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. Sierra Club Comes Out In Favor Of The US Natural Gas Industry

The Sierra Club has been well known in the oil and gas industry as taking a contrarian view of energy policy on the ground -- contrarian to that of the oil and gas industry. The organization is now taking policy to the air -- air quality, that is -- and sees eye-to-eye with the U.S. natural gas industry -- at least. Natural gas is a winner within the organization; crude oil remains out.
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Mar 05, 2008
The Sierra Club has come out for the U.S. natural gas industry, reports Oil and Gas Investor magazine. And, not for imported natural gas: it favors producing all that the U.S. can put out. That is because the Sierra Club would also like to see U.S. energy independence, says Carl Pope, executive director.

Pope visited with industry leaders in Houston recently and spoke to Oil and Gas Investor magazine, a publication of Hart Energy Publishing LP, on new ground on which the Sierra Club and the U.S. natural gas industry can agree-natural gas is a cleaner fuel than coal.

The Sierra Club is so opposed to coal as a fuel source that it has come out in support of U.S. natural gas, according to Pope's comments. It still favors renewable fuels-solar and wind-more than fossil fuels, but among fossil fuels, it favors natural gas, Pope says.

"Among the fossil fuels, natural gas is at the top," says Pope, who became executive director of the roughly 700,000-member organization in 1992 and has seen some 150,000 members added during that time. Pope has been on the Sierra Club staff for some 30 years.

In second place, by the Sierra Club's score, among fossil fuels: crude oil. In last place: coal.

Does the Sierra Club support natural gas -- but imported natural gas? Pope told Oil and Gas Investor, "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."

The industry gathering at which Pope made his remarks included Aubrey McClendon, chairman and chief executive of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., and a Top 5 U.S. gas reserves-holder. Less than 10% of Chesapeake's production is oil, and 100% of Chesapeake's targeted long-term production is natural gas.

McClendon became vociferous in 2007 against the coal industry, prompted by a Texas electric-power producer's plan to build more than a dozen new coal-powered plants, and is the founder and chairman of American Clean Skies Foundation, a public-education and political lobbying organization that argues for non-polluting fuel sources, including natural gas.

The Sierra Club has been well known in the oil and gas industry as taking a contrarian view of energy policy on the ground -- contrarian to that of the oil and gas industry. The organization is now taking policy to the air -- air quality, that is -- and sees eye-to-eye with the U.S. natural gas industry -- at least. Natural gas is a winner within the organization; crude oil remains out.

Pope says of endorsing a presidential candidate, "We may take a stand, but we have not yet taken a stand. We are still reviewing all of the candidates. We're still trying to raise the bar and encourage all of the candidates in both parties to be really visionary. We think the energy economy of the 21st century looks dramatically different than the energy economy of the 20th century, and we're looking for a presidential candidate who, in his or her core, gets that, and we haven't chosen one yet."

He concludes about energy use in this century, "We need to have high-performance energy tools, not 20th century energy laggards."

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Outside View: China's energy diplomacy
Toronto, Canada (UPI) Mar 04, 2008
China's building of a port in Pakistan, its extra-polite friendship with the rulers of Myanmar and now its offer to Iran to pick up gas from Pakistan if India shows no interest in doing so is all part of the country's quest for energy to feed its export economy.

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