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The Planet

Timeline 2004

January 23
Ready, Set, Vote
CONCORD -- The Club's Environmental Voter Education Campaign kicks into gear for the New Hampshire presidential primary. Club staff and volunteers conducted phonebanks, community meetings, bird-dogged candidates, distributed 40,000 stickers, and recruited 187 volunteers to get out the word at 103 polling places across the state.

January 31
Governor, BLM Face Off on Otero Mesa Drilling
ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson announces his opposition to the BLM's plan to drill for oil and gas in the Otero Mesa grasslands. The governor tells a crowd of more than 600 in an Albuquerque theater, "The federal government just got a notice that if they want to drill in Otero Mesa, this governor and this state are going to fight them."

February 3
Premature Allocation and Fuzzy Math
WASHINGTON, D.C. n Coping with fiscal dysfunction is a sensitive subject for anyone-especially the Bush administration. Its FY2005 budget, released in February, includes some questionable revenue assumptions, like $2.4 billion in federal royalties for oil and gas leases for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Only one problem: The Senate has for two years running rejected drilling in the Arctic. Try telling your credit card company that you're "projecting" to win the lottery next year. (But the budget that passes the Senate in March has been stripped of all references to the Arctic Refuge.)

February 18
First You Quit, Then You Squawk
LAS VEGAS -- University of California physicist Paul Craig, right, former chair of the Club's Global Warming and Energy Committee, resigns from the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in January in protest . As a board member, he was forbidden to speak out on Yucca Mountain issues. But now he's talking: At a public forum in Las Vegas in February, he blasts the Bush administration's Yucca Mountain plan, saying it's based on bad science, and that the casks intended to store the waste would eventually leak. His talk inspires local activists to go door-to-door educating fellow Nevadans about the risks posed by the plan.

February 21
Army Burns, Club Fumes
ALBUQUERQUE -- The Sierra Club's Board of Directors calls on the U.S. Army to halt the burning of chemical weapons at its Anniston, Alabama, incinerator until advanced agent monitors are installed. Club activists fought the Anniston facility, which is located in the most densely populated area of any of the Army's four chemical weapons burners, with 75,000 residents living in the "impact zone." But the Army went ahead with it in 2003. Two incinerator workers were recently exposed to Sarin gas at the Anniston plant.

February 27
Bravo for Boxer
SAN FRANCISCO -- Actors Christine Lahti, Mary Steenbergen, and Ted Danson join Club Executive Director Carl Pope in announcing the Club's endorsement of Barbara Boxer for reelection to the U.S. Senate.

March 3
If Insurers Are Worried, Shouldn't We Worry Too?
SWITZERLAND -- Reuters reports that insurance giant Swiss Re is calculating the economic costs of global-warming- related natural disasters to double to $150 billion a year in 10 years. "The record-breaking heatwave which affected Europe from June to August 2003 produced an economic loss of USD 14 billion," says company climate expert Pamela Heck.

March 28
Muir-Yosemite Design for California Quarter
SACRAMENTO -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger selects the John Muir-Yosemite design for the new California State Quarter, due to enter circulation in January 2005. The winning design, by Angeles Chapter member Garrett Burke, is chosen from more than 8,000 submissions.

April 13
Air Inspectors
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK -- Members of the Rochester Group's "Bucket Brigade" monitor air emissions outside Kodak's wastewater treatment plant.

April 15
Sierra Exposes Mining-Terrorist Link
SAN FRANCISCO -- A story in Sierra magazine reveals how a U.S. mining company secretly paid off al Qaeda-linked terrorists under the auspices of "international security." The story, by Sierra staff writer Marilyn Berlin Snell, details how the Homeland Security and Justice Departments turned a blind eye when the company paid millions to international terrorists in exchange for protection of its gold-mining operations.

April 27
Date with Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Sierra Club goes mano-a-mano with Vice President Dick Cheney before the Supreme Court, demanding that Cheney reveal the role played by energy industry executives in crafting the Bush administration's national energy policy. The Club argues that the secrecy of the vice president's task force is a violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

May 8
Tackling Global Warming
CONNECTICUT -- The Connecticut legislature adopts the California Clean Car standards, which will take effect in 2009, and passed a Climate Change bill that requires the state to develop an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75 to 85 percent below those levels by 2050. That's thinking long term. The law would also create a registry and inventory of greenhouse gas pollution.

May 15
Supporting by Pouring
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Sierra Club launches its line of fine wines, in partnership with Atria Vineyards, available at You can now enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay under the Sierra Club label, all produced in Northern California with 100 percent organically grown grapes. All net proceeds from the sale of these wines support the Sierra Club's conservation efforts.

June 16
'Missing the Train'
SAN FRANCISCO -- A new Club report highlights the economic and workforce benefits of public transportation and identifies key projects that could suffer as a result of the Bush administration incentives that favor highway construction over transit projects. You can find the report at

June 29
Comunidades Latino En Peligro
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Available in Spanish and English, The Club's new Latino Communities at Risk Report tells the stories of 12 individuals and families-in communities from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Salinas, California-whose health and livelihoods have been hurt by the Bush administration's devastating environmental policies. Like Zeida Santana, right, a biologist in Florida, who is afraid to feed her boys fish for dinner, because it may be contaminated by mercury.

July 12
Roadless Rule Reversed
WASHINGTON, D.C., -- One of the most popular conservation policies in American history is dealt a crippling blow with the Bush administration's decision to rewrite the landmark Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The administration proposes a convoluted process that will imperil America's last wild forests and leave them open to destructive commercial logging and roadbuilding.

July 13
Thirst Premiers on PBS
SAN FRANCISCO -- "Thirst," a groundbreaking new documentary documents how global corporations are attempting to privatize local water supplies in Bolivia, India, and California and how the affected communities are fighting back. Sierra Club Productions is an environmental outreach partner for "Thirst."

July 13
DuPont Dump Denied
HARRISON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI -- Responding to intense local opposition galvanized by the Sierra Club, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to oppose DuPont's plan to build new toxic waste pits in a nearby wetland. "For the first time, local elected officials have had the courage to say "No!" to the state's biggest polluter," says Mississippi Chapter Co-Chair Rose Johnson, right.

August 1
Mary Wiper Killed by Lightning
BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO -- While hiking with friends in the Rockies, Sierra Club staffer Mary Wiper, 28, was struck and killed by lightning. "This accident is about as random as anything nature can serve up," said friend and Club colleague Lawson LeGate. "She's going to leave a big hole in our hearts and our organization that will be hard to fill." Mary began working for the Club in 1999 and was recently working as lead "Building Environmental Community" organizer in New Mexico.

August 14
Kid Power
CLARKSTOWN, NEW YORK -- The Club's Water Sentinels Program pitches in with local residents (including lots of kids) and a coalition of local and national groups to clean up and reclaim a neighborhood beset by trash and neglect. A dozen more cleanups take place later in the fall as part of Rockland County's "Clean Streets, Clean Streams" campaign.

August 18
Pollution (and Deception) at Ground Zero
NEW YORK CITY -- The Sierra Club report, "Air Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero," authored by New York City organizer Suzanne Mattei, documents health impacts of the 9/11 attacks and how Bush administration misinformation and mistakes in the aftermath are becoming institutionalized as policy for handling future attacks on Americans.

September 2
Coastal Report Released
SANTA BARBARA, SARASOTA, GREEN BAY, NEW ORLEANS, -- As Americans head to the coasts for Labor Day weekend, the Club releases a report, "No Day at the Beach," documenting how and where Bush administration policies are threatening America's four coasts-the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes-and what we can do to save them. The report is available at

September 18
Hop on the Bus, Gus
RENO, LAS VEGAS, PITTSBURGH, PHILADELPHIA, MILWAUKEE, COLUMBUS, ETC. -- A busload of Club volunteers from San Francisco goes to Reno to knock on doors and and talk to environmentally oriented infrequent voters. All over the country, thousands of activists, new and old, who don't live in battleground states travel to one to help educate voters. All in all, the Club recruits 12,000 new volunteers during the campaign season.

September 18
The Envelope, Please
SAN FRANCISCO -- At its annual banquet, Sierra Club presents awards to volunteer and environmental leaders. Pundit Arianna Huffington, right, gives keynote speech.

October 3
Solar and Domes and Bales, Oh My
WASHINGTON, D.C., MARYLAND, VIRGINIA -- A Maryland Chapter-sponsored tour of solar homes attracted hundreds of people over two days visiting not just homes with photovoltaic cells and solar hot water panels, but straw bale superinsulated homes, underground homes, dome homes, and more.

October 11
Blue + Green = Jobs + Clean Energy
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- The Minnesota Blue-Green Alliance releases a report showing how Minnesota can create 37,000 new jobs and save consumers an average of $1,268 per year on energy bills by the year 2025 while protecting Minnesota's environment, reducing dependence on foreign oil and strengthening national and economic security for all Americans. The alliance includes the Steelworkers, Minnesota AFL-CIO, SEIU, the Sierra Club and others.

November 3
Bush Re-Elected
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A victorious George W. Bush vows to reach out to all Americans. In a press conference 24 hours later, he revises this to say, "I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals."

November 15
Defending the World's Forests
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Club releases a report detailing the stories of five activists trying to stop the destructive logging of trees in their communities in Mexico, Indonesia, Cambodia, Liberia, and Brazil. Read the report at


November 24
Green Rockers
long beach -- Young environmental crusaders Juan Martinez and Andrew Anderson, at right with four of their colleagues, present the Mexican rock band Maná with a Sierra Club-sponsored Green Award at the La Banda Elastica Latin Alternative Music Awards. Maná donates a dollar from every ticket sold on its most recent U.S. tour to Fundación Selva Negra to support projects such as tree planting in Latin American countries hard hit by deforestation.

November 30
From Bad to Worse
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bush administration proposes an 80 percent reduction in designated habitat for endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead. After a first draft so bad that a federal judge ordered it redone, the administration's revised plan opts not to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia and Snake rivers. "It's a default shredding of the Endangered Species Act," says fisheries consultant Bill Kier.

December 7
Automakers Sue California
FRESNO -- The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and several Central Valley car dealers files a lawsuit in District Court against the California Air Resources Board, making good on their threat to try to overturn an innovative law that curbs tailpipe gases linked to global warming. The law requires that new vehicles' emissions of heat-trapping gases be cut by one-third by 2016.

December 8
Foundation Rated Tops by Charity Navigator
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Sierra Club Foundation receives four stars, the highest rating, from Charity Navigator, a non-profit watchdog that ranks charities based on evaluations of their financial health. The Foundation, headed by Executive Director John DeCock, right, rates at the top for effectiveness and organizational capacity. Overall, it is the highest rated national environmental charity, and third overall out of 202 environmental charities.

December 23
Johnnie Randall Retires
SAN FRANCISCO -- The year she started working for the Sierra Club, 1967, it was the "summer of love" in San Francisco, the Beatles released "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, " Thurgood Marshall was appointed the first black Supreme Court Justice, the Sierra Club had 1,450 members, Edgar Wayburn was the Board President and David Brower was the Executive Director. Member Records Manager Johnnie Randall, at right in 1977, currently the longest-serving Sierra Club employee, retires after 37 years.

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