Friday, February 3, 2012

Natural Gas Interests and the Sierra Club and Vermont

Natural Gas Interests

The Sierra Club has accepted $25 million in funding from natural gas companies. It is not clear to me that the Club has actually revealed all their fossil fuel funding. This story was broken yesterday by Time Magazine's Bryan Walsh.

This is fresh news. While there is still some news on the Vermont Yankee front, it is pretty repetitive stuff. As reported by Bob Audette in the Brattleboro Reformer, nuclear opponents attempt to maneuver the Public Service Board by saying the same old things. Their news will be on-going for a while. It's time to follow this Sierra Club news.

I Told You So?

Rod Adams of Atomic Insights kept blogging that nuclear opponents were probably in the pay of the natural gas industry. Many of us were leery of anything that looked like a "conspiracy theory." It looks now like Adams was right about some of the opponents. Here's a 2009 post from Rod Adams about Carl Pope of the Sierra Club extolling natural gas.

To find some more Adam's posts on the natural gas connection, search the Atomic Insights blog for posts labelled "smoking gun."

Local Natural Gas

I have never thought that all local opponents were funded by the natural gas industry. Also, I think natural gas has an important place in the energy future of the country, as I wrote at ANS Nuclear Cafe. But I don't like to see gas companies wrapping themselves in green to try to destroy nuclear power.

In 2010, I discovered that the Conservation Law Foundation, a fierce opponent of Vermont Yankee, received money to help build a new natural gas plant in New Hampshire. I wrote a post about the gas plant: Follow the Money. The Conservation Law Foundation didn't like some subsequent publicity they received after that post. Oh well. I'm not popular with them. Sometime during high school, I stopped trying to be popular with everyone!

Gaz Metro and Vermont

Meanwhile, in 2012, Gaz Metro, a Canadian gas company, is positioned to take over most of the energy infrastructure in Vermont. The new Comprehensive Energy Plan for Vermont talks a good game about an all-renewables future, but the near-term recommendations center on an expanded gas pipeline (built for Gaz Metro by increased rate-payer fees during construction, before any gas flows through the pipeline). Another part of the plan is to build small and medium-sized gas plants. For an overview, I suggest Howard Shaffer's excellent post: The Vermont Energy plan relies too much on fossil fuels.

One gas company funded the Sierra Club, and another one is taking over Vermont energy infrastructure. That doesn't mean that all nuclear opponents are funded by natural gas, but clearly, some of them are.

An Overview of the Gaz Metro Takeover Plans

The Sierra Club revelation was new to me, but I was aware of the Vermont issue with Gaz Metro. In recent months, I wrote a series of articles for True North Reports on the Gaz Metro takeover of Vermont infrastructure. I plan to update these articles and post them on this blog over the next week or so.

Meanwhile, you can read the original posts here:


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