July 30, 2008

Green Groups Landing Out-of-Court Deals

Environmental groups are brokering private deals with U.S. businesses to accomplish their objectives without court battles, sources said.

Environmental scholar Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute called the new deals practical environmentalism, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Attorney Clem Shute of San Francisco said the deals were a pragmatic way to accomplish good things.

Recent deals include an agreement for Tejon Ranch Co. to leave undeveloped 90 percent of a 422-square-mile parcel of land north of Los Angeles in exchange for environmental groups agreeing not to oppose building up to 26,000 homes on the remaining 10 percent, the newspaper reported.

Environmental groups have agreed to support oil drilling of the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. In exchange, a Houston oil company agreed to donate 3,900 acres of land for public parks and to stop drilling in 2022.

Some deals have rankled the ranks of environmental groups. The Sierra Club's agreement to allow the group's logo to appear on Green Works cleaning products made by Clorox led the Sierra Club's Traverse City, Mich., chapter to disband in protest, USA Today reported.