Natural gas makes for strange bedfellows

Chesapeake Energy, one of the major players in the rush to prospect for New York State's natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, recently made a big hire that's raising some eyebrows among conservationists: Paul Hartman, a former employee of The Nature Conservancy, is now director of New York state government relations for Chesapeake. From the Albany Times-Union:

Actually, the switch may not be as tough as it sounds: the Nature Conservancy has historically been known for purchasing land for preservation as much as trying to mold state policy. The various energy companies looking to drill also have to acquire property, or at least the mineral rights under a given piece of land.

Hartman isn't the only Nature Conservancy alum to jump ship for the oil and gas industry recently. As of February, Deryck Spooner, who headed the Nature Conservancy's legislative efforts on climate change legislation, is now lobbying for the American Petroleum Industry.

"He's a big dog," said Tyson Slocum, energy program director at watchdog group Public Citizen. "It gives API somebody with enormous grass-roots experience running major campaigns. This indicates that API is taking their grass-roots strategy in a very serious direction."

Local gas-drilling opponents at Un-Natural Gas have sharp words for the Nature Conservancy.

Thanks to The Nature Conservancy for being so without ethics that it will apparently hire any amoral crook if s/he’s clever enough.   No wonder real climate-protection legislation hasn’t come to pass and isn’t on the horizon either.  This is why the bottom is falling out from under the big environmental organizations – they’ve forgotten their [grass]roots.