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January 2014 Newsletter

Record Turnout for the Lone Star Chapter’s 2013 ExCom Ballot

(Left to right) ExCom members, Evelyn Merz, Allison Sliva and Andy Balinsky.

In December, a record 580 members of the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter participated in the 2013 Executive Committee (ExCom) election.  Over 350 of the ballots were submitted online.  This was the first election that the Chapter implemented online balloting, allowing members to submit their choice through the Lone Star website while preserving the option to mail-in a ballot if members chose to do so.

Acknowledging Success and Building Trust: Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program Receives 2013 Partners in Conservation Award

Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Research Associate, Tyson Broad Acknowledging Success and Building Trust: Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program Receives 2013 Partners in Conservation Award Lone Star Sierra Club's Tyson Broad among the recipients

Lone Star Sierra Club's Tyson Broad among the recipients in Washington

Last week, the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell presented the Department’s 2013 Partners in Conservation awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC where she honored 20 partnership projects that have demonstrated exemplary natural resource conservation efforts through public-private cooperation. In Texas, the 2013 award went to the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP)– a program that resulted in large part from several decades of work by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club to raise awareness of issues surrounding development around of the Edwards Aquifer and protect the endangered and threatened species that depend on its springflows.

Fracking shakes-up the Texas Railroad Commission

North Texas residents come to Austin to discuss the recent earthquakes apparently caused by natural gas drilling affecting their communities.

Earthquakes!  Add earthquakes, tremors and sinkholes to the list of possible negative consequences Texans are facing as a result of the growth of oil and gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) throughout the state.

The most recent outcry is coming from a group of citizens living in the Azle and Reno communities northwest of Fort Worth who have been beset by a series of earthquakes they believe are linked to the numerous oil and gas wells that have recently sprung-up in and around their community. On January 2nd, over 850 citizens attended a public meeting with Railroad Commissioner David Porter in Tarrant County, many demanding that the State take immediate action.  Among the ideas floated by the community was the imposition of a moratorium on injection wells.

Texas Water: Looking ahead to a Busy 2014

Water has always been a big issue in Texas and we expect that 2014 will be no different.  The Lone Star Chapter has  taken a proactive interest in water policy development at both the local and state levels.  Our principle issue areas are: 1) advocating for sound science and policies that protect Texas’ rivers, bays and estuaries; 2) promoting water conservation and proactive drought response as responsible water supply strategies; and 3) advocating for sustainable groundwater management.  It should come as no surprise that 2014 will be a big year for water policy development and implementation.

Call Congress Today to Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Earlier this month, after the long holiday break and the close of a bitter year of partisan brinkmanship in Washington, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, was quietly introduced in both chambers of Congress. Widely known as the TPP, the bill grants the President fast-track authority to approve a multi-lateral trade agreement with several Pacific nations, including Canada, Mexico, Malaysia and Vietnam with the hope that China, Japan and Korea would join in the near future. If fully enacted, the trade agreement would be the largest of its kind, impacting nearly 80% of the world’s economy, and would erode governments’ ability to enact and enforce rules and regulations that would protect workers and the environment from exploitation in favor of facilitating international trade.

Possibly Coming to a Town Near You: TxDOT Seeks Public Input on Regional Passenger Rail Study

In response to the traffic-logged and ever-growing I-35 corridor, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is studying how passenger rail service could alleviate traffic congestion. The Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study project has reviewed possible rail routes and types of service and has recommended alternatives for further study. The study is looking at a range of passenger rail service options along the 850-mile IH-35 corridor from Oklahoma City to South Texas.

Message From Director Scheleen Walker

We are very pleased to bring back the Lone Star Sierran! You can count on updates and action items from the Lone Star Chapter office every month.

2014 is looking to be a very busy year. We look forward to working with you on the issues you care about most, and appreciate your continued support.

Peace, 
 

Scheleen Walker, Director 
Lone Star Chapter