Raise your voice to make a difference
Sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call or email message to sway the opinion of our elected leaders and officials. Contact us at AlamoAlerts and we will add you to our local Sierra Club Action Alert Email List. You don't have to be a Sierra Club member to receive our alerts, (but we do hope you'll join us).
Stop exploding trains
|The U.S. Department of Transportation must take real action now to protect our communities from explosive oil train accidents.
Are you one of the 25 million Americans living in the blast zone of explosive oil trains?1
You've probably heard about many of the recent fiery oil train accidents, but most people have no idea that huge shipments of volatile crude oil are rolling through their communities -- near their homes, their schools and the places they work -- with increasing frequency.
After a record-breaking year of oil train derailments, spills and explosions, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has called these dangerous oil trains an "imminent hazard" to the public.2 That's why they've proposed new standards to make these shipments safer.
But oil and rail companies don't want to pay more to make oil trains safer. Take a moment to make sure the DOT is listening to the people, not Big Oil, by urging them to protect your community from explosive oil trains!
Experts have known about these safety hazards for years. Recently, former head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Deborah Hersman warned "We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly. There is a very high risk here that hasn't been addressed. ... They aren't moving fast enough. We don't need a higher body count before they move forward."3
It took more than a year since the tragic Lac-Mégantic disaster that killed 47 for the Department of Transportation to propose these new protections. Yet some of the most important measures -- like getting the notoriously unsafe DOT-111 tankers off the rails -- won't even go into effect until 2020! We can't wait that long to protect our communities from exploding oil trains -- not when the number of accidents is soaring around the country.
Take action now to urge the Department of Transportation to do more to improve oil train safety NOW -- not six years from now.
The danger is only going to grow as Big Oil tries to pack more and more volatile crude oil onto our railways. The only way to limit the reckless expansion of oil trains and to improve rail safety is to use people power to demand change.
Thank you for protecting our communities,
Sierra Club Beyond Oil Associate Campaign Director
 Spencer Chumbley, Do You Live In A "Bomb Train" Blast Zone?, Vice News, July 28, 2014
 Jad Mouawad, U.S. Issues Safety Alert for Oil Trains, The New York Times, May 7, 2014
 Joan Lowy, Transportation Safety Head Calls For End To 'Tombstone Mentality', Huffington Post, April 23, 2014
The things people say!
"Wind is such an unreliable source of electricity that coal plants are required to operate around the clock as backup for wind power." -- fossil-fuel funded front group ALEC
More and more these days special interests go out of their way to spread misinformation and undermine science -- and the truth isn't always easy to see.
That's why we want to make sure you can spot the difference between science fact and science fiction! Take our Got Science or Not Science quiz today and get a free "Got Science?" sticker.
The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club have teamed up to fight back against those who mislead the public about climate change and other vital issues. We want to expose disinformation and corporate "counterfeit science" and help scientists to do real cutting-edge research free from political interference.
So...do you think you can spot the fake? We've gathered quotes about climate change, deforestation, even dragons! It's up to you to determine whether each quote has got science or if it's not science. Click here to take the quiz.
And once you've demystified the misinformation, feel free to show off your smarts to your friends and let them know how they can get a free "Got Science?" sticker too.
It's really that simple: Take the quiz. Get the sticker. Tell your friends. Stand up for Science. Done.
It's up to us to defend science and ensure that decisions about our health, safety, and environment are based on sound science—not corporate hype and disinformation.
Your friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Sierra Club!
The worst next-door neighbor
You ever had a terrible neighbor?
Imagine if the world's largest open-pit mine moved in next door. Up to 10 billion gallons of poisonous mineral water just waiting to leak out -- feeling uncomfortable yet?
This is what's about to happen to North America's last remaining wild salmon habitat. A mining company wants to dig right next to Bristol Bay, Alaska -- home to nearly half of the world's salmon. If approved by the EPA, Pebble Mine could devastate the bay, threatening the salmon population, the wildlife, and the people who live there.
Let's put an end to this threat right now. Tell the EPA to say NO to this catastrophe waiting to happen.
The reason Bristol Bay supports the world's largest salmon population -- even as salmon continue to disappear worldwide -- is because these fragile waters have remained almost entirely free from development. And that's how it needs to stay.
The EPA has already issued a proposal to stop the development of Pebble Mine. Now they need to hear from supporters like you to back them up. The more we each speak out individually, the louder our collective voice becomes -- and the harder it will be for Pebble Mine to move forward.
There will be no undoing the consequences if Pebble Mine gets built, but we can prevent them -- if we act right now. Help stop Pebble Mine while we still can.
Our Wild America Campaign
Breathe new fire into grassroots movements
That spirit of activism -- a constant throughout our 122-year history -- is as relevant today as it was the day John Muir first founded our organization. But how we translate that spirit into action in the field is something that continues to evolve each day.
Today, I'm excited to share with you the next chapter in the Sierra Club's history: AddUp.org. This new action site is about realizing the full potential of activism in today's world, using technology to breathe new fire into grassroots movements.
When you're logged in to AddUp.org, you can browse campaigns around the country based on your interests, allowing you take actions that are the most meaningful to you. As you sign petitions, recruit your friends, and show your support on social, AddUp shows the impact you’re making in real time.
This is a revolutionary moment in our organization's history, and we look forward to building something extraordinary with you.
Get started on AddUp.org today: http://www.addup.org
Executive Director, Sierra Club
Join the virtual rally to #ActOnClimate
Join the virtual rally to support limits on carbon pollution!
President Obama promised that his administration would take action to confront the climate crisis -- and now the EPA has finally proposed the first-ever safeguards against carbon pollution from our nation's aging power plants.
From July 29-31, the EPA will be holding public hearings on these historic limits. Hundreds of activists will testify and rally outside hearings in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Even if you can't be there in person, you can help put pressure on the EPA by donating a tweet or Facebook status update in advance, all timed to hit at once as the hearings begin Tuesday morning.
This will help make #EPA and #ActOnClimate important trending topics on social media, creating a buzz for people to take action. It also puts pressure on EPA to listen to grassroots activists, not lobbyists paid by the big polluters.
This is a big deal, and the big polluters know it.
This is the beginning of what could be the biggest climate fight in history. Fossil fuel billionaires are mobilizing like never before. They're already sending their lobbyists to Washington and spreading their fear-mongering talking points on Fox News. While their money talks, they can't match our people power.
By joining this virtual rally of thousands of people taking action online, you will fight back. You will also spread the message directly to your friends, family, and followers-- the people you have the most social media influence over. No talking head or slick ad campaign will be as influential as you.
Spread the message and ask your friends and followers to submit a written comment into EPA supporting their Clean Power Plan.
Thank you for all you do,
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sign the Petition: Texans Deserve Modern Building Codes
|Tell the State Energy Conservation Office and State Comptroller to adopt new building codes
A home or building built today to the latest building codes will use 25 percent less energy than one built just a few years ago -- and 40 percent of all the energy used in the U.S. is in the buildings we work and live in! With as much as Texas is growing and concerns about air pollution, climate change, drought, and where we're going to get our energy, why are we letting so much energy be wasted?
On July 4, the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the State Comptroller asked for public input on whether or not they should raise the state’s minimum energy code for new construction. In just a few clicks you can submit your official comment and tell them Texas should adopt the most recent building codes.
Because these new codes require higher levels of insulation, better building envelopes, better windows, and give credit for incorporation of renewable technologies, adoption of these standards will create jobs.
Sure, better windows, more insulation and so on cost slightly more, but a recent analysis by the Energy Efficiency Codes Coalition on the 2012 codes found that in Houston the average home would go up in cost by only about $1,600. Because of the energy savings, you would save more money on your utilities than you paid in your mortgage within two years. Because of this, Houston went ahead and adopted better building codes.
And they're not alone. A recent survey of Texas cities found that 64 of the largest cities in Texas had already adopted the 2012 codes and cities like Austin and San Antonio are considering a process to adopt the 2015 codes.
An analysis done by the Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL) at Texas A & M found that adoption of the 2012 codes would increase the efficiency of the average new home by 14 to 25 percent compared to the 2009 codes. Both ESL and the Department of Energy have said that taking the next step to adopt the newest 2015 building codes would give even slightly higher savings.
Please help us make Texas a leader on energy efficient buildings today, saving energy, water and money, while creating jobs, and lowering our use of dirty, old coal plants.
Tell our elected Comptroller and SECO to adopt higher energy codes today! Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club
 Texas A&M Energy System Lab study on Residential and Commercial building codes. Dec 2011
 Department of Energy study on commercial savings from adoption of new building codes March 2014
Prohibit Coal Tar-Based Sealants
The Alamo Group encourages you to contact your City Council representative and the San Antonio Housing Authority about prohibiting usage of coal tar-based sealants on pavement. Here is a telephone script for contacting council. Your councilmember's contact info is here and here. Here is a suggested letter to the San Antonio Housing Authority.
Coal tar-based pavement sealants threaten our drinking water by contaminating it with known carcinogens. This recent magazine article notes that these “probable” human carcinogens continue to coat local parking lots, playgrounds and driveways. We highly recommend viewing these slides from the Sierra Club presentation by Stephen Kale, P.E. containing comprehensive information about the dangers of coal tar-based sealants.
Ask City Council to Ban Single-use Plastic Bags
Single-use checkout bags have harmful impacts on our environment and drain our tax dollars. San Antonio residents use more than 1.6 billion plastic bags every year. At least 80% of these end up in landfills or as litter.
While stores don't charge for the bags, city taxpayers pay for a variety of pollution impacts. They cause damage to recycling facilities, and despite the fact that they are about 1% of the waste stream, they cost recyclers as much as 30% of their labor time. They clog up storm drains and wastewater treatment plants. They cost San Antonio residents as much as $1.3 million a year to control their pollution, and they disproportionately affect low income communities who have fewer resources for litter control, less recycling and more fragile infrastructure. That $1.3 million could help low income San Antonio neighborhoods, but instead is being wasted on plastic bag pollution! Even more money is being spent on state and federal clean-up efforts, and it is impossible to put a dollar value on the impacts to wildlife killed by plastic bags.
Visit this page to send a message to City Council. Personalized emails are far more meaningful to your elected officials than form letters. Be sure to include a personal message about why the issue is important to you, and why you think passing a local ordinance will be the appropriate solution.
Also, be sure to sign Cris Medina's online petition. Then, consider:
- Sending a second email to the City Councilmember in your district encouraging him or her to carry the ordinance through the voting process.
- Asking to have a meeting with City Councilmembers to show your support.
- Learning more about the issue and spreading the word!
- Sharing this link with your community via email and social media.
Suggested Points to Include:
- Voluntary efforts have failed to solve the problem of plastic bag pollution
- I support removing single-use bags from San Antonio stores, and saving taxpayers and businesses the expenses caused by this pollution.
- Please pass a bag ordinance and stop wasting as much as $1,300,000 a year on clean-up efforts.
- Plastic bag pollution threatens our infrastructure, costs small businesses money and makes our city less attractive to visitors. Our economy will benefit from a bag ban.
- Brownsville, Fort Stockton, South Padre Island, Laguna Vista, Sunset Valley, Laredo, Kermit, and Austin, Texas have all passed bag ordinances. Now is the time for San Antonio to join their leadership.
- Please respond to my comments in writing, or via email at: