Read This: Our Most Important Story This Year
Sure, 2007 still has a ways to go, but we've already reached a critical moment in what newly minted Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has called the "moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity." Yes, global warming is a challenge to all of humanity, but meeting it starts with each and every one of us as individuals. And right now, you can do something that will make a huge difference.
The U.S. Congress must pass an energy bill. This time around, though, they have a chance to pass one that actually will make a real difference in stopping global warming. It's simple: We need a bill that raises fuel-efficiency standards while also adopting a renewable electricity standard. Both of these are on the table as the House and Senate work to reconcile their competing versions of the bill. And if we can get both in this bill, we'll eliminate 20 percent of our global warming emissions by 2030 and make significant progress on long-term reductions in global warming pollution.
And get this: Doing your part won't win you any prizes, but it will make America stronger, create jobs, and save you money. Check out our updated "I Want My MPG" calculator to see exactly what a 35-mpg fuel-efficiency standard could save you every year.
Then, tell Congress it's time to "Flip the Switch" by signing our petition to the House and Senate leadership. Because this is one fight we have to win.
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Puerto Rico Protects a Coastal Treasure
Great news: The Governor of Puerto Rico has signed an order to protect the island's Northeast Ecological Corridor. The Sierra Club and allies rallied to save the 3,240-acre corridor from proposed resort developments in what is some of the last untouched coastal habitat remaining on the island and an important nesting site for the leatherback sea turtle.
Congratulations to the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Sierra Club and all Puerto Ricans on this landmark victory.
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Two Major Coal-Plant Victories
Coal-fired power plants are a major source of both conventional air pollution and greenhouse gases. Fortunately, the past couple of weeks have seen good news in the Club's fight to get them cleaned up.
In a case initiated by the Sierra Club in 1999, the Justice Department arrived at a huge, $4.6 billion settlement with American Electric Power, which will now have to clean up some of the country's dirtiest plants. And in Iowa, the Club and other opponents of a massive new coal-fired power plant proposed in the city of Waterloo won a major victory today when the City Development Board refused to rezone the land for the plant as requested by LS Power.
Other states that have rejected new coal plants in favor of cleaner energy options in the past twelve months include Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Idaho, and California.
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The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife are working to halt construction of a wall in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Southern Arizona along the U.S./Mexico border. Construction is currently taking place despite the absence of required environmental impact studies.
The Sierra Club believes that any construction along the border must respect human rights and the environment. The San Pedro River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest, and the border wall threatens the riparian area's ecology.
See a slideshow of the construction for yourself.
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Stop the Nuclear Bailout
Just as there are provisions that we really need in the pending Congressional energy bill, there are also some bad things that must come out. Among the most egregious are massively expensive loan guarantees for the building of many more nuclear power plants.
The Sierra Club supports a just-launched petition campaign at http://www.nukefree.org/. Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Graham Nash, who were among the artists behind the historic "No Nukes" concerts in 1979, will deliver the petition to Congress on October 23. You can sign the petition and watch a musical message featuring them along with Keb' Mo' and Ben Harper.
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