September NEWS 1999
COASTAL BEND GROUP
- EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
* Pat Suter 852-7938 Chairman
PHSUTER@aol.com * Randy Berryhill 883-0586 Vice Chairman * Judy Tor 241-2605 Treasurer * Dorothy McLaren 883-0435 Secretary
* Henry Berryhill 883-0586 Conservation
* Randy Berryhill 883-0586 Membership
* Ken Jobe 993-3737 Recycling
* Edith Cosgrove 241-2960 Air Quality
* Cheryl McGrath 883-9778 Web Master
OTHER MEETINGS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN
DATE PLACE SUBJECT
|September 10-11||Rice Center
|Pesticide Issues in Texas|
|Sept. 18 9am-noon||**||Beach Cleanup|
|Sept. 18 4:30-6:30pm||Lone StarChapter Meeting in
|Special Program on Turtle Sanctuary|
|Now thru Oct. 15||Botanical Gardens Gallery||Member Vaughn Westheimer Photography|
**Beach Cleanup Locations:
|Port O'Conner - Chalhoun County
Check-in 16th & Intercoastal Canal
North Padre Island/Corpus Christi
Check-in Holiday Inn Sunspree Resport
North Padre Island
(Texas State Aquarium) 361-881-1249
Commissioner McComb's Office
Josie Herro 361-888-0268
Check-in Rockport Beach Park entrance
Chamber of Commerce 361-729-6445
|Padre Island National Seashore
Check-in Malaquite Beach Visitor Center
Phil Slattery 361-949-8068
Comments From The Chair
This month we will begin to
communicate with our members a new way. This newsletter will be the last one until
January and all news on a regular basis will be via the internet. We have a web site
as part of the national Sierra Club and our individual one is easy to get to. One
simply gets on the internet with your provider and then type SIERRACLUB.ORG. This
will get you into the national page. Click on to local button, then chose Texas, then
regional groups, then Coastal Bend. You will also be able to keep up with what both
the Lone Star Chapter and the national office are doing. And, of course, you can
also lok into the other regional groups in Texas and elsewhere.
The Caller-Times will publish the monthly announcements and postcards will be sent as a reminder to the regular participants.
We also want to welcome Cheryl McGrath who has designed our web site and will be updating it as we go along.
REGULAR MEETING DATES FOR FALL ARE THE THIRD TUESDAY OF THE MONTH> OCT.19, NOV.16, DEC. 21. SO MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Many of you already know that the "no's" won the election and that if the public has its say, Packery Channel will not be reopened. However, our wonderful senators (Gramm and Hutchinson) and Representative Ortiz went ahead anyway and passed a bill to make $19.5 million dollars available provided the local match is found. Sure shows you how much they care about the public.
This issue was part of the above mentioned bond election and hence rejected by the voters. But Texas Highway Department (TXDOT) has plans to go ahead anyway. There was a public hearing at which business people in Flour Bluff objected to the latest plan which would have the beginning rise for a 2000' bridge begin way back in Flour Bluff and further cutoff the people there. Plans are still being developed, but according to TXDOT the money is there and with local match, construction will begin probably in 2002.
WESLEY SEAL DAM
The repairs to the dam have begun. The city and the engineers are making special efforts not to disturb the sanctuary at the base of the dam as much as possible. A fence has been constructed to separate the work from birders and fishermen and birders. Also two new parking lots are in place. The only caution is for people to read and follow signs there.
SUNSET REVIEW OF
The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission is up for review this fall. If you have anything you would like the state people at Lone Star Chapter, let them know. As usual we are trying to make sure they ride heard on big industry. All this Grandfatherd stuff is ridiculous. Nonopoint pollution is also going to be important soon.
THE FIFTY FOOT
CHANNEL FOR THE PORT
A public information gathering was held to solicit concerns from the public about the deepening and widening of the channel from the Gulf to the inner harbor. Most of the concerns revolved around erosion of bay shorelines at Ingleside and North Beach. Several people also mentioned the need to contain the dredged material someway in order that it not slither back into the channel and provide the necessity for constant dredging.
(Modified from article in Rio Grande Valley Newsletter)
A recent study by the Bank of America, not an organization which is usually considered an environmental group, has found that many myths put forth by developers, city planners, and advocates of growth at any cost are simply not true.
Myth number 1 is that growth means lower taxes. Growth provides tax revenues, but check it out. The taxes are higher in larger cities. Development requires more sewage facilities, more water, more schools, more roads, more police, etc. A study done two years ago by an Oregon professor reported that for each house in a subdivision development, the current taxpayers had to supply $25,000.
Myth number 2 is that we must stimulate and subsidize business growth to have good jobs. A study done by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found to their surprise that business growth was about the same in both good and bad so-called business climates. The thought is that the difference may be due to the emphasis being placed on businesses rather than people. More study is needed here.
Myth number 3 concerns limiting growth. The idea is that if one tries to limit growth, housing prices will skyrocket, the economy will be hurt because environment is being protected, and that anyone who worries about excessive growth is just ANTI anything prositive. This simply is not so.
The Institute of Southern Studies ranked all states according to 20 indicators of economic prosperity and environmental health and found that these two indicators rose and fell together. Vermont ranked 3rd on economic prosperity and environmental health and first in environmental indicators, while Louisiana ranked 50th on both.
Myth number 4. Growth is inevitable and if you don't grow, you will die. This sounds like the idea that more frreeways will decrease congestion. Actually there are many cities in America that are restricting growth legally because of water problems, sewage connections, or other environmental constraints. And there are even dcities who are realizing that freeways actually lead to more problems because people move further outside the city and then need the freeway to get to work or school. Growth is a two edged sword and many kinds of growth bring more problems, such as more pollution.
Myth number 5 concerns vacant land and other "unprofitable" wetlands. Such lands do not bring in taxes to support other kinds of growth. However, these lands do not require services either. And these lands provide environmental benefits which are badly needed today. Wetlands provide areas to control floods. Forests on hillsides help prevent landslides which clearcutting and residential developments cause. Threes also absorb pollution and give off oxygen. Wetlands are nursery grounds for fish and shrimp.
Myth number six is that environmental protection hurts the economy. The Bank of America found just the opposite. They found that states with high environmental standards grew consistently faster than those with weak regulations. Unfortunately, Texas ranks rather low on the scale of environmental protection as evidenced by the leadership of Governor Bush with regard to the GRANDFATHER CLAUSES which protect industry from meeting air pollution laws which new industries must meet. If the industry existed in 1972, then they are grandfathered even though ownership and even products may have changed since then. The legislature just passed did make some improvement, but there are far too many loopholes.