Sierra Club Declares War on Natural Gas

May 7, 2012

Beating up on coal, America’s most-used source for electricity, wasn’t enough for the Sierra Club. They now declared war on natural gas. From National Journal :

The Sierra Club is intensifying its natural-gas reform campaign and renaming it “Beyond Gas,” a spin-off of its decade-old “Beyond Coal” campaign seeking the phaseout of coal-fired power plants.

“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.

Brune declared that his organization’s mission is about [emphasis mine] “preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.

This is a classic bait-and-switch. Not long ago, the Sierra Club pushed natural gas as an alternative to coal. It would be a bridge to renewable energy like wind and solar. In 2008, Carl Pope, then executive director, told Oil and Gas Investor Report that the Sierra Club was all for natural gas [emphasis mine]: “Among the fossil fuels, natural gas is at the top.” He went on to say, “There's a lot of opportunity -- people in the natural gas industry tell me -- to produce more natural gas domestically by using new technologies, and we're in favor of that.”

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a boom in natural gas production. The Marcelleus Shale in the Northeast, Barnett Shale in Texas, and other areas across the country are producing millions of cubic feet of natural gas and creating thousands of jobs. However, the Sierra Club switched course. Now natural gas is a villain.

This is rich. When their friends in EPA drop job-killing rules to make coal power plants extinct, the Sierra Club moves the goalposts and wants to eliminate the replacement. They oppose coal, they oppose oil, and now natural gas is off limits. To them, it’s wind and solar and that’s about it. But if they have their way and we start to get more of our electricity from wind and solar, expect them to move the goalposts again. In fact, maybe they already have. Local Sierra Clubs have been and continue to work to block solar and wind projects in Maryland, Texas, Florida, all over California, and elsewhere.

They’ll say anything to appear to be reasonable, but in the end, their answer is, “No, no, no.” The Sierra Club is simply anti-energy, and has no credibility.

The honest answer to our energy problems lies in using all of America’s energy resources: coal; oil; natural gas; wind; solar; hydro; and nuclear. Not limiting ourselves, but wisely seeing how each energy source fits in the marketplace and the environment, will protect jobs and ensure we have enough affordable energy to keep America moving.

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