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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

March 2013

Electronic Edition

Message from the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Director, Joshua Ruschhaupt:

"You are amazing!"

Mesa County Drilling Impacts

Drilling fragmentation in
Mesa County, CO,
from Google Earth. 

Thank you for supporting the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.

March is a time of the year that we contact our members and supporters to make a financial contribution to the chapter so that we can continue exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet, right here in Colorado.

Most of our funding comes from supporters just like you, right here in Colorado.

Please consider our recent email requesting your support, our mailed appeal you will receive any day now, or just go to our website and make a contribution right now!

We can only win our campaigns with you as our finanical and activist partner.  Thank you, again, for your generous support.  You are amazing!

Must-see event!
Later this month on the 26th, we're hosting a great event in Glenwood Springs at the Community Center to mingle and discuss oil & gas activity in the area, as well as talking about the possibility of designating the Crystal River as a Wild and Scenic river!  

The presenters, ending with a final panel discussion, will be reviewing the following topics:     

  • Zane Kessler (Thompson Divide Coalition): Economic Benefits of Existing Uses on Public Lands in the Thompson Divide Area
  • Shane Davis (Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter): The Impacts of Extractive Energy Development on Public Health and the Environment
  • Delia Malone (RMC): Review of the Educational Forum on the Wild & Scenic Designation for the Crystal River
  • Panel Discussion: Where We Need to Go From Here!

Take a look at the details of the event in this newsletter's sidebar, or just RSVP now, and bring a friend!  Your RSVP will help us determine logistics like food and space requirements.  Thank you for your help.

A Fierce Green Fire
Find a date, get your popcorn, sit back, and get invigorated by A Fierce Green Fire!  March 29th, at the Landmark Theater in Denver, you'll see how the Sierra Club has contributed to the environmental movement for decades, among other great topics of this film.  Their press release says:

"The film unfolds in five acts, each with a central story and character:

  • David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon
  • Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal residents’ struggle against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals
  • Paul Watson and Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales and baby harp seals
  • Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubbertappers’ fight to save the Amazon rainforest
  • Bill McKibben and the 25-year effort to address the impossible issue – climate change"

Share this event with your friends on Facebook, and invite your friends to go and watch.

Thank you for all you do!

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

Colorado Legislative Update
By Mary Edwards
Legislative Committee Chair

Mary Coday Edwards
Mary Edwards
 Legislative Committee Chair

Good news! Another bad bill bites the dust! HB13-1018, introduced by Rep. Don Coram of House District 58 and referred to as the “glowing roads” bill at the Capitol, would have allowed for the drilling industry to sell its radioactive blowback water for dust suppression on Colorado’s county roads. Running into problems immediately, it was amended to allow for a task force to study the “beneficial use” of such water – a task force with the deck stacked toward industry. Fortunately, we were able to get this bill and its amended version “postponed indefinitely” before it left Committee, effectively killing the bill for this session. 


Colorado’s Jefferson Parkway one of nation’s worst transportation projects

By Bill Roettker
RMC Transportation Specialist

Parkway GraphicOur Rocky Mountain Chapter has serious concerns about the proposed $813-million Jefferson Parkway project. We distributed a press release earlier this month, stating why the project should be halted. I’ve included a list of media responses to the release at the end of this article.

Any transportation infrastructure built today will be with us for decades. Jefferson Parkway is an example of infrastructure that will not meet the transportation needs of our citizens. It will keep us shackled to the pump and it should not be part of a 21st century transportation system for our community.


Colorado Oil & Gas Roundup

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil and Gas Campaign
Communications Specialist

Oil and Gas Roundup Logo 

Not a day goes by without new surprises in the battle to protect people and places in  Colorado from the expansion of dangerous drilling and fracking practices. 

The latest high-profile example of the lax enforcement of inadequate rules governing the industry in our state came as a well blowout caused a stream of 84,000 gallons of toxic fracking wastewater to spew uncontrolled over a field in Weld County, east of Fort Collins, for almost 30 hours. The company responsible had reported a dozen spills over the preceding 12 months, including a 2,880 gallon spill on January 22 of this year, but had not been fined since 2008.


Sierra Club joins other groups in defending Longmont’s fracking ban and drilling regulations

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil & Gas Campaign Communications Specialist

On Monday, March 11, in the Weld County District Court, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental Law Clinic represented Sierra Club, Our Longmont, Earthworks, and Food and Water Watch in moving to defend Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing and related surface activities against a Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) lawsuit.  As of this writing, the case is in the process of being moved to Boulder County. You can follow the latest news on this and other oil and gas issues on our RMC Facebook Page.

According to Eric E. Huber, Senior Managing Attorney for the Sierra Club Environmental Law Program, “This lawsuit could have a precedential effect throughout Colorado as other communities work to pass similar prohibitions on fracking and the disposal of its waste products within their boundaries."


Legislative Forum addresses high priority environmental bills
By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Oil and gas drilling. Water storage and conservation. Habitat protection. These often-controversial topics took top billing at the Legislative Forum sponsored by Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) and Audubon Colorado held in Denver March 2.

Kirby, Lauren and Hullinghorst.JPG
(L to R) Kirby Hughes, Conservation 
Committee Co-Chair, Lauren Swain, 
Oil & Gas Team Communications Specialist, 
Communications Team Reporter, and
Legislative Committee Member, and
Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Majority Leader
State Representative - District 10, and 
Legislative Forum panelist. 

The Forum attracted more than 70 environmental activists and interested others from around Colorado, with four current state house legislators presenting information about environmental bills being address by the current Colorado Legislature, and a special panel of experts and public officials expressing their views on the contentious issue of fracking and drilling operations expanding across our state.


climate rally foto art sm A.jpg 

On February 17, several hundred people gathered at Denver’s Civic Center Park to demand action on climate change and to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. In solidarity with tens of thousands who gathered in Washington DC, they made their voices heard at the Forward On Climate Rally, sponsored by the Sierra Club, and other environmental organizations.

View the photo gallery...  

Final Fan, by Jim Anderson 
View larger version...

Facebook Photo Contest

Julia Gumper Feb Photo Contest Winner.jpg

Congratulations to Julia Gumper! She  is the winner of our February Facebook Photo Contest.  

Enter our Facebook photo contest!

Did you know that we have a 
monthly photo contest? The theme for the February contest is "Outdoor Adventures."  Submit your best water photo today!  Winner gets a free 2013 Sierra Club photo calendar!  Submit your photo now, and tell your friends to LIKE 

Updated: Volunteer Leadership Openings!


If, after reading through the available roles, you're still unsure of where you might fit in, that's no problem. Just fill out the volunteer interest form on our website at

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Denver Metro Network Leaders

The Denver metro area has the highest density of Sierra Club members in the state, and we're very excited to be working on getting it organized.  If you're interested in helping out with that effort, just send a quick note to Kathleen Butler at:

RMC Roaring Fork Group Leaders

The Roaring Fork Group is looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to help out with fighting oil & gas drilling proposals on the Thompson Divide, west of Carbondale, and south of Glenwood Springs.  You should live within the Roaring Fork Group boundary: Pitkin County, Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley or Fryingpan Valley, or eastern Garfield County.  They're also looking for volunteer leaders interested in helping lead the Group itself.  Get in touch with Maggie Pedersen, RFG Chair, at

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • Colorado legislative update
  • Jefferson Parkway
  • Oil and gas roundup
  • Longmont's fracking ban
  • Legislative forum
  • Climate rally photo gallery
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Facebook photo contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea?
    • Photo Contest! 


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Donate online!

Support the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's Oil & Gas campaign by making a contribution right now.  

We depend on your support to do all of our work! 

Contribute on our secure website today.

Here's a testimonial 
from Robert Eidsmoe,

40-year giver to
Sierra Club! 

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Go Solar!

Sierra Club Solar Homes 2013

If you are the proud owner of a single-family home, and you want to reduce your climate impact, you can install a solar system on your roof!  

Sierra Club RMC parters with Sungevity to employ local, certified solar installers when you want to make a difference for the planet right from your own home.  

Get your free
solar iQuote now!

Sungevity supports Sierra Club with a great contribution with the completion of every installation we refer to them.  

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Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

You can read the current
and previous issues of our printed and e-newsletter
on the Chapter's
newsletter webpage.

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Visit the Chapter's events calendar page to find out about outings, conservation and political activities, and more.

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Join the Sierra Club

Not a Sierra Club member yet? No problem -- just click on the "Join Now!" button to become a member today at just $15!

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Be Social!

Like us on Facebook now!

Become a fan of the
Rocky Mountain Chapter on Facebook to get our latest updates and relevant news, or Meetup to join our latest activities, activism, and advocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

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Must-See Event:
 Protecting Lands and Watersheds from Energy Extraction and Water Diversion

State Excelsior Natural Gas Well, Kalkaska County

RSVP button

WHO: Sierra Club - Roaring Forks Group and Uncompahgre Group (map).

This event will address regional and local concerns for protecting local natural resources. Speakers will include Zane Kessler (Thompson Divide Coalition), Shane Davis (RMC Executive Committee), and Delia Malone (RMC Executive Committee).

The presenters, ending with a final panel discussion and Q&A session, will be reviewing the following topics:

  • Economic benefits of existing uses of public lands in the Thompson Divide area

  • Extractive energy impacts on health and the environment

  • The value of Wild and Scenic designation for the Crystal River

  • Where we need to go from here!

FREE hors d’ouvres, food, and non-alcoholic drinks will be served.

Tuesday, March 26, 5:30 PM to 8:40 PM.

Glenwood Springs Community Center,
100 Wulfsohn Road,
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 (map).
RSVP today! 

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Featured Outings

Hiking at Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Colorado Springs Area

Friday, March 29
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Join the Sierra Club to explore trails within Cheyenne Mountain State Park, south of Colorado Springs.

These trails are splendid! If you have ever been here, you know how good it is. We will meet at the parking lot next to the trailhead.

You are welcome to bring your children, but the state park does not allow dogs. Visit this site for more information about the park.

For more information or to sign up for the hike, please email Bob Wagstaff.


Attention Gay and Lesbian (GLS) Sierrans!

Pawnee National Grasslands Camping and Birding

Weld County

Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5

Gey birders and friends of birders, GLS is holding a Spring birding and camping trip at the Pawnee National Grassland in NE Colorado. The Pawnee is an internationally known birding area. It supports many bird species, including Colorado's state bird, the lark bunting, plus burrowing owls, longspurs, horned larks, a variety of raptors, and many others.
We'll try to spot Spring Migrants and hopefully the elusive "Ghost of the Prairie", the Mountain plover.

There will be a camping fee involved. We are shooting to get a group spot to share ($60) or if you desire your own campsite, it will be around $16 and you will be responsible for reserving the spot (strongly suggested to reserve by March 1).

Please contact Marcia Weaks at no later than April 1 for more information, and so that we can find out how many camp sites to reserve. Please provide your contact number. 

THE "TEN ESSENTIALS" -- The Sierra Club recommends the following be carried at all times when hiking in the backcountry:

Navigation (map and compass);
Fire (matches, lighters, and accelerant);
Signaling Device (whistle or mirror);
Sun Protection (sunglasses and sunscreen);
Insulation (extra clothing);
Nutrition (extra food);
Hydration (extra water and tablets);
Illumination (headlamp or flashlight);
First Aid Kit;
Emergency Shelter (tarp, bivy sack, and tent);
Repair Kit (tools, knife, cord, and tape).

OUR RMC WEBSITE HAS OTHER OUTINGS INFO THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST -- A Sierra Club Sign-In and Liability Waiver form must be signed before participating in outings -- if you desire to review a copy, please contact your trip leader.

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Wish List!

Did your holiday treat you to an upgrade from your old computer? Don't throw it out! The RMC is waiting with open arms to receive your well-loved equipment. As the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure! If you can offer any of the following in working order, we'd be very grateful! Please do not offer anything that will take more time and/or money to repair than if we spent the money to buy it.

-Working desktop or laptop; PC computers with or without functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system, XP preferred.

-Mouse pointers.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Portable projection screen.

Thanks in advance! Contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt right away!

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Story Idea?

If you have a story idea for the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Peak and Prairie, just send a quick email to  

Be sure to get in touch with the Communications Team if you are a RMC volunteer interested in being featured in an article -- we want to let others know the great work you're doing and who you are!

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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.