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Wisconsin - John Muir Chapter

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Dear Friend,
First, let me thank you for all of your support of the Sierra Club over the past year.  We've worked hard and had some great success.  But, there is still much left to do.  Even though the year is drawing to a close, December offers ample opportunities for you to make a difference for Wisconsin's future.  Read on to find out how you can give a really meaningful gift this year!

Are you concerned about your family's drinking water safety? Manure spreading, manure spills and fish kills?  Toxic ammonia and hydrogen sulfide air emissions? The loss of family farms in Wisconsin?  Increased semi truck traffic on rural roads?

dairy CAFO
If so, I urge you to attend the upcoming public informational hearing on the proposed expansion (WPDES permit modification) for the Rosendale Dairy, December 3, 2009, at 5:00 pm at the Royal Ridges, 1 Westgate Drive, Ripon, WI.

If permitted, Rosendale Dairy will become the largest Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), or factory farm ever sited in Wisconsin. It will house 8,000 milking cows and 300 beef cattle on a very small area of land. 
Expanding the Rosendale CAFO: 

  • Threatens drinking water and wetland habitats by the volume of untreated manure- 75 million gallons per year- that will be spread on vulnerable land.
    Impacts air quality by emitting toxic hydrogen sulfide and ammonia
  • Threatens water supplies with contamination by antibiotics and hormones.
  • Puts area family farms in jeopardy by flooding the market with milk. When supply outpaces demand, the price per gallon drops precipitously.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, please send your comments to by December 10, 2009.

Your action is needed to get people efficiently connected to jobs, grow new jobs, and build a cleaner, safer, energy independent future where more people can drive less (better air, less gas used, more land for nature!). Let’s get the Regional Transit Authority legislation moving forward in Wisconsin! Time is very short to reach this historic milestone, and it may be our last chance for years.

Bus and Biker

We need a regional framework and dedicated funding for buses. We can't afford to wait and watch our transit system and our sustainable future crumble. 

What can you do? Two things: 

  1. Contact key legislators today and urge them to get Regional Transit Authority legislation moving forward.  Ask them to remove transit from the property tax and institute a sales tax dedicated to transit so that visitors will help support transit investments. Phone calls with a personal message are the most effective. Ask to speak with the legislator, or leave a message and be sure to include your full name, address and phone number. Ask for a reply to find out what they are doing to move the RTA forward! Please let us know about your call, email, or letter!

    To find your state legislators visit, or call 1-800-362-9472
  2. Attend the Upcoming Rally to Make Our Voices Heard for Transit 
    December 5, 1:00 PM
    Veterans Memorial Park, National Avenue at 70th St. West Allis, Wisconsin.

    Park on west side of Market Square parking lot (near Pick N Save) enter off National Avenue just west of 70th St.) On bus routes: 54, 76, and 18

    Background and talking points:
    The RTA is urgently needed now!
  • Transit cuts are imminent and will hurt businesses, workers, and tax payers when people can’t get to work, school, shopping, healthcare. Unemployment hurts everyone.
  • An estimate by the nonprofit Center for Transit-Oriented Development projects that 15 million households will be looking to rent or to buy near transit in 2030 – up from 6 million in 2005 and totaling a quarter of all renters and buyers who will be in the market for housing. Let’s be ready to tap into this exploding market.
  • Modern regional transit networks reduce an individual's carbon footprint: switching a commute by auto to transit can reduce CO2 emission by 20 pounds per day per person
  • Research by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development finds that walkable transit-oriented communities produce 43 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional suburban development, and reduce urban sprawl that eats up habitat, open space, and farms.

We've accomplished so much this year and now legislative action on the Regional Transit Authority is urgently needed. While transit in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha are quickly approaching a financial meltdown because of their antiquated funding structure, we have a unique opportunity to address these crucial issues and create a vibrant region-wide transit network of connectivity that is at the very core of sustainability and a green economy—and job growth and economic competitiveness.

Without a dedicated funding source, existing transit systems will face major service reductions that will continue year after year and cut people off from jobs and opportunity, and increase auto emissions and traffic congestion. Without adequate bus funding the KRM Commuter Rail project and other major initiatives will not pass federal muster and will be shelved along with over $100 million in federal funds to invest in building a cleaner, greener, more compact and fuel efficient regional transportation system.

For more information about the RTA legislation, the looming bus funding crisis, and the KRM Commuter Rail project visit:
For more information contact Transit NOW at 262-246-6151 or contact the Sierra Club office at (608) 256-0565 or to join Communities on the Move. 

With the holidays coming up, it may be hard to believe that Conservation Lobby Day- Tuesday, January 26th, 2010-  is just around the corner!  As a supporter of the Sierra Club, you know how important it is to communicate with our legislators about issues you care about. Last year over 500 conservationists from every part of the state shared their conservation stories with their legislators.  We are very thankful to our coalition partner, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, for all the work they do to coordinate this powerful and successful event.

Last February, we met with all 13lobby day2 legislators on Conservation Lobby Day, asking them to support the 2009-2010 Conservation Priorities: preserving groundwater, stopping global warming in Wisconsin, restoring conservation integrity, and protecting Wisconsin's drinking water.

Our efforts have already had a huge impact on conservation policies in Wisconsin. But with only a few months left to go in the 2009-2010 legislative session, there is still much left to accomplish.  Please sign up to attend Conservation Lobby Day today.  We need your voice to protect Wisconsin's air, water, and wild places for future generations!  Conservation Lobby Day details can be found here:  The registration page can be found here:

One of the best gifts you can give is a membership with the Sierra Club.  When you give a membership to the Sierra Club, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to preserve irreplaceable wildlands, save endangered and threatened wildlife, solve global warming, and protect this fragile environment we call home. 

Backpack BlackIn addition to helping the planet, your gift membership will also earn the recipient these exciting benefits:

  • A free Sierra Club Expedition Pack (limited time only)
  • One-year subscription to Sierra magazine
  • Members-only eco-travel opportunities
  • Automatic membership in your local Chapter
  • Discounts on Sierra Club calendars, books, and other merchandise

    After purchasing your gift membership, you can download a gift announcement (.pdf file) that you can send in the mail or take with you of you are presenting your gift in person.

    Give A Gift Membership


    If you were lucky enough to attend, you know that Sierra Club's Chippewa Valley and St Croix Valley Interstate Groups held an inspiring Autumn Assembly October 9 – 11 at the Beaver Creek Reserve.  Over one hundred people attended and enjoyed all the speakers, workshops and entertainment that the weekend event had to offer.

  • Autumn Assembly, McCabeAttendees also got a chance to camp onsite and attend early morning hikes in which they explored the 360-acre Beaver Creek Reserve. They also got a chance to see saw whet owl banding in action and an evening presentation at Hobbs Observatory.  Warm clothing was essential, however, as temperatures dropped and a few snowflakes fell during the evenings.      

    Just a few highlights of the 2009 Autumn Assembly included the keynote speech by Dr. Michael Osterholm on the urgent need to take action on climate change, a talk by children’s author Marybeth Lorbiecki on the writings of Aldo Leopold, and a talk from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Mike McCabe about the many reason we need to get the money out of political elections and decisions made about natural resources.  Exciting workshops were held on a range of topics from Green Charter Schools to Duke Welter, who discussed his work on the Natural Resources Board. 

    Some of the funnest times that attendees had were the informal social hours, which provided snacks and unstructured time for people to reflect and enjoy each other's company.  One of the attendees mentioned that he loved coming to our Autumn Assembly because it really emphasized the Club aspect of the Sierra Club.  The food and snacks were organized and sometimes prepared by volunteers (including Carol Hardin, Caryn Treiber and Margo Miller), and they were delicious.


    On Saturday evening, Chapter Chair Jim Steffens presented awards to several of the exceptional volunteers that make the difference in the John Muir Chapter’s efforts to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources. Jim Olson, from our Chippewa Valley Group, who has worked for years on wolf issues, received the JJ & Pat Werner award, which is given to someone who shows an  undying commitment to the goals and missions of the chapter.  Ron Carlson from our St. Croix Valley Interstate Group, and Dale Olen from our Great Waters Group, shared the Merit Award, for their dedicated efforts to protect the St. Croix River and the Great Lakes, respectively.  Diane Dagelen received the New Activist Award for her efforts to protect monarch habitat and Milwaukee area green space.  Janet Anderson from our Great Waters Group earned the Wildflower Award for her tireless work in designing inspiring educational programs.  Jan & Jim Erdman from the Chippewa Valley Group received the Good Citizen Award, for their efforts to lead by example in protecting the environment with by investing in renewable energy and growing nutritious, local food.  Last but not least, Kerry Thomas from Transit NOW and the coalition for transit in southeastern Wisconisn received the Torchbearer Award for all the work they have done to secure a regional transit authority in southeastern Wisconsin. 

    The John Muir Chapter is extremely fortunate to have so many talented volunteers who are committed to our conservation work!     

    On Sunday, attendees learned about the Sierra Club- John Muir Chapter's conservation campaigns before heading off to tour the Leinenkugel's historic brewery in Chippewa Falls.  Members of the John Muir Chapter's Water Protection and Global Warming Teams, regional and Chapter staff talked about our recent accomplishments and future plans to reduce the threat of global warming and protect water resources in Wisconsin. 

    I hope you will make plans now to join us for next year's Autumn Assembly hosted by our Coulee Region Group.  Next year's event will take place from October 8-10, 2010 near La Crosse- Don't miss it! 

    John Muir Chapter | 222 South Hamilton Street, Suite 1, Madison, WI 53703-3201 Ph:(608) 256-0565 | Contact Us

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