in this issue

Nature Notes
January on the Farm
2010 Alabama Legislative Session
Outings and Events
Statewide Group Notes

Feedback Please

Please let us know what you think of the changing nature of our newsletter. We've redesigned the newsletter to provide a more website friendly version. Beginning with this issue of the newsletter, we'll be providing you with information formatted more for the web--with your feedback as a critical part of the final design. Please let us know! You will no longer receive a print version of the newsletter, so be sure to check the website each month around the 20th for all the most current environmental news in Alabama! Contact Chair John Ackerman:
apac4@knology.net or
334-361-4732 to share your opinions.

ADEM Director Resigns
“With the resignation of Trey Glenn as Director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) comes an opportunity for renewal of that long dysfunctional agency.  Before Glenn was appointed Director, the ADEM Reform Coalition described ADEM as the single most serious threat to Alabama's environment.  That dishonor continued under Glenn's leadership.  A new Director must accept that ADEM's primary function is to make every polluter comply with the law and agency regulations.  ADEM should have no tolerance for violations.”
David A. Ludder, Environmental Lawyer, former General Council of ADEM, and one of the founders of the ADEM Reform Coalition -- http://www.enviro-lawyer.com/


January 2010

2010 Alabama Legislative Session

By David Newton with Adam Snyder
The next Regular Session of the Alabama State Legislature begins on Tuesday, January 12, which is earlier than most years, but 2010 is an election year.  Below are some comments on what we foresee during this session. 

Again in 2010, we expect Conservation Alabama to help in lobbying the Alabama Legislature.  Jeff Martin of Montgomery will be at the Alabama State House every day the legislature is in session.  Adam Snyder of Birmingham will join Jeff as necessary.  We certainly hope you will help.  You can (if you haven’t already) start now by getting to know your state representative and your state senator.  You can do this rather easily by making an appointment and meeting with them in your legislative districts.  For contact information of all Alabama State Legislators, visit http://www.legislature.state.al.us/.  You don’t really need a specific bill to discuss.  You can just talk briefly about some of your legislative concerns. Also, as you know, the entire Alabama legislature will be voted on in 2010.  You can be absolutely certain that all incumbents who are running again will be interested in talking with constituents.  This is an opportunity you should not miss. more>>>

Nature Notes: Brother Can You Spare a Dime

by John Ackerman
When I discuss the environmental activities of the Sierra Club with people who are not familiar with our organization or with what we like to do, a common question often arises: “Why do you want to protect nature, what good is it anyway?”  This question can be answered several ways and I will offer to you a few attempts to explain why we work so hard to help out Mother Nature.

Some groups of people have determined that nature is a great monetary or instrumental investment, even a better investment than gold (Merchant 2009).  A recent study, “ The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,” (TEEB) found that investing funds in protecting wetlands, swamps, coral reefs, forests, etc… was the most productive financial investment you could make.  They found that when you pay to preserve the things that nature does for free, such as making arable soil, clean air, or pure water the benefits outweigh the costs between 25 and 100 percent (TEEB 2009).  In one example they concluded that the yearly cost of global deforestation was $2-3 trillion and all the benefits of healthy forests, sustainably managed are still not entirely known.  Other specific studies included in the TEEB were just as impressive. more>>>

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>>>

January on the Farm

October on the Farm: Vineyards in Alabamaby Peggie Griffin
Its that time of year again when we are enjoying the summer’s fruits and vegetables from our freezers . . . or canning jars.  All that time spent harvesting and preserving is paying off now.  This cold weather makes me really enjoy that big pot of vegetable soup. . . and it is so nice to have fresh blueberries for breakfast.   Also, my garden is still yielding delicious lettuces, green onions, and turnip greens.  What a treat!

If you are not enjoying summer’s bounty from your freezer, I hope one of your New Year’s resolutions will be to buy or locally – or grow, and to preserve fruits and veggies for winter.  Delicious – healthy – and more earth friendly! more>>>

Mining Along the Locust Fork Update

On Thursday evening, November 12, at the Coosa Valley Sierra Club meeting, Lawrence Rives and Jerry Gordon Hallmon,  Rosa Coal Mine activists, spoke about the dangers of the McCoal coal mine that is seeking to locate near the small community of Rosa and also near the Locust Fork River.  To illustrate the beauty of the area, Lawrence and Jerry showed the Doug Phillips’ Discovering Alabama movie on the Locust Fork.  The McCoal Corp. filed permit applications with both ADEM and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission.  more>>>

Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups

HikersCoosa Valley Notes: A great day was had by the nine folks who showed up for the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve hike. Taylor Steele led the group to the highlands and the rock outcroppings as well as told us about the history of the preserve, the projects being worked on and the camp site that they wish to make for the scouts who are doing service work to help eliminate privet and build a trial system. The weather was perfect for this hike reaching  a wonderful 64 degrees with sunny blue skies. Everyone had a great time and we anticipate there will be another hike later next year.
more>>>