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Visit Conservation Alabama's Legislative Hot List for Up-to-Date information on Alabama's legislative agenda.

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A Trail from The Walls to Fort Morgan

The Alabama Trail will be a 550-mile long wilderness footpath for hiking and backpacking that will stretch from Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf Coast to the Walls of Jericho - a beautiful bowl canyon and waterfall - on the Alabama-Tennessee state line.

The trail will have a significant impact on the state and especially local communities along the trail route providing not only local wilderness hiking and camping adventures for individuals and families, but also creating a protected wilderness greenway and bring a boost to local and state economies through eco-tourism dollars.

The Gulf Coast Chapter of AHTS, all of whom are volunteers, is currently working on 120-miles of the trail from Fort Morgan to Little River State Forest near Atmore. This section of the trail alone will have an enormous impact on the region.

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society, a statewide non-profit hiking and trail building organization held a meeting to discuss plans for the trail on Saturday, February 12, in the theater at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort.

For more information about the Alabama Hiking Trail Society and plans for new trails around the state, go to www.hikealabama.org, or contact Joe Cuhaj, president of the Gulf Coast Chapter AHTS at 251-533-1812 or jcuhaj@gmail.com
- Joe Cohaj

Tuesday Hikes Are Back on the Mountain March 15

Beginning Tuesday, March 15, after daylight savings time begins, the Tuesday night hikes will return to Monte Sano. The hikes will leave from the Monte Sano State Park Hiker's Parking Lot at 6:00pm. There is a small hiker fee to enter the park. All dogs must be on a leash while in the parking lot and while on the trails. (North Alabama Sierra Club)

GOP Aims to Gut Government Climate Research

House Republicans are continuing their assault on action against climate disruption. They unveiled a plan recently that would gut climate change research programs at the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere:

"It would specifically bar (the EPA) from using funds for the development and implementation of greenhouse gas regulations, and would cut funding for the EPA's Global Change program, which conducts research on climate change, by a third. The new (plan) would also block the White House from filling the energy and climate adviser post that Carol Browner is vacating."

Learn more about another destructive and obstructive move against climate research and action by the GOP in this blog post from Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard.

President Obama's Transportation Budget and Climate Disruption

President Obama released his budget recently, and the transportation section is fairly strong. The six-year program includes goals of updating public transit, creating livable communities, and stopping waste of tax dollars.

By boosting public transit and rail, the President's plan will help cut pollution and reduce our dependence on oil. The proposal would also promote livable communities that reduce the need for driving by investing in safe walking and biking.
"We look forward to working with the administration to ensure that transportation dollars help cut air pollution, fight climate disruption, and move America beyond oil," said Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign.

Conservation Alabama Announces Alabama Delegation Scores from LCV's 2010 National Environmental Scorecard

Conservation Alabama joined the national League of Conservation Voters in releasing the 2010 National Environmental Scorecard, revealing scores for the Alabama delegation in the second session of the 111th Congress. The 2010 Scorecard was released amidst the greatest attack on the EPA's budget in 30 years and current assaults on the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and wildlife protections in Congress.

"Alabama ranked at the bottom of environmental delegations in the country," said Conservation Alabama's Executive Director Adam Snyder. "Our hope is that with three new members of the state's federal delegation, the health and well-being of Alabamians and their environment will be a higher priority in the 112th Congress. As Alabama is one of the worst states in the nation for energy efficiency, the entire delegation should support energy efficiency loan programs should it come up again in this Congress." read more>>>

Clean Air Attacks

According to the National Wildlife Federation, there is are attacks (in H.R.1, the continuing budget resolution) on the Clean Water Act and on the Clean Air Act.
See additional information at: http://blog.nwf.org

Outings Around Alabama

Just some of the great outings taking place around Alabama in the coming month!

Thurs. 3/10. Monthly Meeting: Sara Bright's Butterflies of Alabama.

Sat. 3/12.  Providence Canyon State Park, GA.

3/12. Indian Tomb Hollow dayhike, Bankhead National Forest.

Sat. 3/19. Sipsey River Canoe trip with alternate rain date Saturday March 26th.

Sat. 3/19 - Borden Creek/Big Tree Dayhike.

3/26. Eagle Creek Falls, Little Ugly Creek, Sipsey Wilderness dayhike.

 

Learn about ALL our great outings here.

 

JUST UPDATED: PROTECT FOREVER WILD

March 7, 2011

We want to update you on a couple of fronts regarding the effort to reauthorize Forever Wild in its current form, as-is. As you may recall from last year, there were attempts made by ALFA and others to divert funding away from Forever Wild. Last week ALFA again went on the offensive and filled the halls of the State House with lobbyists who were encouraging legislators to kill the Forever Wild program.

We have also received reports today that ALFA has orchestrated a significant robo-call campaign statewide encouraging citizens to call their legislators and voice opposition to Forever Wild. If you receive one of these calls, we encourage you to do one of two things:

a) follow the instructions to connect with your legislator's office - when you do connect, tell them you SUPPORT Forever Wild 100% as-is - let’s use this to our advantage

b) just hang up

We encourage you to keep communicating with your Senator and Representative (Visit the “Toolkit” Section at www.protectforeverwild.org) We also want you to continue sending letters to the editor of your local newspapers in support of Forever Wild reauthorization as-is.

We want to make sure future generations will benefit from the Forever Wild program and we thank you for your continued efforts to achieve this goal.


Sierra Club Outings

SPRING IS IN THE AIR! Take a hike into the Cane Creek Nature Preserve, trek along the Pinhoti, take a canoe trip along the Sipsey, venture over to Providence Canyon in Georgia, go caving, visit Sipsey Wilderness area's Big Tree, or take a trip back in time at Moundville Archeological Park. Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues! Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>


Protect Forever Wild Coalition Leadership

There are few things 85 percent of Alabamians agree on, but renewing funding for the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust is one of them. The time is now to ask our legislators to support renewing Forever Wild as-is for another 20 years.

When 83 percent of Alabamians voted to enact the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust in 1992, it came with a 20-year sunset clause. Over the last 19 years, Forever Wild has protected more than 200,000 acres for recreation, wildlife protection, and hunting and fishing but will cease to exist unless the Alabama State Legislature reauthorizes the program as-is this legislative session.

From: Tim L. Gothard
Executive Director, Alabama Wildlife Federation
President, Protect Forever Wild, Inc.

My friends, the time is at hand to focus our efforts and seek reauthorization of Forever Wild funding during the 2011 Session of the Alabama Legislature.

Members of the Protect Forever Wild Coalition have been seeking the advice and counsel of key individuals, organizations, professionals, and legislative leaders over the last few months. On March 1, the first day of the Legislative Session, we will introduce a bill to reauthorize Forever Wild funding, as-is, for another 20 years.

Representative Randy Davis of Daphne, Chair of the Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee and Co-Chair of the House Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus will sponsor the bill in the House of Representatives. Senator Scott Beason of Gardendale, Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, will sponsor the bill in the Senate. Many other legislators have already committed or expressed interest in co-sponsoring and helping with passage.

With this information, it is time for us to mobilize and elevate positive calls to legislators from our respective members and supporters of Forever Wild. In the next 10 days we need each legislator to hear from plenty of people back home specifically asking them to support "reauthorizing Forever Wild funding, as-is, in this session" and to support the bill that will be introduced to accomplish that objective. Remember this when you talk with your legislator - support of Forever Wild is good, but we need support "as-is, with no changes."

Many legislators will be fully aware of our efforts and already be in support. If that is what you hear when you call them, thank them profusely. Some, especially new legislators, will have limited knowledge about Forever Wild and the efforts of the Coalition. To assist Forever Wild supporters, and legislators, we have re-vamped our Protect Forever Wild website (www.protectforeverwild.com) and included a "Tool Kit" section that provides an updated "Forever Wild Fact Sheet" and a variety of other useful information – including a dozen or so one-page briefing papers related to common questions posed about Forever Wild and our effort. I would encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the Fact Sheet and the Briefing Papers. If your legislator has a question that you cannot answer, we will be happy to provide you and/or them with information to address any questions. Just let us know.

Phone calls from local constituents will be of critical importance in support of the ongoing work of our Governmental Affairs and Public Relations Team, and to our goals for success. Feedback will also be invaluable. We would also strongly encourage our supporters to relay back the commitments, comments, and questions they receive from their local legislators. This can be done easily online at the Protect Forever Wild website (www.protectforeverwild.com) by clicking on the "Tell Your Forever Wild Story" section and typing in a message. Any feedback provided through this avenue will allow us to quickly forward accurate information to our Governmental Affairs Team as they actively work the halls of the State House and to our Public Relations Team as they craft our strategic messaging throughout this campaign.

The time is at hand. Thank you for helping mobilize the masses in support of Forever Wild. Please forward this information to your members and supporters at your first opportunity.

Don't hesitate to relay any questions through the "Contact Us" option through the Protect Forever Wild website.


Stop Polluters and Protect Our Health

Pollution from burning oil and coal produces a host of serious, life-threatening health problems for our families and communities, inflicting children with asthma, stifling childhood development and cutting short thousands of lives. Oil and Coal are also destroying our nation’s economic health. By tying us to dirty 19th century energy sources and outdated technology, these corporate polluters are putting their profit margins before our economy, safety and health.

Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency exists to enforce much needed safeguards to keep polluters from making us sick. In the 40 years since Americans demanded its creation, the EPA has saved millions of lives by enforcing clean air and water standards. More than 1.7 million asthma attacks and $110 billion in healthcare costs were avoided in 2010 alone thanks to the agency’s efforts.

The nation’s physical and economic well-being depends on passing and enforcing strong standards to protect people’s health. All of us, and especially President Obama, are urged to stand up for our families’ health by supporting strong EPA standards for clean air and water. 

You can help by visiting http://sierraclub.org/stoppolluters/ now and telling President Obama we need strong safeguards to protect our health from polluters.

Thank you.

Submitted by David Newton


National Club Election Coming This Spring

The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is now underway.  Those eligible to vote in the national Sierra Club election will receive in the mail (or by Internet if you 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.  Visit the Club's election website: http://www.sierraclub.org/bod/2011election/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 your receive your election materials in the mail, please go to the user-friendly Internet voting site to save time and postage.  If necessary, you will find the ballot is quite straightforward and easy to mark and mail.

Please vote.  It is important!


Take Action Against Congressional Efforts Against the Clean Air Act

Rumors that the Clean Air Act and the EPA will be attacked in the Congress have been confirmed.  The assault is vigorous and being mounted in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  We must defeat these attacks, by contacting our U.S. Senators and congressional representatives.  An easy way to obtain contact information for your elected officials is to visit the non-partisan Project Vote Smart at -- http://www.votesmart.org/ -- and enter your Zip Code near the top of the page.  Letters to the editor will also help.  Check the website of your newspaper for guidelines and for contact information.

Below is an example of a short email message that was sent to seven newspapers with circulation in the Alabama 3rd Congressional District.  A very similar email was sent directly to Congressman Rogers.

"Editor:

"In a recent letter, Congressman Mike Rogers indicated he co-sponsored H.R. 97, which restricts the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement of the Clean Air Act.  The text of H.R. 97 appears below.

"SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Free Industry Act'.
"SEC. 2. GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATION UNDER CLEAN AIR ACT.
Section 302(g) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7602(g)) is amended by adding the following at the end thereof: `The term `air pollutant' shall not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride.'.
"SEC. 3. CLIMATE CHANGE NOT REGULATED BY CLEAN AIR ACT.
Nothing in the Clean Air Act shall be treated as authorizing or requiring the regulation of climate change or global warming.

"I suggest that while it may be politically advantageous, in the short term, to support such a measure, it is on the wrong side of science and of history.  Eventually, our children, grandchildren, and the voters of the Alabama 3rd Congressional District will not be pleased.

"Of course, the laws of humans can be repealed and amended, but the laws of chemistry and physics cannot.  Climate change is happening right now.  The sooner we recognize this, and act, the better for us, and for our descendants."

Submitted by David Newton


GOVERNOR BENTLEY ISSUES LANDFILL MORATORIUM
The Conservation Alabama Foundation applauds effort to review landfill permitting process

Governor Robert Bentley issued Executive Order No. 8 on February 23, 2011, which imposes a moratorium "on the issuance by the Department of Environmental Management of any new or modified permits or the transfer of any existing permits for solid waste management facilities."

Governor Bentley, in the executive order, directs the "Alabama Department of Environmental Management, with input from the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee and the Alabama Department of Public Health, to adopt and promulgate new rules" to "take into account the effect, both immediate and long-term, of such facility with respect to not only the adjacent community or region, but other regions of the State of Alabama and the State of Alabama as a whole." Some of the issues ADEM are to take into account include: the environment, health, safety, infrastructure, natural resources, and economic development.

"We have long believed that Alabama has become the nation's dumping ground and a thorough review of the state's permitting process is needed to ensure Alabama remains 'The Beautiful,'" said Adam Snyder, executive director of the Conservation Alabama Foundation. "We applaud Governor Bentley for taking this important step in order to get our landfill problems under control in Alabama."

The Conservation Alabama Foundation released an analysis in 2009 noting that Alabama has the capacity to received more than 51,000 tons of garbage per day in municipal solid waste landfills, yet Alabamians produce just under 13,000 tons per day. Multiple new landfill proposals have cropped up around the state since then, many of which seeking permission to accept out-of-state waste. The latest has been the proposed Conecuh Woods landfill near Repton, Ala. which, if approved, would have a capacity of more than 5,000 tons per day and could accept waste from 48 states.


Alabama Trails Conference

April 1-3 in Fairhope, AL, trail enthusiasts from around the state will gather to discuss and help plan Alabama's hiking trails. Attendees will represent trail user groups and organizations, non-profit and land management organizations, local state and federal government agencies.

Topics of sessions include how to partner with others, funding sources, networking opportunities, the economic benefits of trails, trails and health, and updates on exciting trail projects both planned and already underway throughout Alabama. Plus, opportunities to view firsthand successful trail projects by attending mobile workshops. In the Expo Hall you will be able to see new and innovative trail development resources and visit with non-profit trail and recreation groups, land managing agencies, government partners, and vendors who help make trails in Alabama a reality.

This is also a great opportunity for you to get involved with the creation of Alabama's next state plan for trails! During this conference you will have many opportunities to meet with our planners to discuss the next edition of Alabama's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and State Trail Plan.

For more information, go to http://www.trails.alabama.gov/ConfReg.htm or contact
Rob Grant at rob.grant@adeca.alabama.gov
or at 334-242-5483.


EEAA Gathering in the Longleaf Forest!

Did you know that the EEAA (Environmental Education Association of Alabama) Conference brochure is now available at www.eeaa.us?  Check it out!  There will be field trips to: find fossilized sharks teeth, view the pitcher plants, explore the bogs, search for red-cockaded woodpeckers and more. Sessions include orienteering, how to adapt EE for people with special needs, brown pelicans and students engineering solutions for sediment. You won't want to miss our keynote speaker either - author Janisse Ray, who wrote Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,  will be speaking about place-based education and teaching a workshop using brainstorming, literature and writing prompts.  She will also do a book signing!

Need funds to attend? Don't forget members can apply for the Professional Development Funds. So recruit a friend and see you in April 14-16 at the Solon Dixon Center!


Mountains to the Gulf

Helping Teachers Make Connections Application
June 25 – July 2, 2011
Application deadline is April 29, 2011

workshop photo

Want a Dream Workshop this summer?  The Mountains to the Gulf Teacher workshop will be so much more than that!  It will be an adventure of a lifetime traveling across the state of Alabama for a week with these three amazing experts in their field: Dr. Jim Lacefield, Dr. Bill Deutsch and Dr. George Cline.  The workshop will take place June 25 – July 2, 2011.  The journey will begin at McDowell Environmental Center in the Bankhead National Forest and crisscross the state to places such as Little River Canyon, Cheaha State Park, the Coosa River and Dauphin Island Sea Lab.  ,.
We will travel the state to trace the watersheds, dig into the geology and discover what connects all Alabamians together.  You will g

The week is funded by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) and Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education.  Other partners include Environmental Education Association of Alabama, McDowell Environmental Center, Alabama Water Watch, Jacksonville State University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab.  There is a $50 registration fee <<is this a true “fee” or is it a deposit?>> that will be returned if not chosen for the workshop.  But transportation, lodging, most meals, free classroom materials, and more learning than you can imagine are all covered under the grant! 
Only twenty lucky  teachers will selected for this adventure.  Don’t wait another day!  Send in your registration form today.  For more information contact Maggie Johnston at maggie@campmcdowell.com or call 205-387-1806.