Sierra Club's new chief likes pressuring companies

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:27pm GMT

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The venerable Sierra Club on Wednesday appointed a 38-year-old executive director with a history of getting big companies to sign onto environmental efforts and a focus on climate change.

California-based Sierra Club is one of the biggest U.S. environmental groups and has taken on global warming as a top issue, while its new executive director, Michael Brune, is from the edgier, more activist-oriented Rainforest Action Network.

In one Rainforest Action Network campaign to convince Home Depot to stop buying lumber from sensitive forests, Brune found codes for store public address systems and announced to shoppers that "wood ripped from the heart of the rainforest" was on offer, according to his biography.

Despite the U.S. Senate election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, who takes a Democratic seat, Brune said he expected "strong federal climate and energy legislation will be passed some time this year."

In the interview, he said Massachusetts voters were strong environmentalists and would pressure Brown to be so as well.

Brune, who declined to predict what a federal law would look like, takes over at the 117-year-old Sierra Club from Carl Pope, who has been executive director since 1992 and will remain as executive chairman.

(Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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