Natural Gas Became the Sierra Club’s Enemy Once We Started Using It

May 30, 2012

If you didn’t catch this morning’s Driving the Day, you missed this Wall Street Journal editorial on the Sierra Club’s war on natural gas.

It covers much of the same ground as my post a few weeks ago, but repetition allows the environmental group’s flip-flop to sink into the public’s mindset and offers another chance to point out the environmental group’s extreme agenda.

As a refresher, the Sierra Club’s war on natural gas is an outgrowth of their wars on coal and oil. In 2008, a former leader of the group said it was in favor of using new technology to produce more domestic natural gas. Then they flipped. Now, Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s current executive direction said it’s about “preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.” The only energy sources they approve are wind and solar—but local branches do their best to oppose many of those projects too.

The Wall Street Journal explains that the Sierra Club, a former fan of natural gas, now opposes it simply  because it’s being used:

The greens were happy to support natural gas as a "bridge fuel to the 21st century" when it cost $8 or more per million BTUs and seemed to be in limited domestic supply.

But now that the hydraulic fracturing and shale revolution has sent gas prices down to $2.50, the lobby fears natural gas will come to dominate U.S. energy production. At that price, the Sierra Club's Valhalla of wind, solar and biofuel power may never be competitive. So the green left has decided it must do everything it can to reduce the supply of gas and keep its price as high as possible.

When natural gas use was an abstract idea, it was considered a hero next to coal or oil. But once the technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling made tapping into America’s vast natural gas resources economically practical, it became the enemy. The Sierra Club might be cringing now that transportation companies are considering using it to fuel trucks. They have to stop the natural gas boom in its tracks before it becomes a more-important part of our economy.

A few years ago, few saw the dramatic drop in natural gas prices that make it such a viable fuel today, few know how oil and coal prices will react in the future, and no one knows what new technology will be developed. Maybe new nuclear reactor designs? Maybe biofuels? Maybe geothermal?

A few years ago, it wasn’t clear how viable America’s natural gas supply would be, or how much of it we even had.  Now that using natural gas has become a reality, the “just say no” energy groups like the Sierra Club have changed their tune.  There’s no telling what will be next in their war against energy.

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