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.
As part of a federal government shutdown, the EPA sends home 2,400
Superfund workers and stops toxic-waste cleanup work at 609 sites.
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
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.
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.
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
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
A group of evangelical leaders representing more than
1,000 churches nationwide kicks off a $1 million campaign urging strong
protection of endangered species.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
Senate Shelves Endangered Species...
The Senate votes to continue the moratorium on the listing of
...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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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
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,"
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
'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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Club Endorses Clinton.
The Club formally endorses Clinton/Gore for another four years.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
One-year anniversary of environ-mentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa's execution by
the Nigerian military government.
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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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