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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).

Last Chance to Speak Up for Water Conservation!

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Photo by Charles Kruvand.
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Less than two weeks remain for Texans to speak up for water conservation! The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has set September 1 as the deadline to receive comments on the agency’s proposed rules to implement Proposition 6. Prop 6 – passed overwhelmingly by Texas voters last November – created new state water funds to help Texas communities meet their water needs.

The Sierra Club supported Prop 6 because not less than 20% of the new funding is intended for water conservation or reuse and for the first time projects in the state water plan must be prioritized before being eligible for state funding. To be sure that the new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and a related fund achieve their potential, however, Texans need to show support for water conservation! TWDB has made it easy to do so, and the agency leadership is eager to hear your opinion. Tell the state water agency you want water conservation projects to be the first priority for funding!

These hot August days remind us that we Texans always need to conserve our precious water resources. Let’s make sure the new state water fund helps us do that!

Sincerely,
Ken Kramer
Water Resources Chair

Alert posted August 25, 2014


Protect Blair Mountain from MTR mining

Don't let Big Coal destroy America's history! Protect Blair Mountain from mountaintop-removal mining.

Take action!
Take action! 

How would you pay tribute to a place that changed the course of the labor movement forever -- protect the West Virginia mountain where coal miners fought for their right to unionize or allow Big Coal to blow the top off Blair Mountain in exchange for a simple plaque?

Ninety-three years ago, miners protested their unreasonable work conditions -- dangerous mines, long hours and low pay. For five days, they battled coal company-hired soldiers along the Blair Mountain ridgeline in Logan County, West Virginia, in a fight that captured the nation's attention. Although they did not win the battle, these miners helped usher in the golden age of union organizing in the United States.1 The Blair Mountain Battlefield deserves to be protected as a national historic site dedicated to the memory of those fearless miners. It should serve as a reminder to all Americans that organizing for safe working conditions and fair wages is a fundamental human right.

Send your letter today. Tell the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that allowing Blair Mountain to be mined would be tantamount to allowing the destruction of Yorktown or Gettysburg.

Of course, Big Coal is opposed to any efforts to protect Blair Mountain and has proposed a plan that would allow them to use mountaintop-removal mining to destroy the battlefield. Right now, there are three coal mining permits that encompass parts of the battlefield, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the opportunity to limit mining and protect the historic site.

Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that a plaque won't do. Blair Mountain is an important part of our history and deserves to be off limits to mountaintop-removal mining.

Thanks for all that you do,

Mary Anne Hitt
Beyond Coal Campaign Director

Source
1. Preservation Alliance of West Virginia

Alert posted August 25, 2014


We're not Big Oil's open sewer

Every day, Big Oil poisons the air in my community and communities across the country. Take action today to put a stop to it.

Port Arthur, Texas refineries - Photo: Hilton Kelley

Take Action

I live in Port Arthur, Texas, home to four major refineries, four chemical plants, two petcoke facilities and an international chemical waste incineration facility.

To say our air is polluted would be an understatement. Each year, tons of legal and illegal emissions from refineries are released into the air we breathe, poisoning it with toxic chemicals and known carcinogens.

The impact on my community is impossible to miss. There are a disproportionate number of people suffering from respiratory issues like bronchitis and asthma, and many are on dialysis and/or suffering from cancer. One out of every five households have someone in it who must undergo breathing treatments or must use a nebulizer just to breathe properly.

For my community, and all the other communities being poisoned by the 149 refineries across the country, take action now to urge the EPA to limit these toxic emissions from refineries.

People living in close proximity to large industrial polluters face a myriad of health and quality of life challenges, which threatens the overall resiliency of our communities. And all across the country, those residing nearest to these industrial polluters tend to be among the more vulnerable sectors of society, such as racial and ethnic minorities, and low income families.

Why must our communities continue to be used and dumped on just so these corporations can make billions? While Big Oil makes record profits, our communities get left with dilapidated infrastructure, more health issues, and not enough good jobs. To add insult to injury, we're stuck with the burden of increased medical bills after being exposed to these polluting industries year after year.

It doesn't have to be this way. The EPA is weighing stronger protections, and they need to hear from you today to make sure they stand up to Big Oil and protect communities like mine.

For far too long, the oil industry has treated the air we breathe as an open sewer for their toxic pollution. Enough is enough.

Thanks for being a part of this movement,

Hilton Kelley
Executive Director & Founder Community In-power and Development Association Inc.

Alert posted August 25, 2014


Stop exploding trains

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

Are you one of the 25 million Americans living in the blast zone of explosive oil trains?1

You've probably heard about many of the recent fiery oil train accidents, but most people have no idea that huge shipments of volatile crude oil are rolling through their communities -- near their homes, their schools and the places they work -- with increasing frequency.

After a record-breaking year of oil train derailments, spills and explosions, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has called these dangerous oil trains an "imminent hazard" to the public.2 That's why they've proposed new standards to make these shipments safer.

But oil and rail companies don't want to pay more to make oil trains safer. Take a moment to make sure the DOT is listening to the people, not Big Oil, by urging them to protect your community from explosive oil trains!

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."3

It took more than a year since the tragic Lac-Mégantic disaster that killed 47 for the Department of Transportation to propose these new protections. Yet some of the most important measures -- like getting the notoriously 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] Spencer Chumbley, Do You Live In A "Bomb Train" Blast Zone?, Vice News, July 28, 2014
[2] Jad Mouawad, U.S. Issues Safety Alert for Oil Trains, The New York Times, May 7, 2014
[3] Joan Lowy, Transportation Safety Head Calls For End To 'Tombstone Mentality', Huffington Post, April 23, 2014

Alert posted August 16, 2014


got science?

True or False:
 "There's no global warming in
North America." 

not science button  that's true button 
Okay, maybe that's an easy one --
that was Fox News inaccurately
reporting the very real impacts
we're already seeing from
global warming.

But it's not far off from the
ridiculous things people say
about science. It's up to us to tell
science fact from science fiction.
Can you spot it? Choose your
answer to get started.
Take the Quiz!

The things people say!
"Wind is such an unreliable source of electricity that coal plants are required to operate around the clock as backup for wind power." -- fossil-fuel funded front group ALEC

More and more these days special interests go out of their way to spread misinformation and undermine science -- and the truth isn't always easy to see.

That's why we want to make sure you can spot the difference between science fact and science fiction! Take our Got Science or Not Science quiz today and get a free "Got Science?" sticker.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club have teamed up to fight back against those who mislead the public about climate change and other vital issues. We want to expose disinformation and corporate "counterfeit science" and help scientists to do real cutting-edge research free from political interference.

So...do you think you can spot the fake? We've gathered quotes about climate change, deforestation, even dragons! It's up to you to determine whether each quote has got science or if it's not science. Click here to take the quiz.

And once you've demystified the misinformation, feel free to show off your smarts to your friends and let them know how they can get a free "Got Science?" sticker too.
It's really that simple: Take the quiz. Get the sticker. Tell your friends. Stand up for Science. Done.

It's up to us to defend science and ensure that decisions about our health, safety, and environment are based on sound science—not corporate hype and disinformation.


Sincerely,

Your friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Sierra Club!

Alert posted August 16, 2014


The worst next-door neighbor

You ever had a terrible neighbor?

Imagine if the world's largest open-pit mine moved in next door. Up to 10 billion gallons of poisonous mineral water just waiting to leak out -- feeling uncomfortable yet?

This is what's about to happen to North America's last remaining wild salmon habitat. A mining company wants to dig right next to Bristol Bay, Alaska -- home to nearly half of the world's salmon. If approved by the EPA, Pebble Mine could devastate the bay, threatening the salmon population, the wildlife, and the people who live there.

Let's put an end to this threat right now. Tell the EPA to say NO to this catastrophe waiting to happen.

Send a message today!


The reason Bristol Bay supports the world's largest salmon population -- even as salmon continue to disappear worldwide -- is because these fragile waters have remained almost entirely free from development. And that's how it needs to stay.

The EPA has already issued a proposal to stop the development of Pebble Mine. Now they need to hear from supporters like you to back them up. The more we each speak out individually, the louder our collective voice becomes -- and the harder it will be for Pebble Mine to move forward.

There will be no undoing the consequences if Pebble Mine gets built, but we can prevent them -- if we act right now. Help stop Pebble Mine while we still can.

Thanks,

Dan Ritzman
Our Wild America Campaign
Sierra Club

Alert posted August 16, 2014


Breathe new fire into grassroots movements

That spirit of activism -- a constant throughout our 122-year history -- is as relevant today as it was the day John Muir first founded our organization. But how we translate that spirit into action in the field is something that continues to evolve each day.

Today, I'm excited to share with you the next chapter in the Sierra Club's history: AddUp.org. This new action site is about realizing the full potential of activism in today's world, using technology to breathe new fire into grassroots movements.

Explore how you can use AddUp.org to make a greater difference on the issues that matter most to you:

Join the Grassroots movement!


When you're logged in to AddUp.org, you can browse campaigns around the country based on your interests, allowing you take actions that are the most meaningful to you. As you sign petitions, recruit your friends, and show your support on social, AddUp shows the impact you’re making in real time.

This is a revolutionary moment in our organization's history, and we look forward to building something extraordinary with you.

Get started on AddUp.org today: http://www.addup.org

Thanks,
Michael Brune
Michael Brune
Executive Director, Sierra Club

Alert posted August 2, 2014


Join the virtual rally to #ActOnClimate

Join the virtual rally to support limits on carbon pollution!

Join the Thunderclap!

Take action

In just a few clicks you can help make historic limits on carbon pollution a reality.

President Obama promised that his administration would take action to confront the climate crisis -- and now the EPA has finally proposed the first-ever safeguards against carbon pollution from our nation's aging power plants. 

From July 29-31, the EPA will be holding public hearings on these historic limits. Hundreds of activists will testify and rally outside hearings in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Even if you can't be there in person, you can help put pressure on the EPA by donating a tweet or Facebook status update in advance, all timed to hit at once as the hearings begin Tuesday morning. 

This will help make #EPA and #ActOnClimate important trending topics on social media, creating a buzz for people to take action. It also puts pressure on EPA to listen to grassroots activists, not lobbyists paid by the big polluters.

Join the virtual rally to support limits on carbon pollution, showing EPA that Americans demand they #ActOnClimate.

This is a big deal, and the big polluters know it. 

This is the beginning of what could be the biggest climate fight in history. Fossil fuel billionaires are mobilizing like never before. They're already sending their lobbyists to Washington and spreading their fear-mongering talking points on Fox News. While their money talks, they can't match our people power. 

By joining this virtual rally of thousands of people taking action online, you will fight back. You will also spread the message directly to your friends, family, and followers-- the people you have the most social media influence over. No talking head or slick ad campaign will be as influential as you.

Spread the message and ask your friends and followers to submit a written comment into EPA supporting their Clean Power Plan.
Thank you for all you do,

Andy Wilson
Online Organizer
Beyond Coal Campaign

Alert posted July 26, 2014


Sign the Petition: Texans Deserve Modern Building Codes

Tell the State Energy Conservation Office and State Comptroller to adopt new building codes
Take action

Take Action

A home or building built today to the latest building codes will use 25 percent less energy than one built just a few years ago -- and 40 percent of all the energy used in the U.S. is in the buildings we work and live in! With as much as Texas is growing and concerns about air pollution, climate change, drought, and where we're going to get our energy, why are we letting so much energy be wasted?

On July 4, the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the State Comptroller asked for public input on whether or not they should raise the state’s minimum energy code for new construction. In just a few clicks you can submit your official comment and tell them Texas should adopt the most recent building codes.

Tell SECO and the State Comptroller it's time to stop wasting energy. Update Texas building codes now.

Because these new codes require higher levels of insulation, better building envelopes, better windows, and give credit for incorporation of renewable technologies, adoption of these standards will create jobs.

Sure, better windows, more insulation and so on cost slightly more, but a recent analysis by the Energy Efficiency Codes Coalition on the 2012 codes found that in Houston the average home would go up in cost by only about $1,600. Because of the energy savings, you would save more money on your utilities than you paid in your mortgage within two years. Because of this, Houston went ahead and adopted better building codes.

And they're not alone. A recent survey of Texas cities found that 64 of the largest cities in Texas had already adopted the 2012 codes and cities like Austin and San Antonio are considering a process to adopt the 2015 codes.

But good building codes shouldn't be a luxury only in certain cities. Tell SECO to adopt the newest codes statewide so everyone can enjoy the savings and jobs.

An analysis done by the Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL) at Texas A & M found that adoption of the 2012 codes would increase the efficiency of the average new home by 14 to 25 percent compared to the 2009 codes.[1] Both ESL and the Department of Energy have said that taking the next step to adopt the newest 2015 building codes would give even slightly higher savings.[2]

Please help us make Texas a leader on energy efficient buildings today, saving energy, water and money, while creating jobs, and lowering our use of dirty, old coal plants.

Tell our elected Comptroller and SECO to adopt higher energy codes today! Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,

Cyrus Reed
Conservation Director
Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club

References:
[1] Texas A&M Energy System Lab study on Residential and Commercial building codes. Dec 2011
[2] Department of Energy study on commercial savings from adoption of new building codes March 2014 

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Alert posted July 26, 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