Keep Our Forests Free of Fracking
In June 2012 the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will allow oil and gas drilling leases to be sold on 43,000 acres of your National Forests in Alabama.
Once these leases are sold, there is virtually nothing that the public can do to prevent the oil and gas industry from developing and drilling these public lands and causing serious environmental damage. This could include the disastrous process known as "fracking" where millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals are forced underground to extract natural gas. There are well-documented cases all across the United States of the impacts from this destructive practice. These include contamination of the water we drink and the air we breathe. The leasing of our National Forests in Alabama must be stopped NOW.
Our National Forests are too precious to be sold off to the highest bidder. Our communities and our natural heritage are too important to be polluted. The lands we hunt, fish, recreate, and enjoy must be protected now and for future generations. (see this article in Mother Jones for more information about fracking in general)
Sign this petition today to let the federal government know that you want drilling and "fracking" off our national forests forever. (click here for the petition from Wild South)
ADEM Notice of Public Hearing
VOICE YOUR OPINION! Think ADEM has been doing a bad job?
Notice is hereby given that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management of the State of Alabama is providing the opportunity for interested persons to comment on documents that propose to certify that Alabama’s existing State Implementation Plan (SIP) meets all Section 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) that address the requirements for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Interested parties may request that a public hearing be held.
If a hearing is held, it will be held on July 5, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in the Main Hearing Room at the ADEM - Central Office location at 1400 Coliseum Blvd.
Those requesting a hearing should call (334) 271-7909. The deadline to submit a request for a hearing is 5:00 p.m. on June 19, 2012. If no hearing is to be held, a Notice of Cancellation of the hearing will be posted on June 20, 2012, on the Department's website located at www.adem.state.al.us/PubHearings/PubHearings.htm. Interested persons may also call (334) 271-7909 to determine if a public hearing will be held.
Copies of the proposed SIP are available at a cost of 30 cents per page at each of the ADEM office locations listed below or on the Internet at www.adem.state.al.us/PubHearings/PubHearings.htm at no cost.
Former Sierra Club State Chair and Passionate Advocate for Terrapin Creek Passes Away
Many of you will not remember Michael Smith. He is a former Alabama Chapter excom member. Many years ago, he came to a Chapter meeting – before he was even a Sierra Club member – and asked for help in saving Terrapin Creek – a pristine creek in the Piedmont area – from the gold mine that was trying to locate there. Michael – and many others who were fighting the gold mine – became Sierra Club members. Michael was a lead activist against the gold mine.
Sierra Club joined forces with the Friends of Terrapin Creek, and we went to hearings, strategized with them, and made financial contributions to legal actions. At some point, Michael was elected to the excom – and served on it several years.
The fight was long – but the activists persevered – and the gold mine company went away. About 4 or 5 years ago, National Sierra Club published a nice booklet on successful fights against would-be polluters, and Terrapin Creek was featured as the win for Alabama.
At the time of the fight to keep the gold mine off of Terrapin Creek, Michael was a fireman – we even had an excom meeting or two in the Piedmont Fire Station. He went on to become the Cleburne County environmental compliance officer. He was really dedicated to making polluters clean up in Cleburne County.
Michael was a good friend, and I was really sad to find his funeral announcement in the Gadsden Times this morning. He was only 58. (from Peggie Griffin)
West Alabama Group Hikes Lake Lurleen
Dexter Duren led the group on a lakeside trail to the Lake Lurleen spillway. Don't miss out on the many great opportunities to see Alabama's special places.
Bag Ban is.....In the Bag
The last state to enter the union became the first to ban plastic bags after Honolulu County joined Hawaii's other three counties in banning non-biodegradable plastic bags and paper bags that are not at least 40 percent recycled.
And it couldn't have happened without a coalition of groups and activists leaning on local governments to tackle the bag problem. Earlier this month, Sierra Club Conservation Director Sarah Hodgdon witnessed how this historic victory unfolded. "I was struck by the clout the Club's Hawaii Chapter wields in state politics," she writes. "They are a force to be reckoned with." (from the Sierra Club Insider)
Conservation Alabama's Legislative Rewind
After 13 years monitoring the state legislature on behalf of the environment, we at Conservation Alabama know to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Invariably, what you end up getting is some good, some bad, and some ugly.
In early February, we entered the legislative session with an agenda about transportation, energy, and water, most of which saw some movement this session. However, other environmentally related issues also played significantly into our efforts. Here’s a post-mortem on how environmental matters fared during the 2012 Regular Session.
The biggest win for the environment this session could help numerous communities. Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga led the charge to pass a bill requiring centralized waste treatment facilities seeking a permit from ADEM to post a performance bond or other financial assurance in an amount sufficient to close the facility. This stemmed from a facility near Sylacauga that was polluting the community for years before finally declaring bankruptcy, leaving the taxpayers to deal with its clean up. Johnson and local advocates know this bill is too late to help Sylacauga, but they hope no other community has to deal with the same issue in the future.
After passing a two-year moratorium on new landfill permits last session, the legislature came back this year to extend that moratorium an additional year. Alabama has been the nation’s dumping ground, and state leaders, including Governor Robert Bentley, want that to change. During this moratorium period, state officials will study landfill permitting practices and how they are affecting public health and environmental quality for local communities.
The legislature passed the Farm-to-School Procurement Act, which will encourage more local produce to be served at schools around Alabama. A win for local farmers, the bill could also lead to more healthy meal options for a state that ranks poorly in childhood obesity.
Protect Forever Wild
The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club is working with a coalition of Alabama's conservation groups to develop a cohesive strategy to make certain that Alabama's citizens realize the importance of Forever Wild and the importance of the vote in November!
On November 6, 2012, a major election will take place in Alabama. Of course there is the all-important presidential election, but Alabama voters will also be voting on the 20-year extension for the Forever Wild program. The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club is gearing up to help make sure this passes. Alabama Needs Forever Wild and the Sierra Club's members NEED to head to the polls and vote!
Since Forever Wild was first approved 20 years ago (by an overwhelming 83 percent of voters), Forever Wild has protected thousands of acres for the benefit of Alabamians. Some of the state's most visited natural areas, such as the Walls of Jericho in north Alabama and the Mobile Tensaw Delta in south Alabama, are open to the public because of Forever Wild. Many Sierra Club outings involve hikes or other activities on Forever Wild lands.
The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club is a member of the Protect Forever Wild Coalition, dedicated to the protection and reauthorization of Forever Wild funding. This coalition of conservation, environmental, hunting and angling, outdoor recreation, and business entities recognizes Forever Wild’s success in securing public lands for outdoor recreation for our citizens and protecting the ecological integrity of Alabama’s landscape. We are working to insure that Forever Wild is reauthorized for another 20 years.
You can help by publicizing the benefits of Forever Wild, and by voting in favor of Forever Wild reauthorization in the 2012 election.
Additional information is available at http://www.protectforeverwild.org/