Dallas Sierra Club
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November, 2010: In This Issue. . .


Sunset Town Hall Meeting - Reform of TCEQ and Railroad Commission - November 8th

Please join North Texas elected state officials for a public dialogue regarding the 2011 Legislative "Sunset" process of two critical agencies that affect environmental regulation: the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas Railroad Commission.

DATE: Monday, November 8th
TIME: Registration: 6:30 pm - Town Hall: 7:00 pm
PLACE: Sheraton Arlington at 1500 Convention Center Rd. (next to the Ballpark - map)

CONFIRMED PANELISTS:
Senator John Carona (Chair – Senate Business & Commerce Committee – Charged w/ Energy Related Issues)
Representative Lon Burnam (Member – Environmental Regulation and Public Safety Committees)
Former TCEQ Commissioner Larry Soward

Moderator: Arlington League of Women Voters

WHAT: Two important agencies: TCEQ, that oversees land, air, and water quality issues, and Texas Railroad Commission, that oversees oil and gas drilling are the focus of this public policy event that will be reformed in 2011. Citizens can learn more about these agencies and how to participate in the Sunset review process - in addition to voicing comments, questions, and concerns to local state officials regarding possible agency reforms in the upcoming legislature. Sunset review only happens once a decade... this is a rare opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue with your officials before they vote on these agencies' futures.

Please limit comments to three (3) minutes so that our panel can address as many as possible. You're welcome to provide legislators with handouts for reference.

SPONSORS: This event is sponsored by the Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT), which is a coalition of over 20 statewide and DFW area environmental, public interest, consumer rights and religious organizations. Including: Dallas & Fort Worth Sierra Club; Arlington, Dallas & Richardson League of Women Voters; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Interfaith Environmental Alliance; TX Public Citizen; Texas Campaign for the Environment.

Questions: Rita Beving 214-557-2271 or Peter Wilson 214-454-6879


Notes from the Chair

Dallas Sierra Club Needs You
As the last two months of 2010 begin, your Dallas Sierra Club is moving forward to make our group the best ever. From our leadership at regional EPA hearings and TCEQ sunset proceedings to the most successful outings program in the State of Texas, these dedicated volunteers continue to find new ways to protect and enjoy the natural world.

With the year coming to an end, opportunities exist for our regular membership to move into that stellar leadership. For those interested, I anticipate two openings on the Executive Committee along with the need for a new membership chair. While all these positions require dedication to the club's goal of "explore, enjoy, and protect," they do not require a large time commitment, just a passion for the outdoors and a willingness to contribute.

A nominating committee is being formed at this time, so all persons with interest should contact me at wendel@dallassierraclub.org. I will be glad to answer any specific questions about the available positions.

For those of you who have not served in the past and also any past leaders ready to re-join the Dallas decision makers, it will be the best way to start the New Year.

Your Dallas Chair,
Wendel Withrow


General Meeting Program - November 9, 7:00 pm - Refreshments at 6:30

Wind River Mountains
Our November program will be presented by Bill Greer, Dallas Group Outings chair and long time hike leader. In August of this year he and 4 other Dallas Sierra Club members visited Wyoming's Wind River Mountains for a 9 day backpack trip. One of the goals of their hike was to visit the source of the Wind River MountainsGreen River, at the foot of Stroud Glacier above Peak Lake. They planned to be in the mountains for the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. For our November program bill will try to give you an idea what this hike was like.

The "Winds" are very different from most other North American mountain ranges. Instead of a folded mountain range like many in the Rockies, or a volcanic range like the eastern Weminuche we visit on our bus trip, the Winds are a granite batholith, a solid block of granite formed deep in the earth but now uplifted to form mountains. Recent (at least in geologic terms) glaciers have left vast expanses of polished granite and literally thousands of lakes. Some are small potholes such as you see in the San Juan Mountains. Some are almost inland seas over a mile long. There are lakes half a mile long that don't even have names.

Most of the Winds are protected as Wilderness. The hike featured in our November program was in the Bridger Wilderness on the west side of the Divide. The group started at Elkhart Park, spent 3 nights at Peak Lake, and hiked out through the Green River Canyon. There is no easy way to get to Peak Lake. They arrived via Shannon Pass and left via Cube Rock Pass. Both of these passes are adventures in themselves.

This hike was planned to give plenty of time to "sniff the flowers" and take pictures. The Winds delivered plenty of scenery worth taking pictures of. Come to our November meeting and see the results!


Sierra Club Calendars

Get your new 2011 Sierra Club calendars at the General Meeting.  We'll also have them at the December meeting and at the Holiday Party.  Support the Dallas Sierra Club - buy your calendars from us. (cash or check only please)

Visit our website for complete information about our General Meeting, including a map.


Dallas Sierra Club Annual Holiday Party, Sunday December 12, 6:00 pm

HollyHollyAll Sierra Club members, friends, and their guests are invited to our annual holiday party at Winfrey Point located on White Rock Lake.  This year's party will feature a wine tasting contest, dinner, music, and prizes.  Everyone is invited to bring either their favorite bottle of wine for the wine tasting.  The dinner is pot luck, so bring a covered dish to share. Also help us save on paper plates and plastic cups by bringing your own plate, glass (and wine glass), silverware and napkin.  Great prizes (well, maybe pretty good prizes) will be awarded to those bringing the best organic wine, the bottle with the most original holiday label, and other surprise categories.  Tickets are $10 per person at the door.  Need directions?  Here is a Google map.


Outings Highlights - Big Bend Trip Deadline November 8

Annual Thanksgiving Holiday Bus Trip to Big Bend National Park - November 24-29
Big Bend NP - South RimNote: Deadline for signup is Monday, November 8. Call the trip coordinator, Liz Wheelan, at 214-368-2306 if you want to sign up.
The Dallas Sierra Club is excited to announce that our annual bus trip to Big Bend National Park is ready for boarding (well, almost). The Dallas Group has been going to Big Bend every Thanksgiving Day holiday for over 30 years. With that kind of record, you know we must think it is a very special place. Our chartered sleeper bus leaves Dallas on Wednesday, November 24 and returns early on Monday, November 29 While in Big Bend, you will have the opportunity to participate in one of our fabulous hikes. We have trips planned for the magnificent desert and mesa in the western end of the park. We also have hikes to explore the many wonders of the park's interior mountains and desert. If you've never been to Big Bend National Park, you owe it to yourself to discover this unique part of Texas. If you've been before, come on back and explore another area! For full details about the trip, please read the trip description (PDF document). To sign up, download and print the information file, fill in the forms, and send them with your check to the address provided. Trip coordinator: Liz Wheelan 214-368-2306 h

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.


The Outings Corner

Fatal Accident on Crestone Needle
by Cy Crantrell

Many of us heard about the accident on Crestone Needle, Colorado last August that claimed the lives of two experienced mountaineers, Duane and Linda Buhrmester. Media accounts of this accident did not provide enough detail for those of us who regularly visit above timberline to learn how we, and those whom we lead, can improve our safety odds in our wilderness adventures. The bottom line is that scree slopes can be dangerous, even for those of us who never engage in technical climbing.

The most complete analysis of the accident is contained in a Web posting by the Buhrmester's older son, Michael, who is also an accomplished climber and mountaineer. According to Michael's summary of what he learned from Custer County Search and Rescue, Duane and Linda were completely buried by an apparent debris flow in an area of talus and scree near the base of the Crestone Needle, not far from their tent. Contrary to media accounts, they did not fall during a technical part of the climb. Instead, the facts that they were found wearing their hiking boots instead of their rock shoes and that they were carrying their rope in a mountaineer's coil suggest that they were unexpectedly engulfed by a large amount of moving scree and talus in non-technical terrain.

The rule of thumb is that scree consists of rocks up to roughly the size of your fist that have fallen from a mountain and accumulated in a gully. Anything that has fallen off a steep slope or cliff and is head-size or larger is talus.

Those of us who have ventured near the tops of long scree gullies know that substantial amounts of scree may slump under our feet. As long as the slump does not grow into a cascade, we can descend quickly and, usually, safely. I have had some narrow escapes near the tops of gullies that end high on a ridge of a fourteener. Scree that is lubricated and destabilized by water can be especially treacherous. The water may come from copious snowmelt as well as a hard rain. Even on dry days, rocks may spontaneously fall from loose areas high in gullies.

Some visual clues can help you assess the safety of a debris slope. From a distance, see whether the debris includes areas that look as if a giant glob of thick batter has flowed down the slope. If so, the debris slope has probably undergone large-scale movement recently. If there is no vegetation growing among the rocks, and you cannot see any lichen on the larger rocks, that is additional evidence that the material on the slope moves frequently. Above all, stop and listen for falling rocks for a few minutes, and use some common sense as you descend. If the material on the slope slumps alarmingly under your feet, stay at the edges, near sold rock. And, given that even superb mountaineers may misjudge the safety of a scree slope, it might be best to sit out a downpour rather than try to "scree down" quickly. You don't want to get to the bottom too fast.


Recycling Round-Up
by Rita Raccoon

Recent Recycling News - November 2010

Mesquite Recycles Day- November 13, 2010
Mesquite Recycles Day, in conjunction with Texas Recycles Day, will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 8am to noon in the front parking lot of Poteet High School. Poteet High School is located at 3300 Poteet Drive. Vehicles will enter the event through the front entrance on Galloway. This FREE service is ONLY provided to Mesquite residents.

The following list of items will be accepted:
• Gently used eye glasses
• Gently used books, magazines, videos, DVDs, CDs, and Books on Tape
• Used cellular phones, cellular phone batteries and accessories, used laser and ink jet printer cartridges, and used rechargeable batteries
• Gently used clothing, handbags, linens, and towels
• Gently used toys and children's items
• Tires and used appliances
• E-waste (computers, monitors, television, printers, any electronic device)

A document destruction truck will also be available on site. Shredding will be done off-site through Greenstar Security Destruction, a NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) certified company. Please log on to http://www.greenstar-na.com/index.cfm?pageID=106. for more information on the document destruction process. If needed, you can receive a document of destruction after the event.

MyCall2Recycle Makes History
Recycling rechargeables is easy with over 30,000 locations across the U.S. that accept them.

Grab today's to-do list and check out your top five items. Buy bananas? Check. Hit the gym? Check. Watch the latest episode of Glee? Check. Recycle rechargeable batteries? Perhaps not.

Recycling these reusable power packs may not be on the top of your to-do list, but a recent campaign by Call2Recycle proved it's a high priority for environmental enthusiasts across the country.

From July to October, the organization, which offers the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling service in North America, challenged consumers to recycle 1 million pounds of batteries in three months through its MyCall2Recycle campaign.

"There's so much green clutter out there," says Dana Barka, senior manager, marketing communications, for Call2Recycle. "We couldn't just be another person saying ‘you can recycle this.' We wanted people to feel like they were a part of something."

And indeed, people became a "part" of something.

Hitting the road
During the campaign, Call2Recycle drove across North America, hosting local collection drives to raise awareness of their free rechargeable battery recycling service.

Stopping in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Diego and Toronto, the events drew thousands of people looking to recycle their batteries. Atlanta's constituents topped all other markets by recycling more than 63,000 pounds.

"It was pretty exciting because we had the four partners: DeWalt, Lowe's, Staples and RadioShack," says Barka. "Four out of our five collection drives were held at Lowe's locations, so we got to speak to customers who already shop at there about how they can recycle there as well."

Turnout was impressive at the events. "During the collection drive, we talked to over 3,000 people about battery recycling. So yeah, it was pretty rewarding to see people responding."

For Barka, seeing consumers' desire to recycle, but uncertainty about how to do so, gave her and the Call2Recycle team additional motivation to continue their quest to recycle 1 million pounds of batteries.

"Some people had never recycled batteries before, but they were holding onto them because they knew they shouldn't be thrown away," she adds.

Home run
The Call2Recycle team made five stops around North America to promote battery recycling. Photo: Call2Recycle

According to Barka, their Canadian collection drive in Toronto garnered the most overwhelming response, where they nabbed more than 5,000 pounds of batteries from fans who came out to meet hockey legend Guy Lafleur or attend a baseball game later on that day.

"There was a little contest where you couldn't meet Guy unless you brought batteries – people were bringing them in by the truckloads," Barka recalls. "I had never seen anything like it. There were people lined up when we arrived two hours early."

The crowd was an anomaly, according to Barka. "You couldn't do that stateside. I don't know who would draw a crowd like that. Maybe Lady Gaga?" she laughs.

Another exciting aspect of the collection drives was the enthusiasm the Call2Recycle team saw from the younger set. The final U.S. stop on the collection drive was at Poway High School, just outside of San Diego.

"We just learned about how passionate students can be. The students at Poway High School have a robotics team who brought their robots out to the event," Barka says. "And they filled up boxes and boxes of batteries just from their team."

For such a small item, the energy was high from students who wanted to make a difference. "I mean it's just batteries, who cares? But they do. They were awesome," she says.

And the Results Are…
According to Barka, the organization collected more than 1,165,000 pounds of batteries in the U.S. for recycling during the campaign.

"We really appreciate anyone who brought any kind of battery or cell phone. Every battery and cell phone helped us to surpass our million pound goal," Barka says.

If you missed the MyCall2Recycle collection drive but have rechargeables that are ready to be recycled, add "find one of Call2Recycle's 30,000 recycling locations" to your to-do list. Recycling these little items can make a surprisingly huge difference. To find a Call2Recycle battery and cell phone collection site near you, visit Call2Recycle.org and enter your zip code into the site locator.

Plano Hospital Goes Green
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano's aggressive efforts to go green were rewarded last month with the Stupendous Recycling Service award from the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association.

For the past two decades, global warming alerts have spawned the trend of moving toward a more environment-conscious society. As part of this movement, individuals, families and businesses have taken part in the efforts by "going green."

The city of Plano was recognized in its efforts earlier this year, and now THPHP is following in its footsteps. The hospital put together its Go Green Committee, an employee-led 30-member task force, to create aggressive recycling initiatives that resulted in 21 percent of all hospital waste being recycled, which represented a 12 percent increase in the amount of trash recycled over the previous year.

"Texas Health Plano produces between 60 and 100 tons of trash every month, and we feel a sense of responsibility to the community to reduce our carbon footprint," said Taffi Marchand, R.N., a nurse in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and co-chair of the Go Green Committee. "It took a team effort to change the amount of trash we recycled on a regular basis. We couldn't have done it without the overwhelming support of our coworkers and their participation in the program."
The committee educated THPHP employees about the importance of recycling and identifying recyclable materials, in addition to providing receptacles for recyclable waste in each workstation. They also recruited what they called "champions" in many of the hospital departments to make rounds and encourage participation.

Dr. Jeffrey Canose, president of Texas Health Plano, is proud of the way his employees embraced this important initiative and the "stellar efforts" they put forth to create a positive impact for the environment.

"The results the Go Green Committee and our hospital have produced are proof positive that we are making great strides toward reducing our carbon footprint," Canose said. "Everyone who made a conscious effort to recycle deserves credit for ensuring the hospital's success. We look forward to increasing the amount of trash we recycle in the future."
In addition to paper, plastics, aluminum and glass, Texas Health Plano began recycling batteries, cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as cooking oil, compact fluorescent light bulbs and toner cartridges.

The Go Green Committee's ultimate goal is to recycle as much as 35 percent of the hospital's annual waste.

Cathy Bohrer, director of laboratory services at Texas Health Plano and co-chair of the Go Green Committee, said this award helps motivate the employees at the hospital to push harder.
"It gives us a lot of momentum," Bohrer said. "Before we started the Go Green Committee in 2009, there wasn't a formalized process for recycling trash."

Bohrer explained that they began by educating people on the importance of recycling and what materials can be recycled, in addition to providing receptacles in each department for recyclable trash.

"Looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint just feels like the right thing to do," Bohrer said

LOCAL SITE FOR RECYCLING INFORMATION
http://www.timetorecycle.com/

This is the regional recycling site noteworthy for featuring residential recycling, recycling locations, where to buy recycled, composting corner, and games.

Close the Loop...Buy Recycled!
Buy Recycled at Home

Recycled materials are not truly recycled until we reuse them. The materials that we recycle do not truly benefit the environment until a demand is created for them. You can increase the demand by using your purchase power. Be an environmental shopper!

Most importantly, buying recycled turns waste into a useful resource for making other products and diverts waste from our landfills. So close the loop and buy recycled!

What Consumers Should Look For:
Check for the recycle symbol on the following products:
• Cereal, cookie, and cracker packages
• Canned foods and beverages
• Detergent and cleaning supply containers
• Glass containers
• Shampoo and beauty products
• Paper towels and bathroom tissue
• Writing paper, notepads, greeting cards, and stationary
• Carpeting
• Tools
• Plastic flower pots, trash cans, bins, and fencing
• Packing boxes
• Re-refined motor oil
• Retread tires
• Automotive batteries
• Insulation in ski jackets, gloves, and sleeping bags made from recycled PET bottles.

Definitions of Terms on Product Packaging
Here are a few terms you may encounter on product packaging:

Pre-consumer waste: This includes the paper scraps, overruns, and misprints from the manufacturer. These fibers are reused to produce new paper. It does not include any material from household or commercial recycling programs.

Post-consumer waste: These materials have all been produced, sold consumed, and collected. Anything you recycle at home or at work is included in this category. Using these materials helps promote recycling programs by creating a market for our recyclables. In order for recycling programs to continue, we as consumers must purchase products with at least some post-consumer waste.

Recyclable: The word "recyclable" simply means that the product can be recycled. If you see this on packaging, it does not mean that the product is made of recycled materials.


Calendar

Here is our calendar for the next two months. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org

NOV 9 (TUE) DALLAS SIERRA CLUB GENERAL MEETING Everyone is invited to the General Meeting of the Dallas Sierra Club. See above for details.

NOV 13 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

NOV 13 (SAT) LOBBY TRAINING IN AUSTIN  The legislature is rolling up in January. Learn how to lobby from 9-5 at the LCRA Dalchau Service Center at 3505 Montopolis in Austin 78744. Preregistation: $25. Walk-in Registration: $35 For more information or to register, go to texas.sierraclub.org. Sponsored by the Lone Star Chapter of Sierra Club, 512-477-1729.

NOV 17 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

NOV 20 (SAT) DAY HIKE ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL IN PLANO Day Hike on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. Meet at 9:30 AM in front of the Starbucks/Barnes Noble (north side of 15th just west of US 75). We will walk 5-6 miles on a paved path. Bring water. No reservations, just show up. Optional lunch afterwards. Leader: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H)

NOV 24-29 (WED-MON) BUS TRIP TO BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK --> CALL NOW, RESERVATIONS CLOSING <-- NEW TRIP 2 ADDED. The Dallas Sierra Club Thanksgiving Holiday tradition continues with our annual bus trip to Big Bend. There will be a variety of hikes that will visit different parts of this very scenic National Park. If you've never been to Big Bend National Park, you owe it to yourself to discover this unique part of Texas. If you've been before, come on back and explore another area! Our chartered sleeper bus leaves Dallas around dinner time Wednesday and returns early morning on Monday. Some backpacking experience is required. Click here for complete trip details. Bus trip leader: Liz Wheelan 214-368-2306(H)

NOV 30 (TUE) LOBBY TRAINING IN FORT WORTH  This 2-hour training will be from 7-9 pm at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd at University Drive, just north of I-30. The session will be in the Azalea Room. Featured speakers are Ken Kramer of Sierra Club/Tom "Smitty" Smith of Public Citizen. Admission: Free. For more information, email DeWayne Quertermous. Sponsored by the Fort Worth Sierra Club.

DEC 11 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

DEC 15-16 (WED-THU) SUNSET TESTIMONY ON TCEQ AND RAILROAD COMMISSION IN AUSTIN  The state environmental agency is up for review. If you’ve had enough of the lax enforcement, the permitting, the lack of pubic support by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, then you will want to testify down at the state capital in Austin. To learn more, go to www.acttexas.org for times. Testimony continues on December 16th.

The Dallas Sierra Club News e-newsletter, sent monthly (and occasional for late-breaking news or events), keeps you up-to-date on meetings, activities, issues and special events.
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