Sierra Club Newsmakers — 1.18.08
The Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the Sierra Club on January 16 when it ruled that factory farms in the state were being issued operating permits in violation of the Clean Water Act. "This is a real vindication of what we have been arguing for many years," said Michigan Sierra Club Director Anne Woiwode, pictured above with Club attorney Aaron Isherwood.
The Club launched its first cause-based marketing venture involving a widely distributed consumer product with the introduction of the Green Works line of all-natural, eco-friendly household cleaning products, a joint venture with the Clorox Company.
In South Carolina, Sierra Club members lobbied at the State House against a bill that would define nuclear power as a renewable energy source. "Nuclear energy is not a renewable resource," said Cary Chamblee, chapter legislative director. "It's almost like saying an apple is an orange."
A coalition of environmental groups including the Sierra Club filed an appeal opposing relicensing of New Jersey's Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, alleging that a 100-foot-tall containment shell for nuclear waste is insufficient to ensure the safety of the facility.
In Ohio, the Sierra Club threatened legal action against a coal-gas power plant proposed by Cincinnati-based Global Energy if the company does not apply for a new air-pollution permit. Power companies claim coal-gas plants are cleaner than traditional coal plants, but although they eliminate pollutants that contribute to smog and acid rain, they emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide each year. "There's no such thing as clean coal," said Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign.
Photovoltaic installer Clean Solar, Inc., announced it will offer a $500 charitable donation on behalf of its customers: the Sierra Club is one of four non-profits the company recommended for donations.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has put on hold the permitting of a proposed Kennecott nickel and copper mine in the state's Upper Peninsula, saying more information is needed about the mine's aboveground operations in a remote area renowned for its backwoods trails and trout streams. The mining company said it will protect the environment while boosting the regional economy, but Chapter Legislative Director Marvin Roberson said the state should demand additional evidence of that claim.
Alaska is the only state that permits wolf hunts, but now the Wisconsin Legislature is considering allowing it too. Club volunteer Jim Olson told reporters the state's current management methods, which allow landowners to trap problem wolves and shoot them if they're in the act of attacking a pet or livestock, are working just fine. "Leave well enough alone," Olson said.
The staff of the California Coastal Commission has rejected a proposed highway through a portion of San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urged the commission to disregard the staff recommendation and OK the road. "Clearly the governor has forsaken his environmental legacy," said Mark Massara, director of the Sierra Club's Great Coastal Places Campaign.
The Sierra Club was one of 11 groups opposing a federal policy allowing power companies to build transmission lines in sensitive areas near Washington, D.C., even if states object. Several controversial power lines are planned for Northern Virginia and Maryland. Historically, states have had the final say about whether power lines should be built. The Club also opposed a proposed energy corridor in Arizona and California that would bypass normal reviews for new high-voltage power lines.
In Tennessee, longtime Club volunteer James Baker penned a column in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, urging all citizens to make and keep one resolution for 2008: put politics and ideology aside and unite to deal with the planetary challenge of global warming.