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For Immediate Release, October 28, 2011

Contact:   Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 310-6713
Donna Stevens, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, (575) 590-5698
Kim McCreery, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, (575) 538-5448
Lorna Ruebelmann, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Silver City, (505) 717-4330

Groups Demand Marita Noon Cease Violent "Smash the Watermelons" Rhetoric

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Four New Mexico conservation groups demanded today that fossil-fuel industry front-woman Marita Noon cease her use of “watermelon-smashing” rhetoric in speeches and editorials and on websites.

Noon is notorious for whipping up hysteria at pro-industry rallies by chanting “smash the watermelons” after telling crowds that environmentalists are watermelons because they are green on the outside and red on the inside. Noon distributes “Smash the Watermelons” stickers at her anti-environmental rallies and has created a “Smash the Watermelons” Web page.

“Marita Noon’s vitriol pollutes civic discourse,” said Taylor McKinnon, public-lands campaigns director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Inciting violence against your fellow citizens is unacceptable. She needs to stop now.”

Noon heads two oil-industry front groups, Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy and Energy Makes America Great. She advocates for fossil fuel development and against renewable energy, endangered species and public-land conservation. Noon frequently appears with Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) at public meetings and rallies, where she delivers her watermelon-smashing stump speech.

“It’s unthinkable that Congressman Pearce would actually tolerate, let alone participate in, events that suggest violence against the very citizens he represents,” said Donna Stevens, executive director of the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance. “But that’s exactly what he’s done.”

In September several websites removed a blog written by Noon when informed of its factual inaccuracies. (See the dead links here, here, here and here.) Other blog attacks by Noon have been pulled for factual inaccuracies; one reporter charges she plagiarized his article while trying to derail protection for the imperiled dunes sagebrush lizard.

“Marita Noon uses misinformation to invoke fear and manipulate audiences. Coupled with her calls to ‘smash the watermelons,’ Noon seems determined to undermine civic discourse on behalf of her industry cronies,” said Kim McCreery, regional director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “It’s time for this to end.”

Lorna Ruebelmann, Silver City Broadband leader of Great Old Broads for Wilderness said it is difficult to listen to the excuses and downright lies being used to undo decades of environmental protections on public lands: “It’s hard to listen to name-calling. Why fear those who act to protect our wildlife and wildlands? Insisting on use of vehicles where roads damage our natural world is selfish. Name-calling damages respect and civility.”

Watch Marita Noon’s “Smash the Watermelons” speech here.

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