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The Planet

March 1998, Volume 5, Number 2
Club Beat

by John Byrne Barry

Waves of Coast-Lovers Pound Hearst Complex

    A line to the horizon was formed by some of the 1,000 protesters  --
    mainly Sierra Club members and their allies  --  who won a stunning victory at a
    January hearing of the California Coastal Commission.
    The commission unanimously rejected a Hearst Corp. plan for a huge hotel, golf
    course and other developments on one of the last wild stretches of the state's

    Kudos to California's Santa Lucia Chapter, led by Pat Veesart; to California
    Coastal Program Coordinator and indefatigable organizer Mark Massara; to Club
    activists from Los Angeles who traveled four hours to be heard; to staff
    representative Elizabeth Lambe, who relocated for two weeks to the city
    where the hearing was held; and to staff members Jim Blomquist, Mike
    Paparian and Bill Craven, who contributed in many ways to the success.

New York New Year

    Board of Directors member Susan Holmes reports from New York that just
    before the New Year, the state announced it will purchase 14,717 acres of the
    Whitney Estate in the Adirondacks. The Whitney property is the keystone, says
    Holmes, of what could be the largest contiguous wilderness region east of the
    Mississippi  --  potentially a million-acre wilderness.

    Holmes, Northeast Office Field Director Chris Ballantyne and members of the
    Atlantic Chapter have been fighting for more than a year to stop a proposed
    luxury development on this property.

    "The last seven days before Christmas," says Holmes, "we did hard-hitting
    radio ads, counting down the days, beating the drum and forcing the players to
    be accountable. Whitney and Gov. George Pataki (R) knew that if they didn't
    make the deal, they'd have a lot of angry people to contend with."

Pepper Spray and Politics

    Does California Rep. Frank Riggs' (R) announcement that he'll run for Barbara
    Boxer's Senate seat mean he knows he can't win reelection to his House seat?
    Riggs, who represents the northern California district that includes the
    embattled Headwaters Forest, was stung by Sierra Club TV ads in December
    criticizing his support of the police applying pepper spray to the eyes of
    Headwaters protesters who had staged a non-violent sit-in in his office.
    Local law-enforcement officials rubbed pepper spray directly into the eyes of
    the subdued protesters. Riggs vigorously defended the officials and their use of
    pepper spray.

    Steve Schmidt, a spokesperson for Matt Fong (Riggs' primary opponent in the
    Senate race), quipped: "If Frank Riggs thinks he's going to be a senator, he's
    inhaling too much pepper spray. He has no money and no chance."
    "He thinks he'll fare better statewide," says Sierra Club Executive Director Carl
    Pope, "because voters elsewhere don't know about the pepper spray incident.
    They will."

Portrait of Sierra Club Founder: Only 32 Cents

    John Muir has gone postal. On Jan. 7, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a
    commemorative stamp honoring Muir  --  the third of 30 "Celebrate the Century"
    stamps it's releasing this year to honor memorable people, places and events
    of the last hundred years.

    "What's significant about the stamp," says Board of Directors member Michele
    Perrault, who represented the Sierra Club at the unveiling ceremony in
    Martinez, Calif., "is that the Postal Service is recognizing the founder of our
    organization as one of the most influential and important figures of the first
    part of the century." Other stamps will honor Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and
    Woodrow Wilson, boxer Jack Dempsey and social reformer W.E.B. Du Bois.

Norway Next Stop?

    Club president Adam Werbach passes along the news that Board of Directors
    member David Brower and John Muir Award winner and author Paul Ehrlich
    have been nominated jointly for the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize.  The nomination
    cites the "significant contributions that they have made to creating conditions
    for peace in our world."

    The names of nominees are not published by the Nobel Committee, but those
    who submit proposals sometimes make their nomination public. The
    committee's Web site says that some people even organize campaigns on
    behalf of their candidate, but that "these have little influence on the
    committee's decision and may in fact be counter-productive."
    So applaud and congratulate Brower and Ehrlich  --  but don't make any calls to

Carolina Coup: Club Lobbyist Now Top Cop

    After nearly two decades of fighting for tougher environmental regulations in
    North Carolina as a Sierra Club lobbyist, Bill Holman has been appointed to be
    the state's top enforcer of environmental standards.
    As assistant secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural
    Resources, he'll oversee the inspectors who patrol hog farms, sewage plants,
    factories, construction areas and other sites for pollution violations. He will
    supervise 1,380 employees.

    Holman, referred to in an Associated Press story as "North Carolina's most
    influential environmental activist," was a Club lobbyist from 1979 until 1997.

'We Don't Need a Manure Cop.'

    That's what Iowa Cattlemen's Association Vice President Wayne Newton (not
    the singer) said in response to Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's (D) proposal to set
    national environmental standards for managing livestock waste.

    Harkin's proposal comes in the wake of a Senate report that found livestock in
    the United States produce 130 times more manure than humans. This may have
    dire environmental consequences.

    The report found that 60 percent of rivers and streams have been hurt by farm
    runoff, much of it from huge industrial pig and chicken operations.

SSC Grows in Tennessee

    Linda Modica, chair of the State of Franklin Group, is crowing about the near-
    capacity turnout to the Jan. 20 inaugural meeting of the Sierra Student
    Coalition group at East Tennessee State University.

    Led by Clinton Jenkins, Scarlett Kitts and Casey Frakes, the SSC already has
    ambitious goals  --  improving the campus recycling system, protecting the wild
    roadless areas in the Cherokee National Forest and stopping sprawl in and
    around Johnson City. Jenkins promises fun, too  --  hikes, campouts, clean-up
    outings and participation in the University's "Winter Cruise."
    For more information on the Sierra Student Coalition at ETSU, e-mail:, or

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