North Carolinian elected national president

The Sierra Club today elected a North Carolinian its 52rd President. Dr. J. Robert Cox of Chapel Hill was elected for his third stint in the organization’s highest office. Dr. Cox previously served from 1994-1996 and 2000-2001. He replaces Lisa Renstrom of Charlotte who has been the President since 2005 and will remain as a member of the national Board of Directors.

Dr. Cox, a professor of Communications Studies at UNC, was elected as President by a vote of the Sierra Club’s 15 member Board of Directors. That body is popularly elected by the club’s more than 1.3 million members.

“We are thrilled that North Carolina will continue to be represented in the President’s chair,” said Pat Carstensen, the chair of the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club. “Given the challenges and opportunities we are currently facing toward crafting a new energy future, it is imperative that we have a strong leader like Robbie.”

“Robbie is as an inspirational leader who brings people together to accomplish important conservation work,” said Bernadette Pelissier, head of the Sierra Club’s Orange-Chatham group, based in Chapel Hill.

North Carolinians have served as President of the Sierra Club 7 out of the last 13 years. In addition to Renstrom and Cox’s terms as President, Chuck McGrady of Henderson County served in that role from 1998-2000.

Even as these leaders have taken on positions of national importance, they have remained engaged with important environmental issues in North Carolina. Incoming President Cox spoke out against Duke Energy’s proposal for new coal-fired power plants west of Charlotte in a Raleigh public hearing this January. Coal plants are a major source of global warming emissions. Renstrom expressed the Sierra Club’s opposition to the Navy’s proposed OLF near Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Washington County last month.

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