Tag Archives: dirty fuels

New Sierra Club Report Reveals Major Potential Sources of Climate Pollution; Highlights Need to Keep Dirty Fuels in the Ground

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449


WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures,a new report released today by the Sierra Club reveals four major potential sources of carbon pollution that, if developed, could dramatically alter the world’s climate. Data shows that the oil, gas and coal from these potential sources, including the Arctic Ocean, the Green River Formation, the Powder River Basin, and the Monterey, San Juan Basin and Marcellus shale plays, have the potential to release billions of tons of new carbon pollution into the atmosphere, more than negating positive climate actions taken by the Obama administration.

“We can’t keep burning fossil fuels and reduce climate pollution at the same time. It’s common sense.” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “As this report demonstrates, real progress to fight climate disruption requires that dirty fuels be kept in the ground.”

As the report details, developing just a fraction of the dirty energy in these major climate disrupters would cancel out the United States’ greatest accomplishments in the fight against climate disruption– efforts like the Obama administration’s new fuel economy standards. Developing just one of these climate disrupters, the Arctic Ocean, for example would result in two-and-a-half times more pollution than would be saved by the new fuel economy standards.

Already, through administrative actions and by doubling down on clean energy, the Obama administration has done more than any other to reduce carbon pollution. For the first time in 20 years, domestic carbon dioxide emissions are decreasing. An effective climate strategy however, requires that these steps be accompanied by efforts to leave dirty fuels in the ground. Several such pragmatic steps are outlined in the report.

The report calls on the Obama administration to consider climate pollution, like other dangerous air and water pollution, before dirty energy projects move forward. It asks the President to close loopholes that allow the fossil fuel industry to benefit at the cost of Americans’ health, environment and future; and it stresses that new energy projects and leasing should be focused on clean, not dirty, energy.

“Whether they are found beneath our public lands or next to our homes and schools, dirty fuels must be kept in the ground.” said Dan Chu, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign. “We should be taking advantage of available clean energy options that will create jobs, protect public health and fight climate disruption.”

Read the full report here.

About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.


Biggest Environmental Issue of Our Generation

As a new Sierra Club intern and engineering student at UT,  I am lucky enough to have the chance to stay well informed about current environmental issues facing our world today. The biggest environmental issue of our generation will be culminating this fall — the proposal by Transcanada to build the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline.

If President Barack Obama allows this proposed pipeline to be built, every single person in Texas will suffer.  Every student at UT, every child entering kindergarden at a Texas elementary this fall, the young, the old, the weird, the rich.  Those around the world have taken notice, including eight nobel laureates that have written to President Barack Obama urging Obama to reject the proposal to build the $7 billion pipeline that spans from Canada to Texas. Over a thousand protesters from all over the nation were arrested in Washington D.C protesting the pipeline, yet looking around my campus of 50,000, how many people know what is being planned without their consent, without their knowledge?

Although this is not strictly a Texas issue, it will effect Texans profoundly. 10-12 million Texas inhabitants who get their drinking water from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer that the pipeline will run over will be at the mercy of a pipeline similar in construction to the Keystone pipeline in Michigan, one that has had 12 spills in one year of operation and has caused 40 miles of the Kalamazoo river to become unusable.

Texas has been plagued by drought and wild fires.  Everyone from Bastrop to Tyler is feeling the hurt of a Texas without water. Can a state with 93% of its counties listed in extreme drought afford to lose any amount of water to an oil pipeline spill?

I as a student will not  let my friends and colleagues remain in the dark about this issue, but everyone in Texas needs to become aware of this proposal. If you respect the student sitting next to you in class, or the woman at your HEB with grocery shopping for her small children, or the men and women who work along side you every day, as fellow human beings capable of great things, you need to inform them about the upcoming proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Once informed about the Keystone XL pipeline it is hard to not to take action.  A fellow UT student of mine, John Richter, has taken a great step forward by creating a great cheat sheet —  http://tarsandsgameover.com. John is a Computer Science major spurred to action after hearing about the Tar Sands.

When I first heard about the Tar Sands, I immediately wanted to go to DC and protest, but I couldn’t afford the flight or miss classes.  So, I did what I could at the time and created a cheat sheet on the tar sands at http://tarsandsgameover.com.

Being in Texas, I’m at the epicenter of where the pipeline fight will play out, and I can make my stand here.  I feel happy that I have this opportunity to work with other students and take a stand.

Time is running out on standing up to Tar Sands, and my generation, and those following that have everything to lose. I encourage everyone, to implore their colleagues, family, and friends to educate themselves on what is going on, and how to take action. Every single person in Texas will be effected by this. An easy way to do your part is to attend a public hearing. Barack Obama will be closely watching the public hearings to see how many attend, especially in Austin, one of his favorite cities.

Please attend the public hearing in Austin this Wednesday. Your attendance will matter.

U.S. Department of State Hearing.  The public is invited to comment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 from 12:00 Noon – 8:00 PM, LBJ Auditorium, University of Texas, Austin, TX.  Free parking. 

Come speak at the hearing.  Attend the press event at 11:30, a rally at 6:30 and/or the bike ride at 8:00.  For more information, contact ian.davis@sierraclub.org or trevor.lovell@gmail.com.

Posted by Kathleen Hetrick, Sierra Club intern

Texas Mobilizing to Stop Oil Pipeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline, if allowed to be constructed, will bring the dirtiest oil (tar sands) from Alberta, Canada to Texas, allowing plenty of room for oil leaks and spills to leach across six states.  Nothing is as frightening as the possibility that the Ogallala Aquifer, a source of drinking water for millions and a major contributor to agricultural irrigation, may be contaminated in the future.  But nothing is more exciting than seeing many Americans band together to stand up to big oil, with hopes that we will finally start the transition to clean and renewable energy.

The Keystone XL pipeline has been in the spotlight, with thousands in Washington D.C. sending a clear message to President Obama; Americans don’t want Canada’s dirty oil to pollute and destroy the homeland. News coverage across the nation and state has shed a limelight on people who believe in a clean future.  Whether big oil likes it or not, there is a shift in American’s view of the industry.

In Houston, things are heating up.  A group of volunteers talked with people of the Manchester community, a neighborhood no more than a block away from several oil refineries.  If the pipeline is constructed, the residents of the area will have even higher levels of pollutants in the air.  They fear that their children will suffer major health complications, ranging from asthma to cancer. Many of the adults and seniors already do, and know that it’s from the smokestacks seen from their porch.

In a recent protest last Sunday, over 30 volunteers came together in a march around the neighborhood, complete with the local jazz group the Free Radicals.  For the young and old alike, it was a moment of solidarity in the struggle for clean energy.  There are hundred of thousands mobilizing all over the U.S. who share your fears, hopes, and dreams.  Leslie Fields, the Sierra Club’s environmental justice director, came all the way from Washington to lend her voice to the community.

Scarlett Russell, an environmentalist aiming to protect this community, is a source of hope for many and a voice given to the people of Manchester.  She organized a team of canvassers and a documentary film crew to spread the word and put a face to those who suffer most from the activities of big oil.  Many have joined her, such as Juan and Bryan Parras of T.E.J.A.S. Barrios, and volunteers from the Sierra Club’s Houston group.

It is vital to keep the pressure on big oil, and on Obama.  Now is the time to come and speak out, to volunteer, or to tell our state and national leaders that we simply have no room for the Keystone XL pipeline in America’s green future.  The hearings in Port Arthur and Austin are extremely important for all those who stand against Keystone XL to attend, and make comments:

Port Arthur – Monday September 26, 2011

4:30 – 10 p.m.

Bob Bowers Civic Center

3401 Cultural Center Drive, Port Arthur, TX, 77642

Austin – Wednesday September 28, 2011

12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

UT Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium

2313 Red River Street, Austin, TX, 78705

– Kat Herrera, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Intern, Houston.