Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

The Chairman of the Sierra Club is Bowing Out

David McNew/Getty Images

Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope speaks before the U.S. Senate in 2008

The head of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, is leaving next year, according to media reports. Pope had drawn criticism for reaching out to labor and industry.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story and has an interview with Pope:

Pope said he will leave his position as chairman to devote most of his time to “revitalizing the manufacturing sector” by working with organized labor and corporations. That emphasis caused schisms in the club, most notably when he hammered out a million-dollar deal with household chemical manufacturer Clorox to use the club’s emblem on a line of “green” products, and more recently with its support of utility-scale solar arrays in the Mojave Desert, the type of place the club made its reputation protecting.

“I’m a big-tent guy, ” Pope said in an interview in the group’s San Francisco headquarters. “We’re not going to save the world if we rely only on those who agree with the Sierra Club. There aren’t enough of them.”

Membership has been declining for the group amid a tough economy, and Pope’s efforts to change things up caused controversy within, according to the New York Times:

Membership rolls at the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious environmental groups, have dropped sharply in the current economic downturn and the organization has undergone a sharp internal debate over priorities. Mr. Pope advocated partnerships with business and industry on a number of environmental projects, alienating some of group’s older donors and activists.

StateImpact Texas has reached out to the director of the Lone Star Sierra Club for a response and will update as soon as we hear back.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »