“Dirty, Dangerous, and Run Amok:” The Sierra Club’s War on Gas in their Own Words
[Ed. note: Tomorrow's post, "'Deep Ecology' versus Energy," will examine radical environmental metaphysics in more detail.]
An influential branch of the modern environmental movement rejects a human-centered anthropocentric view of the world in favor of a nature-first ecocentric view.
Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess in a 1973 essay differentiated between shallow ecology, a concern with pollution and resource depletion in the developed world, and deep ecology where “the equal right to live and blossom” ends what is seen as a master-slave relationship between human and nonhuman (lower animal and plant) life. 
The platform of the Deep Ecology Foundation, formulated by Arne Naess and George Sessions, declares that “present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening” and calls for
changes in policies affect[ing] basic economic, technological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature (1992: 216) identifies the “terminal sin” of man’s altering nature and complained about how “the greenhouse effect is the first environmental problem we can’t escape by moving to the woods.” He laments how “the cheap labor provided by oil” makes the “deep ecology model” difficult to fathom much less implement (200).
In chapter 12 of Earth in the Balance (1992), Senator Al Gore complained about a “dysfunctional civilization” predicated on fossil fuels.
The Sierra Club’s ‘Deep Ecology’ Turn
Mainstream (Washington, DC-based) environmentalism embraced natural gas in the 1980s as a “bridge” to a sustainable future. But no more. The Sierra Club is at war with natural gas, as it is with oil, coal, hydro, and nuclear. Biofuels is also out of favor with Big Environmentalism, which leaves wind and solar and not much else.
Here is the anti-gas messaging at the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Natural Gas” home page.
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.
“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.”
—Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally
“Fracking for natural gas damages the land, pollutes water and air, and causes illness in surrounding communities.”
“If we can’t drill safely, then we shouldn’t be drilling at all. Natural gas production is environmentally damaging and harms public health.”
“Latest studies from the International Energy Agency reveal a switch from coal to gas would lead to a global temperature rise of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius, an outcome we simply cannot afford.”
“Exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to overseas markets is a dirty, dangerous practice that lets the industry make a killing at the expense of human health.”
The Sierra Club’s “deep ecology” turn disenfranchises energy consumers–and thus citizen voters. Adding natural gas to the do-not-produce-or-use list, joining oil, coal, hydropower, and nuclear, leaves virtually nothing for the transportation market and very little for electrical generation. As such, the anti-industrial malcontents in modern society have little place to hide.
 Arne Naess. “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary.” 1973. Reprinted in Radical Environmentalism: Philosophy and Tactics, edited by Peter List, 19–24. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1993.