The Alamo The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Action Alerts
Raise your voice to make a difference

Man with megaphone

Sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call or email message to sway the opinion of our elected leaders and officials. Contact us at AlamoAlerts and we will add you to our local Sierra Club Action Alert Email List. You don't have to be a Sierra Club member to receive our alerts, (but we do hope you'll join us).

Make a call to stop Texas coal plants dumping on our parks

Call 1-888-407-1644 to tell EPA to do something about haze pollution from Texas coal plants
Tell EPA to clean up Texas coal plants

We have less than two months to protect the air in our national parks.

On November 26, 2014, EPA will release a proposal to reduce haze pollution from Texas coal plants, protecting national parks not only in Texas, but also throughout the region.
Over the next two months, we need to flood their offices with emails and calls telling them to make this proposal as strong as possible. Already, in the last week, over 2,500 people like you have sent in emails demanding our parks and our air be protected.

An email is great-- a call is better. Call 1-888-407-1644 to leave a message for Janet McCabe at the EPA.

Here are some easy talking points to use:
Hi, my name is _________. I'm calling from _________ to ask you to propose a strong rule for regional haze in Texas. 
1. Submit a strong proposal that protects us from the effects of haze pollution .
2. We love our national parks, and we need to protect our federal lands from haze pollution.
3. We need to ask EPA for a strong federal plan to reduce the pollution released from the Texas coal plants to ensure that our parks are not polluted for future generations.

Over the past two years, we asked for your voices and you responded. Earlier this year, we met with EPA officials in Dallas and Washington, D.C. about our concerns, delivering over 4,300 petitions from people like you. Hundreds of others called, and EPA officials are listening.

We demanded EPA reject a plan submitted by TCEQ, the Texas environmental agency, because this plan did very little to solve haze pollution from Texas coal plants. EPA's new plan needs to go beyond the Texas do-nothing plan and make real reductions in haze. 

Your emails, your calls, and your support matter. We have come so far already only because people like you are taking action. 

Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,

Sarah Sharif
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club

Alert posted October 2, 2014

A new Keystone XL approved?

Tell the State Department: Oil companies aren't above the law!

Take action today!

Take Action

A shocking backroom deal between the State Department and a Canadian oil pipeline company just green-lit what amounts to a new Keystone XL.

Enbridge -- the company responsible for the largest-ever oil spill on U.S. soil -- has come up with an illegal scheme to nearly double the capacity of its Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline and bypass the legally-required environmental reviews.

Even more outrageous, the State Department has indicated that it will allow this scheme to move forward and look the other way while Enbridge blatantly circumvents the law!

Take action now to force Enbridge to obey the law. Tell Secretary of State Kerry to stop this scheme and conduct a comprehensive environmental review.

If Enbridge is allowed to skirt the law, it will nearly double the capacity of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline, bringing it close to the capacity of the climate-killing Keystone XL. The scheme makes a mockery of the permitting process by switching the tar sands crude to a connected pipeline -- Line 3 -- right before it crosses the border, then switching the tar sands back to Alberta Clipper right after the border, all to circumvent the State Department's critical environmental review process.

This backroom deal between Enbridge and the State Department could result in up to 800,000 barrels of tar sands flowing into the United States each day -- an unacceptable risk for our land and water and a disaster for our planet.

Tell Secretary of State Kerry that no one is above the law and that this illegal tar sands switcheroo scheme must be stopped.

If the State Department and President Obama want to prove they take climate action seriously, they will prevent any increase in tar sands transport through the United States until the full cumulative environmental impacts of these pipelines are assessed, as required by law.

After the cumulative impacts are studied, it will be clear that these oil projects fail President Obama's climate test, and the administration will have no choice but to reject this expanding web of dirty tar sands pipelines. Take action today to ensure they do just that.

Thanks for all you do to protect our future,

Kate Colarulli
Sierra Club Beyond Oil Associate Campaign Director

Alert posted September 13, 2014

The whole sky was burning

The U.S. Department of Transportation must take real action now to protect our communities from explosive oil train accidents.

Lac Megantic Rail Disaster

Take Action

A "river of fire" flowed through streets while "the whole sky was burning."

That's how eyewitnesses described the chaos that ensued after an oil train derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Canada last summer, killing 47 people.

What the residents of Lac-Mégantic share with communities across North America is that they had no idea explosive crude oil was being shipped through their town, or the danger posed by the notoriously unsafe tanker cars that still carry it despite warnings from experts.

Canadian officials responded by phasing out the most dangerous tanker cars and putting stronger safety standards in place. Now it's time for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to do the same to protect our communities from oil train disasters.

Take action now to urge the DOT to strengthen safety standards and get these dangerous oil tankers out of our communities before disaster strikes again!

The DOT has called these dangerous oil trains an "imminent hazard" to the public.1 That's why they've proposed long overdue standards to make these shipments safer.

Experts have known about these safety hazards for years. Recently, former head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Deborah Hersman warned "We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly. There is a very high risk here that hasn't been addressed. ... They aren't moving fast enough. We don't need a higher body count before they move forward."2

It took more than a year since the tragic Lac-Mégantic disaster for the Department of Transportation to propose these new protections. Worse yet, some of the most important measures -- like getting the unsafe DOT-111 tankers off the rails -- won't even go into effect until 2020! We can't wait that long to protect our communities from exploding oil trains -- not when the number of accidents is soaring around the country.

Take action now to urge the Department of Transportation to do more to improve oil train safety NOW -- not six years from now.

The danger is only going to grow as Big Oil tries to pack more and more volatile crude oil onto our railways. The only way to limit the reckless expansion of oil trains and to improve rail safety is to use people power to demand change.

Thank you for protecting our communities,

Kate Colarulli
Sierra Club Beyond Oil Associate Campaign Director
[1] Jad Mouawad, U.S. Issues Safety Alert for Oil Trains, The New York Times, May 7, 2014
[2] Joan Lowy, Transportation Safety Head Calls For End To 'Tombstone Mentality', Huffington Post, April 23, 2014

Alert posted September 13, 2014

Prohibit Coal Tar-Based Sealants

The Alamo Group encourages you to contact your City Council representative and the San Antonio Housing Authority about prohibiting usage of coal tar-based sealants on pavement. Here is a telephone script for contacting council. Your councilmember's contact info is here and here. Here is a suggested letter to the San Antonio Housing Authority.

Coal tar-based pavement sealants threaten our drinking water by contaminating it with known carcinogens. This recent magazine article notes that these “probable” human carcinogens continue to coat local parking lots, playgrounds and driveways. We highly recommend viewing these slides from the Sierra Club presentation by Stephen Kale, P.E. containing comprehensive information about the dangers of coal tar-based sealants.

Alert posted January 25, 2014

Ask City Council to Ban Single-use Plastic Bags

Plastic bags blowing in wind

Single-use checkout bags have harmful impacts on our environment and drain our tax dollars. San Antonio residents use more than 1.6 billion plastic bags every year. At least 80% of these end up in landfills or as litter.

While stores don't charge for the bags, city taxpayers pay for a variety of pollution impacts. They cause damage to recycling facilities, and despite the fact that they are about 1% of the waste stream, they cost recyclers as much as 30% of their labor time. They clog up storm drains and wastewater treatment plants. They cost San Antonio residents as much as $1.3 million a year to control their pollution, and they disproportionately affect low income communities who have fewer resources for litter control, less recycling and more fragile infrastructure. That $1.3 million could help low income San Antonio neighborhoods, but instead is being wasted on plastic bag pollution! Even more money is being spent on state and federal clean-up efforts, and it is impossible to put a dollar value on the impacts to wildlife killed by plastic bags.

Visit this page to send a message to City Council. Personalized emails are far more meaningful to your elected officials than form letters. Be sure to include a personal message about why the issue is important to you, and why you think passing a local ordinance will be the appropriate solution.

Also, be sure to sign Cris Medina's online petition. Then, consider:

Suggested Points to Include:

Alert posted November 18, 2013