Sierra Club declaring war on natural gas
The Sierra Club is ready to go “Beyond Gas.”
The environmental group is re-branding its natural gas-reform campaign as a spinoff of its successful “Beyond Coal” campaign, according to a National Journal report.
“As we push to retire coal plants, we’re going to work to make sure we’re not simultaneously switching to natural-gas infrastructure,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told National Journal in an interview on Wednesday. “And we’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.”
The Sierra Club once had a cozy relationship with the natural gas industry, taking more than $25 million in contributions from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries to fund the fight against coal.
Brune ended that relationship when he took over as the environmental group’s director in March 2010. 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.
In a February post on his blog, Brune said he believes unregulated gas drilling poses a threat to the country’s health and environment.
“It’s time to stop thinking of natural gas as a “kinder, gentler” energy source. What’s more, we do not have an effective regulatory system in this country to address the risks that gas drilling poses on our health and communities. The scope of the problems from under-regulated drilling, as well as a clearer understanding of the total carbon pollution that results from both drilling and burning gas, have made it plain that, as we phase out coal, we need to leapfrog over gas whenever possible in favor of truly clean energy,” Brune wrote. ”Instead of rushing to see how quickly we can extract natural gas, we should be focusing on how to be sure we are using less — and safeguarding our health and environment in the meantime.”
The Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club does not have any information about its stance on natural gas development on its website. Local officials deferred to a national spokesman when The Oklahoman asked about their stance on the “Beyond Gas” campaign.
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