Many of the following items come to you courtesy of the good folks who publish your Delta Sierran newsletter.
In honor of the release of Vice-President Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth",
the Delta Chapter has put together a brand new page of information and resources on global warming and climate change. See our brand new global warming page here.
Lessons from the Storm
When Tropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida, the 2006 hurricane season began in earnest. A new report issued by the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network asks whether we have learned the lessons of the past. In light of the incredible damage suffered last year by the Gulf Coast, are we prepared for future storms? Read "The School of Big Storms: The High Cost of Compromising our Natural Defenses and the Benefits of Protecting Them."
Please call Rep. Melancon ASAP at 1-866-289-9210 and ask him to SUPPORT THE BOEHLERT-MARKEY FUEL ECONOMY LEGISLATION and increase CAFÉ Standards.
This is a new brochure (PDF 386 KB) created by members of the Gulf Coast Restoration Taskforce.
Oh no Mr. Bill! Oh yes Mr. Bill!:
He and his friends are now helping to educate the public about wetland loss. Walter Williams the creator of Mr. Bill has a series of shorts on coastal wetland lost. See them here: http://www.mrbill.com/Estuarians.html
If you think there is already too much oil and gas drilling off shore...:
Then please download this fact sheet on the plan by the Bush administration's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to open up even more offshore acreage to leasing. The fact sheet also includes two ready-to-use pre-addressed post cards that you can send to your representative and to the MMS. Please remember that the deadline for comments is April 10th. For more information, updates, and suggestions on how you can help protect America’s coasts and marine environments please visit: http://www.sierraclub.org/coasts.
Flood Washington to rebuild New Orleans and our coast:
On September 15th the President pledged to rebuild the Gulf Coast and do whatever it takes to make New Orleans rise again. Since then his administration and leaders in Congress have failed to follow that pledge with the action necessary to rebuild New Orleans. Sierrans know, the first step in any serious revitalization effort is a commitment to honest and effective storm protection for our communities and a vibrant and restored coast. Each day that passes without a federal commitment to Louisiana's coast and communities prolongs this tragedy.
The Sierra Club and other civic and conservation organizations have kicked off a campaign to send that message. Please take a moment to remind the President of his pledge and urge your friends to do the same. With 300,000 New Orleanians displaced, we want to send an e-mail for each of them. Please help us send the message that New Orleans needs category 5 hurricane protection, which includes effective levees and comprehensive coastal wetland restoration. Click here to help renew New Orleans!
On the "Baker Bill":
January 26, 2006
Contact: Leslie March 985-871-6695 - Maura Wood 225-925-8650
Statement of Leslie March, Chair of the Rebuilding Greener subcommittee of the Sierra Club Gulf Coast Environmental Restoration Task Force on H.R. 4100
In spite of President Bush’s promises to rebuild New Orleans, the Bush Administration continues to block positive steps toward recovery in Louisiana. Although Congressman Baker’s bill may not have been perfect, it was a step in the right direction toward providing equity for all of the communities in Louisiana affected by the storms. It is the only proposal to date that would relieve impacted property owners who have already suffered so much loss from the burden of mortgage and debt, and give financial incentives to rebuild hurricane-damaged neighborhoods.
A speech given by President Bush on September 15, 2005, in Jackson Square in New Orleans is excerpted below:
Sierra Club Sr. Regional Representative / Staff Manager
4521 Jamestown Ave. Suite 12-13
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
New Media Coordinator hired:
We are happy to announce that we have hired Chris Smith as a temporary (3 month) Media Coordinator, based in New Orleans, to handle media outreach and response on Katrina / Rita related issues. Chris has a long history of working with non-profit organizations, as well as a considerable track record with the communications industry that includes numerous awards for writing.
He has personal experience with hurricane issues: most recently, he served as a writer/editor in the Office of Advancement at Tulane University Health Science Center until his job was eliminated by Hurricane Katrina. Prior to working at Tulane, Chris worked as Director of Communications for the Chicago Dental Society, and edited edental.com. He loves a good cause, and has three fine rescued greyhounds to prove it.
Please join us in welcoming Chris to the Sierra Club! He can be reached at 504-884-4008, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LNG Victory for a healthy Gulf:
Thanks so much for your help in defending fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico. You may have heard that Friday evening Governor Blanco officially vetoed the proposed Freeport McMoRan open-loop liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and demanded fish-friendly technology instead. Click here to read the Associated Press story on the veto.
There are currently six other off-shore terminals planned throughout the Gulf. This veto sets an important precedent and sends a strong message to the energy corporations that they MUST use fish-friendly technology.
Please place a call to the Governor's constituent response line now. Thank her for standing strong and standing up for healthy fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico. 1-866-366-1121
For our fish and our future.
P.S. McMoRan just announced they would move forward with their terminal, using a closed-loop system instead. Clearly, we can protect Gulf fish populations and develop LNG terminals at the same time. This news should send ALL energy corporations developing LNG terminals back to the drawing board. To help send that message to Shell, click here.
Earth Day Manifesto: Love, Death, and Global Warming
April 22, 2005
We call it Earth Day, not Everglades Day or West Coast Day or Yellowstone Day. It’s the one time each year when we’re encouraged to think beyond our local ecosystems and try to comprehend and appreciate the Earth as a whole. We meditate on this huge, life-giving sphere full of mystery and power yet so delicate and complex and ceaselessly vulnerable.
SENATE TAKES FIRST STEP TOWARD DRILLING IN ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Sierra Club Condemns Senators Landrieu and Vitter for Voting to Open Pristine Wilderness as Part of Federal Budget
Washington, D.C. – The Sierra Club expressed profound disappointment today that Senators Landrieu and Vitter voted against protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from destructive oil drilling. The Senate voted by a razor-thin margin to take the first step towards drilling for oil in the Arctic Refuge as part of the Federal Budget Resolution. A bipartisan group of Senators attempted to safeguard this national treasure and the native people and wildlife that depend on it, but 51 Senators rejected an amendment to strip Arctic drilling revenues from the Budget Resolution.
“We deeply regret that our two Senators from Louisiana joined 49 other Senators in voting to pursue special interests instead of energy solutions,” said Maurice Coman, Conservation Chair of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It is impossible that our Senators do not know by now that drilling in coastal areas is damaging and destructive. With so many coastal communities in Louisiana having been adversely affected by oil and gas activities, our Senators have to know what the Gwich’in villages around the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge face. That means our Senators knowing traded a pristine coastline and an irreplaceable culture for a tiny amount of oil while at the same time looking for help to restore our own severely impacted coastline. This is pure hypocracy at its worst.”
The Bush administration and allies in Congress advanced their plan for Arctic drilling through the complicated budget process by slipping in an assumption of $2.4 billion in revenues to the federal treasury from leasing and development of the Arctic Refuge. These numbers are speculative at best. Given that oil leases on the North Slope of Alaska have historically sold for about $50 an acre, the budget figure voted on by Congress is inflated to at least 80 times that average.
“Today’s vote is an abuse of the budget process that undermines the pillars of our democracy. It is fiscally irresponsible and would sacrifice one of America’s great natural treasures,” said Coman. "This razor-thin vote in favor of the bottom line for oil and gas special interests is by no means a mandate to drill in the Arctic Refuge."
Even after the vote on the Cantwell amendment, the Senate must still pass the budget resolution before it goes to the conference committee. There, they must iron out their differences with the House spending plan, which does not assume Arctic drilling revenues. The conference report is then subject to a straight up or down vote in both the House and Senate. The next step is the Budget Reconciliation Bill where Congress must pass the actual legislation to authorize opening the Arctic Refuge to drilling.
“Even the oil companies know that America’s energy future does not lie in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” said Coman. “There are quicker, cheaper, safer, and cleaner energy solutions. Making cars go farther on a gallon of gas would save more oil than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would produce. Promoting conservation and investing in clean renewable energy are long-term, 21st century solutions that protect our natural heritage. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will never be pristine again if this budget action is allowed to stand.”
When the Budget was brought to the floor today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and John Kerry (D-MA) offered an amendment to strip Arctic drilling revenues from the bill, which lost by a vote of 49-51.
“We thank those Senators, both Republican and Democrat, who stood firm against tremendous pressure from the Bush administration, pro-drilling members of Congress and their allies in the oil industry,” said Coman. “At least they recognize that the budget is an inappropriate place to decide controversial national policy matters like America's energy policy. We were hoping that our own Senators would recognize the value of a pristine, unspoiled coastline, and would understand that the vast, unspoiled wilderness of America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is more than a line item in the Federal Budget. Obviously that faith was misplaced.”
Sierra Club opens new regional office in Baton Rouge:
Over the summer the Sierra Club’s regional presence in Louisiana has grown to include a new office! The office provides plenty of room for staff and volunteers to gather and work, especially during this busy election year. There is a volunteer work space where Sierra Club volunteers can keep files, use the phone, find Sierra Club bulletins, use our DSL Internet connection, and more. We are sponsoring a monthly Brown Bag Lunch in our conference room on the second Tuesday of every month at noon. People bring their lunch and enjoy an hour of environmental conversation. The Baton Rouge group has begun holding its Ex-Com meetings in the new office, and we would be happy to have other groups use our conference room for their meetings as well.
We’re very excited about the growing Sierra Club presence in Louisiana, and the opportunity that it offers to engage more and more volunteers. Feel free to stop by the office at 4521 Jamestown Court, Suite 12, off of College Dr. in Baton Rouge (follow this link for a map from mapquest.com). Join us for lunch on the 2nd Tuesday of each month if you can. Take advantage of the work space that is available. We look forward to working together to protect Louisiana’s environment.
Darryl Malek-Wiley, longtime Chapter activist, receives LEAN award
Baton Rouge, LA — Darryl Malek-Wiley, the Sierra Club’s newly hired Louisiana Environmental Justice organizer, received the Ramona Stevens Solidarity Award over the weekend at the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) conference. The award recognizes exceptional efforts to build alliances between labor and environmental groups. Malek-Wiley was honored for 30 years of activism working with communities along the Mississippi River, helping them fight the causes of toxic pollution in their areas.
Mercury Pollution, the Bush Administration, and the Environment
By Aaron Viles
Mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants is one of the most persistent, toxic, and harmful chemicals. This invisible poison ends up in our waterways and accumulates in the fish we catch and eat, threatening public health and Louisiana outdoor recreation. Despite this threat to our health and way of life, the Bush Administration announced recently that it will push to overturn the Clean Air Act...
Chapter leaders featured in Sierra Club Planet
Barbara and Maurice Coman are featured in the latest issue of the Sierra Club Planet speaking on the loss of Louisiana's wetlands and coastline. The Planet is a newsletter published for Club activists.
Honey Island Group Promotes Recycling
Honey Island Group Promotes Recycling in St Tammany
In 2003 we saw the advent of Sandy's Recycling Corner in the HIG newsletter. Sandy Parke of Slidell began a column giving recycling tips and advice to Honey Island members. There was an excellent response. Numerous members began contacting Sandy for more information.
In March, Diane Casteel of Mandeville proposed to the ExCom that a parish-wide recycling sheet be formulated. This met enthusiastic Ex-Com approval. In April, the first meeting was held of the subcommittee consisting of Sandy, Diane, Therese and Margie Vicknair-Pray. The latter served in a consulting role.
A list of items was identified for research and then divided between the active members of the committee. Several meetings and not a few pizzas later, the sheet was ready to be dispersed. Therese did all the computer layout work -- a formidable job. It has become an ongoing labor of love for Diane and Therese to keep actively updating the information. The recycling sheet is available at libraries in St. Tammany Parish and on the HIG website (maintained by Bill Sussky). If you would like one, call one of the ExCom members.
We would like to encourage other groups in the state to follow our lead. This is an offshoot of our Cypress Mulch campaign. We have found it helpful to formulate a plan, only take on what each member can complete, think local and act global and of course have fun doing it.
Barry Kohl Receives LEAN award
New Orleans Group Member Barry Kohl Receives LEAN's 2003 Defender of The Environment Award
By Wendy King
At LEAN's (Louisiana Environmental Action Network) Annual Conference on Saturday, November 22, 2003, New Orleans Group member and Conservation Chair Barry Kohl received LEAN's Defender of the Environment Award, for his eight years of hard work and research on mercury's hazards to the environment. He has worked with state agencies and the public in advocating more protection for high-risk groups of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under seven years old.
Thanks to Barry's work educating state legislators, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the general public on the dangers mercury poses to pregnant and nursing mothers and to the growth of very young children, and his research on mercury's buildup in the flesh of freshwater fish, such as largemouth bass, catfish, and bowfin (or choupique) and large predatory fish, such as king mackerel, 29 fish advisories for high-risk groups of pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children under seven years old, have been posted on many of Louisiana's lakes and rivers. This posting was part of a Sierra Club EPEC Campaign, from about 3 years ago.
The LEAN Conference was, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate (11/23/03), attended by "more than 100 people" at the Embassy Suites Hotel. The Delta Chapter congratulates Barry Kohl on this important award.
FOR OUR FAMILIES, FOR OUR FUTURE!