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Sierra Club Insider September 29, 2004

Road to Portland, Philadelphia, Tampa, and More

On September 18 and 19, Sierra Club volunteers, staff, and friends knocked on more than 10,000 doors across the country to tell voters about the environmental records of Bush and Kerry as part of the Sierra Club Votes Campaign. Many traveled from other states to go door-to-door in key communities. All told, since Sierra Club Votes started, more than 3,900 volunteers have contacted more than 355,000 voters. The Sierra Club has never undertaken such an ambitious campaign before. There's still time to participate or to help the campaign with a donation.

DuPont Toxic Dump Plan Denied

Sometimes we win, even against the big guys, and even in places like Harrison County, Mississippi. For years, officials in Harrison County said yes to almost everything DuPont wanted -- while cancer ravaged the community. This summer, local volunteers, including Chapter Co-Chair Rose Johnson, at left, and Gulf Coast Group Chair Brenda Songy, put enough pressure on county supervisors that they finally said no.

Sherry Cuevas, who lost both her daughter and daughter-in-law to cancer, was one of many Harrison County residents who had never been involved in environmental or community activism. She now regularly attends Club meetings, and this spring she circulated petitions and spoke out against DuPont's toxic-landfill plans at public meetings. Another local, a retired colonel from the Army Corps of Engineers, told the supervisors, "Before now I wouldn't have been caught dead with these people [the Sierra Club]. But I know the effects of dioxins, and I know the problems associated with trying to contain toxins." MORE

"Your Call is Important to Us"

We all know the saying, "the customer is always right." But when it comes to the Bush administration, it pays to ask, "Who exactly is the customer?"

Believe it or not, the Bush administration has set up a "complaint desk" for the energy industry. Want to drill for natural gas in the Rocky Mountains but some pesky scientist says it could hurt wildlife? Call the White House "Task Force for Energy Project Streamlining," which can turn the screws on the local field office.

Of course, if you're just an ordinary American citizen, expect to be ignored. The Forest Service held more than 600 hearings for the Roadless Rule and received more than 2 million public comments, the vast majority of which favored strong protections. But the Bush administration rewrote the rule to allow more drilling, mining, and timber harvesting.

The message to ordinary citizens? "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available operator." And instead of soft rock, replace hold music with the whir of chainsaws and the rumble of drilling pumps. MORE

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  Needed: 10,000 New Members by Election Day!

No matter who wins in November, we're going to have a lot of work to do. We're hoping to recruit 10,000 new members online by November 2. Every member sends a message -- environmental protection must be a top priority for our nation.
Join online by Election Day - get a backpack and 10% discount on apparel, gear and gifts!

  "Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things"

At its annual meeting in September, the Sierra Club presented dozens of awards to volunteer Club leaders and heard an inspiring keynote address from political pundit Arianna Huffington, shown below with Sierra Club President Larry Fahn.
  Sign the "Mother's Promise"

To demonstrate our support for the promise of the Cairo Consensus -- a global plan of action to improve women's health and increase access to family planning -- we want at least 50,000 people to sign the "Mother's Promise" petition by October 14. This will deliver a strong message to the United Nations General Assembly at the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.


Photos: Philadelphia volunteers (Mark Schmerling) | Rose Johnson (Becky Gilette) | Larry and Arianna (Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover) | Ecuadorian woman and child (Jennifer Swan/Sierra Club Collection)