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The Planet

Curbing McSprawl in McAllen

Three years ago, McAllen, Texas, was first on the Sierra Club's list of most sprawl-threatened small cities. But activists like Ralph Clark, other members of the Lower Rio Grand Valley Group, Futuro, Valley Interfaith and city commissioners have helped turn that around. The Club supports Vision 2000, an architectural plan for the city, which recommends a downtown corridor built around the city's current convention center. Opponents wanted a new convention center built out of town, which would precipitate more sprawl. Club volunteers worked within the electoral system to effect change, and recent city elections produced four new commissioners. On Oct. 8, the McAllen City Commission voted unanimously to keep the city's convention center downtown. The decision, said Clark, bodes well for the full implementation of Vision 2000.

Sequoia Monument Prospers

A federal judge thwarted a recent attempt to shrink the recently designated Giant Sequoia National Monument. Timber companies and off-road-vehicle groups had argued that the designation violated the 1906 Antiquities Act and that the monument should include only the sequoias and not the surrounding lands. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Urbina disagreed and dismissed the lawsuit Sept. 2.

Hedging On the Hudson

The Sierra Club ran radio ads in New York in October accusing General Electric of holding "backdoor dealings" with the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to weaken the agency's plan for GE to clean up the Hudson River. The agency has ordered the corporation to dredge a section of the river to rid it of PCBs dumped there by GE until 1977. The EPA is considering moving oversight of the $500 million cleanup project from the EPA's New York office to Washington, D.C., and putting performance standards in the final record of decision rather than waiting for the design phase - a move opposed by environmentalists.

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