Stand Up for Clean Air

Right now, 127 million Americans are at risk for respiratory problems because they live in counties that don't meet at least one national air-quality standard. The EPA has taken steps to change this by proposing tougher standards for ozone pollution -- the main component of smog, which can reduce respiratory function, aggravate asthma, and cause permanent lung damage. Unsurprisingly, Big Oil and Dirty Coal are fighting hard to protect the unhealthy status quo.

But Sierra Club volunteers are fighting back today at "I Heart Clean Air" rallies and events across the country to give the EPA the public support it needs to stand up to big polluters.

How Green Is YOUR Beer?

Green-colored beer may be a slightly cheesy St. Patrick's Day tradition, but a brew that's crafted and distributed with respect for the environment is the kind of green we're happy to toast. We've distilled just about everything we know about truly green beer (and beer-drinking) into our latest "How Green Is My?" quiz. Think you're up to the challenge? Then hop to it!

Meet Michael Brune: New Executive Director for the National Sierra Club

Welcome: Meet Michael Brune
Join us as we welcome our new executive director Michael Brune to his first week on the job. Brune comes to the Sierra Club from the Rainforest Action Network, where he earned a reputation for using bold but respectful confrontation to encourage corporate responsibility.

In his new role Brune is particularly interested in promoting programs that link the Club’s traditional protection of wild places to urgently needed climate change solutions.

Find out more about him.

Mary Burk's Inducted Into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame

"One gave life to many and one found life in the wilderness," the Rev. Henry Parsley, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, said during his invocation at Judson College - talking about the two inductees Midwife Margaret Charles Smith and Mary Burks. Read a story in the Montgomery Advertiser about the induction>>>

Outdoor Alabama 2010 Photo Contest Winners

Check out all the winners of this annual contest here AND find out when the traveling exhibit will be near you over the next few months here. Some great photos of Alabama's wildlife and our spectacular scenery.

April 2010

Sierra Club Outings

Don't miss a chance to really get outside, meet like-minded folks and reconnect with old friends. Come join us on the trail, in the water or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>


ADEM director search continues

(from Adam Synder, Conservation Alabama) In December, Trey Glenn resigned as director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). The Alabama Environmental Management Commission (AEMC) set on the process to hire a new director.

Sixteen applicants were narrowed down to three finalists: Lance LeFleur, Louis Montgomery, and Dean Argo. The AEMC interviewed each finalist for about 45 minutes apiece at their regularly scheduled February 19 meeting.

Each finalist showed skills needed as the director. LeFleur has management experience; Montgomery has environmental regulation knowledge; and Argo has a background in media and government relations. However, each spent a minimum amount of their time talking about the environment and public health; instead addressing issues and needs at the agency.

After the interviews were complete, the AEMC decided not to take a vote on who to hire until their regularly scheduled April meeting. The application and interview stage took two months, and now the decision stage will take two more. In the interim, chief legal counsel John Hagood will remain as the director.


AEMC Chair pledges support for air toxics study committee

(from Adam Synder, Conservation Alabama) At the February 19 meeting of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (AEMC), Chair Anita Archie pledged support to establish a stakeholder committee to study air toxics.

In December 2008, the Conservation Alabama Foundation released a report detailing Alabamians overexposure to some toxic chemicals in the air. Over the course of 2009, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) reviewed the study and met with David Ludder and Adam Snyder to detail ways to address the concerns raised in the study.

The Foundation suggested that the next step would be to establish a stakeholder committee to study the issue and suggest viable solutions. The committee would be modeled after the successful process in 2007 and 2008 to reduce the risk of cancer from toxics emitted in Alabama’s waterways. However, this next step was delayed by the transition of leadership at ADEM.

Chair Archie has committed to proposing the study committee at the April AEMC meeting with the goal of the committee being established soon thereafter.

The Foundation is working to partner with the Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club to participate in the study committee and ultimately reduce the amount of cancer-causing chemicals being emitted into Alabama’s air.


Legislature hits final push for 2010 session

(from Adam Synder, Conservation Alabama) As the Alabama State Legislature returns from Spring Break, the legislators are ready for the final push before the end of the session and the return to the campaign trail.

Thus far, it has been a mixed bag for the environment. The long-fought-against Hog Farm bill is poised to pass this session. After nearly 10 years of the Sierra Club, Sand Mountain Concerned Citizens, and others fighting this legislation, a more watered-down version is likely to pass. The “loser-pays” provision related to nuisance lawsuits against farming operations has been removed. So has any protection for new or expanding hog operations. However, it would be difficult to bring nuisance lawsuits agains existing hog operations - the ones that bring the stench, large black flies, and water quality degradation to rural Alabamians.

Energy legislation has been on the move this year. Governor Bob Riley signed legislation in mid-March to upgrade Alabama’s residential build codes to match federal and international codes on energy efficiency. This legislation also expanded the powers of the board from an advisory capacity to one that has the authority to upgrade the residential building codes in the future.

more>>>


Dr. Edgar Wayburn, M.D.: 1906 - 2010 (former Sierra Club President)

Former Sierra Club President Dr. Edgar Wayburn died on March 5 at home in San Francisco, California, in the presence of his family. He was 103. The profile below, written in 2006 on the occasion of his 100th birthday, describes his towering contributions to conservation nationally and world-wide. All Americans owe him our deepest gratitude.

Contributions in Dr. Wayburn's memory may be made offline to the Edgar and Peggy Wayburn Fund of The Sierra Club Foundation. Checks should be made payable to "The Sierra Club Foundation." Please note in the memo field "Wayburn Endowment," and mail your contribution to: Sierra Club Advancement Office, attn: Brian Caughell 85 Second Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94105-3456

JUST NORTH of San Francisco across the Golden Gate, the rugged Marin Headlands marks the edge of an unlikely wilderness -- a hodgepodge of discrete but nearly contiguous parks covering an area many times larger than the city itself. For the more than six million inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay Area, that blessedly undeveloped landscape -- comprising among other public lands the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore -- is a near-at-hand escape to a place where urban man exists in startling proximity to elk, coyote, and ancient redwood. Read the full article here>>>


Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups

North Alabama Notes: The Green 13 task force, a committee appointed by Mayor Tommy Battle, spent nearly a year crafting what amounts to a 101-page environmental sustainability blueprint for elected leaders of Huntsville.

Among the recommendations:

The full report is on the city's web site at www.hsvcity.com/green. The site lists upcoming public meetings and updates on the task force’s work. There is also a field in the upper right-hand corner for your email address so you can receive news updates about the task force and alerts about upcoming meetings. Please become part of the process and help ensure that the recommendations of the task force are put into practice in Huntsville and are not just left as filler in a glossy report. more>>>


National Club Election Coming

(repeat from last month) The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is upon us. In March, those eligible to vote in the national Sierra Club election will receive in the mail (or by Internet for those who chose the electronic delivery option) your national Sierra Club ballot. This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club's website.

The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels. The Club requires the regular flow of views on policy and priorities from its grassroots membership in order to function well. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation. Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. This Board sets Club policy and budgets at the national level and works closely with the Executive Director and staff to operate the Club. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is both a privilege and responsibility of membership.

Members frequently state that they don't know the candidates and find it difficult to vote without learning more. You can learn more by asking questions of your group and chapter leadership and other experienced members you know. Also, you can learn more by visiting the Club's election website at: http://www.sierraclub.org/bod/2010election/default.aspx. This site provides links to additional information about candidates, and their views on a variety of issues facing the Club and the environment.

You should use your own judgment by taking several minutes to read the ballot statement of each candidate. Then make your choice and cast your vote. Even if you receive your election materials in the mail, please go to the user-friendly Internet voting site to save time and postage. Alternatively, you will find the ballot is quite straightforward and easy to mark and mail.

Please watch for your ballot, and vote. Thank you.


Living Lightly On the Earth 2010 Alabama Sierra Club Retreat

Hosted by Coosa Valley Group
Desoto State Park Nov. 5 – 7
Exciting programs and activities! Some meals will feature local foods.
Retreat registration and lodging will be Separate – watch mail & website Alabamasierraclub.org for form.
Limited Space – make lodging reservations by calling 1-800-568-8840 Double rooms $76/night Chalets and cabins (sleep 4) $128/night Camping also available.


Bills Propose Alabama Trails Commission

(repeat from last month) Companion bills filed in the Alabama legislature (SB 258, HB 376) would create an Alabama Trails Commission to foster widespread development and link-up of green and blue-water trails throughout the state. Focused on health, family, economic and tourism incentives, the bills call for the proposed commission to coordinate local needs, goals and leadership in trail design, operation, build-up and maintenance for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, motorized off-highway vehicles, and water sport. An initiative of the Alabama Recreational Trails Advisory Board (ARTAB), the plan was moved forward by Senator Wendell Mitchell (Luverne) and Representative Cam Ward (Alabaster). Both legislators have long histories in the outdoor recreation communities. An ARTAB committee chaired by Fairhope City Council member Debbie Quinn led in the plan’s preparation. Under the proposed legislation, there would be a twelve member Alabama Trails Commission. Five state agencies would be members: Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Governor’s Office. Other board members would represent trail users, local government and the business community. The legislation also calls for an Alabama Trails Commission Advisory Board and a tax-deductible non-profit foundation to advance the Trail Commission’s goals by fund raising and supporting recreation in education.

For more information, contact Debbie Quinn, of the Alabama Recreational Trails Advisory Board.
Phone (251) 751-1858, debbiequinn@bellsouth.net