Sierra Club

Sierra Club Declares Victory on Keystone XL Pipeline

photo by Jim Dougherty

Protesters encircle the White House to stop 
the Keystone XL Pipeline permit.
(photo: Jim Dougherty) 

The State Department announced on November 10 that it is reevaluating the environmental review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. The reevaluation will include consideration of rerouting the pipeline to avoid sensitive ecological areas in Nebraska. An alternative route would require a new environmental impact statement and would delay a final decision on the tar sands pipeline for as long as 18 months. 

The announcement followed a major action on November 6 where 12,000 people encircled the White House, calling for President Obama to deny the pipeline permit. Sierra Club activists from at least 30 chapters across the country joined in the action. Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, joined's Bill McKibben at the preceding rally. 

Although the Keystone announcement is a big victory, all the environmental organizations involved in fighting this and related projects maintain that vigilance is needed to stem the development and distribution of the environmentally disastrous Alberta tar sands oil.

To stay engaged on the issue, check out the Sierra Club's tar sands page and You can also join the Sierra Club Activist Network "Say No To Tar Sands" Team (note – if you haven't visited the Activist Network before, you'll need to register).  Read the full story...


C&O Canal National Historical Park Is Once Again Threatened: Development
Park Service to Hold Informational Meeting on Boathouse Zone on December 13

It doesn't have oil or minerals, but it does have beautiful riverfront views and access to the water. And, like many other national parks, the D.C. section of the C&O Canal National Historical Park could be forever altered by intrusive private development. 

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced a public meeting for Tuesday, December 13, 2011, concerning a study on the feasibility of a "non-motorized boathouse zone along the Georgetown waterfront." The "project area" for the feasibility study will include a section of the wooded, tidal floodplain at the gateway to the C&O Canal National Historic Park near Key Bridge. All who care about park protection in general and the C&O Canal National Historic Park in particular are urged to attend.

The December 13 meeting will take place from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Washington Harbor, 3050 K St., NW, Suite 200 (map).  Topics to be discussed include the "potential land exchanges for private development of boathouses." The land exchange issue is of particular concern because two private universities - Georgetown University and George Washington University - want to secure land on the waterfront for two separate boathouses for their rowing programs. The issue first came to light several years ago when Georgetown University announced a proposal to build a huge boathouse on the Potomac, spurring the formation of a coalition, Defenders of Potomac River Parkland, which the Sierra joined as one of 11 organizations. Now with over 25 organizations, the coalition continues to advocate for the protection of the C&O Canal park.

For background on a Georgetown University boathouse proposal, visit Defenders of Potomac River Parkland. If you have questions or want to find out how you can help, contact Sally Strain.


Chapter Bids Farewell as Staffer Amanda Brinton Joins Peace Corps
by Bruce Millar

Goodbye Amanda!

Amanda Brinton leaves D.C. for the Peace Corps in January

Amanda Brinton, the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club's only staffer, is leaving at the end of December to pursue a position as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador.  As Community Outreach Coordinator, Amanda's main accomplishment has been to build the chapter's capacity by increasing opportunities for volunteers to become involved and assisting committee chairs with campaign organization. During her two years on the job, she has been an administrator and volunteer organizer responsible for outreach to new and existing volunteers, creating partnerships with other organizations around campaigns, managing social media, and assisting with event and meeting planning.

"It's been an interesting and awesome experience. Though challenging at times, it's also been very rewarding," she said. "It's challenging because you are the only person on staff. You have to remain very motivated and positive. On the other hand, the position is very rewarding due to the relationships you make with the incredibly hard-working volunteers, along with the variety of skills you learn and the issues you get to learn about."

With Amanda's departure, the chapter is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic person to fill the Community Outreach Coordinator position. This person is critical to the continued growth of the chapter and will have a broad range of responsibilities. If you are interested in this position, or know someone who would be a good fit for the chapter, please see the job listing on the Sierra Club's online career center. Read the full story...


The Chapter Holiday Party is Just a Week Away!

RSVP for the Annual Holiday Party

Have you RSVP'd for the Chapter 
Holiday Party yet? 

The holidays are upon us and we'd like you to join us for a little camaraderie with your Sierra Club friends at our annual holiday party. We've been busy in 2011, and 2012 will be even busier, so we'd like to take a little time out to thank you for your membership, your volunteer time, and your support as we all work to protect and improve D.C.’s environment. 

When: Tuesday, December 6, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Harriet's, 436 E St. NW (map)
Cost: $20/person 

There'll be food and beverages (including cash bar), of course, and we'll be continuing our traditional silent auction and calendar sale, with all proceeds going to support the D.C. Chapter. This is a great time to reconnect with friends and meet your local Sierra Club leaders, so RSVP today, and we'll look forward to seeing you on December 6!


Upcoming Events and Outings

The Sierra Club’s Potomac Regional Outings program (SC PRO) offers a variety of outings open to  Sierra Club members and the general public. Below are selected outings from SC PRO’s December calendar. Details for these, and additional SC PRO outings, can be found here.

  • Saturday, December 3. Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan by DC Heritage Trails (Get to Know DC). Explore two DC neighborhoods by walking the annotated, historically interesting and relatively new Heritage Trails. Leader: Helen Epps, 202/363-1278 (leave message).
  • Sunday, December 4. Sky Meadows State Park, VA. Circuit hike of approx. 7 miles ascending to the AT through woods and then descending through meadows with views of the piedmont. Leader: Ray Abercrombie, 703/854-1792 (before 9:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, December 10. Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve. Moderate circuit hike of approximately 8 miles with 2100 feet elevation change. Leaders: Marcia Wolf, 301/565-3165 before 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 11. Sugarloaf Mountain. Moderate 7-mile winter hike to one of our most scenic close-in hikes. Meet at 9 a.m. at Shady Grove Metro – East side by Metro tunnel. Leaders: Bob Goldberg 301/540-2915 (before 9:00 p.m.), Frank Wodarczyk 703/569-6737, Carol Ivory, and Christine Ford 703/425-6899.
  • Sunday, December 18. Cold Weather Art Walk (Get to Know D.C.). Winter arts walk through D.C. Leader: Liz Guertin, 202/415-4639 (before 9:00 p.m.) for information.
  • Sunday, January 1. 38th Annual New Year's Day Hike on C&O Canal Towpath. Start 2012 right with a 10-mile stroll/walk along the C&O Canal.  Leaders: Carol Ivory, Christine Ford, 703/425-6899 (before 10:00 p.m.); Paul Elliott, 202/423-7913.

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