An internal Sierra Club memo debating who should receive its nomination for president blasts Vice President Al Gore's environmental record and recommends against giving him their prized endorsement.
The memo, obtained by The Washington Times, called Mr. Gore's record "tawdry" and outlines the top 10 reasons why Mr. Gore should not be endorsed.
Environmentalists have long been Mr. Gore's strongest base of support. Rejection by the Sierra Club, which has more than 1 million members, would be "a serious challenge to overcome," said a leading environmentalist who asked to remain anonymous.
Mr. Gore, who authored "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit," brought the environmental movement to the forefront of politics and became its champion when he first ran for president in 1988.
"This would put a serious dent in his image and make it very difficult to call himself the environmental president," the environmentalist said.
The memo was written by Michael Dorsey, a member of the Sierra Club board of directors, who was acting on a request from the political committee chairman that directors collect and share information on the environmental records of presidential candidates. Mr. Dorsey did not return phone calls seeking comment.
"In the final analysis," the memo said, "the directors of the Sierra Club and all environmentalists must ask: Does Vice President Gore really care about nature? Does he care about protecting people from hazardous waste and toxic pollution? Does he care about human life and the future of the planet?
"The answers seem to be a resounding and deafening NO," the memo said.
The Sierra Club board met in November to discuss the "possible endorsement" of Mr. Gore, but was unable to come to any conclusions as to …