The Nature Conservancy, based in Arlington, Va., has become the world’s wealthiest environmental group, with assets of $3 billion, but according to an extensive investigative series by the Washington Post, that money is not all going to the environmental good. The conservancy is known for purchasing and protecting ecologically valuable land, using donations from both individuals and corporations. But in recent years, the group has logged forestland, paved the way for a luxury housing development on a fragile grassland area, and drilled for natural gas on the last breeding ground of the endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken, among numerous other questionable projects. One staff scientist says he was strong-armed into certifying certain cattle ranches as eco-friendly, and other scientists say their work is disregarded. The group’s board includes executives and directors from oil, chemical, auto, mining, logging, and utility companies, and TNC initially concealed the fact that its president, Steven McCormick, received $420,000 in compensation and benefits in 2002, including an apparently below-market loan to help him purchase a $1.7 million house.