the American Policy Center (APC), a phantom organisation headed by long-time PR pro Thomas DeWeese.

Documents & Timeline

1991 Mar/E Possible ghost-bylines • Patrick Michael, UVA Dept of Environmental Science, Climatologist, global warming issues are not backed by science, on Board of Advisors of American Policy Center\EPA Watch (804) 924-0549, co-authored an article with David E. Stooksbury, also of UVA. [1]

1993 Tom Humber of the PR company Burson-Marsteller, looking for extra billable work, recommends to Ellen Merlo at Philip Morris, a few ideas as to how the tobacco company should handle the ETS ('passive smoking') program. Among many other suggestions he lists:

We should specifically discuss the potential for EPA Watch as a part of media and other efforts. I have previously discussed with Tom Borelli several ideas for expanding the impact of EPA Watch and the reputation of Bonner Cohen as an expert on EPA matters. At a minimum, a series of radio actualities with Bonner commenting on EPA matters could reach an extremely wide audience, and we can tailor geographically for maximum appeal.

We think it also possible to establish a standard format that could give Bonner presence as an expert commentator, but that requires further investigation. As a part of the D-Day operation, Bonner's name was provided to several Colorado journalists as an outside resource on EPA transgressions.



Related SourceWatch Articles

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  1. "New Project: Parents for Priorities", Philip Morris, undated, page 5.
  2. [3]
  3. [4], Lexington Institute,