January 29, 2023

Lead Mercury Researcher Member of Environmentalist Group Working to Ban Mining

For Immediate Release


In a recently released report the US Geological Survey admitted a mercury researcher was a member of an environmental group which lobbied for the California suction dredging ban.

Following a request for an investigation by the Western Mining Alliance (WMA), the Department of Interior released their final report looking into allegations of scientific misconduct by one of their scientists.
The WMA challenged the findings of a 2011 report prepared by Dr. Charles Alpers, of the US Geological Survey (USGS), which concluded suction gold dredging equipment increased mercury levels in streams. The WMA alleged the scientist withheld five years of data and was also a member of an environmental group which was lobbying for a prohibition on suction dredging equipment.

The final report acknowledged Dr. Alpers was not only a member of the environmental group, The Sierra Fund (TSF), but was also on the Board of Advisors of TSF, a position which determined policy and strategy for the group.

The Sierra Fund, based in Nevada City, California, lobbied the California legislature for a permanent ban on suction dredging equipment citing the results of Alper’s report as evidence there was a significant threat to the environment.

“There’s just one problem,” said Craig Lindsay, president of the WMA, “He claimed there was only one year of data available, but we did a Freedom of Information Act request and it turns out he withheld an additional five years of data. The inclusion of the additional data shows no linkage whatsoever, but shows a strong linkage to the size of the spring floods.”

The controversy surrounding the use of suction gold mining equipment has led to a six year ban on the equipment which miners are challenging in court. The miners won their first legal victory from a California Appeals Court in September and appear poised to win a second victory later this month, effectively overturning the ban.

“We were shocked by the deliberate withholding of the data”,said Lindsay. “That Alpers belonged to an environmental group which was lobbying for the ban seemed a little too convenient. The full data set shows no evidence of linkage. The data shows mercury levels in insects have increased significantly since the ban was imposed.”

Despite his membership in the environmental group, and withholding the data the US Geological Survey investigation concluded there was no conflict of interest.

“…the research chemist’s membership in TSF was authorized and complemented USGS interests.” The investigation concluded. The report further justified Alper’s actions by stating “There is a growing trend for people to file scientific integrity complaints in an effort to change legislative decisions they do not like.”

“All we wanted was honest research,not science based on advocacy,” said Lindsay, “Three consecutive California Water Board studies over ten years have shown no linkage between California gold miners and increased mercury. The Alper’s Report was a bit of an outlier to those studies which made us wonder why.”

You can read the publically available USGS report at

You can read the WMA article on the report at


CBS CEO: It is Not a Conflict of Interest to Report on Your Own Brother

CBS CEO Les Moonves on Network’s Benghazi Coverage: Siblings Reporting on Siblings is Not a Conflict of Interest

National Center for Public Policy Research Participation in CBS Shareholder Meeting Marks 6th Media Company Visit of 2014 Shareholder Meeting Season for Group

Los Angeles, CA/Washington DC – Responding to a question from National Center for Public Policy Research Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof at the CBS annual shareholder meeting, CBS President and CEO Les Moonves made the astonishing claim that it is “inaccurate” to call a circumstance in which a sibling is reporting on a sibling a conflict of interest.

Danhof had asked Moonves, in part:

…In its most recent poll on the state of the media, Pew Research reported that Americans think the news media is biased, frivolous and liberal. Two out of three Americans think today’s news stories are simply inaccurate and 76 percent say the media favors one side over the other in reporting.

CBS’s coverage of the Benghazi scandal is emblematic of one of the major problems with the mainstream press – an unwillingness to speak out against the failings of progressive politicians…

As the Heritage Foundation reported this month, “CBS News President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser who drafted the newly-released document about Benghazi just days after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans.” But that information was not made public until a watchdog organization, Judicial Watch, obtained connecting documents after filing a court case.

This obvious conflict of interest is only the surface of a much deeper and more systemic issue. Then-CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson tried to obtain these same documents, but later said CBS News was unwilling to pursue the issue. She has since left the network citing its unwillingness to engage in investigative reporting…

We don’t need Bernie Goldberg to come in here and explain how the vast majority of producers and reporters are liberal folks, but why can’t they check their politics at the door and be objective in news reporting and analysis? So my question is this: what kind of policy does CBS News have to avoid and report on conflicts of interest such as with the Benghazi cover up, and, in an country where nearly twice as many people identify as conservative than liberal, why does CBS continue only to cater to liberal Americans?

“According to CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, running a news group that is reporting on your own brother who happens to be a high-ranking White House official at the center of a major international controversy is not a conflict of interest,” said Danhof after the meeting. When I asked Moonves about the fact the president of CBS News’s brother authored the controversial memo in the wake of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, he claimed it was ‘inaccurate’ to call this a conflict of interest. This is an appalling response that fails to understand the gravity of what has occurred. Media relies on the public’s trust to remain relevant, and Moonves doesn’t seem to grasp that even the appearance of a conflict like this is a severe violation of that trust.”

Danhof continued: “Moonves completely deflected my criticism of this conflict of interest by claiming that the left has attacked ’60 Minutes’ false reporting on Benghazi claiming that CBS has, somehow, been too critical of the Obama Administration. He actually called my criticism ‘ironic.’ But I was not talking about the ’60 Minutes’ report, I was talking about the fact that CBS news had a direct conflict of interest, knew about it, one of the company’s own reporters tried to get the documents showing the conflict and CBS News stifled her efforts. CBS News has gone to extraordinary efforts to protect President Obama and his team from conflict after conflict. Benghazi is just another example.”

“Some mainstream media outlets at least have the temerity to admit liberal bias. CBS News CEO Moonves is clearly still in the denial stage. It is fair to say that when it comes to realizing the bias in his own building, he is a member of the flat-Earth society,” Danhof concluded.

The National Center for Public Policy Research participated in the shareholder meetings of five other media companies so far this year, including Disney (ABC News), the New York Times, Gannett, Graham Holdings (Post-Newsweek Stations/Slate) and Comcast (NBC/MSNBC).

The CBS shareholder meeting was held May 22 in Los Angeles, in the studios in which the “Price is Right,” and, earlier, “I Love Lucy,” have been filmed.

Danhof’s full question for CBS, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

National Center for Public Policy Research Chairman Amy Ridenour is a CBS shareholder.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is a leading free-market corporate activist group. In 2013, Free Enterprise Project representatives attended 33 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, media bias, gun rights and many more important public policy issues. Thursday’s Amazon.com meeting was the National Center’s 38th attendance at a shareholder meeting so far in 2014.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


Apple’s Climate Change Policy Benefits Gore’s Personal Investments and Not Shareholders, says National Center for Public Policy Research

Apple Board Member Al Gore Faces Conflict of Interest Shareholder Proposal

Washington, D.C. – Today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are attending Apple’s annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, CA to challenge board member Al Gore over an apparent conflict of interest between his personal investments in clean energy technology and the company’s climate change policy.

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project will present a Conflict of Interest Report shareholder proposal (#4 in the proxy statement) submitted by the National Center, asking Apple to investigate if board member Al Gore violated the company’s Business Conduct Policy by encouraging the company to end its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as part of an effort to pressure the trade group to stop opposing greenhouse gas regulations.

Gore’s significant personal investments in renewable energy and related technologies would have benefited from greenhouse gas regulations. In contrast, Apple does not have a business interest in emissions regulations.

“Shareholders have a right to know if Gore used his board position to end Apple’s membership in the Chamber as a means to cash-in on his personal investments in clean energy technologies. The dirty little secret in clean energy is you need government action to make money on your investment,” said Tom Borelli.

“Gore had the financial incentive and access as a board member, the only question remains was he the catalyst that drove Apple’s policy decision. Board members should represent shareholders interests, not their personal interests” added Tom Borelli.

Several companies, including Apple, ended their relationship with the Chamber in 2009 over the trade group’s aggressive opposition to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and EPA regulation of carbon emissions. However, unlike utilities Exelon and PG&E, who also ended their membership in the Chamber, Apple will not profit from emissions regulations.

“Beyond holding board members accountable to following Apple’s Business Conduct Policy, shareholders should be concerned about the long-term consequences of ending the company’s membership in the Chamber. The trade group actively promotes intellectual property protection, an issue that represents a core business risk for Apple,” said Deneen Borelli, fellow of the National Center–sponsored African-American leadership group, Project 21.

Currently, Apple is engaged in a trademark dispute with China over its iPad.

“Trademark protection and piracy are business risks to Apple and not climate change regulations. Addressing intellectual property matters through a trade association is an efficient way to address these issues in the international area,” added Deneen Borelli.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is an Apple shareholder.

The Apple shareholder meeting is being held today, February 23 at 10:00 am Pacific Time at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA.