Sierra Club

took $25 million from Chesapeake Energy "fracking" company to pay for "Beyond Coal" campaign

David Brower, 87, ill with cancer but a rebel to the end, quit the Sierra Club board last week. "I find going to the meetings is, frankly, a total waste of time," said the great environmentalist. "They discuss practically nothing about conservation. You just get layers and layers of bureaucracy.",ridgeway,15086,6.html (no longer on line)

Compromise is often necessary, but it ought not to originate with environmental leaders.
Our role is to hold fast to what we believe is right, to fight for it, to find allies, and to adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or our friends to win, then let someone else propose the compromise, which we must then work hard to coax our way. We thus become a nucleus around which activists can build and function.
-- David Brower

Sierra Club and Peak Gas

The scandal of the Sierra Club taking $25 million from Chesapeake Energy is not that Sierra Club is in bed with polluters (an old story) but that Sierra Club has zero interest in energy supply issues.  If Sierra had looked at the reports from Post Carbon Institute, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas or The Oil Drum they would have learned that shale gas estimates are wildly exaggerated and cannot possibly replace coal even if toxic issues around shale gas fracking are solved or ignored.

Conventional natural gas peaked in the US in 1973. Fracking of "shale gas" is a toxic, short term spike in production that may last a few more years but there isn't enough natural gas for the fantasy of replacing coal with gas. Moving beyond coal means using much less electricity and relocalizing production.

We are at Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas and near Peak Coal and Peak Uranium, but Peak Denial is probably far in the future.
geologist Art Berman explains why there is less shale gas than the industry claims Peak Electricity: coal, uranium, natural gas are all peaking Peak Coal and Mountaintop Removal Shale Gas "fracking:" toxic to drill, exaggerated supply estimates Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel: not good to the last drop You cannot export fuel that does not exist Triple Crisis: Earth, Energy, Money (Climate Chaos & Peaked Oil)
Clean Energy Action report on coal depletion
REPORT: Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century? by David Hughes
In this groundbreaking report, David Hughes shatters the myth (advanced by industry, government, and many environmental organizations) that domestic natural gas can be a "bridge fuel" from high-carbon sources of energy like coal and oil to a renewable energy future.

Sierra Club Tells Members – We Don't Take Money from Chesapeake Energy – When in Fact They Took $25 Million

26 Corporate Crime Reporter 6, February 2, 2012

Last week, I wrote an article about how Chesapeake Energy, through its fracking activity, was destroying the rural way of life in West Virginia.
After the article ran, an insider called me with a tip – Sierra Club has taken money from Chesapeake Energy.
I called Sierra Club on Monday and asked – Are you taking money from frackers – in particular Chesapeake Energy?
Waiting for a response, I called Sierra Club activists in West Virginia to see if they know anything.
Two of them – Jim Sconyers and Beth Little – e-mailed Michael Brune, the executive director of Sierra Club, and asked him whether the Club has taken money from Chesapeake Energy.
Brune writes back to Little and Sconyers:
"We do not and will not take any money from Chesapeake or any other gas company. Hope all's well with you both."
Simultaneously, I get an e-mail from Maggie Kao, the spokesperson for the Sierra Club.
On Tuesday, Kao writes to me: "We do not and we will not take any money from any natural gas company."
I write back – I understand you do not and will not.
But have you taken money from Chesapeake?
That was Tuesday.
All day Wednesday goes by.
All day Thursday goes by.
And I can't get an answer.
Then Thursday night, Kao writes says – okay, Brune can talk to you at 7:30 pm EST.
And by the way, Kao says – check out this story just posted in Time magazine.
The headline: How the Sierra Club Took Millions from the Natural Gas Industry – and Why They Stopped.
Turns out, Sierra Club didn't want the story to break in Corporate Crime Reporter.
The millions from frackers.
And how as late as Tuesday, Sierra Club tried to mislead it's own members about the money.
According to the Time report, between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy – one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking.
Time reported that the group ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010 – and the Club says it turned its back on an additional $30 million in promised donations.
Waiting to speak with Brune.
And ask him what he meant by:
"We do not and will not take any money from Chesapeake or any other gas company."

Apri1 9, 2008

The Sierra Club Sells Out to Clorox

Lost in the Fumes


In 2004 I was recruited by grassroots activists to run, as a reform candidate, for a spot on the national Sierra Club Board of Directors. At the time, I believed that election was going to be a battle of the old guard versus the reformers. I thought then that the old guard wanted to maintain power for power's sake and perpetuate the status quo. Reformers wanted stronger protections and fewer compromises on environmental issues and more grassroots involvement in the process.

All efforts at reform were squished that year, and for a long time to come, when reformers were overwhelmed by a masterful public relations campaign orchestrated by Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, who deceptively, but successfully made Club members, the nation and the world believe that the Board was about to be taken-over by an anti-immigration, hate group.

In the 2004 Board election, a group whose membership is still a mystery, called Groundswell Sierra, orchestrated a bizarre independent expenditure-type campaign on which there were no spending limits and no reports, in apparent violation of internal Sierra Club policies and California law. By my estimate, Groundswell spent as much as half a million dollars to elect the old guard -- a group of Board members who were hand-picked by, and the human equivalent of rubber-stamps for Carl Pope.

Beyond the detrimental effects within the Sierra Club, the Groundswell tactics took the focus off of direct assaults on the environment posed by the Bush administration. Squelching all reform candidates' chances didn't stop industry from taking the tops off of our mountains and dumping them into our streams or making our air and water human health hazards. It didn't reverse global warming. The orangutan still faced extinction along with countless other endangered species and their unique habitat. Extractive industry continued to destroy our public lands, profiting a few at the expense of many.

Still, in 2004, even reformers did not imagine that Carl Pope and his Board of rubber-stamps would partner with Clorox, the manufacturers of deadly toxins that threaten the natural world. Supporting Clorox's "Green Works," will not diminish the production of their noxious chemicals. The partnership will allow the kind of green washing with which Sierra Club members, activists and chapters do not want to be associated.

Everyone is wondering how much control of internal Club policies Clorox's money will buy. One thing is certain: The fog of big money, mixed with chlorine gas and the bright lights of power that come from being players in the political game of compromise -- has caused Carl Pope and the national Sierra Club board to completely lose sight of the path to true environmental protection.

Karyn Strickler, political scientist, activist and writer can be reached at fiftyplusone @ .