An energy company CEO has been touring the country w/ Sierra Club’s Carl Pope pushing the benefits of natural gas – does that sound like something that the head of an environmental organization should be doing? Not to me. I have written before about why I no longer support the Sierra Club, but after reading this article at Common Dreams about how they are now touting natural gas with an energy company, well…seems the entire industry is now greenwashing with the help of environmentalists.
More recently, according to the Wall Street Journal, Chesapeake’s chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, has been touring the country alongside the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope trumpeting the benefits of natural gas. Its biggest selling point is that it burns cleaner than coal and oil, though the impact of extracting it from deep shale formations is highly controversial. It also requires the use of large amounts of diesel fuel to keep compressors and other machinery operating 24/7. Responding to criticism from local affiliates, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania, Pope asked, “Will the 20% of the membership that happens to live in places where drilling is happening be unhappy? I’m sure that’s true.” So much for grassroots organizing.
However, some people (myself included, of course) would beg to differ with Mr. Pope that only 20% would care:
Dr. Theo Coburn of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) has compiled what is probably the most comprehensive list of both drilling and fracturing chemicals based in part on samples from a well in Park County, Wyoming where a breach in surface casing released drilling fluids in 2006. They have uncovered 435 fracturing products that contain 344 chemicals including ammonium nitrate, ethanol, methane, and diesel. According to the TEDX Web site, “As natural gas production rapidly increases across the U.S., its associated pollution has reached the stage where it is contaminating essential life support systems – water, air, and soil – and causing harm to the health of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation.”
Yep, seems like a safe thing for an environmentalist to be pushing for. What’s next – The Sierra Club sponsors mountain top removal hiking day trips? Come on, we can do better than actually doing the greenwashing for these polluting companies!