Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Bitter Division for Sierra Club on Immigration

The leadership of the Sierra Club, the landmark environmental organization, is enmeshed in a bitter struggle over whether to advocate tough immigration restrictions as a way to control environmental damage that has been associated with rapid population growth.

The debate is unusual in its intensity, even for an organization whose fractious disputes are legendary. It focuses on efforts by several outsiders and grass-roots members of the club to win seats on the board of directors. The dissident group is led by Richard D. Lamm, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, who has argued for 20 years that national policies leave the country open to unsustainable immigration.

At stake is the leadership of an organization of 750,000 members that has a 112-year history of pushing conservation and pollution issues into the national consciousness and federal law.

For weeks, both camps have issued charges and countercharges and the dissidents have filed two lawsuits, neither of which is active....

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