Tag Archives: Natural gas

Keep fracking out of our trade agreements!

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement is a threat to those of us concerned about fracking in Texas and across the country. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign and Labor & Trade program have partnered to call attention to portions of the TPP that will pave the way for more fracking in Texas.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk refuses to acknowledge the concerns of more than 28,000 Americans who signed our petition to call for more environmental and worker protections in the TPP. Tell Ron Kirk that we want responsible, fair trade that doesn’t sacrifice our air and water quality in order to ship natural gas to Pacific Rim nations.


This factsheet provides a good overview of why trade matters to those of us primarily concerned about the environment. Please take a moment to sign and share our petition against expedited fracking and LNG exports.

Feel free to share this link to your anti-fracking networks and to your friends on Facebook: 

For more information on the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade program, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/trade/



Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
David.Cortez (at) SierraClub.org

SAVE THE DATE: September 29th-30th The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is Back!

Renewable Roundup 2012!

At a Glance…

WHAT?!?!: The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is a sustainability symposium centered around green living, alternative energy education, family festivities, and sustainable lifestyle practices for our future. This event wouldn’t be complete without it’s A-list of Guest Speakers, Hands-on Workshops, Eco-friendly Vendors, Progressive Exhibitors, Tasty Food Demonstrators, and Supportive Sponsors.

WHERE?!?!: Fredricksburg, Texas

WHEN?!?!: The last weekend in September. Saturday September 29th 9:00am – 6:00pm and Sunday September 30th 9:00am- 5:00pm

HOW?!?!: For more information on how to get involved with the Roundup as a either a participant or patron, visit http://theroundup.org/.

WHO?!?!: Everyone and anyone is invited! We encourage all individuals and families to come out to this great event looking to learn about sustainable living practices. This event is proudly brought to you by a joint effort from TREIA, Texas Center for Policy Studies, and The Texas Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.

Learn How, Here!

In Depth…


Great News!  The annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will be taking place again this year in the beautiful and historical town Fredericksburg, Texas! Organized by the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, in collaboration with the Texas Center for Policy Studies and the Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club, Renewable Roundup is a collaborative event centered around individuals, organizations, and companies passionate about sustainable living.  The event planning committee is working hard on making this year’s show the best ever. The underlining theme of this weekend event strives to promote cleaner and smarter ways of using our resources while educating the public about “Greener” lifestyles and options. This event serves as both a conference and festival, as it enlightens, entertains, and publicizes those interested in a brighter greener future. We would love to have you at this extraordinary event the 4th weekend in September (Sept. 29 &30). Please check out our website http://www.theroundup.org/ to find out more or contact Event Coordinator Laura Rice at info@theroundup.org.


  • Attend!
  • Apply to be a Guest Speaker
  • Host a workshop the Friday before the gates open on Saturday morning
  • Reserve a booth or exhibit space to advertise and or promote a sustainable idea or product
  • Advertise
  • Sponsor the event
  • Volunteer at the event
  • Come to the VIP kick-off party Friday evening

Can’t Wait to See Everyone There! :)

-Danya Gorel Sierra Club Intern

~Special Thanks to Mentor and Conservation Director Cyrus Reed~

We Won’t Get Fooled Again: How Unfair Trade Threatens Texas’ Environment

Why should any Texas enviro care about trade? Let me tell you a bit about what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, and why you should be concerned as a boot-wearing Southern green activist.

Today through May 18th in Dallas, as negotiators representing nations and corporations from across the world meet behind closed doors for the 12th round of talks on the TPP, a coalition of union members, environmentalists, occupiers, and consumer advocates will be there to shine a light on the backroom deal.

The TPP is a massive, new international trade and investment pact between the United States and countries throughout the Pacific Rim like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, Australia, and eventually Japan.  Instead of being debated out in the open, the TPP has thus far been negotiated in the shadows. Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status to review negotiating documents and advise negotiators.  Meanwhile, the general public has been barred from even reviewing what U.S. negotiators have proposed in our names.

So how does this tie into the Texas environmental community? Texas is home to the Barnett and Eagle Ford shales – some of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. Countries participating in TPP negotiations rely heavily on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), and stand to benefit from provisions in TPP that would open the floodgates for expanded US production and exports of LNG.  In a recent  letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Sierra Club’s natural gas and labor & trade departments urged Kirk to ensure that the TPP does not allow for export of substantially increased quantities of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) without proper analysis and adequate protections for the American public.

Furthermore, we are concerned about language in previous FTAs that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune discussed this issue in a recent blog post citing:

“By the end of 2011, corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill) had brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries. Many of those cases directly targeted environmental and other public interest laws.”

If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come rally and march with us in order to let negotiators know that Texans want fair trade that protects both our environment and workers, and that we won’t get fooled again by bad trade deals.

TPP Out of the Shadows!

Rally and March for Good Jobs, Affordable Medicine & a Healthy Environment

Saturday, May 12 * 1:00pm

Addison Circle Park * 15650 Addison Rd * Addison, TX


Click here to reserve your free seat on a bus from San Antonio or Austin

Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
512-477-6195 (office)

David (dot) Cortez (at) SierraClub (dot) org

Water Under Fire

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote in his Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, “Water, water, every where / nor any drop to drink”. The speaker of the poem, the ancient mariner, is of course talking about a lack of fresh water while out at sea but these words ring eerily true in my mind when learning about the state of our water in the United States. Our great enemy isn’t an undead sea dog like Coleridge imagined but rather man-made pollution.

Water, of course, is the stuff of both evolution and revolution.


Life on this planet, or any planet as far as we know, is not possible without the presence of water. Our search for extraterrestrial life doesn’t begin by analyzing random static in space radio waves but with the exhaustive search for water through careful scientific analysis of the surface of planets and other sizable objects in space (asteroids and moons). Water is universally the great prerequisite of life.


Water is a natural resource that is often barely a blip on our radar of consciousness. We too often seem to take it for granted because it is plentiful and because it is so mundane. However, when the natural world as we know it is turned upside down, people take notice.

We know that water is for putting out fires from the earliest age. A child will put on the iconic firefighter hat and pretend to put out fires. We have our oddly named fire trucks (they’re actually water trucks) and fire hydrants (they’re actually water hydrants) and they are tools used by firefighters (aptly named) to make use of water in putting out fires. But what happens when the resource we use to fight fires is itself able to catch fire?

In 1969 the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, Ohio caught fire and surprisingly, it wasn’t the first time. Due to a build up of oil, urban runoff, and industrial dumping, the Cuyahoga River was able to ignite. Records of the river bursting into flame go back as early as 1868 and it is said to have happened at least thirteen times.

What’s important about the 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire is that the image of one of our nation’s rivers billowing great plumes of smoke into the sky helped to rally the environmental movement in theUnited Stateswhich in turn led to some of the most important environmental legislation and safeguards in our nation’s history. The Clean Water Act was signed within a year of the Cuyahoga River Fire and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency soon followed. The people wanted to protect our nation’s waters and it took a river to catch fire to help raise public awareness.

If you have seen the 2010 documentary Gasland then you know that we are faced a second time with that most surprising of events: flammable water. Gasland documents water pollution across theUnited States as a result of the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, which is a method employed to harvest natural gas from underground shale reserves.

Many of the residents that live in the vicinity of fracked wells report water contamination by natural gas as well as the cocktail of chemicals used in the digging of the well to tap the resource. Some residents break non-disclosure agreements (they are paid for their silence) with the natural gas companies after they settle out of court for damages caused by fracking. Many of the affected people are forced to rely on water that they truck in or on cisterns provided for them by the natural gas companies as a replacement for their now tainted water supplies.

The most shocking aspect of Gasland isn’t that the natural gas companies ruined the water supplies of several communities. As a result of the contamination, several of the residents are able to ignite the water that comes from the taps in their homes.

It is my opinion that Gasland will be to the contemporary public consciousness of environmentalism what theCuyahogaRiver Fire was to the environmental movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Water catching fire is fundamentally backwards and hard to fathom.

If you live in South Texas, you should be aware that, like the places visited in Gasland,South Texas has a large deposit of natural gas called the Eagle Ford Shale Formation. Fracking companies are already hard at work in the surrounding communities doing exploration and digging wells to frack for the plentiful natural gas that is in the ground under our feet. Educate yourself about hydraulic fracturing and take part to support tight regulation of this industry that can harm our communities’ precious drinking water. We rely on it not just for tap water but for the vast agricultural industry that isTexas’ heritage.

For more information visit the Natural Gas portion of the Sierra Club website at http://www.sierraclub.org/naturalgas/ and watch Gasland, available now on DVD.

- Nathaniel Lang, Beyond Coal Intern for the Alamo Group.

What the Frack?: Hydraulic Fracturing 101

Remember reading about the new fracking disclosure bill that was signed or have heard about it, but don’t quite understand what fracking is? Here is a quick and easy visual explanation of the fracking process and how it affects us and our environment.

Fracking is another name for hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of extracting natural gas from the ground. What’s so bad about that? Natural gas is green, right? Well, yes and no. While natural gas may burn slightly cleaner than coal, the extraction process is just as, if not more, harmful to human and environmental health as the extraction and burning of coal.

Why is natural gas extraction so harmful, you ask? Does your tap water do this?

The flaming water is a result of gases and fracking fluids seeping into the water shelf during the process of extracting the natural gas from underground, effectively making its way into the local water systems.

So how does the gas get into the water? Good question.

Source: checksandbalancesproject.org

Beside water being flammable, there are multiple health effects caused by the gases chemicals from the fracking fluids. Theses chemicals and gases are causing  ADHD, autism, diabetes, obesity, early testicular cancer, endometriosis, to name a few.

So, how does this new legislation forcing the gas companies to disclose chemicals contained in the fracking fluids have in impact? For years now, these companies have been able to deny that there are any chemicals that would be harmful to those living in close proximity to the drilling sites. Now that these chemicals are to be exposed, it will be much harder to deny that all of the aforementioned health issues were not a direct result of their extraction practices.

For more in-depth and explicit information about the impact of fracking:

-Jessica Olson, Sierra Club Beyond Coal/ Communications Intern