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  Jan./Feb. 2001 Articles:
Stronger Than Ever
Flushing Out Frauds
Creating Demand
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EPEC: A Crash Course in Planet Preservation
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2000 Timeline
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The Planet
2000 Timeline

January | February | March | April | May | June | July
August | September | October | November | December


January 7: Kudos to a Clean Car

The Sierra Club gives the first product award in its 108-year history to the Honda Insight. The car, the first commercially available hybrid, uses both a battery and a gasoline-powered motor to get a fuel-efficient 68 miles per gallon on the highway.

January 11: Monumental Victory

President Clinton designates three national monuments (Grand Canyon-Parashant and Agua Fria in Arizona, and California Coastal on the state's coastline) and expands a fourth, Pinnacles in California.

January 12: Pollution Solution

The Sierra Club and co-plaintiffs win a U.S. Supreme Court victory, Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services. Laidlaw, a hazardous-waste disposal outfit, had illegally and repeatedly dumped mercury into a South Carolina river. The Supreme Court ruling, overturning an appeals court decision that dismissed a lawsuit against the company, reinforces the right of citizens to sue big polluters.

January 16: Keeping the Environment in Mind

A Gallup poll of 1,000 adults nationwide indicates that 70 percent think "protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth."

January 16: Mayor Meets Manatee

A manatee costume helps Florida Chapter activists oppose Homestead Airport. Miami Mayor Alex Penelas grabs a photo op, but ignores the message.


February 4: No Fire Next Time

In a huge environmental- justice victory, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich., shuts down its incinerator. Black smoke had permeated the low-income neighborhood, triggering asthma attacks. Making environmental justice a priority, the Club hired four new organizers in 2000 - in Detroit, Memphis, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. - and plans to hire four more in 2001.

February 8: Craving Rough Water

John Osborne, Northern Rockies Chapter conservation chair, dresses as Captain William Clark to testify at a federal hearing in Spokane, Wash., on whether to breach four dams on the Snake River.

February 25: Paying for Pig Poop

In a big win for the Cumberland (Kentucky) Chapter's campaign to control factory farms, Gov. Paul Patton signs administrative regulations that make the corporations that own livestock and determine how it is raised liable for meeting environmental regulations. Previously, contract growers - not the corporations they work for - were liable alone.


March 1: Pitching Clean Air Junk Balls

In response to Club ads blasting Texas Gov. George W. Bush's toxics record, ads appear in New York, funded by a group called "Republicans for Clean Air," lauding Bush as a clean-air champion. "Praising George Bush on clean air is like thanking John Rocker for his contribution for civil rights," responds Susan Holmes, the Club's New York regional representative.

March 2: Reprieve for Gray Whales in Mexico

Mitsubishi and the Mexican government abandon plans to build a massive industrial salt plant at Laguna San Ignacio, the last undisturbed birthing and nursery grounds of the gray whale.

March 6: Wetland Win

The Army Corps issues replacement permits for Nationwide Permit 26, which reduces from 3 acres to half an acre the size of a wetland that can be filled or dredged without a permit. Robin Mann, the Club's Wetlands Committee chair, calls it "a significant step forward."

March 22: Detailing Crude Behavior

On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the Club releases "Crude Behavior," a report that details how petroleum corporations and their congressional allies have contributed to America's dependence on foreign


March 26: Too Soon to Bloom

The Washington Post reports that the famed cherry blossoms at the nation's capitol are appearing a week earlier than 30 years ago, which a Smithsonian study attributes to global warming - warmer winter and spring nights.


April 6: Jailed Activist Gets Goldman

Mexican forest activist Montiel Rodolfo wins the Goldman Environmental Prize, which he receives in the jail where he is being held.

Photo courtesy of Prodh

April 13: The Price of Pavement

The sprawl campaign releases a spring report, "Sprawl Costs Us All," detailing the taxes that subsidize and encourage unfettered growth.

April 15: Big Hug for Big Trees

President Clinton sets aside 328,000 acres of sequoia forest in California as the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Earlier in the month, the Club presented Clinton with 600,000 postcards in favor of the designation.

April 20: Irons in the Political Fire

In recognition of Earth Day, the Cascade Chapter's "Ironing Board Brigade" hits suburban stores in Washington. They're armed with 5,000 fliers with tear-off postcards asking Sen. Slade Gorton to protect water, forests and salmon in upcoming bills.

April 27: Snowmobiles Silenced

The National Park Service bans snowmobiles from everywhere except national parks in Alaska and the Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. The action was in response to a petition by the Blue Water Network and 60 other groups that claimed the Park Service ignored its own regulations and failed to monitor the environmental effects of snowmobiling.

Jeff Henry


May 9: Score One for the Spotted Owl

The Forest Service releases a plan for restoring the Sierra Nevada mountains, with a focus on wildlife and recreation rather than logging. Timber cutting would be even further reduced and grazing would be slowed to help salmon runs and other populations to recover.

May 10: Go Play Outside
The Club's Youth in Wilderness program announces its first round of grants, including one to the Seven Tepees Youth Program, at right. In 2000, more than 155 schools and camps that provide outdoor experiences and environmental education for youngsters received a total of more than $2 million in funding.

May 12: Bounty Hunting Returns to Minnesota

The Minnesota Legislature passes a bill that allows livestock owners to shoot a wolf if it's within a mile of their property, and provides bounties of $150.

National Park Service


May 14: Population Postcards

Just in time for Mother's Day, the Club's Population and the Global Environment Campaign releases a postcard book, "Women's Health, Earth's Health." Half the postcards are pre-addressed to decision-makers; half are blank.

May 18: Score Another for Grizzlies and Bull Trout

The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act gathers its 100th co-sponsor in the House, Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.). The bill would provide protection for 20 million acres of land and 1,800 miles of river, protecting water supplies and wildlife habitat.

May 30: Sprawl Takes a Fall in California

Kern County Superior Court Judge Roger D. Randall halts construction on the massive Newhall Ranch development in Southern California until an environmental impact report is conducted. The development is planned for the floodplain of the Santa Clara River.

Lynne Plambeck


June 5: What a Waste

The Oklahoma Chapter files a lawsuit against Seaboard Corp., saying a hog farm violated federal law when 160,000 gallons of wastewater spilled near the Beaver River and over the Ogallala Aquifer.

June 7: Close Call for Utah Wilderness

A dangerous bill that provided only weak protection for Utah wilderness is pulled from the House floor thanks to efforts by environmental leaders.

Tom Till

June 12: Roosevelt Rides Again

Teddy Roosevelt (actually, Club staffer Dean Whitworth in disguise) paid a visit to the first Forest Service hearing on the roadless initiative. The meeting in Asheville, N.C., was swamped by citizens in Sierra Club green hats and stickers asking for strong protection for wild forests.

June 15: Jumpstart for Boost in Fuel Economy

The Senate orders a joint study by the Department of Transportation and the National Academy of Sciences on increasing the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. Their recommendation to Congress, due by July 1, 2001, could finally lead to a long-overdue increase. The auto industry and its congressional allies successfully fought any increases for 25 years, but grassroots pressure finally made a difference.


July 11: Rock Stars Shine in Headwaters Case

After the Club sues to plug the "Hole in the Headwaters," a California judge halts the helicopter logging. But there's a catch: the Club has to fork over a $250,000 bond. With a little help from friends like Don Henley and Bonnie Raitt, the Club pays up.

July 17: Wild Commentary

The deadline arrives for comments on the Forest Service's roadless initiative. Approximately 1 million comments flood the agency's offices, many from Club members demanding strong protection for roadless areas.

July 22: Gore, Gore, He's Our Man!

Citing Vice President Al Gore's record on issues like clean air and global warming, the Club endorses him as its choice for president.


August 6: Where There's Smoke

The worst wildfires in 50 years rage through the Bitterroot Valley and other areas of the Rocky Mountains. Club members help their neighbors defend against the flames by clearing brush around homes.

John McColgan, BLM, AK Fire Service

August 19: Come Together Now

Group, chapter and national Club leaders meet in Albuquerque, N.M., to smooth the Club's functioning at all levels.

Emily McFarland


September 12: Suit Seeks Goshawk Protection

The Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter of the Sierra Club sues the Forest Service on behalf of the northern goshawk, saying that logging should be stopped on 11 national forests in the Southwest that have goshawk habitat. The bird prefers 80 percent canopy cover and mature and old growth.

September 12: 50 Ways to Lose Your Sprawl

The fall sprawl report "Smart Choices or Sprawling Growth" is released, highlighting examples of irresponsible development and smart growth in every state.

September 13: Nikitin Acquittal Stands

The presidium of the Russian Supreme Court dismisses an appeal of the acquittal of environmental activist Aleksandr Nikitin. The former Soviet submarine captain and nuclear engineer was jailed for publishing public information about the decaying nuclear-submarine fleet in Russia's North Sea.

John Byrne Barry

September 18: Corn Concerns

When genetically engineered corn only approved for animal feed turns up in Kraft's Taco Bell brand taco shells on grocery store shelves, the Club asks the company to swear off genetically modified ingredients. Over the course of the month, the corn turns up in another brand, then another. Ultimately farmers admit they didn't even know they were supposed to keep it separate.

September 27: Cloer Tapped for Top Volunteer Award

Carla Cloer, a school teacher who fought for the Giant Sequoia National Monument, receives the John Muir Award-the Club's highest honor for volunteer activists. Other award-winners include Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Washington Post
reporter Michael Grunwald.


October 3: The First Lady's Our First Choice

The Club endorses Hillary Clinton in the New York Senate race. Clinton makes cleaning up state waters a priority, while opponent Rep. Rick Lazio votes against Utah wilderness.

October 3: Magcorp Buckles Under

After a long fight, Magnesium Corporation, a heavy-duty polluter responsible for 80 percent of the nation's chlorine emissions, signs an agreement with the EPA to test for dioxin at its Utah plant. This is the first step in a process that results in the company agreeing to install updated technology, cut pollution by 90 percent and clean up dioxin-laden ground.

October 12: Passage to Jordan

Bruce Hamilton, the Club's conservation director, is among staff, volunteers and Sierra Student Coalition members who travel to Jordan for a meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Stephen Mills

October 27: La Verdad en Inglés y Español

New Mexico EVEC organizer Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos is interviewed by a Spanish language television station about the Club's bilingual voter- education program. The next day 50 volunteers fan out throughout Albuquerque to distribute 8,500 voters guides with candidate information in both English and Spanish.


November 5: Brower Dies

David Brower, the Club's first executive director and former board member, dies at age 88. A rock climber and wilderness enthusiast, he pushed hard for environmental protections for more than 60 years.

Sierra Club archives

November 7: A Different Senate

On Election Day, there's no clear winner for president, but the Senate gets greener, with the addition of at least three pro-environment and pro-campaign-finance reform advocates, including Michigan Rep. Debbie Stabenow and Florida's Bill Nelson.

November 14: A Park, Not a Parking Lot

The Department of the Interior announces a new management plan for Yosemite National Park, which scraps plans for a large new parking lot and doesn't up the number of pricey hotel rooms. "We are pleased to see that the Park Service is putting a priority on saving Yosemite's natural beauty and is planning less development in the Valley's fragile areas," says George Whitmore, chair of the Sierra Club's Yosemite Committee.

Sierra Club archives

November 24: Time for a Change

A climate change summit at The Hague is attended by Club volunteers and members of the Sierra Student Coalition. All are disappointed by the U.S. performance there.

November 30: Turtles and Teamsters, Take Two

On the anniversary of the Seattle protests at the World Trade Organization, John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, and Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, right, declare plans to carry on the fight for global fairness.

Steve Kerkela


December 1: Birds of a Feather

At a Virginia retreat, representatives of the Club's national campaigns come together to plan for the next two years. They brainstorm, inventory resources and set goals. And some dress up as big chickens.

John Byrne Barry

December 4: Coral Reefs Protected

The White House announces creation of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, an 84-million-acre underwater area that's home to 70 percent of coral reefs in U.S. waters.

December 6: EPA to GE: Clean Up Your Mess

The Environmental Protection Agency orders General Electric to dredge 100,000 pounds of PCB-laden sediment from the Hudson River in New York. In a massive public relations campaign, GE had insisted the river was cleaning itself and that removal of the cancer-causing chemicals wasn't necessary. Activists plan to rally to urge the company to begin the cleanup.

December 7: So Long, Slade

After a recount in a very close contest for the U.S. Senate, Maria Cantwell is declared the winner over incumbent Slade Gorton in Washington state. The Club, including Holly Forrest, worked hard for a Cantwell victory.

December 11: Florida Flourish

President Clinton signs a bill providing $1.4 billion to restore the imperiled Florida Everglades. The funding represents the first installment toward a 30-year, $7.8 billion Army Corps of Engineers plan.

December 13: New Hope for Fair Trade

Environmental review is established as a component of future trade agreements as President Clinton issues new guidelines. "Rigorously implemented, these guidelines could go far to ease the tension between trade and the environment," said Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's executive director.

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