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Sierra Club Insider July 26, 2005

URGENT TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Reject the Polluting Energy Bill

In the next two days, Congress will take its final vote on a polluting energy bill. Instead of putting proven clean energy solutions to work, this destructive bill weakens key environmental safeguards, puts America's coastlines and other public lands at risk, and funnels billions of dollars to the energy industry. It's time for Congress to start over with a forward-looking energy policy that actually solves America's energy problems.

Send a message to your members of Congress telling them to reject this polluting energy bill!

Exxpose Exxon

ExxposeExxon CampaignIn our previous Insider, we told you how the Sierra Club helped Ford launch its new Mercury hybrid SUV. Now we've moved from the carrot to the stick with the new Exxpose Exxon campaign, in which the Sierra Club has joined 11 other public interest and environmental groups to encourage its members and the public not to purchase ExxonMobil's gasoline and other products nor to invest in ExxonMobil stock nor to work for the company.

Why? For starters, there's the $12 million ExxonMobil has spent to fund "climate-skeptics" to proclaim that global warming science is "uncertain." And then there's ExxonMobil's active support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And the company's record profits as gasoline prices soar. Last but not least, ExxonMobil has refused to pay $4 billion in punitive damages to fisherman, natives, and others harmed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

Last week, Sierra Club members rallied in front of ExxonMobil stations in Atlanta, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Columbus, and elsewhere -- passing out flyers, talking to motorists, and spreading the word about the company's policies. That's staffer Roger Singer in Seattle smiling above.

Ready to Exxpose Exxon? Sign our petition to ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond.

Designing the "Next Industrial Revolution"

Chicago City Hall Green RoofSierra Summit 2005 master speaker Bill McDonough thinks big: He's designing seven new cities in China. McDonough also thinks small: He's designing "cradle-to-cradle" packaging for bread. (That's his Chicago City Hall Green Roof at right.)

Cities, bread, roof-top gardens -- they're not so different to him. All are part of what he calls the "Next Industrial Revolution," which includes projects such as textile factories where the water comes out cleaner than it goes in, and sewage treatment plants that generate revenue by becoming fertilizer factories. Read more about his ideas, some tips for consumers and homeowners, and his search for the "infinite game -- the game we get to play forever" in a wide-ranging interview with The Planet.

You can see and hear Bill McDonough in person at the Sierra Summit, where thousands of Club members and friends will come together to forge a powerful and unifying vision to celebrate our planet.

Florida Wal-Mart Victory

Wal-Mart Victory"The unthinkable has happened," said the St. Petersburg Times on June 15, after the Sierra Club and other citizen groups beat back a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in a local wetland. The zoning board gave the project the thumbs-up, but the Sierra Club's Suncoast Group activists teamed with the Club's Building Environmental Communities program to galvanize public opposition to the project and convince the local Environmental Development Commission to just say no. "We didn't use emotion -- we used fact," Club member and St. Pete resident Doug Davidson said after the commission turned down the Supercenter.

And What About Judge Roberts?

Supreme CourtPresident Bush's pick for the Supreme Court is only 50 years old, so he could sit on the court for decades. And he's only been an appeals court judge for 20 months, so his record on the kinds of critical issues the Supreme Court will face is understandably skimpy.

The Sierra Club is concerned about two of Roberts' opinions, one in which he strongly implied that Congress doesn't have authority to protect certain species under the Endangered Species Act, and another where he upheld a decision by the Bush administration to ignore the public health impact of toxic pollution from copper smelters.

But really, it's too soon to tell. We support and encourage the Senate to follow tradition and fully evaluate the nominee's credentials and qualifications, and we look to Judge Roberts to provide evidence to the American people that he is a solid choice for the nation's high court. Stay tuned.

Environmental Stories That Are Beyond Belief

Subscribe to RAW today!Would you believe that the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA redefined toxic mine tailings from "waste" to "fill" so that a mining company could discard its toxic waste into a freshwater lake? Or that scientists have suggested creating an artificial ring of small particles or spacecraft around the Earth to combat global warming -- instead of, say, simply getting our cars, trucks, and SUVs to go farther on a gallon of gas? How about the EPA's "blending" proposal -- which would actually increase the amount of sewage in our drinking water?

Well, Virginia, all those stories are true, and if you were a subscriber to RAW, you'd already have heard about them. Once a week, our RAW correspondents collect environmental stories that would almost be funny if they didn't hurt the planet so much. They may be "beyond belief," but you'll want to know about them anyway. Subscribe to RAW today!

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Not Your Parents' Summer School

Where can you find the next generation of environmental leaders? Well, French Creek State Park near Philadelphia might be a good place to start. This week, the Sierra Student Coalition is hosting one of its summer training conferences to equip students to take their activists skills with them to campus this fall.

"We're offering students working towards environmental and social change the opportunity to unite with and learn from one another, while gaining the skills they need to drive solid campaigns back home," says Charlie Fredrick, director of the Midwest Student Environmental Leadership Conference.

Find out more about the SSC and its fall campaign -- Campus Climate Challenge -- at

The Great American Jobs Scam

Here's what Club Executive Director Carl Pope says about The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation -- "Companies like Wal-Mart won't want you to read this book, which is all the more reason why you should."

Author Greg LeRoy, director of Good Jobs First and a member of the Sierra Club's Challenge to Sprawl Committee, tells how billions of dollars are wasted on job-creation programs that don't create jobs, but do contribute to sprawl.

"If a contractor agreed to build two houses, but finished only one, he'd have to pay half the money back." says LeRoy. "But when it comes to taxpayer subsidies for jobs, there is absolutely no accountability for most of these programs." But LeRoy doesn't just chronicle the outrageous corporate larceny, he also provides practical solutions: state and local reforms to save taxpayer money and curb wasteful sprawl.

Jobs Scam is in bookstores now. You'll find more info about the book and about job safeguards at

Job Scam


There's Nothing "Free" About the Central American Free Trade Agreement

The House of Representatives vote on the Central American Free Trade this week is expected to be close. CAFTA, passed by the Senate on June 30, would extend the decade-old North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

But like NAFTA, CAFTA would allow multinational corporations to sue governments if a public health or environmental protection interfered with their business interests. To see what effect CAFTA would have on ordinary people, view our "Faces of CAFTA" feature and tell your representative to vote no on CAFTA -- "free" trade isn't free if it costs our environment.

Photos: Exxpose Exxon (Jennifer Rudolph Nance) | Chicago City Hall green roof (William McDonough and Partners) | Florida Wal-Mart Victory (Amanda Ransone) | Supreme Court (Mel Curtis/photodisc) | Sierra Student Coalition ( | Jobs Scam (Good Jobs First) | CAFTA (