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Big Bend Regional Sierra Club Regular Public Meeting October, 2004

Minutes of Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, October 22, 2004

Don 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

    Specialty interests
  • Club was organized around environmental issues
  • Some people go more for outings
  • Perhaps local club needs to do more outings

    Program pluses
  • 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

    More/Less
  • 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
  • Water issues
  • 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
  • Global warming
  • Pollution caused by war
  • Environment vulnerable to military use

    Sierra Club issues for Big Bend
  • Air pollution
  • Light pollution at Alpine border patrol parking area
  • Suggest exploring issues that concern Marfa, Terlingua, Fort Davis
  • Water issues
  • Rock crusher

    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.