Clean Energy and Climate Legacy 2013
On January 14, 2013, the Sierra Club launched a new campaign urging President Obama and the agencies he leads to take bold administrative action for clean energy and to fight climate disruption. In the months leading up to Earth Day, April 22, 2013, the Sierra Club will mobilize for 100 Days of Action, with rallies, Town Hall meetings, and other actions across the nation, demanding action to boost clean energy and slow the costly and destructive effects of climate disruption. learn more here
Successful 2012 for Sierra Club of North Alabama
What an exciting year! If you see Charlotte Buening or Steve Jackson, thank each of them for bringing back the ‘gold’ to North Alabama. Charlotte received an Alabama Sierra Club Chapter award for Exceptional Educational Outreach. And Steve received an award for a most excellent series of environmental programs. Both were active in coordinating a series of outreach activities. And if you attended ‘Chill Out on the Mountain’ and/or the Holiday party and thought about second or third helpings of the aromatic chili or delicious ham/turkey, again, thank Master Chefs Steve and Charlotte.
Tom Burley, who works all activities with his wife Judy, provided a number of training events that not only helped you ‘Get Outdoors,’ but provide aid either on the trail or following damaging weather. It started in the Spring with Outdoor Leaders Training 101 and 201 with Michael Stewart and Tom’s Basic First Aid. For Leaders who planned water activities and working with children, additional training was provided. In July, available to all was an excellent and memorable Wilderness First Aid weekend class. And in addition to coordinating 122 outings, Tom and Judy led several “Burley Hikes.” Let’s not forget our Outdoor Leaders who volunteer their time to make your time on the trail, in the water, or on a backpack safe and enjoyable.
In the Spring, we piloted Tikes on Hikes, which brought out our youngest hikers, ages 2 to 3 years old, and their parents. It was education combined with fun on-trail activities, the beginning of a shared child-parent memory. During the warmer summer months, we participated in children’s summer camp programs, planting green seeds with 3 to 12 year old future environmentalists.
We reached to our members through an excellent monthly e-newsletter, put out by Jack Drost, and through social media, watching our quality Facebook page steadily get more Likes. A Thank You to Michael Steward for co-administering our Facebook page, Steven Baty, our Webmaster, and Jayanthi Srikishen, Publicity, for their coordinated efforts to keep you informed of our activities.
Here’s looking forward to an equally exciting 2013. Come join us!
- Sandy Kiplinger, North Alabama Sierra Club
100 Days of Action to Stop Climate Disruption
President Obama said it himself during his inaugural address yesterday: To ignore the threat of climate change would be to "betray our children and future generations. The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it."
It's up to all of us to make sure the president can set America on the right path with bold climate solutions and clean energy innovation -- starting on day one of his second term. Climate disruption is solvable if President Obama and the federal agencies he leads take bold action.
New Interactive Web Tool Gives Citizens Detailed Info About Alabama’s Toxic Coal Ash
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Appalachian Voices, Southern Environmental Law Center, and NC Conservation Network launched the first-ever comprehensive online tool that allows Alabamians to find specific information about coal ash impoundments near them. The site, www.SoutheastCoalAsh.org, includes information on the health threats associated with this toxic waste from coal-fired power plants, safety ratings of the coal ash impoundments, and how citizens can advocate for strong federal safeguards.
Alabama is one of nine states covered by the site, which is being launched four years after a massive coal ash dam in Kingston, Tenn. catastrophically failed, releasing a billion-gallon flood of coal ash that poisoned some 300 acres, destroyed two dozen homes and filled the Emory River with toxic sludge. The coalition developed the website to call greater attention to the lurking dangers of coal ash in the South, where nearly 450 impoundments hold roughly 118 billion gallons of the toxic waste. (read the full report here--from Alabama Rivers Alliance)
The announcement scored us numerous media hits. More details on what type of civil disobedience will take place will be announced soon. We're hoping Mike Brune handcuffs himself to Senator James Inhofe - it'd make a great movie.
Stormwater Runoff - A Serious Threat to our Waterways
Stormwater runoff, or water that “runs off” of roofs, roads, parking lots and other surfaces when it rains is the number one source of pollution to our waterways. If you haven’t already noticed, it rains a lot in coastal Alabama, and the City of Mobile does not have an adequate plan in place to manage stormwater. On December 19, 2012 the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) filed a complaint against the City of Mobile for the City’s failure to carry out the obligations of a consent order for the City’s violations of its stormwater permit. (from Mobile Baykeeper's latest blog. Read the full blog post here>>>)
Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition
Letter recently sent in by the Alabama Sierra Club:
Alabama Surface Mining Commission
Attn: Ann Miles
P. O. Box 2390
Jasper, Alabama 35502
The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club supports the "Lands Unsuitable for Mining" petition filed by the Black Warrior Riverkeepers and others. These 2000 plus acres of land along the Mulberry Fork River are already classified as "Public Water Supply" which should, without a doubt, qualify this land to be unsuitable for surface mining.
The permitting of additional mines in the Mulberry Fork watershed will cause a further decline in the water quality for the greater Birmingham area residents and businesses that rely on this water. The lands that surround and the waters that drain to the Mulberry Intake for the Birmingham Water Works need to be protected from surface mining and its byproducts. In the absence of appropriate zoning regulations, the task of protecting this important source drinking water rests with your Commission. We ask that you designate these lands as unfit for mining.
If we understand the intent and purpose of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 under which you are operating, then one of your duties is to determine when mining is not appropriate. Permitting additional surface mining in the Mulberry Fork watershed would negatively affect a public water supply; therefore, these 2000 plus acres are neither appropriate nor suitable under SMCRA for surface mining.
Please protect the water supply and water quality. Please designate the lands described in the petition as "Lands Unsuitable for Mining."
Margo S. Rebar, Chair
Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club
Georgia Power Phases Out Old, Expensive Coal Plants
ATLANTA, GA – In a victory for clean air and public health, Georgia Power announced its plans to phase out 15 total aging coal and oil-burning units at Plant Branch, Plant Yates, and Plant Kraft as the utility prepares to begin its multi-year planning process at the Georgia Public Service Commission later this month. Nationwide, coal use is at its lowest levels in decades as cleaner sources of energy are declining in price and coal is becoming more expensive, and with today’s announcement, 129 coal plants nationwide have been slated for retirement. Although Georgia Power has been slow to invest in clean energy generation to meet Georgia’s energy needs, today’s announcement demonstrates that coal-fired power plants are no longer able to provide competitively priced electricity in the Peach State. (read the full release here)