Why the Sierra Club is fighting Mark Zuckerberg

The environmental group doesn't 'like' Facebook's founder for his advocacy of expanded oil drilling.

By Aimee Picchi May 2, 2013 3:08PM

Mark Zuckerberg (© Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Facebook (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg is getting into hot water with progressive groups such as the Sierra Club. This time, it's not over his company's privacy issues but because of his private advocacy work. 

Zuckerberg and Facebook are coming under fire from activists over his funding of the immigration-reform group Fwd.us (pronounced "forward us") because the group has bankrolled TV ads that critics say give voice to support for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and for expanding the Keystone XL pipeline, according to the Los Angeles Times

The Sierra Club is asking fans to "like" and share a post that reads, "Zuckerberg promoting dirty fuels? DISLIKE," which features a large thumbs-down icon dripping with oil. 

The campaign against Zuckerberg follows a somewhat convoluted path. The Facebook CEO has funded Fwd.us, which in turn supports two other groups -- Americans for a Conservative Direction and the Council for American Job Growth -- which are spending millions on TV spots that feature conservatives such as Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., according to Think Progress

Neither Zuckerberg nor Facebook are shown supporting the causes in the commercials. One spot features Graham speaking about the Keystone pipeline and other issues, while a second ad endorses Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and his support for oil drilling in the ANWR.

That led to a protest on Wednesday at Facebook's headquarters, with a small group demanding that Zuckerberg pull the commercials. Some protestors donned white "hazmat" suits worn by hazardous waste cleanup crews and chanted, "Keystone, take a hike. Facebook dislike," the Times notes. 

While other supporters of Fwd.us include Bill Gates -- chairman of MSN moneyNOW owner Microsoft (MSFT) -- and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn (LNKD), Zuckerberg appears to be taking most of the heat. 

That could be partly because of Zuckerberg has served as a public face of Fwd.us, writing an op-ed article for The Washington Post. He's also the wunderkind that some people love to hate, the 28-year-old billionaire with a goofy grin who's blamed for Facebook's privacy issues. Worse in the minds of environmental group, he's backtracking from his public support for clean, renewable energy. 

Facebook declined to comment, according to the Times. 

"Mark Zuckerberg can't have it both ways," Becky Bond, political director of progressive group Credo Mobile, told the paper. "He can't be for Keystone XL and for clean energy at the same time."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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May 2, 2013 4:42PM

How dare him have a different opinion than the liberals.  Doesn't he know they run this country?

May 2, 2013 4:29PM

Sure he can be for both. Gives fuel independence options.

Only extreme zealots would demand one or the other. Isn't

demanding orthodox adherence to the rules what these groups

always complain about when they talk about religious organizations?

May 2, 2013 4:43PM
Mark Zuckerberg is fighting the good fight.  The Sierra Club is group of environmental socialists which would rather have Canada send its oil to China rather than refine it here in the USA.  They would rather not make America self sufficient in oil and gas by discouraging drilling in the Arctic or fracking in the lower 48; they want us more reliant on Iran and Venezuela.  The Sierra Club does like ethanol refining and sales, which many of their members are invested in.  They forget that mandatory ethanol requires massive fertilization of Midwest cornfields, leading to incredible fertilizer run-off damage/fish die-offs in the Mississippi River, its tributaries, and the Gulf of Mexico.  Sierra Club members are capitalist NIMBY's of the first order.
May 2, 2013 4:27PM

You are not Facebook's  customer---you are the product.  I'm not on FB.....I have real friends to speak with face to face, eye to eye. 

May 2, 2013 5:24PM

We need to explore renewables that aren't worse than the problems they are supposed to assist with. For example wind turbines of 300 - 500 feet (30 - 50 stories) are not green.

They are noisy, cause light flicker for hours each day for miles around.

They require the land be totally stripped of all foliage, freeway sized roads, tons of cement for a base of 90x50x50 that will never be removed.

Worst of all they are rotating, hundreds in each "farm". 

May 2, 2013 6:33PM

The Sierra Club is saying NOTHING about the on-going destruction of our Rain Forests, to make way for ethanol and palm oil [and for windmills] Brazil is buying up tens of thousands of acres of Rain Forest from cattle ranchers, that have cleared the forest for their cattle. Brazil is planting sugar cane on the cleared land, to make ethanol. The ranchers simply clear more land for their cattle.

The Indonesians are clearing thousands of square miles of rain forest, to plant Palm Oil trees. The oil is used in diesel engines in Europe. Mainly London, England, for their diesel cabs and buses. Hey! Sierra Club! Are you paying attention?? Oh, yeah! Those giant windmill blades have a fiberglass cover, over BALSA WOOD as the stiffner and shape of the blade.Where does BALSA come from? The Rain Forest!!


Look let's get real. Once you foul your own nest which savvy animals know they must not do you don't have anything. It's like your health. We can do a lot more with solar and we can get off dependency on the middle-east as well. We just have to do it.

America was made on people who were self reliant, inventive and didn't carrying on as if the only thing in their heads was a cash register. You can go on defending the indefensible as long as you have clean or somewhat clean air to breath, water to drink and food to eat that isn't contaminated by leaks into the water table that helps plants grown and food that is grown. But when we've polluted everything then what? The timbering industry thought the timber went on forever. Then they found out it didn't. You have to be conscious and make necessary adjustments instead of attacking each other. We are all in this leaking boat together. .

May 2, 2013 8:33PM
GREAT POINT BURNIE.. Guess what? No oil no resin for the fiberglass
May 2, 2013 6:39PM
The Sierra Club is trying to prevent this country from prospering just like Obama Mama
May 3, 2013 5:46AM
Sierra club tends to try stop everything , its shame this club has been hijacked by ecotards in there romantic idea of what is real vs the real world.
If your a fan of all those wild forest fires you can thank the sierra club for those.
The flood in New Orleans that kept the city soaked was a sierra club law suit that stopped progress on the pumps .
SC sucks and is a group of hippie radicals and earth day fools.

May 3, 2013 10:38AM

Re-post from another blogger ----  Worth going on every story msn puts out.


Jeff, maybe you missed Congress’ latest change to the STOCK Act. Are you sitting down? They just, very quietly, gutted the law that was supposed to stop insider trading… seriously.

On April 11, Congress voted to eliminate the transparency provisions that would have made not just their trades, but the trades of everyone close to elected officials (staffers, aides, lobbyists) available to the general public. You know – the part that mattered. It also delayed until next year the requirement to post financial disclosure forms online. The vote was unanimous. It all went down in a matter of seconds. And Obama signed it into law on April 15.
These people are crooks. They write laws to protect their criminal activity. And so far, they are untouchable.
May 3, 2013 10:11AM

Do you support negative human population growth? No? You're the problem. Not the Sierra Club, not Big Oil, not liberals, not conservatives.



May 2, 2013 8:25PM
A some years back I saw a old smoking Caddie driving on the 80 near Truckee heading towards Reno with a Sierra Club sticker on the bumper. Ironic... When there membership stops driving cars, flying in planes, using plastic items, epoxy, polyester and just about everything else that makes life modern then they have went back to the dark ages and should be allowed to speak.. IN THE MEANTIME CAN YOU SAY HIPOCRITES
May 2, 2013 8:53PM
I almost forgot. You need oil to make the plastic coating on the fiberglass to go on the Rain forest Balsa.. Can't get around it.. Without oil the world would be like 1900. You couldn't make all of our modern toys. Every thing would be stone, metal, glass or WOOD. Just think about all the plastic goodies we have and depend on. How heavy everything would be. Our wood homes would have to be white washed every year. To terrible to think about. The whole world would become a giant Easter Island. Oil is good the trick is figuring out how to limit the negative effects. Wind power or Solar power are good also. But you can't make anything out of them except like way expensive electricity.
May 3, 2013 10:00AM
I belonged to the Sierra Club for decades but quit when it would not take a stand against illegal immigration. Overpopulation is the root cause of all earth degradation, and the Sierra Club should be the first to see and know that, but no, as all those immigrants are seen as potential new members, and that means more money for the SC. Money rules the SC now, not earth protection.
May 3, 2013 1:38AM
Zuck is a smart guy.  Leave those LIBERAL fools behind just like millions of other under-35 yr olds are doing.   They are wising up to the Obama & Co lies.
May 3, 2013 9:03AM
Just shows how left leaning you are. Sen. Graham is not conservative he is moderate at best.
May 3, 2013 1:33AM
Leave the guy alone.  LIBERALS think that every rich guy needs to be a liberal.  They are arrogant, sickening Democrats.   A blithe on Society.
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