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  March 2003 Features:
Support Swells for Wild Utah
Bush Chips Away at Clean Air Act
Clean Power Comes on Strong
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The Planet
by Tom Valtin

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Marilyn Wall Delivers

marilyn wall
Maybe it was the "black gunk" that set off the metal detectors, or maybe it was the letters jamming AK Steel's mailboxes. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer named Marilyn Wall, conservation chair of the Ohio Chapter, one of eight Ohioans of the Year, it commended her for "turning up the heat on corporate polluters." Wall's main target has been corporate giant AK Steel, which has been sued repeatedly over the last decade by the Ohio and federal EPA for air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous-waste violations.

Last year, after AK denied the charges, Wall rallied 95 volunteers to gather 150 pounds of "black gunk" from residential gutters near the steel mill, box it up, and send it to an AK shareholder's meeting. But the crud, filled with industrial soot and metal flakes, set off metal detectors at the door and could not be delivered. Undeterred, Wall spearheaded a campaign that deluged company executives with nearly 17,000 letters protesting AK's continuing pollution violations.

Environmental Injustice
The Sierra Club is helping shake things up in the southern part of the state as well, producing "The Faces of Environmental Injustice in Cincinnati," a video focusing on how unhealthy air and poor land use decisions affect low income and minority neighborhoods. Residents of Lower Price Hill and Winton Hills-two working class neighborhoods in Cincinnati-worked with Brian Pasko, conservation vice-chair for the Ohio Chapter, the Miami (Ohio) Group of the Sierra Club, and video producer "Sunshine Productions," to make the video.

Seaboard Cleans Up
On January 7, the Sierra Club announced that it had reached a partial settlement with the Seaboard Corporation over pollution associated with one of the nation's largest hog operations. As part of the settlement, Seaboard has improved pollution controls at a 25,000-head hog factory in western Oklahoma and set up a sophisticated monitoring system to ensure the safety of nearby water sources. The company also agreed to contribute $100,000 to wetlands conservation efforts.

The settlement partially resolves a suit filed by the Sierra Club in 2000. Pat Gallagher, director of the Club's Legal Program, says the action was intended to compel Seaboard to use practices and technology that protect local communities from the water pollution that often accompanies huge animal factories. "We hope the kinds of improvements Seaboard has made will set a new standard," says Gallagher.

Pataki's Golden Fleece
The Bush administration may not be embracing renewable energy, but New York Governor George Pataki (R) is. In a January address to the New York State Legislature, Pataki announced that it was his goal to make New York a national leader in sustainable energy. Within a decade, he directed, 25 percent of the state's electricity supply should come from sources such as solar and wind power.

"It almost seemed like the Golden Fleece that we were striving for but could never achieve," said John L. Stouffer, legislative director for the Club's Atlantic (New York) Chapter.M

Thirteen other states have also announced renewable energy goals, but so far New York's is the most aggressive.

Lewis and Clark Kickoff
On January 15, more than 1,000 scholars, historians, native Americans, government officials, and other citizens gathered at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's historic Virginia estate, for the opening of the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

lewis and clark kickoff
Massed for the Kickoff: More than a thousand people braved frigid temperatures at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's historic Virginia estate, to celebrate the January opening of the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

"There can be no better way to honor the expedition than to protect the wild America of Lewis and Clark," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope in a presentation at the event. The Sierra Club's Lewis and Clark Wild America Campaign seeks to commemorate the legendary journey by protecting the landscapes and wildlife made famous by the "Corps of Discovery."As part of a three-day lead-in to the Bicentennial, the Club had a display booth in a Charlottesville exhibition hall.

One of the featured speakers at the Monticello event was Interior Secretary Gail Norton. According to Mary Kiesau, director of the Club's Lewis and Clark Campaign, the moment Norton launched into her speech two men seated near the front stood up holding a banner that read: "Bush and Norton Destroy What Lewis and Clark Explored." No sooner was this taken away than another banner, also with an environmental message, popped up nearby. None of the sign-bearers was affiliated with the Sierra Club contingent, who nevertheless quietly applauded the sentiments expressed.

-Tom Valtin

lewis and clark booth
"So Sacajawea turns to me and she says...": Chase Davis talks to passers-by at the Club's Lewis and Clark booth.

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