Several years ago, Sierra Club started promoting natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal. This was to the liking of the gas industry, which proceeded to donate over $25 million to Sierra Club between 2007 and 2010. Sierra Club kept these donations secret.
But as Sierra Club’s members became aware of how destructive gas production is, pressure mounted inside the organization to abandon support for gas as a “bridge fuel”.
Meanwhile, Sierra Club’s executive director, Carl Pope, accompanied Chesapeake Energy’s CEO on trips promoting the benefits of natural gas.
In 2010, Sierra Club appointed a new executive director, Michael Brune, and Carl Pope became chairman. A few months after he took over, Brune recommended to Sierra Club’s board that the Club should break ties with the gas industry and forego, by his telling, $30 million in verbally promised donations.
Read the full story in Time Magazine’s Ecocentric blog: Exclusive: How the Sierra Club Took Millions From the Natural Gas Industry—and Why It Stopped | Ecocentric | TIME.com.
Read an op ed by Michael Brune in the San Francisco Chronicle: The Sierra Club and Natural Gas.