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Groups Ask Reichert to Vote for WA, Against Upcoming Federal Budget Bill; Cite Bill’s Harm to Washington Residents and Arctic

Bellevue, WA: Representing a broad swath of religious, human services, and environmental groups, speakers gathered in Representative Dave Reichert’s district today to highlight how the Congressional Budget endangers Washington residents and misleads consumers. The groups unanimously called on Reichert to stand up for Washington by voting against the budget when it comes to the House floor next week.

The budget bill contains sweeping provisions that would dramatically cut funds and services used by Washington’s families, students, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.

Conservationists, Governor Share Common Goal of Full Protection of Washington’s Roadless Areas

This is a first step toward achieving comprehensive protection for 2,000,000 acres of roadless forests statewide

Olympia, WA – A broad coalition of statewide conservation, recreation, sportsmen and religious groups applauded Governor Gregoire’s decision today to file a petition under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to amend regulations finalized in May by the Forest Service which effectively repealed protections for nearly 60 million acres of roadless forests.

The APA petition specifically asks the Bush Administration to amend its roadless regulations to allow Governors to retain protections for Roadless forests in their states as provided in the 2001 National Forest Roadless Area Rule without the added cost and effort currently required by the more recent Bush regulations adopted in 2005. An APA petition can be filed by any "interested person" to request promulgation of regulations by an agency of the federal government. The agency is required to respond promptly to any petition but is not required to address it substantively. . "The Governor’s action today shows her strong commitment to restoring protections for more than two million acres of roadless forests in Washington State as provided under the 2001 Roadless Rule," said Tom Uniack, Conservation Director of Washington Wilderness Coalition. "We see the APA petition as an important first step that the Governor can take to restore full protection for our roadless forests."

Sierra Summit

On September 8 – 11, 2005, the Sierra Club held its first ever national convention and exposition in San Francisco, at the Moscone Center. Over 700 delegates participated in the national Sierra Club’s direction setting process and heard the results of the National Purpose, Local Action study that was conducted a couple of years ago. In addition, thousands of people attended workshops, listened to speeches by former Vice President Al Gore and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., among others, and in the Exhibit Hall viewed booths and displays by private companies and groups with excellent environmental products and ideas, and in the Sierra Showcase by Sierra Club activists and leaders.

Oppose Barton's Energy Bill

At a time when America desperately needs to move forward in the battle for clean air, Representative Barton is attempting to take the country backwards. His proposed Energy Bill funnels ever more taxpayer dollars to the oil industry, while eliminating environmental protections on new oil refineries.

Worse yet, this deeply flawed legislation repeals the Clean Air Act's New Source Review program. This program requires older factories, including refineries, to install modern pollution control technology when they make changes that increase pollution. That is why the oil, coal and power companies that own those polluting facilities have been so interested in rewriting the rules.

Protect the National Transit Program

Transportation is intimately linked to air and water quality, land use, and our quality of life. Traffic and air pollution have become too commonplace in American communities. Building large roads in and around towns without properly designing them to fit the existing community is destructive. As Congress prepares to authorize nearly $300 billion in the transportation bill, the stakes are high for communities across the country.

In an effort to appease President Bush's high-donor friends and hasten poorly-planned, large-scale road projects, current proposals would weaken the environmental review process for new, large highways; reduce the frequency and scope of air quality check-ups; remove protections for parks, wetlands and historic sites; and steal funds from the national transit program in a mad grab for even more highway dollars.

Sierra Club Endorses Healthy Indoor Air Initiative 901

The Sierra Club has officially endorsed Washington State’s Initiative 901.

Healthy Indoor Air for All Washington, the initiative’s volunteer-driven supporting organization, aims to change Washington State law to eliminate smoking in indoor public places. This initiative would protect employees, patrons and children from the dangers of secondhand smoke in workplaces and public gathering places.

Scott Otterson, Chapter Political Co-chair commented, "A lot of folks might wonder why the Sierra Club is bothering with a secondhand smoke initiative. Well, you might not think of cigarette smoke in the same way as you think of power plant emissions, but really, they're both dangerous forms of pollution. In the US each year, coal-fired plants cause an estimated 24,000 early deaths. In that same year, secondhand smoke causes 38,000 US deaths."

Density, Parking, and Growth: Can Seattle Get It Right?

Cities like Seattle need to accomodate growth and housing in order to protect rural open space. But how do we do it right and end up with a city that is vibrant, healthy, and environmentally sustainable? Seattle mayor Greg Nickels is pursuing an ambitious agenda to remake South Lake Union, increase building heights and density downtown, and modify zoning and parking policies in neighborhood business districts. The Seattle Group Executive Committee is taking a close look at these proposals to ensure that Seattle grows sustainably.

Sierra Club Applauds Passage of Clean Cars Bill

Demonstrating great leadership and vision, the Washington State Senate passed the Clean Car Bill ESHB 1397 yesterday by a 29 to 19 vote.

"Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown showed extraordinary leadership in passing this legislation," noted Holly Forrest, chair of the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter Legislative Committee. "Senators Erik Poulsen and Phil Rockefeller deserve tremendous credit as well for masterfully steering the bill through the Senate. And in the end, it was a bipartisan bill. Republican Senators Luke Esser, Bill Finkbeiner, and Dave Schmidt really delivered."

Sierra Club Launches Environmental Communities Program

The Sierra Club has launched a new program in East King County. The Building Environmental Communities program is a public education campaign built on grassroots campaign organizing, community outreach, and local visibility efforts.

"The campaign will work toward permanent protection and restoration of the Snoqualmie River Valley," said Shannon Harps, Sierra Club Associate Regional Representative. "The valley is a beautifully forested area encompassing old growth trees, the popular Snoqualmie Falls, and the high ridges of Mt. Washington." The new program will incorporate both social- and action-oriented activities.

Sierra Club Supports I-90 Upgrades

There's one state highway project this year that has the strong support of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. The Washington State Department of Transportation is considering an upgrade to I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass. The requested funds would cover the cost of longer and higher bridges at Gold Creek.

"The new bridges would dramatically improve wildlife connectivity for over 260 species," said Charlie Raines, Chair of the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter Checkerboard Project. "This will strengthen wildlife populations by providing a genetic connection between the north and south Cascades."

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