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OUR NEXT SIERRA CLUB MEETING: Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Time: 12:15 pm
Place:  Art Community Center, 100 Shoreline
Topic: Conservation Update and Letter Writing

Minutes from February 2003 meeting - see  below *
Comments from the Chair: (excerpted from the January printed newsletter)

We are beginning a new calendar year with this meeting and will have
a completely new situation with regard to both the Texaslegislature and
Congress.  Unfortunately, the issues we will be fighting will not be new,
but that only means that we must fight smarter. In this issue of the
Newsletter, several articles by members who are active in various
city and state committees are printed for you to read. Next month
there will be a few more. Sierrans are not couch potatoes as you
will understand as you become familiar with some of the activities
described.

Also note that there are some changes on the executive committee.
Bill Alling has agreed to be our representative to the state
executive committee and two members have agreed to organize
some field trips. These will be ones to investigate some of the
issues we are interested in and they may lead to actions.

You might note that our treasurer, Judy Tor, has moved to Gonzales,
but she will be here in Corpus Christi at least part of the time. Note her
new telephone number. We hope to have a field trip to her new digs
later in the spring.
                                           - Pat Suter

*SIERRA CLUB FEBRUARY 2003 MINUTES

Fifteen members and a guest speaker attended the meeting. Pat Suter, Chair,
asked for volunteers to help out with preparations for the Beach Sit In at
Padre Island National Seashore March 29-30. In other business, members
decided that a tentatively scheduled garage sale for March will not take place,

Invited guest speaker Megan Bobier of the Texas Fair Trade Coalition explained
how proposed "service rules" to NAFTA and WTO will challenge U.S. and other
countries’ environmental laws. (This would cover countries in NAFTA in this
hemisphere as well as those in the World Trade Organization.)

How so? "Services" include toxic waste processing, mining, water diversion
and extraction;, oil drilling, pipeline transport, shipping, incineration of waste
and natural resource management, and even tourism operations and hotel
construction.

The kicker in this is that these "Service rules" could override the regulations
applicable in the country in which the project occurs. (This has already
happened in the U.S. , Mexico, and other countries.) Outside governments
and/or corporations doing a project (say in Texas) can claim that the
environmental laws and regulations are "more burdensome than necessary."
Challenges would be (and have been) adjudicated by a three=person tribunal
(outside our country) closed to the public and with strong enforcement powers.
Thus far, such panels have ruled against the environment in almost all cases.

We’re talking about, among a lot of other bad things, possible privatization of
water resources, both collection and drilling, which could cause real harm to
watersheds, underground aquifers, river ecosystems, and decline of drinking
water quality as well as our health. You can reach Megan at
megan@fairtrade.org

CB Sierra was asked to bring this problem to the public, through community group
presentations, etc. We agreed to follow up. For more information go to www.asje.org

Megan will return to speak to a joint meeting of Sierra Club and the
Coastal Bend Bays Foundation on May 12.

Frank Hankins, Sec.