Sierra Club Accepted Millions From Natural Gas Industry, Report Says

The Sierra Club, the largest and oldest environmental group in the U.S., accepted more than $25 million from the natural gas industry from 2007 to 2010 while promoting the fuel as a “bridge” to a clean-energy future, according to a Time magazine report. The organization used the funds — which largely came from Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon — to support its Beyond Coal campaign. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club when the donations were made, was a vocal supporter of natural gas as a “bridge” fuel. He accompanied McClendon — whose company is deeply involved in extracting natural gas through the controversial process of hydrofracturing shale formations — on trips to promote natural gas over coal, though Pope never divulged the large anonymous donations from McClendon, Time reports. Michael Brune, who became executive director of the Sierra Club in 2010, persuaded the group’s board to stop taking money from McClendon and to refuse millions of additional dollars that McClendon was reportedly prepared to give the Sierra Club. He told Time, “The first rule of advocacy is that you shouldn’t take money from industries and companies you’re trying to change.”