Louisiana Legislature Early Update, Feb 9 2016, Sign up for Legislative Action List

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Friends of the environment and public health in Louisiana are looking forward to another eventful year in the Louisiana legislature. The election of John Bel Edwards as governor was a very hopeful sign but his loss of the speakership of the house means potentially hostile chairs and members in many legislative committees that are important to our progress. So we will have to work for good bills and work against some bad bills that we expect to see. The regular session of the 2016 legislature is where we will see bills of concern to us. That session starts Monday, March 14.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter will be working with the Green Army to push bills to protect clean air, clean water and public health, especially from industrial facilities located near Louisiana communities. And we will support good bills like the one already introduced by Gene Reynolds that prohibits the open burning of munitions and waste explosives.

At the same time we will have to play defense against bills generated by lobbyists for big industry and by out of state groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which are aggressive and industry friendly. They seek to remove our protections for clean air, clean water and public health. Examples of such bills pushed in other states that we will have to watch for are 1) bills hostile to limiting carbon emissions from industries and electric generation facilities, 2) state level prohibitions on the freedom of local communities to ban fracking, 3) further cutbacks in tax rebates for clean energy and residential solar installations, and 4) bills that limit our ability to challenge pollutant discharge permits issued by state agencies.

Delta Chapter Retreat - March 18-20, 2016 at Chicot State Park - Update

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All are welcome to attend the Sierra Club Delta Chapter Spring Retreat March 18-20, 2016 at Chicot State Park. Activities will include trail walking, canoeing, boating, and informative presentations. We can also visit the nearby Chicot State Arboretum.

We will have two group shelters with space for 14 persons each. To reserve a space in the group shelter for one or two nights or to let us know you are coming for Saturday only you can contact Diana Morgan at sierra.honeyisland@gmail.com 985-640-5130. The deadline for reservation of space in a group shelter is March 11 but earlier is better. RV and tent camping are also available. For RV and tent camping you can call the Park at (337) 363-2403 to make reservations.

Friday night we will have a main dish and no obligation potluck, We serve Sat breakfast, lunch is cold cuts, Saturday dinner is a catfish fry. Feel free to bring snacks and food items to contribute to the group.

Detailed info about Chicot State Park with map link is at:
http://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/chicot-state-park/
We will be in Lodges #1 and #3 towards the north end of the lake.

For updates on this event you can check the Delta Chapter web site at www.lasierraclub.org

Tentative schedule of activities:

Sierra Club Delta Chapter Hires Conservation Program Coordinator

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Delta Chapter is pleased to announce that we have hired Margie Vicknair-Pray to be Conservation Program Coordinator on a part time basis. Margie comes to us with a wealth of experience in environmental issues activism. She has also been a Sierra Club member and activist so she knows the Club and will be able to step right in to help Delta Chapter to conduct conservation related events and campaigns. Margie has a lengthy resume including technical writing and project development. She was the founding director of the Louisiana Coastal Cleanup program which was eventually adopted by the Louisiana Tourism Commission as a state program. She has worked in the O&G industry doing contract management and safety training. She was the Recycling manager for the City of New Orleans and she developed the Keep Mandeville Beautiful office for the City of Mandeville and worked as an independent consultant on development of recycling programs. She has recently been involved in the fight over fracking in St. Tammany Parish. Margie comes to us with many honors and awards marking her success in civic engagement. Margie is a native New Orleanian who grew up in St Tammany Parish.

We are very happy to have Margie Vicknair-Pray on the Sierra Club team in Louisiana and we look forward to new initiatives from Delta Chapter under her leadership.

Haywood “Woody” Martin, Chair
Sierra Club Delta Chapter

After the Spill - Louisiana Premiere, See it in Lafayette on Tuesday Jan 26 at 7:15 pm Cité des Artes

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Ten years ago Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast of Louisiana. Five years later the BP operated Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the worst ecological disaster in North American history. Those events along with other man-made and natural factors contribute to accelerating land loss.

Delta Chapter Holiday Bash

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Come and Make Merry with us for our annual end of year Holiday Bash!

We'll gather on the afternoon of Sunday, December 13, 2015 to celebrate the environmental victories of this year and reflect while enjoying good food and company as we look forward with eagerness to what the new year will offer us. Members of Sierra Club across the region are invited to join us as well as our friends from other environmental organizations. Let's break bread together!

The Louisiana Climate Debacle

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2015 has been a year of striking news on Earth’s climate. The year is the warmest on record, taking that honor from 2014. Among many related bits of disturbing news, glaciers are showing increased retreat, including a major destabilization in Greenland that scientists say will add to higher sea-level rise for decades to come.

These trends have gone largely unremarked in Louisiana, especially by state policymakers. To an outside observer, this might seem strange. Our state is already experiencing one of the highest rates of sea-level rise in the world, due to the combination of global ocean levels and local subsidence (sinking) of deltaic soils. We also have one of the world’s most endangered coasts, and estimates for the cost of repairing it range on the low end from $50 to $70 billion dollars, which the state cannot fund alone.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter End of Year 2015 Newsletter

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In the newsletter you will find contacts for chapter officers and group leaders, Louisiana legislative report, Katrina at 10 years, Earl's Pearls, other items of interest and candidate statements for election to the 2016 - 2017 Delta Chapter Executive Committee.

Click here to see the Delta Chapter 2015 End of Year Newsletter

Louisiana Election for Governor - Comparison of Records on the Environment

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Sierra Club Delta Chapter in Louisiana would like for members and friends to know what a comparison of records on the environment between the two candidates for governor looks like. So we have put together this brief description of recent performance.

David Vitter scored 0% on the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) National Environmental Scorecard for 2014. His lifetime score is 5%. In the LCV Senate Special Edition, Feb 2015, David Vitter voted wrong on every legislative issue including Requiring Tar Sands Companies to Pay for Spills, Regulation of Toxic Tar Sands Byproducts, Clean Air Protections for communities living downwind of coal fired power plants, Recognition of Climate Science, Drilling on Public Lands, Exemption of Fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. http://www.lcv.org/assets/pdf/special-edition-scorecard.pdf

And on issues specific to Louisiana, a few examples:

Don’t Let Irresponsible Members of Congress Kill America’s Conservation Fund

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November 9, 2015

Lafayette, New Orleans – The Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club today urged Louisiana’s Congressional delegation not to support legislation proposed by Representative Ron Bishop (R-Utah), the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, aimed at undoing the 50 year old Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has delivered for America for 50 years,” said Haywood Martin, Chair of the Delta Chapter. “It has created thousands of parks and recreational areas for Americans to enjoy, and it works. The Fund has served the country well since its passage in 1964, and has run smoothly. The majority of its monies come from offshore oil production revenues rather than tax dollars, which would seem to guarantee its support from even the most anti-government member of Congress. But in today’s Congress, nothing works well.”

Martin pointed to over 700 state and local projects created in Louisiana with the Fund’s help since its passage in 1964, and major federal areas as well – twelve National Wildlife Refuges and two National Parks. “These federal lands benefit our state economically as well as environmentally. The National Wildlife Refuges provide key public areas for hunting and fishing, in addition to important wildlife habitat. Louisiana’s two National Parks have brought in hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of dollars of revenue.”

Sierra Club Statement on the President's Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Today (Nov 6, 2015) President Obama said yes to clean energy and public health, and no to dirty oil and dangerous pollution. The Sierra Club is thankful that President Obama has chosen the clean energy promise of prosperity and innovation over the dirty fuels of the 19th century.

“By saying no to the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is demonstrating our nation's leadership on climate action in advance of the international climate negotiations in Paris this December, providing an important boost of momentum. He is also making good on his promise that the nation will leave dirty fossil fuels in the ground, replacing it with clean energy.

"Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline is a victory for the planet, for the health and well-being of the communities along the pipeline route, and for future generations to come. It also demonstrates the power of the millions of people who raised their voices in opposition to the pipeline, and of the growing movement to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Now, instead of building a pipeline that cuts our country in two, we are free to invest in clean energy that creates jobs and brings our country together."

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