News from Conservation Alabama's Twitter:

Join the Alabama Chapter on facebook! (just click the logo below)

Join us on facebook


Fri.-Sun., Nov. 18-20, 2011
@ Camp McDowell,
105 Delong Rd, Nauvoo, AL
hosted by the
West Alabama Sierra Group

Paulette Haywood Ogard & Sara Cunningham Bright - authors of Butterflies of Alabama

John & Rosa Hall - "Supposed Discoverer of Alabama/ Prince Madoc/ 1170"

Jim Lacefield - Cane Creek Canyon

Bill Hamner, Prof Emeritus, UCLA - Marine Biologist "From the Watershed to the Deadzone"

David Newton - Conservation Alabama -"The Political Climate for Alabama's Environment"

Visit the retreat web page here.

view the registration form here.

A Book of Interest

Earth: The Operators' Manual
by Richard B. Alley
W. W. Norton and Company, New York
479 pages (2011)

Beginning with a thought provoking title, Alley addresses climate change and sources of energy to power human society.  He also addresses his "search for a stable, sustainable world," which he asserts is very unlikely to be achieved by burning fossil fuels.

A geologist, glaciologist, and climatologist with decades of experience, Alley relates the history of the use of energy by humans, supports the idea of climate change accelerated by humans, and discusses sources of energy that could conceivably help solve our energy problems now.  Because he desires to avoid choosing winners, Alley does not endorse the adoption of one source of energy over others.

However, he offers some "recommendations," partly because his high school writing teachers would want him to do so.  Here is a summary of Alley's recommendations:  the science is solid; fossil fuels are being exhausted; we need lots of options; we haven't really worked to solve our energy problems; "betting on the future can pay off."

This thoroughly researched and well written book is the companion to the excellent PBS program with the same title.  As you would expect, the star of that 60 minute program is Richard Alley.

Submitted by David Newton

Learn about the many great Sierra Club outings here.

Splash for Trash on the Flint River

National Public Lands Day is on Saturday, September 24th this year, and the biannual Flint River Splash for Trash will be hosted by the Flint River Conservation As-sociation. Canoeists, kayakers, and landlubbers (those who remain on terra firma) are wanted for this half day river event.

If you have no canoe, they can be rented for $20 (or $10 per seat). If you would like to volunteer for this fun please call Susan Thomas at 256-776-3756 (H) or Susan Weber at 256-539-3747 (H) by Sept. 20th , 2011.
- Susan Weber, North Alabama Sierra Club

North Alabama Sierra Now on Facebook

The North Alabama Sierra Club now has a Facebook page. Among other things, this allows hike leaders to post last minute updates about hikes if the weather is questionable. It will also allow Sierra Club members to communicate more easily about outings and environmental issues in the area. Check us out!
- The North Alabama Sierra Club

New Poll: Strong Opposition to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

The Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, and EarthJustice released a poll today showing that a majority of voters in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee oppose mountaintop removal coal mining.

According to the poll, the number of voters who oppose mountaintop removal dwarfs the number who support it: 57 percent oppose mountaintop removal (and with noticeable intensity, 42 percent strongly oppose), compared to just 20 percent who support it. (from Sierra Club Currents)




White House Takes Clean Air Off the Table

President Barack Obama just announced that he is having Administrator Jackson of the EPA take the proposed Ozone standards, that we've been fighting so hard for, off the table. Despite the clear health and environmental benefits that would come from a strong ozone rule, President Obama has asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the agency's proposed toughened ozone standards, citing "the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover." Our official statement is here:

Please take a minute to call the White House and let them know you are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has decided to delay critical, long-overdue protections from smog, by putting the interest of coal and oil polluters first.

Here is the White House Comment Line Number: 202-456-1111

Please, let me know if you call and what the response is, I would love to be able to report the numbers of calls we've generated.

Looking forward, House Majority Whip Eric Cantor has released a memo laying out House Republicans plans for the Fall. It's a doozy. We're in for quite a fight.

Thank you for all of your hard work,

Suzanne Graham
Sierra Club, Roving Organizer
202-675-7915 (Office)
716-785-0864 (Cell)

TO:  Alabama Citizens and Alabama's Congressional Delegation

Experts report that development of clean renewable energy offers huge numbers of jobs for Alabama and the Nation, and we'll also have better health due to cleaner air and water.

If we do it right, we can reclaim global leadership in areas we pioneered, e.g., solar power.  Rather than a patchwork of state and local laws, we need a national energy policy that encourages businesses to invest in all aspects of clean renewable energy.  (Unlike governments and consumers, businesses now have the capital to commit to such efforts.)

Although not sufficient by itself, enacting the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 2599) would certainly help.  (PACE = property assessed clean energy.)  This measure would prevent Federal regulators of residential and commercial mortgages from interfering with state and local assessed clean energy laws.  This would allow owners of homes and buildings, without upfront costs, to utilize private capital in installing clean energy equipment on their properties.  Positive results include predictable energy bills, badly needed jobs, increased energy security, and improved health.

There is no question that a national renewable energy policy will eventually be enacted.  Imagine Alabama leading the way to do this and the jobs that will result.

Submitted by David Newton

[Note:  The letter above is being sent to editors of Alabama's major newspapers.  Sierra Club members should feel free to send versions of the above to Senators Sessions and Shelby and to their Congressional Representative.  This can be done though their congressional websites.]

Alabama Water Watch in Financial Trouble

Alabama Water Watch, the program with thousands of water testers throughout the state supported by profes-sional staff at Auburn University, is on the chopping block on the Alabama Department of Environmental Manage-ment's budget. Due to changes in EPA funding for the states, ADEM has said they can no longer provide funding to Alabama Water Watch after 19 years of support.
However, states like Geor-gia have found a way to protect their water-testing pro-grams, which help extend water quality monitoring much further than the state staff could handle on their own. Conservation Alabama issued an action alert earlier this month asking ADEM to not cut funding to Alabama Water Watch.

If you haven't taken action yet, please contact: Director Lance LeFleur Alabama Department of Environmental Management 1400 Coliseum Boulevard Montgomery, AL 36110-2400 Phone: 334-271-7710 E-mail:

Bloomberg Pledges $50 Million to Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign

On July 21 the Sierra Club announced an exciting partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies. From a boat overlooking a coal-fired plant in Alexandria, Virginia, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged a $50 million commitment over four years to the Beyond Coal Campaign that will fuel the Sierra Club's effort to clean the air, end the coal era, and accelerate the transition to cleaner, cost-effective energy sources.

And it is a good thing we have his support. In the U.S., coal is the leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions, and coal’s pollution contributes to four out of the five leading causes of mortality -- heart disease, cancer, stroke, and respiratory illness. Coal emits almost half of all U.S. mercury pollution, which causes developmental problems in babies and young children, as well as being a major contributor to asthma attacks. Coal pollution causes $100 billion in health costs annually. 

"If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal. Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because, while it may seem to be an inexpensive energy source, the impact on our environment and the impact on public health is significant," said Bloomberg during the announcement. "Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk, polluting the air we breathe, adding mercury to our water, and the leading cause of climate disruption." 

This $50 million grant will fill a significant portion of the campaign's projected $150 million four-year budget and will catalyze the efforts of the Beyond Coal campaign -- It will effectively retire one-third of the nation's aging coal fleet by 2020, replacing it with clean energy.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune thanked Bloomberg for the grant, calling it a "game changer" in the fight against coal. He also praised Bloomberg's vision and understanding of how protecting public health, developing innovative energy sources, and addressing climate change are all inextricably linked.

"This partnership will help the Sierra Club to work with communities nationwide as they tell one coal plant after another that inflicting asthma and other diseases on their children is unacceptable,” said Brune. "Coal relentlessly dirties our water, air, and lungs and fixing the problem cannot be left to Washington."

The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign started as a three-person campaign in 2002 and has quickly grown into a powerhouse effort that is changing the way America produces energy.

Successes to date include:

  • Stopped 153 new coal-fired power plants from being built, preserving market space for clean energy.
  • Slated nearly 10% of the current coal fleet for retirement.
  • Slowed new mountaintop removal mining permits to a trickle.
  • Claimed victory at 16 colleges and universities, where Sierra Student Coalition members have won fights to shut down coal plants on their campuses.
  • Mobilized hundreds of thousands in support of strong clean air and water protections.
  • Struck the biggest clean air agreement in the history of the Southeast with the Tennessee Valley Authority coal retirement settlement.

    Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign, was also in attendance and led the charge to keep our momentum and use this generous grant to continue moving forward. 

    "We're already winning in cities across the country. Community by community, people are standing up and saying no to coal, saying that they are ready for the clean energy economy,” said Hitt. “Now we’re ready to take this campaign to a whole new level." 

    For more information about the Beyond Coal campaign, visit

An Early Morning Breakfast Paddle

On Wednesday, July 20, Larry, Alice, Michelle and I met at the M&M Cafe around 6:30am. While enjoying waffles, bacon and eggs, hash browns, toast, biscuits and gravy, and coffee, we discussed our paddling options. Would it be the Paint Rock (low, slow, and shallow) or the Flint River (Ryland Pike to Hwy. 72?). We opted on the Flint. We were on the water by 7:45.

The weather was beautiful and the lighting perfect. Reflections on the water stood out sharp and colorfully clear. At the railway bridge, we were greeted by the mooing and curious glances of a small herd of cattle. There were ample chances to run several fast water shoals. One left me feeling as though I was the object of a Bumper Pool game. Victory was mine on the second try! We reached the takeout at 9:00, performed a photo-op, then loaded our boats and went our separate ways.
- Debra Wonder, North Alabama Sierra Club

Oct 15. Jay Hudson Memorial Hike, Pinhoti Challenge dayhike

(pictured above: an old photo of a Pinhoti Challenge Hike with Jay) I think it would be a good idea to have a Pinhoti hike this fall in memory of our good friend, Jay Hudson. It would give us all an opportunity to walk the trail that he loved so much and remember him in the best way that I know - on the trail with his "hiking family" as Jay would often call the Sierra Club and Meetup group. here is the details to our hike that will carry on the hikes Jay started. we will take some time at the area close to the Al/Ga state line for anyone who cares to say a few words about Jay.

Pinhoti Challenge dayhike. This month, we'll be hiking a section of trail located in Section 13 of the Alabama Pinhoti between Salem Church Road near Piedmont and the Jackson Chapel trailhead in Georgia. This hike is in our Pinhoti Challenge series, and gains a rating of strenuous due to the elevation changes and rocky terrain. Along the 8 mile trek, we'll see a large beaver pond and several old iron ore mines, along with outstanding views from Indian Mountain, Flagpole Mountain, the Alabama/Georgia state line, the Alabama Trails Association shelter, and perfectly quiet fall woods. Make sure to bring a camera. Hiking boots a necessity, as well as plenty of water and a picnic lunch. There will be an optional dinner afterwards. Contact: ken hyche at or call 205-540-3930 for more info. We'll be meeting at 07:00 at the Cracker Barrel at hwy 280 and interstate 459, then at 08:00 at the Target in Oxford at exit 188 of interstate 20. The hike is about 8 miles with a fairly long shuttle setup. (from Kenneth Hyche)

Monthly Green and Gray Program On Saturday, September 10
Car Caravan Tour of Little River Canyon National Preserve

(Not a Sierra Club sponsored event) Little River Canyon National Preserve will host the park's ninth Green and Gray Program at the Little River Canyon Center on Saturday September 10, 2011, beginning at 1 PM. The free ranger led program will include a tour of the canyon from the Little River Canyon Center to Little River Falls all the way to Eberhart Point. The program will last about 2 ½ hours, but visitors may leave at any time. The program will show off some of the special and beautiful species of flowering plants and some of the human stories of Little River Canyon. Information on park history and geology will also be discussed. Fossils and photos will be available for viewing. We encourage car pooling as some parking areas are small. Visitors will walk around in the overlooks. Most of the tour will be very close to the cars. People should bring water and good walking shoes. The name Green and Gray Saturday reflects the uniform of the National Park Service. Different Green and Gray programs will be presented at 1 PM on the second Saturday each month in 2011.

For more information, call the park office at (256)845-9605.
Larry Beane
Park Ranger
Little River Canyon National Preserve and Russell Cave National Monument
4322 Little River Trail NE, Suite 100
Fort Payne , AL 35967
(256) 845-9605

Sierra Club Outings

Summer is coming to an end!! Go paddling with friends, 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 street! more>>>

Climate Reality Project to Present 24 Hours of Reality on the Climate

What is 24 Hours of Reality?
24 Presenters. 24 Time Zones. 13 Languages. 1 Message. 24 Hours of Reality is a worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe. Each hour people living with the reality of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. We will offer a round-the-clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time. The deniers may have millions of dollars to spend, but we have a powerful advantage. We have reality.

When is 24 Hours of Reality?
24 Hours of Reality will be broadcast live online from Sept. 14 to 15, over 24 hours, in 24 time zones and in 13 languages.

Where is 24 Hours of Reality?
From Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Alaska, Jakarta to London, people living with the impacts of climate change every day will tell their story. You can experience as much as you like without even leaving your home. Click here to find the location — or locations — where you would like to watch a presentation. from David Newton Sponsors Global Rally to Demand Climate Crisis Solutions


On September 24, Bill McKibben's organization,, along with the Sierra Club, will sponsor a  worldwide rally to demand that policy makers take action on climate change.

Why?  Three years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.

Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.

Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis—a single day to move away from fossil fuels.  For too long, our leaders have denied and delayed, compromised and caved.  That era must come to an end.

Come on bike, on skates, on a board, or just on foot.  Come with your neighbors and your friends, your family and your co-workers.  Come be part of something huge. It's time to get moving on the climate crisis.

Visit to locate or initiate a local event. from David Newton