Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: The Sierra Club is a lawsuit factory.
BIG PICTURE: I’ve previously mentioned an online database of lawsuits concerning climate change – as opposed to environmental issues overall. A search of the US-only portion of that database reveals 80 cases in which the Sierra Club played some role. (A few days ago, the tally was 79.)
For the past two decades, not a single year has elapsed in which this group hasn’t sued someone. Many of its targets are taxpayer funded – which means that large amounts of public money have been spent responding to these lawsuits. While the public pays, the lawyers on both sides drink fine wine.
In 2008, the Sierra Club filed legal paperwork against the California city of Stockton. In 2009, it sued the County of Tehama, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Interior, and the Federal Highway Administration.
In 2010, it again sued the EPA – as well as the US military in an attempt to prevent it “from buying fuels derived from Canadian oil sands.” In 2011, the Sierra Club filed a third EPA lawsuit. It also targeted improvements to an agricultural association’s fairgrounds, the California City of Oxnard, and the US Department of Transportation.
2012 saw it sue San Diego County, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the County of Riverside. In 2013, it filed a fourth lawsuit against the EPA, in addition to taking legal action against the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was hit with three Sierra Club lawsuits in 2014. Merced County‘s transportation plan was challenged, as were permits issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Sacramento air quality officials.
The list goes on. And on.
In 2015, the Sierra Club filed yet another lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, sued the US Department of Energy, and sent a “60-day notice of intent to sue” to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In 2016 it filed six lawsuits against government agencies that regulate natural gas. It’s difficult to believe there were genuine environmental concerns in every case. Rather, the Sierra Club is waging all-out war against natural gas. It’s deliberately filing frivolous lawsuits, clogging up the courts, and wasting massive amounts of public money – not to mention squandering the ‘charitable’ funds it receives from its donors.
- Sierra Club v. United States Department of Energy (re: export of natural gas from Louisiana)
- Sierra Club v. United States Department of Energy (re: export of natural gas from Texas)
- Sierra Club v. United States Department of Energy (re: export of natural gas from Maryland)
- Sierra Club v. United States Department of Energy (re: export of natural gas to non-free trade countries)
- Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (re: Alabama to Florida natural gas pipeline)
- Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club v. Virginia Chapter Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board (re: a natural gas power plant)
Which brings us to 2017. Energy Secretary Rick Perry was only sworn into office in March of that year. But a lawsuit titled Sierra Club v. Perry is an attempt to hold him responsible for a 2011 deadline the Department of Energy allegedly missed.
Similarly, Sierra Club v. Pruitt is an attempt to blame Scott Pruitt, who became head of the EPA in early 2017, for the fact that Barack Obama’s EPA’s neglected to submit reports to Congress in 2013 and 2016.
TOP TAKEAWAY: When you give money to the Sierra Club, you’re supporting dubious, dishourable, wasteful, non-stop legal warfare.
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