Already, the battle over spreading equate (a mixture of raw human sewage and food waste) on Niagara County farm fields has become extremely costly for Quasar, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company behind the controversial plan.
The "energy" company has hired Behan Communications, a Glens Falls, N.Y.,- based environmental PR firm, to help it make its way through tough meetings with locals unimpressed by the notion of spreading fertilizer made in part from human waste on farm fields.
It is noteworthy that Behan handled Environmental and Energy PR and Crisis Communications for General Electric during its decade-long battle with the federal Environmental Protection Agency over plans to dredge the upper Hudson River to remove PCB contamination.
Meanwhile, local residents can expect a renewed effort by Quasar to shift local opinion. Behan's services include:
- Comprehensive communications and community relations strategy
- Analysis of community issues, interests and stakeholders
- Grassroots organizing and advocacy
- Public opinion polling and market research
- Phone, mail, social media and online campaigns
- Door-to-door campaigns
- Mainstream and social media monitoring
In other words, any Facebook page dedicated to overturning Quasar's actions is already likely being monitored. Furthermore, unplugging your phone won't stop Quasar from showing up in person on your doorstep.
Nonetheless, it is a testament to the involvement of local citizens and leaders like State Sen. George D. Maziarz that Quasar needs a firm that handles "crisis communications" for "environmental emergencies."
"When the reputation or credibility of your brand or organization is at stake, Behan Communications' team of the most experienced crisis communications and media experts will go to work immediately to provide accurate, coordinated and timely information to your most important audiences," Behan's webpage states.
That same webpage goes on to list case studies, such as "Contamination Scare," "Misconduct Allegations," and "Community Evacuations." The words "toxic" and "pollutants" feature prominently in the write-ups.
It looks like Quasar found the right PR firm!