Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

The Clorox Coup


The National Sierra Club Board of Directors voted on March 25, 2008 to dismantle the entire democratically -elected structure of the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club, the fourth largest Chapter in the nation.

The Florida Chapter, comprising 35,000 individual members representing 5% of Sierra’s National membership, was usurped in an unprecedented and appalling coup.

The sacking of 27 elected representatives and removal of 75 volunteer appointees, 24 Issue Committees – over 150 state-level positions in all – constitutes the main carnage of the March 25th Massacre.

They are all now gone – dismissed in one fell swoop by National’s decision.

The National bureaucracy manufactured the convenient local dissent to serve as a pretense for  swatting our Chapter leadership out of their way.  They found the Chapter’s scrutiny of their policies inconvenient.

It was inconvenient to justify their devotion to  ill-advised biofuels schemes.

It was inconvenient to justify their Clorox-like promotion of more commercial products (the backbone of their announced $500 million dollar fundraising campaign) authorized in an unannounced board decision just days before the Florida suspension.

And it was really inconvenient and annoying to put up with local resistance to the stampede toward  National control of Sierra activities in Florida.

Thus, the passion, expertise and devotion of the many democratically elected local volunteers was deemed inconvenient and disposable, replaced by an “Executive Committee” of 5 National officers.  This absentee “brain trust” has wrested control of approximately $200,000 of the Chapter’s funds, along with control of Florida Sierra programs.

With this one visionary act, the Chapter’s various conservation, political and legal programs have ground to a halt under this absentee control.

But a far greater price is to be exacted in the incalculable damage to the greater cause of conservation — damage recklessly inflicted to the reputation and credibility of Sierra Club, eviscerating the effectiveness of the very members and volunteers who stand in the front lines of the struggle to protect some vestige of Florida’s remaining natural systems.

It is telling that the National Sierra Club is disbanding this hard-working and successful team of volunteers and grassroots conservationists even as National eagerly pursues its unsavory new focus on lucrative revenues from corporate donations.

The process of the investigation of the Florida Chapter by National staff was scandalous.  There was no fair play involved.

The investigation was based on unfounded accusations, vague and unsubstantiated claims, advanced on a patchwork of hearsay, obscured by anonymity and cloaked in secrecy.  The Chapter, leaders, and volunteers were denied the precious and essential American rights to due process – to be able to face their accusers, and to have a fair hearing based on facts.

National Sierra Club President Robert Cox continues to roll out his tawdry collection of unsupported statements in his letter to Grist posted by the National Sierra Club press office.

Robert Cox is queasy about this because he knows that these Florida Sierrans have unfairly been personally attacked, maligned and slandered before the state and the entire nation.  He knows that public scrutiny will expose the actions of the National Sierra Club as contemptuous of basic American rights, and of the Club’s own code of conduct.

The National board has destroyed the largest and most effective environmental organization in Florida.  For that, Robert Cox owes an apology.

Betsy Roberts is former Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club Chairwoman.

Karen Orr is former Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club Political Committee Chairwoman.

They can be reached at:






More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Qaddafi
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Winslow Myers
Christopher Brauchli
Wonder Woman at the UN
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
Lee Ballinger
Tupac: Holler If You Hear Him
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”
October 20, 2016
Eric Draitser
Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas
Binoy Kampmark
Digital Information Warfare: WikiLeaks, Assange and the US Presidential Elections
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Bogus History Lesson
Bruce Mastron
Killing the Messenger, Again
Anthony DiMaggio
Lesser Evil Voting and Prospects for a Progressive Third Party
Ramzy Baroud
The Many ‘Truths’ on Syria: How Our Rivalry Has Destroyed a Country
David Rosen
Was Bill Clinton the Most Sexist President?
Laura Carlsen
Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote
Aidan O'Brien
Mao: Monster or Model?