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Don't Spend Gulf Restoration Money on a Hotel!

Target: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
Sponsored by: Brittany E.G.
Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley is using $85 million to build a lodge and conference center. This $85 million is supposed to go towards restoring the Gulf to what it was before the BP oil spill.

BP has to give $1 billion for damages caused by the oil spill they are responsible for -- the worst in American history. While other states are using their money to rebuild the ecosystem and focus on the environment, Alabama is building a hotel.

Please tell Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to focus on the environment and not spend gulf restoration money on a hotel. This should be about the environment, not the economy!

A Great Paddle on the Elk River

Saturday, May 18 was a beautiful day on the Elk River. We met up with a small group of paddlers in the Publix parking lot to run the car caravan. We left promptly at 8:30am making one stop in Elora, TN to buy PowerBall tickets ($6,000,000 prize, but we didn’t win). Arriving at Elk River Canoe (ERC) around 9:30am, we launched our boats, waited for other paddlers, did a brief introduction, sign-in and safety talk, and were on the river by11:00 (ERC ran the shuttle which saved us time, fuel and anxiety). We had a diverse group of 15 paddlers ranging from their teens through their sixties, and two canine companions: Ocoee from Madison, AL and Jody from Chattanooga, TN.

The weather behaved itself and the temperature was comfortable. Tims Ford Dam was spilling more than usual, causing the river to run 3-4 feet higher and faster than normal for this time of year. We saw a couple of hawks, some soaring patches of turkey vultures and a healthy flock of Canadian Snow Geese. The banks were lush with various shades and textures of green but still too cool for wildflowers.

It was great being with old and new paddle buddies. Everyone did a great job and I’m looking forward to our next trip. Check the Outings schedule to see when the next paddle will be. Hope to see you on the river!
- Debra Wonder, North Alabama Sierra Club

Water Symposium

AUBURN, Ala. Last month, over 100 participants from across Alabama crowded into a packed auditorium at Auburn University’s Comer Hall to attend a symposium on the formation of a comprehensive water management plan for Alabama. Mitch Reid, program director for the Alabama Rivers Alliance, began the day by discussing the environmental needs for water management policy.


July 2013

Critical Dates This Summer

July 9th, Alabama Surface Mining Commission Hearing on Petition for Lands Unsuitable for Surface-Mining (including Shepherd's Bend on Black Warrior), Jasper at Community Health System Building, 204 19th St E #100. Please direct questions and comments to Charles Scribner (Black Warrior Riverkeeper),

We need YOU to attend this meeting to show that Alabama values our environment. Don't let them poison our state!

Where is home for Canadian Tar Sands Heavy Crude Oil? The Mobile River?

In July 2010, a pipe segment ruptured into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River in Calhoun County, Michigan. The rupture in the pipeline caused a spill in excess of 1 million US gallons of bituminous tar sands heavy crude oil originating from Alberta, Canada. This led to human evacuation and contaminated drinking water. Three years and 1 billion dollars later, the cleanup seems never ending and an impossible challenge, because of the abrasive, corrosive, dirty composition of the bituminous tar sands oil product called diluted bitumen (dilbit) oil that the pipeline had been transporting. The EPA has now recommended to the State Department that pipelines that carry bituminous tar sands oil should no longer be treated just like pipelines that carry other oil products.

Regardless of the fate of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, a series of permits granted in 2011/2012 mean Mobile would become a key U.S. delivery point for oil derived from Canadian tar sands for export to Asia and Europe, unless we demand Public Hearings, here in Mobile, for these pipeline projects.

The Gulf Coast Asphalt Company and Arc Terminals, LP, have received the permits required to unload railcars full of Canadian Tar Sand oil at facilities along the Mobile River and expand their storage tank facility to accommodate tens of millions of gallons of oil along the Mobile River across from the Convention Center.

Heavy tar sands oil requires heating to reduce viscosity and hold the oil to a more liquid state. This operation requires the construction of a pipeline beneath the Mobile River to move tar sand oil from the rail terminal on the west bank to storage facilities on the east bank.

Another permit has been granted to Plains Southcamp LLC in Alabama, that allows for the construction of an oil pipeline running from downtown Mobile to Ten-Mile Alabama and on to the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula. The pipeline plans to transport 6 million gallons of oil a day. This proposed pipeline project consists of 11 stream crossings, 128 wetland crossings and horizontal directional drilling at the Escatawpa River, Black Creek, and Little Black Creek. The project also consists of the expansion of the Plains Ten Mile Compressor Station. This pipeline also goes underneath the watershed that supplies the municipal drinking water for the city of Mobile. This pipeline could devastate ecosystems, pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health. The companies involved have been linked to 804 spills totaling around 6.8 million gallons of oil since 1999.

The Mobile Bay Sierra Club held a meeting on Tuesday, June 4 to discuss these pipeline projects and what approach local citizens, neighborhood groups, organizations, and businesses should take.

The Mobile Bay Sierra Club is hosting another meeting to discuss “What Courses of Action Should Be Taken Regarding the Mobile Tar Sands Projects”, and "How Private Businesses can now lobby to Have the Power of Eminent Domain in Alabama"? Tom Hutchings will facilitate our discussion. Everyone is encouraged to bring experience, information, expertise, and strategy to the discussion.

When: Tuesday, July 2 at 7:00pm at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center.

Refreshments will be served at 6:40 p.m. The exact meeting location at 5 Rivers may vary from month to month, so please follow the Sierra Club signs.

Location address: 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, 30945 Five Rivers Blvd., Spanish Fort, AL 36527 (entrance is across from Meaher State Park on the Mobile Bay Causeway) For more information, please contact Carol Adams-Davis, 702-496-5050 or email:

Building a beaver dam

A Day On and In the River:  An ICO Outing

"My mom told me it would be fun, but it was even more fun," exclaimed one of the children as we walked to the car.  The day was also very educational, courtesy of the Friends of Locust Fork River.   We thank all of the volunteers and their devotion to the river for a wonderful experience for our Inner City Outings youth.

Our ICO youth participated in six activities centered around the river.  They learned about the inconvenience and difficulty of hauling your own water, bucket by bucket, up a river bank across a distance as do many people in the world – a hard concept to comprehend when we are so used to merely turning on a tap for an unlimited water supply.  They heard about how beavers and their dams change the landscape, trap sediment from storm flow, and provide habitat for other animals and plants.  And, then, became eager dam builders themselves using their "paws" and gathered sticks to create small dams in the sandy banks of the river. 

Collecting samples of invertebrates from the river showed them how to gauge the cleanliness of the water as well as giving them ample opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the river.  Handling living snakes, courtesy of Big Dave, and watching rat snakes climb trees was another educational "wow" experience.  A scavenger hunt for skulls, snake skins, scat, and other clues that animals had passed through the forest was the next activity.  As the final river event, the ICO kids kayaked on a short stretch of the river! 

The Birmingham Inner City Outings program takes youth to where they can explore the outdoors.  What an incredible day exploring they had! 

"Can we go out again next week?" was their refrain upon returning home.


Washington, D.C. – June 25, 2013. President Barack Obama announced his administration's next steps for building a legacy of action to fight the climate crisis. The plan includes new energy efficiency standards for federal buildings and appliances, doubles responsible clean energy production by 2020, and uses the full authority of the Clean Air Act to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement in response:

"This is the change we have been waiting for on climate.

“Today, President Obama has shown he is keeping his word to future generations. His inspiring call to action is a testament to the vibrancy of the grassroots climate movement and the work of millions of activists to make tackling climate disruption a key part of the President’s legacy.

“The Sierra Club’s 2.1 million members and supporters issued a collective cheer as they heard the President declare that the most effective defense against climate disruption will be by tackling the biggest single source of carbon pollution: coal plants. The President’s plan does just that, implementing strong safeguards to slash deadly emissions from new and existing plants. Combined with the President’s commitments to energy efficiency and investments in American clean energy, this plan is a strong step forward in our fight to protect our planet and our families from a climate crisis that is already hitting home with droughts, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and other forms of extreme weather.

“The President's strong commitment to using climate pollution as the standard by which Keystone XL will be decided means his decision to reject it should now be easy. Any fair and unbiased analysis of the tar sands pipeline shows that the climate effects of this disastrous project would be significant.

“While we must reduce pollution further to truly address dangerous climate disruption, we applaud the Administration’s continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020. This plan includes key steps to reaching that goal, and we look forward to working with the Obama Administration to build on the progress laid out in today’s announcement.

“There is still more work to be done. The President’s climate commitment and his speech today gives us great hope that he will finally address some of the remaining, worst abuses of the fossil fuel industry, including dirty and dangerous fracking, ending the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, halting destructive oil drilling in the Arctic, and overhauling the sweetheart deal on public lands that pads the bottom line of coal companies at public expense”

Sierra Club Outings

Summer is here!! It may be hot; it may be warm (it is probably hot!). It's time to get out! Take a great hike. Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues! Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll down the mountain! more>>>