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The Planet

1996 Sierra Club Timeline

The Planet, January 1997, Volume 4, number 1

Jan.1
Lead is Dead.
The total ban of sales of leaded gasoline in the U.S. becomes effective. The Environmental Protection Agency completes the final steps of the phaseout within the month.

Jan. 2
Superfund Shutdown.
As part of a federal government shutdown, the EPA sends home 2,400 Superfund workers and stops toxic-waste cleanup work at 609 sites.

Jan. 4
1995 a Confirmed Sizzler.
The New York Times announces that 1995 was the hottest year on record and that the period from 1991 to 1995 was the warmest five-year-period on record.

Jan. 4
Congress Comes Up Short.
The Gingrich-led House fails to override Clinton's veto of the fiscal year 1996 Interior appropriations bill, H.R. 1977. Clinton vetoed H.R. 1977 on Dec. 18, 1995, in part because of the anti-environmental riders attached to it.

Jan. 17
California Species Protected.
A suit by the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League and others protects the integrity of the California Endangered Species Act by invalidating a blanket permit issued by Gov. Pete Wilson (R) that reduced protections for the state's dwindling wildlife.

Jan. 23
But Is Anyone Listening?
A GOP poll finds the public disapproves of Republican efforts to cut EPA funding by one-third. Respondents put cleaning up hazardous waste sites at the top of the public's environmental priority list, and show strong support for environmental laws. They also say they have more confidence that Democrats, not Republicans, will protect the environment.

Jan. 30
Club Wins First Independent Expenditure Campaign.
Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) gains a narrow victory in the closely watched race for Oregon's U.S. Senate seat. The Club and the League of Conservation Voters play a pivotal role by waging their first independent expenditure campaign, spending over $200,000 on behalf of Wyden.

Jan. 31
Saving Grace.
A group of evangelical leaders representing more than 1,000 churches nationwide kicks off a $1 million campaign urging strong protection of endangered species.

Feb. 14
Club Takes Aim at Congressional/Corporate Cupidity.
As part of a national effort to educate the public on congressional members' votes on the environment, the Sierra Club's New York City Group and the League of Conservation Voters announce the release of LCV's scorecard, and make a Valentine's Day wish to end "sweetheart deals" between Congress and special interests. Volunteers stand on the steps of City Hall in front of a blow-up of the local delegation's scores, with hearts and cupids highlighting the outstanding records.

Feb. 22
Sounding Off in Seattle.
The Club organizes more than 1,000 people to rally and send the visiting President Clinton a message: "Repeal the clearcut deal!"

Feb. 26
Population Program Equips Educators.
Renew America awards California's Redwood Chapter Population Committee for a project to ensure that public school teachers have materials and training on population issues.

Feb. 27
Logging Savaging Northwest.
Pointing to watershed damage caused by recent floods, the Pacific Rivers Council and Pacific Coast Federation of Flyfisherman's Associations urge Clinton to temporarily halt all logging and road-building in the Northwest's national forests. Forest Service officials and environmentalists attribute most of the landslides to logging roads that washed out and to unstable soil in clear-cut areas.

March 13
Senate Shelves Endangered Species...
The Senate votes to continue the moratorium on the listing of endangered species.

March 14
...And Sits on Salvage.
Sens. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) are successful in defeating Sen. Patty Murray's (D-Wash.) amendment to repeal the salvage logging rider. The Murray amendment loses on a 42-54 vote.

March 14
Illinois Activists Turn Back Toxics.
A three-year campaign by the Illinois Chapter to stop a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer subsidy to companies that construct polluting waste incinerators ends in victory. Gov. Jim Edgar (R) signs legislation halting the flow of taxpayer money to incinerator developers.

March 15
Feds Block Public Lands Attack.
A federal court in Nevada rules that only the federal government has a clear title to public lands. The decision rejects a claim by Nye County officials that they have authority to control U.S. Forest Service lands within the county's borders. Hailing the decision, Attorney General Janet Reno says public lands are "owned by all Americans, to be managed by the United States. That's the rule of law. The court made it clear that Nye and other counties are no exception to this rule."

March 21
A Stitch in Time...
Club releases "Global Warming: The High Costs of Inaction," a report showing that it will cost the U.S. billions of dollars if we fail to address climate change. The report argues that it costs less to curb global warming now by improving energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy sources and halting deforestation.

March 26 and 27:
Activist-Donors Storm the Hill.

March 26
Ed Muskie, Environmental Architect.
The Sierra Club mourns the passing of former Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine), who wrote most of the nation's major environmental laws. "Ed Muskie was the architect of our modern environmental protection programs," says Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club.

March 27
Filibuster Halts Utah 'Anti-Wilderness' Bill.
After two days of contentious debate on the omnibus parks bill, H.R. 1296, the Senate votes 51 to 49 to maintain a filibuster by Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.). (Sixty votes are needed to move the bill.) Bradley's filibuster stops an amendment that includes various anti-environmental provisions, notably the Utah Public Lands Management Act, S. 884, which would designate just 1.8 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land in Utah as "wilderness" and leave another 20 million acres open to development.

March 31
Club Members Call for Veto.
In late March, over 3,000 Sierra Club members telephone the White House urging Clinton to veto H.R. 3019, an appropriations bill that includes riders that would eliminate the EPA's role in protecting wetlands, restrict energy efficiency and conservation efforts and prevent additional threatened and endangered species from receiving protection. It also includes a 10 percent reduction in the EPA budget from 1995 levels.

April 9
Artificial Sweetener.
Sen. Majority Leader Bob Dole (R) visits Florida, talking about the importance of protecting the Everglades. Dole added $200 million for Everglades restoration to the farm bill just signed by Pres. Clinton, but he continues to oppose the Clinton plan to raise money for restoration through a corporate tax on the sugar growers who pollute the ecosystem. Gov. Lawton Chiles (D) praises Dole's efforts on the Everglades, but notes that the senator supports a provision in the budget bill that would weaken wetlands protection. "It strikes me that one cannot be 'anti-wetland' and 'pro-Everglades' at the same time," says Chiles.

April 13
Happy Earth Day -- and Many Tear-Off-And-Mail Returns.
While some revelers received feel-good, greenscamming handouts from corporate-sponsored events, many more got Sierra Club doorhangers promoting strong environmental safeguards and offering an opportunity to send word to President Clinton urging him to defend our wilderness and wildlife.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., volunteer Kjersten Larson (above) assists the educational effort by organizing the early-morning troops. More than 130 volunteers gather there to distribute doorhangers -- in a city with just 87 Club members. By month's end, the Club distributes 2.3 million doorhangers in more than 100 cities.

April 23
Florida Governor Gets Message.
The governor's cabinet in Florida, on a 4-3 vote, turns down a controversial new fuel called, "orimulsion," due in part to an outpouring of citizen concern after the Club's Earth Week doorhanger events in the state. Mary Sheppard and Richard Radford were key organizers of this huge effort.

April 22
A Hollow Reply.
In the months following the brutal execution of Nigerian environmental and human rights leader Ken Saro-Wiwa on Nov. 10, 1995, the multinational oil giant Shell became a target of international criticism. The Club declared a boycott on Nov. 19, 1995, and instituted a letter-writing, telephone and fax campaign to pressure Shell to cease operations until Ogoniland has been cleaned up and reparations have been paid. Today the Club launches a Web page in response to the misleading information that Shell sends in response to the thousands of letters and calls they've received.

April 24
Family Farmer Uprising.
Sierra Club activists in Missouri, organized by Ken Midkiff, rally with farmers and labor representatives at the state capitol in Jefferson City. Activists move from the rally into legislators' offices and then to a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to protest the "hog farm" bill that favors mega-hog factories at the expense of small farmers and the environment.

April 25
Two Hulls Are Better Than One.
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) signs legislation requiring barges and tug escorts that transport oil or hazardous materials on the Mississippi River to be double-hulled. The Club strongly supported the legislation and worked with other organizations to pass it.

April 29
Bill's Budget Gets Better.
Clinton signs H.R. 3019, the FY 1996 Omnibus Rescissions and Appropriations bill, after the House and Senate conference drops restrictions on the EPA's review of wetland permits, restores EPA funding to $6.5 billion and gives the president the authority to waive the other anti-environmental provisions. After signing the bill, Clinton blocks imposition of three riders -- one that would have allowed more logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, another that would have stripped away management of the Mojave National Preserve from the National Park Service and a third that would have extended the yearlong moratorium on listing new species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

May 1
Bye Bye Bad Bill.
The Senate passes the omnibus parks bill, H.R. 1296. Thanks in part to the outpouring of opposition from environmentalists, and the 5,000 calls from Sierra Club members, S. 884, the controversial Utah Public Lands Management Act was pulled from the bill. Had it remained, it would have amended the Wilderness Act, rolled back environmental protections and prevented future protection of undeveloped land.

May 1
Sea Turtles Protected by Club Suit.
A suit by the Sierra Club, Earth Island Institute and others leads to a court order requiring an immediate ban on shrimp imports from all nations whose fishing fleets use large nets without "turtle excluder devices." These devices protect sea turtles, among the world's most endangered species.

May 8
Legal Victory in Georgia, Part 1.
Club suit stops logging in the Chattahoochee National Forest and obtains a legal ruling that logging must not harm breeding migratory birds. The Forest Service appeals the decision.

May 15
Dole Runs, But Can't Hide.
Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kans.) announces his resignation from the Senate, saying that he wants to spend his time campaigning for president. In another unexpected move, Dole declares himself "green" on his World Wide Web page. The Club responds by posting a point-by-point rebuttal of Dole's environmental "accomplishments."

May 20
Adam, Adam everywhere...
The Board of Directors elects Sierra Student Coalition founder Adam Werbach as the Sierra Club's 46th president. At 23, Werbach is the youngest person to assume the Club's helm, but proves a quick study.

May 20
Species Reprieve.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists Mark Twain's celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County as "threatened," the first such designation since the Endangered Species Act listing moratorium was lifted by President Clinton. The agency says that it faces a backlog of 242 species and has less than $4 million in rehabilitation funds to spend in the remainder of 1996.

May 22
Club Wins Legal Victory in Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.
A Clean Air Act suit by the Club protects the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness in northwest Colorado by requiring a nearby power plant to pay $145 million in air pollution controls, reduce pollution by 70 percent (more than 20,000 tons) and pay more than $4 million for penalties and environmental projects, one of the largest penalty/project payments ever achieved in a citizen suit.

May 28
Happy Birthday Sierra Club!
The Sierra Club's 104th birthday. "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life." -- John Muir

May 29
Walk Softly and Carry a Big Fish.
Prime bass habitat -- producing fish like the one held below by Duke Nohe, president of the Maryland Aquatic Resources Coalition -- would be threatened if a development planned for Chapman's Landing in Maryland moves forward. MARC is one of many organizations working with Club activists to stop this development.

June 2
Dam Derailed.
Thanks in part to the work of the Sierra Club and other groups, the U.S. Import-Export Bank, which gives loans to countries to buy U.S. goods, denies financial assistance to China to build the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River. Environmentalists had made presentations to the bank's board of directors and staff, pointing out that the bank has alegal responsibility to consider the environmental consequences of the projects it funds.

June 9
Hawai'i Activists Win Access.
Beach access is restored at the Ko Olina Resort at West Beach thanks to the efforts of the O'ahu Group of the Sierra Club and two other environmental organizations. Demonstrators staged a beach party calling attention to the restrictions imposed by developers. The developers claim that the public protest played no role in their decision to provide access. Islanders know better.

June 10
'Fish Kill' Faircloth Targets Wetlands.
North Carolina traces one of its largest fish kills to a cattle farm owned by Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.). State officials estimate that roughly 250,000 gallons of partially liquefied sweet potato scraps (used for feed) spilled into over 20 miles of one of the state's most pristine waterways. Faircloth introduced S. 851, which contains a major Clean Water Act exemption for large factory farms and would remove an average of 65 percent of each state's remaining wetlands from federal protection.

June 13
Club Proves Catalyst.
Larry Bohlen, Maryland Chapter conservation chair, and other Club members generate lots of local media by releasing a voter chart on the Prince Georges County Council. Soon after, the Council votes to provide $500,000 toward the protection of the Belt Woods, the most concentrated songbird nesting habitat on the East Coast.

June 18
Utah's Hansen Waylays Omnibus.
As it moves through a House/Senate conference committee, Utah Rep. Jim Hansen (R) attempts to attach the destructive livestock grazing bill, S. 1459, to the omnibus parks package that includes Sterling Forest in New York and New Jersey and the Presidio in California.

June 20
Salvage Repeal Falls Short.
By two votes, the House defeats Rep. Elizabeth Furse's (D-Ore.) salvage logging repeal amendment, which would prohibit spending 1997 funds to implement the 1995 salvage timber rider. (It failed by 125 votes in March.)

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) then calls for a revote regarding another amendment that would prohibit wasteful spending on construction of new logging roads in national forests. Speaker Gingrich subsequently blocks the amendment. The votes not only show the huge rift environmental issues have created in the Republican party, they demonstrate the success of the Club's education campaign and TV and radio ads calling for public lands protection.

June 22
America's Youth Show Eco-Savvy.
A Newsweek poll of Americans aged 18 to 29 shows that 47 percent of those polled consider environmental problems to be among the "most important problems" facing the United States. In addition, the Sierra Club-commissioned Greenberg Research survey of voters under 25 shows that America's youth are hopeful, have been educated on the environment and can be mobilized when they know there is a threat. Furthermore, youth voters were far more inclined to vote for the environmental candidate when an environmental message was included in the platform.

June 27
Passing of a Pioneer.
Mollie Beattie, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dies of brain cancer. A strong advocate of the Endangered Species Act, and the first woman to head the agency, Beattie oversaw the creation of 15 new national wildlife refuges. She was also a driving force in the final stages of the effort to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

June 28
Dam Torpedoed.
In a stunning victory for Club activists, an amendment calling for the construction of the 508-foot-high Auburn Dam on the American River in California, is defeated.

June 29
Making the Most for McKinney
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) with Club Southeast Regional Representative Sam Collier at one of more than half a dozen fundraisers for her sponsored by the Georgia Chapter. McKinney, who faced a tough race in a redrawn district, won re-election on Nov. 5.

June 29
No Motor Voters Here.
More than 100 activists gather on the banks of the Mississippi for a 21- canoe salute in an effort to raise awareness about the latest threat to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The BWCAW is threatened by S.1738, sponsored by Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minn.), which would dramatically increase motorized use of the BWCAW, and shift management from the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service to local politicians.

Back at Grams' home office, Ginny Yingling rallies the crowd to tell their senator to "stop playing political football with our parks and wilderness -- no more motors in the Boundary Waters."

June 30
Mobile Slogan.
Maine Club members make their presence felt at the annual Great Kennebec Festival Race, a waterborne celebration of recreation and conservation. Club activists distribute more than 700 bumper stickers bearing the message, "Protect Maine's Clean Water: For Our Families, For Our Future," and adorn nine boats with the message.

July 2
Too Little, Too Late.
The Clinton administration directs the Forest Service to establish new guidelines for implementing the "clearcut" salvage rider. While a positive step, it falls short of repealing the rider and fails to cancel existing salvage sales. (July 27 is the one-year anniversary of Clinton's signing of the salvage rider.)

July 3
South Carolina Victory.
A two-year battle over corporate hog farms ends victoriously for the South Carolina Chapter. The governor signs a bill protecting citizens and communities from pollution from large, industrial swine operations similar to ones that have plagued North Carolina and other states.

July 10
Ready for Prime Time.
In South Carolina, the chapter signs on PBS TV naturalist Rudy Mancke to narrate a Club public service announcement urging protection of the state's rivers.

July 10
On the Air for Clean Water.
Sierra Club, Citizen Action and the League of Conservation Voters air lobbying ads on the proposed cuts for clean water enforcement and safe drinking water funding in the FY '97 EPA appropriations bill.

July 11
Great Lakes Anti-Toxics Campaign.
The Sierra Club, Grand Cal Task Force, Lake Michigan Federation, Save the Dunes Council and a number of hard-working allies and volunteers kick off the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal media tour and workshop to clean up over 3 million cubic yards of heavy-metal- and toxic-laden mud.

July 17
Beating the Heat?
The Clinton administration announces its support for a binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it relies heavily on loophole-ridden market-based approaches, like marketable permit trading, to reduce those emissions. The Club questions whether it can be adequately monitored and enforced, and whether it will result in fraudulent transactions. This move is a step back after the administration held firm against oil and auto industry lobbying a week earlier.

Meanwhile, the Club's Global Warming and Energy team transmits by satellite "The Climate Report," a six-part TV series that provides broadcast meteorologists with the information and footage they need to do accurate and compelling reports on global warming.

July 17
Consumers' Right-to-Know Saved.
The Club's trade program representatives win a commitment from the U.S. trade representative to hold off on an industry proposal to weaken content and use of eco-labels, the symbols and labels that tell shoppers that products are made with environmentally preferred methods.

July 19
Separating Heroes from Zeroes.
The Wall Street Journal features the Club's 1996 political program: "Environmental activists are setting out to ensure that their view of these lawmakers makes a difference in the outcome of their races for re-election this fall," it says.

July 31
Highways of Horror.
The Senate passes S. 1936, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1996, which would establish an above- ground "interim" nuclear waste dump near Yucca Mountain in Nevada. This bill would force the state to "temporarily" store thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel (now being stored at 80 reactors across the country) and subject the public to increased risk of exposure from potential accidents as the high-level waste is shipped through communities, on highways and by rail.

Aug. 2
It's Not Easy Being Green.
After voting against water protection for most of the congressional session, House and Senate members, worried about their dismal environmental records, do an about-face and reauthorize the Safe Drinking Water Act, which will improve tap water standards. Clinton signs it into law four days later.

Aug. 7
Protecting Water in Massachusetts.
Six years of hard work by staffer Jay McCaffrey, volunteers Cindy Delpapa and Gretchen Fryling and the Massachusetts Chapter culminates in the passage of the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act, legislation that provides protection for the state's rivers and waterways.

Aug. 12
Long Live Yellowstone.
Sierra Club Associate Representative Betsy Buffington joins Mineral Policy Center President Philip Hocker (left), Rep. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) and 400 other guests for Clinton's announcement to protect Yellowstone National Park from the Crown Butte Mining Company's plan for a massive gold mine operation just outside park boundaries. The president's move follows three years of litigation by the Sierra Club and other Yellowstone advocates.

Aug. 20
Grassroots Grit in Green Bay.
With the help of Fox Valley Group volunteers Penny Schaber and Joy Perry, the Club holds a citizens' meeting opposing the expansion of Kidney Island, an in-lake confined disposal facility in Green Bay, Wisc., for contaminated sediments. Participants receive the information they need to petition local politicians, including the mayor of Green Bay, for a thorough review of the plan. Following these efforts, a city task force forms to examine disposal alternatives.

Aug. 22
Prairie Home Companions.
Marge Hanselman, Houston Group conservation chair, engages a director of the National Rifle Association at a hunting and angling show about the Club's long-running fight against Houston's West Side Airport plan on the Katy Prairie. Her efforts result in 200,000 Houston area NRA members joining forces with the Club to oppose all unnecessary development on the Katy Prairie, a prime hunting and birding habitat.

Aug. 30
Clean It Up, Georgia.
Club suit spurs a federal judge to rule that the EPA must set total pollution limits within five years for all of Georgia's impaired waters, rather than the 10 to 20 years the agency wanted.

Sept. 4-28
Responsible Trade Show.
Club Trade Specialist Dan Seligman and intern Matt Kliscewski rally nearly 300 Club activists in more than two dozens presentations on their "San Diego to Seattle Responsible Trade Road Show." Citing an environmental "race toward the bottom" touched off by the North American Free Trade Agreement, volunteers write hundreds of letters to Congress and the administration calling for a move from "free trade to responsible trade."

Sept. 9
Take the Money And Run.
Jonathan Poisner of the Oregon Chapter is captured by the Newport News-Times as he holds a fake check to Rep. Jim Bunn (R) to make a real point about money and politics. Poisner publicizes the release of the Club report "Take the Money and Run," which shows the link between polluter PAC dollars and anti-environmental votes in Congress.

Sept. 15
Environment for Life.
Austin canvasser Amy Wempke knocks on environmental author Daniel Quinn's door. As someone familiar with his books encouraging people to protect the environment through personal change, she indicates that the people she talks to begin their environmental stewardship by joining the Sierra Club. Quinn, supportive of the Club's efforts, joins as a life member.

Sept. 17
Legal Victory in Georgia, Part 2.
A federal judge issues a series of injunctions against logging over 2,100 acres in Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest for violating forest management plans and failing to adequately consider sensitive species like the brook trout, cerulean warbler and green salamander.

Sept. 18
Utah's Monumental Victory.
Pres. Clinton establishes the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on 1.7 million acres of public lands in Utah. The new national monument will help protect one of the most scenic landscapes in the nation.

Sept. 19
Antarctica Forever.
Club lobbying pays off with House passage of the amended version of H.R. 3060, The Antarctic Science, Tourism and Conservation Act, which was preceded by Senate approval. The bill implements the United States' obligations under the protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which prohibits mining in Antarctica for a minimum of 50 years and establishes new standards for environmental protection for 10 percent of the earth.

Sept. 24
More Telling Signs.
Midwest Regional Representative Brett Hulsey helps send Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wisc.) a message at one of the congressman's appearances in Racine, where Club volunteers protest his environmental record.

Sept. 25
Canadian Common Sense.
Sierra Club of Canada releases the Rational Energy Program. The report outlines a package of initiatives designed to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy while allowing Canada to meet its carbon dioxide emissions commitments. The program would create jobs, lower taxes and reduce secondary energy demand by 13 percent.

Sept. 26
Club Endorses Clinton.
The Club formally endorses Clinton/Gore for another four years.

Sept. 26
Putting on the Fish.
As part of a San Francisco rally to protect Headwaters Forest, Conservation Director Bruce Hamilton plays a wild coho salmon. "We coho are down to 1 percent of our former population because of habitat destruction caused by logging," he says. "We must save all 60,000 acres of Headwaters Forest -- for our fish, for our families and for our future."

Sept. 27
Real Cool, Wes.
Retiring Oregon Rep. Wes Cooley (R) greets a small group of Sierra Club demonstrators at a Republican pep rally honoring the "achievements" of the signers of the Contract With America. When Club staffers display signs reading "Bye Bye, 104th" and begin chanting "two more days," Cooley completely loses his cool and responds with a gesture generally deemed to be extremely impolite.

Staffer Melanie Griffin asks Cooley to repeat his Club-aimed suggestion for the camera. He does, and the Associated Press picks up the photo to run the following day in the San Francisco Chronicle and many other newspapers.

Sept. 28
Greening Longhorns.
Sierra Student Coalition President Kim Mowery speaks at a rally at the University of Texas in Austin, one of the newest campuses to develop an SSC.

Oct. 3
Justice for Pensacola.
The Environmental Protection Agency announces it will relocate 358 Florida families away from two dangerous arsenic- and dioxin-contaminated Superfund sites. Club environmental justice activists, notably John McCown (below, right), worked with Margaret Williams (left) and other members of Citizens Against Toxic Exposure, a local group, to pressure the EPA to move all families living within a mile of a former wood treatment plant to safer ground.

Oct. 4
We Hate Long Goodbyes.
The 104th Congress officially adjourns. Up until the last minute, Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) holds the omnibus parks bill hostage while trying to make a sweetheart deal for the timber industry in Alaska which would have devastated Tongass National Forest. He also tried to force through a separate bill containing many of the anti-environmental provisions that the Clinton administration had successfully deleted from the parks bill. In the end, Murkowski is unsuccessful, and the bill containing the Sterling Forest, Presidio Park and Tallgrass Prairie Preserve passes in the waning hours.

Oct. 4
'Dolphin-Safe' Saved.
Due to the efforts of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the International Dolphin Conservation Act (H.R. 2823), which would have lifted the U.S. embargo on tuna caught with dolphin-deadly purse seine fishing nets, is stopped in the Senate.

Oct. 5
Tip a 'Canoe' and Chapman's Too!
On a crisp autumn morning, 60 canoeists and kayakers paddle their boats up Maryland's Lower Potomac River to a Sierra Club rally to stop urban sprawl and help save Chapman's Landing, a 2,250-acre parcel of land along the river's banks. Encompassing a critical fishery, rich wildlife habitat and a historical landmark, Chapman's Landing is threatened by a developer's plan for a new 15,000-person city.

Oct. 5
Paddling, Peddling for Protection.
Volunteers Josh Rest and Robyn Fortney are on hand for a Sierra Club outing in central Iowa to help "Protect Iowa's Rivers: For Our Families, For Our Future" with prairie seed collecting, biking and canoeing down the Des Moines River.

Oct. 11
Lakota Honor.
Four members of the South Dakota Chapter are honored for their efforts to protect the Black Hills, which are considered sacred by local Native Americans. Chapter Chair Brian Brademeyer is shown at right with the Star Quilt given to him by the Lakota people, honoring his efforts in "the struggle to save the natural world." Black Hills Group members Michael Melius, Nancy Hilding and Donald Pay were also presented with Star Quilts in a traditional Lakota circle dance ceremony honoring their work to protect the wildlife and environment of western South Dakota.

Oct. 15
Speaking the Same Language.
While canvassing in McLean, Va., Canvass Director Kate Moore meets several foreign ambassadors who gladly join the Sierra Club with the explanation: "Your air is our air." While Moore discusses the Sierra Club's campaign to protect our public lands, these new members consistently note their appreciation of America's open space, a precious resource not easily found in their own countries.

Oct. 16
Club Urges Feds to Buy Green.
The Club and more than 180 environmental, consumer and recycling groups join a campaign launched by the nonprofit Government Purchasing Project to encourage federal agencies to use recycled copier paper. The groups sign a letter urging Clinton to direct the General Services Administration and the Government Printing Office to stop selling non-recycled copier paper to federal agencies.

Oct. 23
An Unprecedented Electoral Effort.
A New York Times article entitled "Environmentalists Ante Up To Sway a Number of Races" highlights the Sierra Club's nationwide voter education drive. The story is devoted to the Club's historic effort to distribute 1.3 million voter guides comparing the environmental records of congressional candidates.

Oct. 26
Come Back Coho.
Responding to a federal judge's order, the National Marine Fisheries Service announces it will list the dwindling central California coho salmon as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Under the new listing, the government must adopt a plan for restoring the coho population and consider designating certain habitats as critical to its survival.

Oct. 26
Voter Guides for All!
Sierra Club members distribute over 1 million voter guides to their fellow citizens. In Walnut Creek, Calif., over 300 people distribute literature and hear rousing speeches. In Las Vegas, TV, radio and the Review Journal cover a rally where, despite blistering cold and gusting winds, 60 people turn out to take voter guides door-to-door. With rain spitting and tornado winds threatening, volunteers in Norman, Okla., distribute 14,000 voter guides. The voter education campaign includes thousands of Sierra Club volunteers who blanket their neighborhoods and communities with environmental voter guides in the weeks before the election.

Oct. 26
Kids in Nature. A Winning Combination.
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency recognizes the Sierra Club's Inner City Outings program by awarding it the PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award, in recognition of ICO's contribution to what NCCD calls "the new American community." This year, 26 ICO kids were able to participate on national outings as the result of an anonymous gift. One ICO participant, on a trip to Canyon de Chelly in northern Arizona, wrote, "The sky was full of stars last night -- billions of them -- something you can't see living in a city."

Oct. 28
Anybody Home?
In Michigan, Rep. Pat Nowak, Republican challenger to Club-endorsed Dale Kildee (D), raised Club hackles when he said, "The environment is not an issue in this race. Nobody's asked me a question about it." Sierra Club volunteers take up the challenge at a debate between the candidates. Kildee answers questions about the environment and blasts Nowak for his summertime stunt of filling baby food jars with mud to criticize the EPA for wanting to clean up toxic waste sites to prevent kids from getting sick.

Oct. 30
Frogs in the Coal Mine.
The Club Great Lakes Program holds a press conference in Chicago on the human health effects of hormone disrupting chemicals. The conference touches on the warnings being sent by wildlife, including the possible causes of deformities being found in frogs across the Midwest, and the reasons behind the decline of amphibian populations worldwide. Press coverage from the conference examines the dangers posed by toxic chemicals in our environment and the need to continue research and cleanup efforts.

Oct. 31
A Superior Showing.
Wisconsin implements the Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative. The Club Great Lakes Program and John Muir Chapter printed 2,000 postcards for Sierra Club members to mail to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, encouraging the agency to strengthen its proposed rules implementing the GLI. A number of volunteers, notably Jan Conley and Bob Olsgard, provided crucial support by producing and distributing the cards.

Oct. 31
Protecting Canada's Endangered Species.
The Canadian government tables the first-ever federal legislation addressing endangered species, Bill C-65, An Act Respecting the Protection of Wildlife Species in Canada from Extirpation or Extinction, which would prohibit anyone from killing or harming an endangered or threatened species or damaging its habitat. Sierra Club of Canada, a member of the Canadian Endangered Species Coalition, has been working for several years to see a strong, effective bill passed.

Nov. 3
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
"If I win on Tuesday, it will be because you people have done such a fantastic job," says candidate Jim McGovern (D) to Sierra Club Massachusetts organizer Dan Boulton two days before the election. On Election Day, McGovern stuns frosh-incumbent Peter Blute (R) by defeating him 53 to 45 percent.

Nov. 5
Forcing Big Sugar's Hand.
Even though Florida voters fail to approve a Club-supported sugar tax, they overwhelmingly pass (by a 68 to 32 percent margin) a constitutional amendment requiring polluting corporations to pay for their mess. Thus, when growers burn their cane for harvest, the pollutants falling back into the "River of Grass" must be cleaned up by the industry that put them there.

Nov. 5
Changing the Landscape in Maine.
State ballot measure 2A, which would have eliminated the practice of large-scale clearcutting, doesn't win on Election Day. But a rival measure, 2B, crafted by Gov. King, the paper corporations and two major state environmental organizations, fails to get the necessary 50 percent of the vote.

Club activists raised and spent $150,000 on a 10-day TV campaign, which had a major impact. One pollster says, "Those were some of the best ads I've ever seen in a referendum campaign in Maine." The issue goes back before the voters for an up-or-down vote within the next year.

Nov. 5
Club Flexes Grassroots Muscle on Election Day.
Sierra Club-backed candidates win in two-thirds of the Club's 64 priority races, in 7 of 11 priority Senate seats and in 33 of 53 priority House seats.

The Sierra Club wins both of its independent expenditure campaigns -- one against Dick Chrysler (R) in Michigan and the other against Andrea Seastrand (R) in California. "There's no doubt that educating the voters about these two incumbents' terrible records on the environment played a major role in their defeat," says Sierra Club Political Committee Chair Chuck McGrady. "In fact, we know it was the key factor in the Seastrand race. Our polling in her district revealed that voters considered her dismal environmental record the number one reason to vote against her."

Nov. 9
Club Goes Cable.
The Club's efforts to reach out to the hunting and angling communities is featured on an ESPN outdoors show this month. The show, called "The Patterson Report," is a five-minute spot nestled in the middle of ESPN's four hours of outdoor programming on Saturday morning.

Nov. 11
Boycott Shell.
One-year anniversary of environ-mentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa's execution by the Nigerian military government.

Nov. 12
Stellar Seller.
Jerry McCulloch of the Middle Snake Group in Boise, Idaho, raises an amazing $1,652.55 selling Sierra Club calendars. This represents many small, individual sales and one-on-one conversations in support of the Club.

Nov. 15
Bilingual Lead Education.
The Angeles Chapter, under the leadership of Joan Holtz and Brent Scott, demonstrate the growing chapter/field partnership on issues of environmental justice by procuring a $4,000 grant to help produce a childhood lead poisoning prevention video accompanied by a Spanish/English pamphlet.

Nov. 17
Board Ups the Drain.
The Sierra Club Board of Directors passes a resolution supporting the draining of Lake Powell, the reservoir behind Glen Canyon Dam.

Nov. 27
Buddy, Can You Spare a Lung?
The EPA proposes new air quality standards which, if adopted, will improve air quality and provide new protection to nearly 133 million Americans, including 40 million children. While not as strong as needed, they do address two serious pollutants, ozone and fine particulates. Particulates are tiny particles of soot caused by burning coal, oil, gasoline and wood which, when breathed deep into the lungs, can cause tissue damage. Ozone is a pollutant formed by auto and other pollution in the presence of sunlight. Both pollutants cause and aggravate lung diseases, like asthma and emphysema, particularly in children and the elderly. Each year, 64,000 people die prematurely from heart and lung disease due to particulate air pollution, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Action Needed on Clean Air!

The Environmental Protection Agency's announcement of a plan for cleaner air is a positive first step, but it's up to concerned citizens to make sure that these proposed protections become the law of the land.

The oil, mining, auto and manufacturing industries are fighting the proposal and, because it's only a draft plan, they have an opportunity to sink these rules now. More than 500 trade associations and industries say they oppose the standards and they've already recruited their friends in Congress to do their bidding. More than 29 governors say they want the proposals weakened or done away with as well. We know that air pollution results in illness and premature death, and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, as are the elderly. The EPA is holding public hearings in Boston, Chicago and Salt Lake City during the week of Jan. 13, 1997.

Write now to support the clean air proposal by submitting comments to:
Carol Browner, Administrator
U.S. EPA
401 M St. SW
Washington, DC 20460
You can also call the EPA comment line at 1-888-TELL-EPA. For more information about the proposed clean air rules, visit the EPA's World Wide Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/airlinks/

Dec. 2
Stopping Bad Gas.
Due in part to pressure from the Sierra Club of Canada, the House of Commons passes Bill C-29, which effectively bans the use of MMT, a gasoline additive that causes neurological damage.

Dec. 3
Time to Park the Car.
Maryland Chapter Conservation Chair Jim Dougherty, Chapter Chair Gwyn Jones and activist Larry Bohlen celebrate the success of a 12-year campaign to halt construction of the proposed Barney Circle Highway, which would have resulted in the construction of a new interstate bridge across Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia River.

Dec. 3
No Such Thing as a Free Trade.
Citing attacks on U.S. clean air standards and on turtle protections in the World Trade Organization, the Sierra Club joins the National Wildlife Federation and the World Wildlife Fund in vowing opposition to future trade agreements during the WTO's first biannual meeting in Singapore.

Dec. 5-9
State Leaders Convene.
More than 40 state-level Club leaders meet in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains for an annual colloquium to discuss issues like pollution secrecy and brownfields cleanup.

Dec. 7
Pollution Ad Nauseam.
The Clinton administration issues a new global warming plan that postpones action to cut greenhouse emissions until 2010 by allowing polluters to borrow against future pollution allotments.

Dec. 10
Club Racks Up Two More Green Voters.
Texas Sierra Club members led by Diana Stevens organize and win in Texas' 9th District, where Club-endorsed Nick Lampson (D) defeats incumbent Steve Stockman (R) with 53 percent of the vote in a post-redistricting runoff. In the 25th District, the organizing efforts of the Houston Group pay off with Rep. Ken Bentsen's (D) victory over Dolly Madison McKenna (R).

Dec. 10
Club Racks Up Two More Green Voters.
Texas Sierra Club members led by Diana Stevens organize and win in Texas' 9th District, where Club-endorsed Nick Lampson (D) defeats incumbent Steve Stockman (R) with 53 percent of the vote in a post-redistricting runoff. In the 25th District, the organizing efforts of the Houston Group pay off with Rep. Ken Bentsen's (D) victory over Dolly Madison McKenna (R).


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