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Big Bend Regional Sierra Club Regular Public Meeting October, 2004
Minutes of Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, October 22, 2004Don announced that Sierra Club legislative day would be Nov. 13 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center south of Austin and those interested in going to meeting should contact him to arrange car pooling. LeLae Batista, Fran Sage and Don Dowdey will be going to hear speakers on protecting groundwater supplies, protection against Texas becoming nuclear dumping ground, among other issues. Cost is $25 at door, $20 if pre-registered.
Don said that Steve Smith (of Lajitas) has stated his opposition to a provision in Sen. Frank Madla’s water provision that would disallow pumping water and sending it down the Rio Grande. Roger Siglin said he had heard that Smith is buying more land on the river, with plans to do just that.
He announced the speaker at the November 18 meeting would be Smitty Smith of Austin, director of Public Citizen, who is “the most effective environmental lobbyist in the state.” Smitty, said Don, is the person most responsible for Texas’ alternative wind energy program under which three percent of the state’s energy must come from alternative sources. Smith is trying now to raise that required percentage to 20 percent.
At the Oct. 21 meeting, members discussed “where the Big Bend Regional Sierra Club is now, and where we might go.”
Don wrote on the blackboard these topics and then noted what members said:
I belong to the (national) Sierra Club because --
To be part of something bigger, not so alone
Because I saw the world being destroyed, rivers caught on fire, trees being clear-cut
To support an activist organization
To help save the planet
To be with people who are worried about environment and like-minded people.
Why the local Sierra Club?
It was the first chance I had
To save the beauty of the Big Bend, which direly threatened
(To fight against) haze in paradise
(To fight for) air quality and against radioactive waste (Sierra Blanca)
Because Big Bend National Park is one of the world’s great parks
I never had allergies until Carbon II (in Mexico) went on line
Club was organized around environmental issues
Some people go more for outings
Perhaps local club needs to do more outings
Outings (which requires an outings chairman to organize and have first aid classifications) could involve more and younger people in the group
Connect local club with organized groups who come out by bus, then we might make connections with these groups and have people who advocate for Big Bend
National Sierra Club has two groups of outings to Big Bend per year and local club members could hook up with them
Praise for newsletter, highway cleanup, summer social, and refreshments and conversation after meetings
Windmill outing suggested (to McCamey? with explanations for alternative energy) and to winery
Nature Conservancy, perhaps to Sheffield and Fort Lancaster
Mining is an issue that worries people
Local springs being depleted
Oil & Gas drilling
More activism within the group, and more activism on local issues -- Marfa, Terlingua, Fort Davis
Rock crusher -- US Clay and Terlingua mining
More outreach to Hispanics and to ranching community
Program suggestions -- suggested speakers
On natural history
Growth of juniper, growth of tamarisk
John Karges and Linda Hedges
Mexican protected areas (Maderas del Carmen -- Alberto Garza)
Cemex -- Bonnie and Billy Pat McKinney
Rio Grande Institute -- Ty Fain and Mark Briggs Jack DeLoach on beetle control of tamarisk Lonn Taylor of Fort Davis as speaker
Chinati Mountain state park
Big Bend Ranch state
Sierra Club issues for world
Pollution caused by war
Environment vulnerable to military use
Sierra Club issues for Big Bend
Light pollution at Alpine border patrol parking area
Suggest exploring issues that concern Marfa, Terlingua, Fort Davis
Fran Sage suggested that world issues could be broken up into more manageable material, such as local emphasis on water, or on radioactive waste on the Texas-New Mexico border. Others suggested the group should be participants in Sul Ross Earth Day activities, also in local schools.
Several said that the newsletter is the most important activity of the club; important to get people to do pieces for newsletter, and to ask people personally to be involved.