Sierra Club standoff – Bitter contest over tactics

Conservatives favoring a traditional strategy of working with politicians and interest groups have retained control of the board of the Sierra Club in a bitter battle with ultra-liberals who prefer tougher tactics in fighting for environmental protection, The Wall Street Journal reports.

National board elections for the San Francisco-based environmental group leave conservatives with eight board seats and ultra-liberals with seven.

The liberal “John Muir Sierra” faction last year has challenged the more pragmatic veterans for a decade in a bitter fight, the Journal says.

Last year, the John Muirs came within a single vote, but were unable to take control in this year’s voting.

The John Muirs back a total ban on commercial logging in national forests and draining Utah’s Lake Powell.

The controversy they have sparked prompted some opponents to launch a letter-and-phone campaign against them in this year’s election.

Because neither side dominates the board, it’s not clear how the gropu will address to big issues: efforts to halt abusive grazing practices on public lands, and whether to endorse the presidential bid of Vice President Al Gore, the Journal says.

Many Muirs want to ban the grazing instead of seeking more regulation, and they oppose a blanket endorsement of Gore, which many non-Muirs favor.

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