Sierra Club rejects free-market benefits
The recent steep drop in natural gas prices has been hard on energy companies and their workers in this region.
But it has been a boon to natural gas consumers nationwide — not just individuals and families, but to electric utilities and manufacturing firms. And that is terrible news, as far as the Sierra Club is concerned.
As was reported last week in The Daily Sentinel and elsewhere, the Sierra Club plans to soon roll out a new campaign to fight natural gas development, a switch from its position of just a couple years ago, when it supported natural gas as “a bridge fuel” until renewable energy can shoulder a larger portion of the nation’s energy needs.
But that was before gas prices dropped so much, as increasing exploration and new technologies provided access to vast new supplies of natural gas.
In other words, that was before the free market found ways to tap new sources of natural gas that could meet much of our nation’s energy needs for decades to come.
Now the Sierra Club’s mantra is “Beyond Natural Gas,” and it vows to fight any new power plants fueled by natural gas.
Of course, the Sierra Club has never really been a fan of natural gas or any other fossil fuel. However, a few years ago, one of its arguments for switching to renewable energy was that the free market would make fossil fuels unaffordable.
Back in 2006, then-Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope was warning about “peak oil” — the theory that we are quickly exhausting our available oil supplies. “And, as oil becomes more expensive, so too will its carbon competitors, coal and natural gas,” Pope wrote on the Sierra Club’s website.
Now that costs are going in the opposite direction, the organization is focusing on other issues, such as the possible dangers of hydraulic fracturing, to oppose natural gas development and restate its support for renewable energy.
But even its support for those energy sources is qualified.
The Sierra Club “has filed a lawsuit against the government for a solar farm in the Mojave Desert that threatens the desert tortoise,” said Robert Bradley, CEO and founder of the free-market Institute for Energy Research. “And it was none other than the Los Angeles representative of the Sierra Club who coined the term ‘Cuisinarts of the air’ in reference to wind power’s destruction of birds in California.”
While President Barack Obama argues for an “all of the above” energy approach, the Sierra Club’s policy is “none of the above,” Bradley maintains.
Whether that’s true, it’s clear the Sierra Club was at least somewhat friendly to natural gas when its price was high and its supply limited. But now that the free market has changed all that, the organization has abandoned natural gas and all those who depend on it.