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The Planet

Planet Alerts


You can make a difference!

The Planet, July 1994, Volume 1, number 1


  • You can make a difference!
  • Sierra Club Joins Texaco Boycott
  • New Threat to Old Faithful
  • Safety Net Needed For Ocean Fish
  • Congress to Slash Tire Recycling?

You can make a difference!

  • Write your senators at: U.S. Senate, Washington, D. C. 20510
  • Write your representative at: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. 20515
  • Or call your senators and representative at the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
  • Join the Sierra Club Activist Network. Receive urgent action alerts on the issues that concern you most. Write: Campaign Desk, Sierra Club.

Sierra Club Joins Texaco Boycott

The Sierra Club has joined the Los Angeles-based Labor/Community Strategy Center and an Ecuadoran human rights group in a boycott of Texaco.

Texaco's Wilmington, Calif., refinery annually spews 248,000 pounds of toxins and carcinogens into the surrounding area, whose residents are largely people of color. An explosion and four-day fire at the Wilmington refinery in October 1992 caused hundreds of workers to experience such health problems as nausea, severe headaches, vomiting, loss of hearing and skin rashes.

Texaco has dumped over 17 million gallons of crude oil and 20 billion gallons of toxic waste water in Ecuadoran rain forests and rivers. The company has ignored requests by the Sierra Club and other groups to stop doing business in Burma due to that country's record of human rights abuses.

The boycott, which the Board of Directors approved in May, also addresses Texaco's work to undermine air pollution regulations.

To take part in the boycott:

  • Don't buy Texaco gasoline or Star Mart products.
  • Don't buy Havoline motor oil.
  • Don't use Star Lube oil change stations.
  • Cut up your Texaco credit card and mail it to Texaco with a letter explaining your action. Send your letter to A1fred De Crane, CEO of Texaco, Inc., 2000 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10650. So that Texaco cannot deny receiving them, send photocopies of your letter and the cut card to The Labor/Community Watchdog, 3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90010.

New Threat to Old Faithful

The otherworldly plumbing system of Yellowstone National Park--including geysers, hot springs, and mud pots--is threatened by proposals to conduct geothermal drilling on private lands near the park's boundaries.

Yellowstone National Park is the largest remaining geyser system on the planet, with more than 200 geysers and 10,000 hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles (vapor-emitting holes in the ground). Most of these geothermal features lie within the park. But developers covet the energy potential of the aquifers that feed the geyser system, which extend beyond the park boundaries into surrounding lands.

To place controls on unrestricted hydrothermal development just outside the park, Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.) last year introduced the Old Faithful Protection Act in the House.

The bill, which the House approved, would ban geothermal development on federal lands within 15 miles of Yellowstone Park. On private lands, the bill would require federally approved permits for pumping hydrothermal water in the protection area.

The Old Faithful Protection Act must now be approved by the Senate, where it is up for consideration in two Energy subcommittees.

For more information: Contact Meredith Taylor, National Wildlife Committee chair, (307) 455-3169

What you can do: Urge your senators to support the Old Faithful Protection Act. Send copies of your letter to Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.), chair of the Senate Public Lands, National Parks and Forests Subcommittee.

Safety Net Needed For Ocean Fish

At a time when overfishing has confined fishing fleets on both coasts to home port, the Sierra Club Marine Committee's ongoing campaign to preserve marine habitat and rebuild decimated fish and marine mammal stocks has taken on a new urgency.

A recent report by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency that oversees ocean fishing, states that 67 species are overfished, many to the point of collapse.

"We hate to say 'We told you so,' but we've been sounding the alarm on the long-term dangers of overfishing for years," said Shirley Taylor, chair of the Marine Committee. "If we want to recover fish stocks, we have to change the Magnuson Act."

The 1976 Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, designed to prohibit foreign fishing fleets from dropping their nets within a 200-mile U.S. coastal zone, has provided minimal oversight of U.S. commercial fishermen. The effectiveness of eight fishery management councils set up under the law to regulate commercial and sport fishing has been compromised by the dominance of representatives from the fishing industry, environmentalists say. 

For more information: Contact Shirley Taylor, chair, Sierra Club Marine Committee, (904) 385-7862.

What you can do: Urge your representative to co-sponsor Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's (R-Md.) H.R 4404, which would strengthen the Magnuson Act by:

  • Defining and prohibiting overfishing. OE Rebuilding depleted fish populations.
  • Minimizing by-catch-the destructive catch of undersized or unwanted species.
  • Adequately funding fish management, enforcement and research.
  • Protecting marine fishes' critical habitats, from upland streams to the continental shelf and beyond.

Urge your senators to support a bill with similar provisions when introduced.

Congress to Slash Tire Recycling?

Environmentalists are fighting to keep afloat an innovative federal program that requires the use of recycled rubber tires in asphalt pavements.

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 contains the first minimum recycled content requirement passed by Congress. The act's Section 1038 re-quires all states to meet a minimum requirement for use of recycled rubber, or "crumb rubber modifiers," in asphalt pavements, beginning with 5 per-cent of federal projects in 1994, and rising to 20 percent by 1997.

But Rep. Bob Carr (D-Mich.), backed by the asphalt industry and most state departments of transportation, wrangled a moratorium on enforcement of this program through 1994. Rubberized asphalt, he and his backers claimed, would have a negative effect on performance, cost, worker safety and recyclability.

Each of these concerns, however, was proved unfounded after extensive testing of rubberized asphalt by federal agencies.

As part of a national highway fund-ing bill, a watered-down version of Section 1038 passed the full House in May. Now the bill moves to the Senate, where it must first win approval by the same subcommittee that placed a moratorium on funding of the crumb rubber program last year.

For more information: Contact Roger Diedrich of the Sierra Club Solid Waste Committee at (703) 352-2410.

What You can do: Urge your senators to adopt the House language on Sec-tion 1038. Contact your state environmental protection agency to help counteract the pressure from state transportation officials, who oppose Section 1038.

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