Sierra Club Home Page   Environmental Update  
chapter button
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
Click here to visit the Member Center.         
Take Action
Get Outdoors
Join or Give
Inside Sierra Club
Press Room
Politics & Issues
Sierra Magazine
Sierra Club Books
Apparel and Other Merchandise
Contact Us

Join the Sierra ClubWhy become a member?
Sierra Main
In This Section
  July/August 2003 Issue
  FEATURES: Global Warming
The Melting Point
High Tide in Tuvalu
Bobbing in the Big Apple
Two Views From the East
Interview: Biologist Michael Soulé
Green-Collar Workers
How Did the Grizzly Cross the Road?
Ways & Means
One Small Step
Lay of the Land
Good Going
Food For Thought
Hidden Life
The Sierra Club Bulletin
Grassroots Update
Mixed Media
Last Words
Sierra Archives
About Sierra
Internships at Sierra
Advertising Information
Current Advertisers

Sierra Magazine

Printer-friendly format
click here to tell a friend

Lay of the Land

Wind-power Politics | Roads to Nowhere | Consumer-product pollutants | Columbia River Swimmer | Pinstripes Against Pollution | UNESCO's Danger List | Bold Strokes | WWatch | Updates


The largely undeveloped Gaviota Coast, stretching 76 miles north from Santa Barbara, is chock-full of rare plants and animals, as well as some of California’s most important Native American archaeological sites. On that, both activists and the National Park Service can agree. But in April, the federal agency issued a report concluding that Gaviota was not national-seashore material, because of strong opposition from local landowners and "commitments of the U.S. President [and] Secretary of the Interior . . . to address other national financial priorities." Public comments on this draft feasibility study will be accepted through July 18. Visit for details. (See "The Sierra Club Bulletin," May/June 2002.)

In April, a U.S. district court temporarily blocked the Bush administration’s effort to loosen labeling standards for "dolphin-safe" tuna. According to the judge, commerce secretary Don Evans acted "contrary to the best available scientific evidence" and was likely influenced by international trade considerations instead. The ruling, which assures consumers that tuna with the ecofriendly label was caught by methods that did not endanger dolphins, will stand until a suit filed by environmental groups goes to trial. (See "Lay of the Land," May/June.)

Last year, Congress passed a multibillion-dollar farm bill that was primarily a boon to corporate growers with poor environmental practices. This year, our elected representatives plundered one of the legislation’s few good elements: the Conservation Security Program, which would have rewarded landowners who conserve and improve plant and animal habitat, along with soil, water, and air quality.

Much of the program’s funding–a scant 4 percent of the overall ag budget–was diverted in April to reimburse farmers for drought-related crop losses. (See "Lay of the Land," September/October 2002, and "Lay of the Land," January/February 2002.)

For more environmental news, updated every weekday, visit

Up to Top

HOME | Email Signup | About Us | Contact Us | Terms of Use | © 2008 Sierra Club