Inside the Nature Conservancy - Washington Post Expose

Bill Dollinger bill at
Mon May 5 10:55:31 EDT 2003

BIG GREEN : Inside the Nature Conservancy
Nonprofit Land Bank Amasses Billions
Charity Builds Assets on Corporate Partnerships

A development constructed by the Centex Corp., which has forged a close partnership
with the Nature Conservancy. (Michael Williamson -- The Washington Post)

___ The Nature Conservancy ___

 Documents on the organization's transformation from a grassroots group to a
corporate juggernaut.

By David B. Ottaway and Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, May 4, 2003; Page A01

First of three articles

The Arlington-based Nature Conservancy has
blossomed into the world's richest environmental
group, amassing $3 billion in assets by pledging
to save precious places. Known for its advertisements
decorated with forests, streams and the soothing
voice of actor Paul Newman, the 52-year-old
charity preserves millions of acres across the nation.

Yet the Conservancy has logged forests, engineered
a $64 million deal paving the way for opulent houses
on fragile grasslands and drilled for natural gas
under the last breeding ground of an endangered bird species.

The nonprofit Conservancy has traveled far beyond
its humble beginnings, when it relied on small donors
and acquired a few small plots at a time. Its
governing board and advisory council now include
executives and directors from one or more oil
companies, chemical producers, auto manufacturers,
 mining concerns, logging operations and coal-burning
electric utilities.

Some of those corporations have paid millions in
environmental fines. Last year, they and other corporations
donated $225 million to the Conservancy -- an
amount approaching that given by individuals.
Today, the million-member Conservancy itself is
something of a corporate juggernaut, Big Green.
It is also the leading proponent of a brand of
environmentalism that promotes compromise
between conservation and corporate America.

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