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Houston Regional Group - News - 2005
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 Houston Group newsletters

Feature Article

What You Can Do To Help Texas State Parks Emergency $5 Million Appropriation Needed By Legislative Budget Board
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has just announced crippling cuts in its staff positions and the hours of operation of state parks. This is the result of chronic underfunding and the current philosophy that parks must pay for their own keep. The lack of funds was the driving force behind the proposed Big Bend Ranch SP sale and the just-announced potential transfers of Lake Houston SP (Harris & Montgomery Cos.) and Eagle Mountain Lake SP (Travis Co.). For a long-term solution, we have to look to the Texas State Legislature - BUT the parks can't wait until 2007! (Dec 05)

Volunteer News:

Club Notes

ECO-Art Light Rail Tour
All aboard the Sierra Club Express. I'm your conductor, Reginald Adams, but you can call me Reg. Get on board for a smooth, smart, swift ride into the future of mass transit in Houston. Hang on tight as this train floats across the rails like a pebble dancing across the water down 7.5 miles of long, lean, light rail. That's right 7.5 miles of environmentally friendly, no green house gases, emissions free, tree huggin' train track." (Jun 05)  Get Acrobat Reader

Thank You to Volunteers!
The Houston Sierra Club would like to recognize two volunteers who have kept the group humming along with its Volunteer of the Month awards. At the March General Meeting, Ave Rojas was thanked for successfully organizing an Inner City Outing for seventeen high school girls to Brazos Bend State Park during January. This was Ave's first organizing effort for the ICO program and she did a great job. (Apr 05)
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ICO

Houston Inner City Outings: Women in the Wild
From January 21st to the 23rd , the young women of Chinquapin School with great enthusiasm and optimism spent a weekend with Sierra Club Houston Inner City Outings leaders, Angie Langolf, Lorraine Gibson, and Ave Rojas at the Brazos Bend State Park. The all female group set up camp under an unpredictable sky and put their faith in Nature's plan. Threats of rain and freezing temperatures did not quiet their laughter or curb their curiosity.   (Apr 05)

Inner City Outings - Houston ICO Fishing Trip
On November 6th, twenty-six 4th and 5th graders from I Have A Dream-Bastain Elementary were treated to a day of outdoor fun at Sheldon Lake State Park. When Houston Inner City Outings planned this trip, we had no idea it would be a sunny day just perfect for fishing. (Feb 05)
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Conservation News:

General Conservation

December 5th Public Meeting Regarding the Proposed Transfer of Lake Houston State Park to the City of Houston
Your help is needed to attend and provide input at a December 5th public meeting. (Dec 05) 

Recycling E-Waste
Electronic waste (E-waste) is a term used to describe electronic products such as monitors, televisions, printers, keyboards, VCRs, CPUs, cellular phones, etc. that are obsolete or no longer in use. This E-waste stream is steadily increasing as newer models replace older versions, and more people have access to an array of new products.   (Sep 05)

Public Participation Under Attack - Please attend hearing in Nacogdoches, Saturday, July 23, and send comments by August 1.
Without the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), there would be no Environmental Impact Statements and public participation to oppose unneeded reservoirs and other projects with huge impact on natural resources, to make changes in proposed management actions on public land, and to influence public natural resource policies.   (Aug 05)
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Forestry

Forestry Lawsuit in Sam Houston National Forest Won; Massive Caney Creek Project Withdrawn
Positive news arrived recently on two fronts in the Sierra Club’s battle to protect Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) from over logging by the U.S. Forest Service (FS).  (Oct 05)

Initial Decision on Big Thicket Oil/Gas Lawsuit Made
An initial decision has been made on the Sierra Club/Texas Committee on Natural Resources (Sierra Club) oil/gas slant drilling lawsuit. The lawsuit challenges National Park Service (NPS) decisions which allow slant drilling under Big Thicket National Preserve without conducting the appropriate environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and in violation of the NPS’s Organic Act.   (Oct 05)

The Bush Administration's Effort to Increase Oil/Gas Exploitation of Sam Houston National Forest and Big Thicket National Preserve
The Energy Policy Act, which the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed, has provisions that would allow increased oil/gas drilling on federal public lands.  For example, the bill would allow the Secretary of the Interior to designate pipeline corridors across public lands without seeking public input; lift the acre limit on the amount of federal oil/gas acreage one entity can control; encourage oil/gas development under Padre Island National Seashore; waive environmental review/public participation process for all types of energy development projects on Indian lands; authorize $550 million over 11 years to log old growth/roadless areas in national forests and burn them for energy; put the Department of Energy in charge of determining whether land management actions would have a significant adverse effect on energy development; and allow oil/gas companies can take two years to comply with drilling permit application requirements but limit the Bureau of Land Management to 10 days to make decisions on these applications.  (Sep 05)

Wildlife Management, Predator Control, and Weeds and Infestations in Wilderness
This is the thirteenth and final article in a series on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded.  The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org).  I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it.  There is much to learn and think about.  What more can we ask?  (Sep 05)

Roadless Area Conservation Act Cosponsor Drive Deadline: Wed, June 29 (Jul/Aug 05)

Sierra Club Forestry Lawsuit Proceeds
On May 6, 2005, the Sierra Club, Texas Committee on Natural Resources, and Forest Conservation Council (Sierra Club) met in Houston Federal Court before Judge Mary Milloy versus the U.S. Forest Service (FS), represented by Justice Department attorneys, over the continuance of an injunction against timber sales in Sam Houston National Forest for the Compartments 28/37 and Boswell Creek projects.  (Jul/Aug 05)

Forest Service Proposes Salvage Logging Red-cockaded Woodpecker Habitat 
On May 20, 2005, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) proposed salvage logging 40 acres of endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) habitat that was damaged during a windstorm. Damaged habitat includes a cluster (nesting area), replacement nesting area, and foraging habitat for the RCW. Thirteen RCW cavity trees were killed during the storm.    (Jul/Aug 05)

Fire Management in Wilderness
This is the eleventh in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded.  The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org).   I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it.  There is much to learn and think about.  What more can we ask?   (Jul/Aug 05)

Fish Stocking in Wilderness
This is the twelfth in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask?   (Jul/Aug 05)

Ecological Manipulation
This is the tenth in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask?  (Jun 05)

Managing Wilderness as a System
This is the ninth in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask?  (May 05)

Wilderness Minimum Requirement and Minimum Tool
This is the eighth in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask?  (Apr 05)

Forestry Notes
Sierra Club Helps Plant Rare Species
U.S. Forest Service Proposes Five Timber Projects
Congress Assaults Wilderness with Anti-Environmental Riders from Hell  (Mar 05)

Proposed Wilderness Compromises Hurt the Environment
In recent years Wilderness proposals have had tough sledding in a more anti-environmental U.S. Congress. As a result some conservation organizations and individuals are attempting to work with motorized recreation interests and other anti-wilderness proponents. These coalitions result in deals where some environmental and Wilderness values are traded off so motorized users have more areas for off-road routes in exchange for more Wilderness. This is the wrong strategy to use.  (Mar 05)

Wilderness Values
This is the seventh in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask? (Mar 05)

Big Thicket Oil/Gas Plan Needs Your Input
The National Park Service (NPS), under the Bush administration, released on December 13, 2004, a Draft Oil/Gas Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DOGMP/DEIS) for Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP).  (Jan 05)

State Parks and the Texas Legislature
The Texas Legislature will be in session from January until the end of May 2005. Strengthening the protection of wildlife and parks lands in Texas is one issue that the Sierra Club in Texas, along with the Texas Coalition for Conservation, American Farmland Trust, Texas Wildlife Association, the Greater Houston Partnership, and the Quality of Life Coalition, along with many other organizations, are supporting.  (Jan 05)

Wilderness Values
This is the sixth in a series of articles on Wilderness, its importance, and how it should be stewarded. The information that is used in these articles comes from the Wilderness Watch website (www.wildernesswatch.org). I have blatantly plagiarized this website with the permission of Wilderness Watch and encourage you to visit it. There is much to learn and think about. What more can we ask? (Jan 05)
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Transportation

Toll Roads -- Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
A growing number of Houstonians are concerned about plans for more than a dozen major toll roads for our region. While roads are part of our region's transportation needs, toll roads are being planned with little regard for public input, nor the impact to local communities and neighborhoods. Plans for major toll roads include areas such as Clear Lake, the Katy Prairie, the Heights, southwest Houston and even through Memorial Park. The Sierra Club has begun to press for a change in local and state policies to give local citizens a voice in whether a toll road will be built.  (Feb 05)
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Watershed Management

What Do You Want to Happen to Your Water, Rivers, Lakes, Wetlands, Wildlife Habitat, & Galveston Bay?
The Region H Water Planning Group (RHWPG) will hold two public hearings, July 12, 2005 at 10 a.m., at the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) Office, 105 Damsite Road in Conroe, and July 14, 2005 at 6:30 p.m., at the Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons, Second Floor, Room A, in Houston.  (Jul/Aug 05)

Harris County Flood Control District Vegetation Management Manual NOW ONLINE!
The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has just published its first Vegetation Management Manual. It is the first time the District has codified its current vegetation practices. You can download the manual from http://www.hcfcd.org/vmm.html. It is also available on CD.  (Apr 05)
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Clean Air & Water

City Air Bureau Slate for Downsizing - Calls and Comments Needed
The City of Houston (COH) has proposed down-sizing the Bureau of Air Quality Control (BAQC) because its air pollution contract (worth about $1.5 million) with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will not be renewed. The BAQC conducts about 1,000 air quality investigations each year. These investigations include citizen complaints; inspections of large air polluters like refineries/chemical plants; inspections of moderate sized companies like concrete batch plants/crushers; and inspections of smaller companies like paint and body shops/gas stations/dry cleaners.   (Sep 05)

Industry's Air Pollution Technology Found Lacking
In a study released recently, a major air pollution control technology used by industry, the flare, has been found to emit far more air pollution than thought. The newly formed Industry Professionals for Clean Air (IPCA), found that both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inadequately quantify what actual flare air pollution occurs.  (Sep 05)

Toxics Bill Introduced to Help Clean-up Houston Air
Texas State Representative Joe Moreno has introduced a bill (HB 2792, companion bill in the Texas Senate, SB 1724, introduced by Texas Senator Mario Gallegos) to address long-time air toxics concerns in Texas and Houston.  (May 05)

Bills Introduced to Make Polluter Pay
Texas State Representative Eddie Rodriguez has introduced two bills to help clean up Texas' air by making polluters pay for the pollution they emit.   (May 05) 

Bills Will Remove Public Opportunities for Pollution Permit Public Hearings
Texas Representative Dennis Bonnen has introduced HB 2758 (Texas Senator Ken Armbrister has introduced a companion bill, SB 1542) that will reduce citizens' ability to participate in hearings regarding the issuance of new, amended, or renewed pollution permits.  (May 05)
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Habitat Preservation

What You Can Do To Help Texas State Parks Emergency $5 Million Appropriation Needed By Legislative Budget Board
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has just announced crippling cuts in its staff positions and the hours of operation of state parks. This is the result of chronic underfunding and the current philosophy that parks must pay for their own keep. The lack of funds was the driving force behind the proposed Big Bend Ranch SP sale and the just-announced potential transfers of Lake Houston SP (Harris & Montgomery Cos.) and Eagle Mountain Lake SP (Travis Co.). For a long-term solution, we have to look to the Texas State Legislature - BUT the parks can't wait until 2007! (Dec 05)

Support Texas Parks
Since there are over 10 million park visitors annually to our Texas parks, and only one to two million hunters and fishermen, the math tells us we must strive to focus our legislators' attention to the wonders of our state parks so they can experience them with the hope they will support conservation in all its forms. (Dec 05) 

Proposed Transfer of Lake Houston State Park Your Comments Needed by Dec. 31st
Because of chronic underfunding by the Texas Legislature, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is taking drastic measures to cut expenditures. In addition to cutting both funded and unfunded personnel positions and reducing hours of operations at state parks across Texas, several state parks have been moved or are proposed to be transferred out of the state park system. One of them is Lake Houston State Park, which includes almost 5,000 acres between the East Fork of the San Jacinto River and Peach Creek/Caney Creek. The park is in the New Caney area just east of Hwy 59N. TPWD proposes to transfer the park to the City of Houston, although there will be a co-ooperative arrangement between the City of Houston, Harris County, and Montgomery County regarding management.  (Dec 05)

Man-Made Natural Disasters
Katrina was not the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the United States. Other large hurricanes have produced natural disasters, but, as the oxymoronic title of this editorial suggests, a large component of many disasters is due to humans. The catastrophe in New Orleans and surrounding areas is one example. The Sierra Club has been a voice crying for maintenance of environmental integrity and limits on environmental dangers posed by industrial operations. That this has been the responsible voice opposing the voices of greed should not be lost on Sierra Club members or citizens generally. (Oct 05)

Sierra Club Praises Parks & Wildlife Decision - Commission Rejects Big Bend Ranch Land Sale Proposal
The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club praised today’s unanimous decision by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to reject an offer by a private businessman to purchase 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas. (Sep 05)

Sierra Club Alert: Proposal to Sell Portion of Big Bend Ranch State Park
Problem:
Texas Parks & Wildlife Commissioners are considering this week a proposal to sell 45,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park to a private businessman without a full public debate.
Solution: At the very least the Commissioners should put this proposal on hold and initiate a wide-ranging public dialogue about the pros and cons of selling this property, the terms of a sale, and the use of funds that would be acquired through the sale.  (Sep 05)

Bill to Purchase Development Rights in Texas Now in Texas Legislature
A bill long overdue has been introduced in the Texas Legislature. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) is the sponsor and Juan Escobar (D-Kingsville) are the sponsor and co-sponsor of HB116. The bill would establish a matching grant program to assist government entities and private conservation organizations to purchase development rights on private land from willing landowners. After the purchase of development rights on a property, it could only be used for the purpose of conservation. Conservation purposes would include utilization for agriculture, forest, recreation, or open-space.  (Apr 05)

Padre Island Update
This year promises to be a busy one for Sierra Club’s grassroots campaign to stop the drilling on Padre Island National Seashore. There will be more drilling activity this year than there has been in a very long time.  (Mar 05)
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Bayou Banner - Houston Regional Group newsletter (.pdf format Get Acrobat Reader): rss.gif (1202 bytes)

December 2005/January 2006 (1.4mb) 
Annual Auction and Holiday Party
Executive Committee Elections and Candidate Statements
Can Texas Afford its State Parks
Houston Bureau of Air Quanity Control

November 2005 (0.9mb) 
Early Voting
Save the City of Houston Bureau of Air Quality Control
Initial Decision on Big Thicket Oil/Gas Lawsuit

October 2005 (0.8mb) 
Man-made Natural Disasters - An Editorial
Global Climate Change:  What Can Be Done?
Recycling Cell Phones and Rechargeable Batteries
Trail Adopted

September 2005 (0.8mb) 
Administration Increases Oil/Gas Exploitation of Sam Houston National Forest
Global Climate Change:  Where Are We Headed?
ICO Receives Grant
Recycling E-Waste

July/August 2005 (0.8mb) 
Forest Service Proposes Logging Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Habitat
Recycling Benefits Air Quality and Curbs Greenhouse Gases
Germany Resolved to Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy

June 2005 (0.9mb) 
LNG: Technology, Economics and Ecology
Shock and Awe:  Roadless Area Destruction
ICO at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge

May 2005 (0.8mb) 
Houston Group Welcomes Community Organizer
Sierra Club Sues Over LNG Open Loop Fishery Impacts
ICO:  Watercoloring on a Backpacking Trip


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Last updated:  11/20/2010.   Content 1999-2010 by the Sierra Club.