Environmental politics is not always the outcome of the complex interplay of interests and institutions mediated by ideas. Sometimes naked self-interest prevails and proponents manipulate environmental institutions to achieve their goals. The way in which economic interests can trump environmental ideas and institutions is illustrated by the case of the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill in Tasmania, Australia, where Gunns Limited, a global timber company, sought permission to build a multi-billion dollar bleached kraft pulp mill. To expedite planning approval, the government backed the company in its decision to quit the state's environmental assessment system and put in place special legislation to deliver a sympathetic, fast-track review. While the Tasmanian case is a clear example of economic interests triumphing over environmental institutions, it is not unique. The case illustrates the limits of competitively elected government and the enduring power of closed policy networks, which are able to manipulate processes to deliver desired results.