Sierra Club Newsmakers -- 3.7.08
In West Virginia, Sierra Student Coalition is hosting a "Save the Ales" party to highlight the urgency of addressing global warming. "While global climate change has already affected polar bears and seals, climate change is also expected to severely impact hops production, a main ingredient in all beer," said the SSC's Heather Sprouse. Global warming has disrupted the hops-growing regions in Germany and the Czech Republic and higher prices are ahead for imported beers.
New Hampshire Chapter Director Cathy Corkery wrote an op ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader blasting the Forest Service plan, backed by Senator Judd Gregg (and the Union Leader), that would allow timber sales in the Than Brook roadless area of White Mountain National Forest (above), the most substantial incursions into roadless areas east of the Rockies. "Gregg’s claims that clear cutting the forests now will save the North Country economy are false. North Country leaders have said again and again that they want to move forward and diversify and reinvent the local economy, not live in the past. Giving a handful of guys with chainsaws temporary jobs clear cutting the Whites is not going to do that."
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel called problem-plagued $1 billion Meadowlands redevelopment next to Giants Stadium in East Rutherfield, "the Baghdad of redevelopment.'' Tittel also voiced the Club's support for a proposed wind farm off the Jersey shore as "the first step to really implementing the governor's global-warming initiative."
A University of Washington report concludes that when air conditions in the Columbia River Gorge are at their worst, Portland General Electric, Oregon's only coal-fired power plant, is responsible for more than half the particulate pollution, prompting the Club's Nat Parker to call the report a "smoking gun."
Kansas City Power & Light, which made an agreement with the Sierra Club last year to build 100 megawatts of wind energy by the end of 2010 and 300 by 2012, has postponed plans to build a wind farm this year, but says it will still abide by the agreement.
Following an interview of Carl Pope in the Oil and Gas Investor magazine, the business press has been abuzz with stories saying that the Sierra Club had changed its position and come out in favor of the U.S. natural gas industry. Pope did say that the Club "favors producing all [the natural gas] that the U.S. can put out," but everything he said in the interview was consistent with existing Club policy, and it was a mischaracterization to interpret Pope's statements as an endorsement of the entire industry."We recognize that gas is cleaner than coal or oil but is still not as preferable as renewables and efficiency," clarified Pope.
After more than a year of monitoring the Upper Verde River in Arizona, Sierra Club Water Sentinels have found heightened levels of nitrogen and phosphate as well as common detergent compound that, said Yavapai Group chair Tom Slaback, acts as "an endocrine disruptor known to cause sex change in fish and hormonal changes in other organisms." The Club has called on local cities to change their current practice of applying treated sewage sludge near waterways.
In a CBS News story on how green a President John McCain would be, Debbie Sease, the Sierra Club's legislative director, said McCain's record on environmental issues is wildly erratic. "We never know where he's going to come from," she said. "As a general rule, on land and conservation issues ... he tends to be pretty good. But he's a doctrinaire conservative on the role of government in protecting people from pollution."