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).
BREAKING: President Obama vetoes Keystone XL bill
|President Obama just vetoed Congress's attempt to force the approval of Keystone XL.
Now it's time to urge him to reject KXL once and for all!
Exciting news -- President Obama just made good on his promise to veto Congress's attempt to force the approval of Keystone XL!
It gives me great hope to see President Obama stand up to Big Oil-backed members of Congress. Now it's time for the president to fulfill his other promise: to reject Keystone XL if it "contributes to an overall warming of the planet."
Take a moment to thank President Obama for vetoing the KXL bill, and to urge him to put this issue to bed once and for all by rejecting this dirty tar sands pipeline!
We know Keystone XL would result in more climate-damaging carbon pollution. Last week, the EPA advised the State Department that KXL would have a "substantial impact" on tar sands production and that development of Canada's tar sands would result in a "significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions." In short, the EPA said what we've been saying all along: Keystone XL fails President Obama's climate test.
President Obama has promised that he won't approve Keystone XL if it would put future generations at risk. He won't trade the well-being of our children for Big Oil's short-term profits. But Congress won't make it easy for him to do the right thing. That's why the president needs to know that we stand behind him when he rejects this pipeline for good.
It's up to us to show President Obama that it's time to declare that Keystone XL isn't in our national interest, and finally reject it once and for all!
This decision isn't for Big Oil -- or Congress -- to make. The authority rests with President Obama to make the final decision on KXL, based on the facts. The facts couldn't be clearer, and more and more it sounds like President Obama knows that. All that's left is to reject.
Thanks for doing your part to defeat this toxic pipeline,
Sierra Club Executive Director
Email Your State Rep: Make The State Budget Green
Lobbyists at the Texas Capitol know the secret – If it ain’t in the budget, it ain’t gonna happen. We know it too.
The fate of environment, water, and parks and wildlife budgets may be sealed this week, and the agencies that support critical programs in these areas are at risk of getting their funding chopped.
Though there are many committees in the Texas Legislature that cover air, water, and parks and wildlife, the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Appropriations are the ones that hold the purse strings. They each will hold their one and only required public hearing on the section of the budget that covers the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPWD).
Specifically, the budget committees should:
- Fund the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) the full amount (~$200 million) that is collected for it through fees.
- Fund the Low-Income Vehicle Repair and Replacement or “Drive-A-Clean Machine” program the full $40 million per year that is collected for it.
- Use the full amount of the sporting goods sales tax for state parks operations.
- Ensure at least $15.5 million for grants for maintenance and development of local parks.
- Establish a $6.5 million fund for acquisition and development of new parklands.
- Fund Water Resources Data (including groundwater monitoring) a minimum of $5 million per year.
- Fund groundwater Technical Assistance programs a minimum of $5 million per year.
There is only one bill the Texas Legislature needs to pass – the budget bill. Make your voice heard before it’s too late!
Victory! President Obama protects the Arctic Refuge
Thank President Obama for taking the first step to permanently protecting the Arctic's coastal plain for future generations.
We're one big step closer to protecting the Arctic Refuge forever!
In a historic move this week, President Obama announced his commitment to protect more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including its coastal plain, as a Wilderness area.
The Arctic's coastal plain is one of America's last wild places -- supporting the birthing grounds of a caribou herd almost 170,000 animals strong, the nesting grounds of birds that migrate to all 50 states, and the denning grounds of the mighty polar bear.
Send your letter today, and thank President Obama for taking this historic step towards protecting the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
From the shores of the Arctic Ocean, south through the rolling coastal plain tundra, over the Brooks Range Mountains, and into the boreal forest of Interior Alaska, the Arctic Refuge is a truly breathtaking place.
For centuries, the Gwich'in and Inupiat people have relied on the bounty of the Arctic for their livelihood. The Gwich'in refer to the coastal plain as the "Sacred Place Where Life Begins," a place vital to their native culture.1
Please take a moment to thank President Obama for his commitment to protecting over 12 million acres of Arctic wilderness and waterways.
On the same day President Obama shared his commitment to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain, Alaska's governor and senators vowed to oppose this potential designation at every opportunity.2 The fight to protect the Arctic Refuge's wild places is far from over, but let's not forget that your tireless work is what led to this announcement. Please take a moment to celebrate!
Join me in thanking President Obama for doing what no other president has done – making a commitment to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain forever. And together, we will continue to work to protect the Arctic Refuge for future generations.
Thanks for all that you do to protect the Arctic,
Alaska Program Director
1. "Native Groups: not in our ANWR", The Arctic Journal, January 25, 2015.
2. "White House: Lisa Murkowski overreacted the Arctic wildlife refuge plan", Politico, January 26, 2015.
Petition Texas Legislators to Save Our Aquifers
In Texas, our aquifers are under siege.
All of the major aquifers in Texas including the Ogallala, Trinity, and Carrizo-Wilcox are being depleted because they are being pumped much faster than they are being recharged with rainwater.
And no one is stepping up to stop the overpumping. Instead, state legislators are being lobbied to write laws which would allow more overpumping.
State legislators are hearing influential people say, “Why else is all of that groundwater stored in aquifers if it’s not for us to use?” Another drumbeat of ‘overpumping’ supporters is that all Texas aquifers should be pumped so that only 50% of their stored groundwater is left in 50 years (that is how the Ogallala Aquifer is being managed right now).
Although it is unconscionable to advocate aquifer depletion as the answer to current water problems – that is exactly what people preach at every legislative hearing and symposium focusing on groundwater.
When aquifers are overpumped, the aquifers dry up, communities can’t access needed groundwater, water wells become too expensive to drill, river and spring flows diminish – and future generations inherit damaged aquifers.
Unsustainable pumping of our aquifers is not the answer to our water shortages.
Other governmental bodies have already acted to protect their aquifers. For example, 27 European nations now have laws requiring that aquifers be pumped at a rate less than their recharge.
Texas legislators should also pass laws to protect our aquifers by requiring their sustainable use. In fact, the Texas Constitution requires them to preserve and conserve Texas’ natural resources.
It is time that state legislators hear from people other than those who will profit by overpumping the aquifers.
It is time for the state legislators to hear from people who want to ensure that future generations will also benefit from our aquifers.
The signed petition will be hand-delivered to the Texas Senate and House Natural Resources Committees. The petition that will be delivered to the legislators is the Petition Letter.
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: