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Sierra Club moving away from natural gas, Chesapeake cash

BY JAY F. MARKS Published: February 7, 2012

The Sierra Club officially is distancing itself from natural gas producers.

The environmental group took more than $26 million from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries for about four years, Time magazine reported last week.

A Chesapeake spokesman said the company and the Sierra Club mutually agreed to end the funding in 2010.

“Back in 2007, Chesapeake and the Sierra Club had a shared interest in moving our nation toward a clean energy future based on the expanded use of natural gas, especially in the power sector,” company spokesman Jim Gipson said.

“Over the years, Chesapeake has been proud to support a number of organizations that share our interest in clean air and agree that America's abundant supplies of clean natural gas represent the most affordable, available and scalable fuel to power a more prosperous and environmentally responsible future for our country.”

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune wrote about the group's dealings with Chesapeake last week on his blog after the Time report.

He said the club originally worked with Chesapeake because staff and volunteers concluded natural gas might be a viable alternative to coal in electricity generation, but some local chapters developed increasing concerns about gas production.

Brune said he believes unregulated gas drilling poses a threat to the country's health and environment.