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Note: Contributions, gifts, and dues to the Sierra Club-Alabama Chapter are not tax deductible. They support our effective, citizen-based advocacy and lobbying efforts here in Alabama. Thank you in advance for supporting the Sierra Club's conservation programs in Alabama.


Public Hearing: Shepherd Bend Mine

WHAT: Shepherd Bend Public Hearing (from ADEM for their NPDES permit)
WHEN: August 28th, 2014 at 6 pm
WHERE: Tom Bevill Building Exhibit Hall, Building 1400, Bevill State Community College Sumiton Campus, 101 State Street, Sumiton, AL 35148.

Carpool and Dinner plans:
We will be meeting at the Flying J Pilot gas station (224 41st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35207, "Daniel Payne Dr in Northern Bham) starting at 4:30 pm and taking (multiple if needed) car loads to Sumiton around 5-5:30 pm. It takes around 30 minutes to travel to Sumiton and the hearing starts at 6. We will plan to travel to GREEN TOP BBQ (in Sumiton) after the hearing so bring your appetite and your thirst for justice!

BACKGROUND (+ public comment info if you are unable to attend):

August 28 Public Hearing on Shepherd Bend Mine, a Threat to 200,000 Alabamians’ Drinking Water

Sumiton, Ala. – In response to numerous requests from a broad range of stakeholders, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 28 at 6 pm regarding the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine, a threat to drinking water for 200,000 people in the greater Birmingham area. The hearing will be at the Tom Bevill Building Exhibit Hall, Building 1400, Bevill State Community College Sumiton Campus, 101 State Street, Sumiton, AL 35148. Those at the hearing may comment on the draft Clean Water Act permit for water pollution discharges from the mine into the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. ADEM will also accept written comments about the mine at the August 28 hearing or by mail before 5 pm on August 29. Send comments to Russell A. Kelly, Chief | Permits and Services Division | ADEM | P. O. Box 30130-1463 | Montgomery, AL 36110-2059 | rak@adem.state.al.us

More at www.blackwarriorriver.org


Smithsonian Channel Airs Special Aerial American Wilderness Episode in September: House Party Hosts Wanted!

On September 7th, Smithsonian Channel will air a special 60-minute episode of Aerial American dedicated to wilderness. Check your local listings to view the show live. Sign up to host a house party in September or October and get a free advance DVD copy of the show.


Wilderness Forever Photography Exhibit Opens on Anniversary

On September 3rd, the actual Wilderness Act anniversary, the Wilderness Forever photography exhibit will open the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where it will remain for approximately 9 months.


D.C. Wilderness Week Registration Opens

Registration for the D.C. Wilderness Week, September 15-17, is now open online. Join wilderness advocates from across the country and challenge our nation’s elected officials to support wilderness.

(from the National Wilderness Planning Team)


Speak Out for a Strong Clean Power Plan

The EPA made history last month when it introduced a Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants. This first-ever national plan is the best chance we have to slow climate disruption -- it's a big deal, and the big polluters know it. We will be showing massive support for the Clean Power Plan at the EPA's hearings this week in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Speak out NOW! (from Sierra Club Insider)


Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The Alabama Rivers Alliance and Alabama Environmental Council in conjunction with Green Coalition would like to invite you to join us in sponsoring the 2nd showing in Huntsville of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the largest environmental film festival in North America. The award-winning films, combining beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling, inform, inspire, and ignite solutions to restore the earth while creating a positive future for the next generation.
This event will take place on the evening of November 7, at the Flying Monkey Arts Center at Lowe Mill.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), in 2003. Over the past 10 years it has evolved into the largest environmental film festival in the nation. The annual event each January in Nevada City, CA, kicks-off the nationwide tour to over 100 cities. Each tour venue is an opportunity for an organization to reach out into their community and bring people together around community based activism. A diverse menu of environmental films delve into themes such as energy, climate change, conservation, wildlife, community activism, environmental justice, and adventure. Each venue custom builds their own film program to include issues they want to spotlight in their area.


PLEASE NOTE!

PROCEDURE FOR SENDING MATERIAL TO THE ALABAMA SIERRAN

Many thanks to Roe Hyche, Bob Hastings, Lucina Horner, and Peggie Griffin for agreeing to be the new newsletter committee.

The newsletter is put together monthly, and material for the newsletter should be sent to plgriffin@comcast.net, with a subject line of "For the Editorial Board" no later than the 15th of the month.

Group newsletter editors may continue sending group meeting information and calendars of events to Joe Watts at joe@joewatts.com, no later than the 25th of each month.

Guidelines for Material:

Join the Alabama Chapter on facebook! (just click the logo below to join the group page)

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September 2014

Oct 31-Nov 2, 2014 Sierra Club Annual Retreat
Comments from the Chair - Retreat-2014

Robert W. Hastings

Plan now to attend our 2014 Sierra Club Annual Retreat. Register for the Retreat and reserve your lodging at Lakepoint State Park before the early registration deadline of August 31. We have an excellent group of speakers scheduled to give presentations on Alabama environmental issues.  Dr. R. Scot Duncan, the keynote speaker at our Saturday evening banquet, is an Associate Professor of Biology and Urban Environmental Studies at Birmingham-Southern College.  Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Scot received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Eckerd College in 1993, a Master of Science Degree from the University of Florida in Zoology in 1997, and a PhD from Florida in Zoology in 2001.  He has done research on ecology and conservation biology in Costa Rica, Panama, Uganda, Florida, and Alabama.  Scot is the author of Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising BiodiversitySouthern Wonder won the Southern Environmental Law Center’s 2014 Phil Reed Environmental Writing Award. Scot’s presentation will explain why Alabama is home to more species than any other state east of the Mississippi River.  

Other presentations scheduled for Saturday morning include Mitch Reid, of the Alabama Rivers Alliance, describing the latest developments in the Alabama State Water Management Plan; John Quarterman, of the Georgia Sierra Club, discussing the proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline, which could extend from Alexander City in Alabama to south-central Florida; and Adam Johnston, of the Alabama Rivers Alliance and Alabama Sierra Club, discussing the current status and recent developments of proposals to mine extensive tar sand deposits in northwest Alabama. And last, but hopefully not least, your Chapter Chair (Robert W. Hastings) will prick your interest in sighting wild alligators in Lake Eufaula by describing past efforts to protect and successfully restore populations of the endangered American Alligator. So please join us, October 31-November 2, for a great weekend adventure.

REGISTER NOW!

Lakepoint State Park near Eufaula

Environmental Speakers, Hikes, Boating, Fishing
Birding and Wildlife Viewing at Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge

Bob Hastings – 334-324-1071 or bhastings@knology.net

>>>download the registration form and full schedule here<<<


Stop Tar Sands in Alabama: Message from FOMENTS in Alabama

Greetings..My name is Leigh Carson and I am writing on behalf of FOMENTS (Friends Of Mother Earth No Tar Sands) in Alabama.

Included below is a link to our petition on Change.org. We need your signature for this petition to reach Governor Bentley, the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives. Please help us reach our goal.

LINK TO PETITION HERE

Tar sands mining will irreparably scar the lush, diverse eco-system we call home. It is a grave threat to our ground water, streams and rivers. Up to 200 jobs in 10 years will never be worth the stench and ugliness that will follow. TSM will hobble the growth of tourism, out-door sporting events and nature activities. It will lower property values. I never want to have to explain to my children and grandchildren how we let this happen.

If you've already signed; thank you so much We encourage you to let everyone know about the petition.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We appreciate your help. Please share! Leigh

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, August 27, 7 p.m
Community Meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church in Florence
410 N. Pine Street, Florence, Alabama

Tuesday, September 9, 6 p.m.
Mt. Hope Community Meeting
Rock Springs Presbyterian Church
8646 County Road 23
Mt. Hope, Alabama

Thursday, September 25, 5-9 p.m.
Citizens Rally at Wilson Park, Downtown Florence
Live music, speakers, information booths and more



Happy 50th Wilderness Act!

by Sandy Kiplinger, North Alabama Sierra Club

As I was flying across the United States toward my annual Sierra Club lead in Montana, I was looking out the window at the landscape far below. There was a patchwork of crops, scattered houses and long stretches of roads leading in all directions. It was by chance that earlier this year, I joined the ‘Sipsey Challenge, a Meetup group that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act through a series of hikes. Surrounded by incredible scenery and through on-trail discussions, I was reacquainted with why such an Act was and is still needed.

In 1956, Howard Zahniser, Executive Director of The Wilderness Society, drafted a bill to protect some of the nation's remaining wilderness areas. Eight years and 66 rewrites later, the bill passed Congress. On September 3, 1964, after signing in to law the Wilderness Act, Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136, 78 Stat. 890), President Lyndon B. Johnson stated: "If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."

According to the Act, “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act, an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

When the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, 54 areas (9.1 million acres) in 13 states were designated as wilderness. Today, there are 758 designated wilderness areas (109,511,038 acres) in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The largest is Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness, Alaska (9,078,675 acres), and the smallest, Pelican Island Wilderness, northern Florida (5.5 acres). The Appalachian Trail passes through 25 different wilderness areas. (see more on the Wilderness Areas in Alabama here)


Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act in Alabama

The National Forests in Alabama will celebrate the 50th Anniversary Wilderness on September 6, 2014 at 10:00 in Cheaha State Park at the Rock Pavilion.

Special events will include: Gary White, Mike Leonard and Pete Conroy, speakers who were instrumental with the designation of wilderness areas in Alabama, photo contest results, a hike for wilderness including traditional tools and leave no trace demonstrations.  Other participating partners include Wild South, Skip Essman with Leave No Trace of Alabama, Cheaha State Park, Kim Murray of Munford Elementary School, Trail Clubs and the Anniston Outdoor Association.    Wild South will have information regarding our Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program.  Other booths will include hiking and outdoor groups.  There will also be a special appearance from “Bigfoot”.  Lunch will also be provided accompanied by the melodious sounds of the Sky Island String Band. 

Wild South will have information regarding our Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program, other booths will include hiking and outdoor groups, leave no trace, with a special appearance from “Bigfoot”. Lunch will be provided and we will have entertainment from the Sky Island String Band. Please contact the Talladega Ranger District at 256-362-2909; the Shoal Creek Ranger District at 256-463-2272 or the Bankhead Ranger District at 205-489-5111 for additional information.


Grassroots Activism: Demanding Strong EPA Standards Near Oil Refineries

At an EPA hearing in Houston during August, Gulf Coast communities called for stronger EPA pollution controls near oil refineries. Tougher standards and enforcement would reduce toxic emissions, improve air quality, and protect public health. The Sierra Club partnered with EarthJustice and other coalition partners to help residents of port communities call for strong standards at the hearing. Learn more here. (from Sierra Currents)


A Historic Week for Clean Air and Energy

Hundreds upon hundreds of people packed the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearings on its proposed carbon pollution plan last month. Multiple hearings in Denver, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., were crowded with parents, public health officials, business owners, farmers, clergy, and many others who support the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Read Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune's recap of the hearings, marches, and rallies. (from Sierra Club Insider)


Sierra Club Outings

Summer is nearly over! It's time to get out! 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 in the city! Great outings and meetings from North Alabama all the way to the Gulf! more>>>