Friday, February 26, 2010

March Appeal letter and Delta Chapter Annual Report released

Haywood R. Martin, Chair
Sierra Club, Delta (Louisiana) Chapter
Lafayette, LA

February 26, 2010

Dear Friends,

The Sierra Club is the oldest environmental organization in the country and justly deserves its reputation for being willing to advocate and fight on issues of global, national and regional importance. Here in Louisiana the Sierra Club Delta Chapter stands up for the health and natural environment of our state and the gulf region by combining our Club’s national resources for information and organization with the efforts of our local volunteers to make a real difference where we live.

Our list of actions this year is extensive. The Delta Chapter and its regional groups have been actively involved on many fronts doing fun things like outings, tree plantings and socials as well as more campaign oriented actions like tabling at events, advocacy in meetings and hearings, letters to the editor and press releases timed to respond to news stories and events. A major effort continues to focus on the climate change issue. Significant victories have been achieved nationally and locally in the campaign to stop construction of new coal fired power plants. In Louisiana plans for new construction or conversion of natural gas to coal fired power were stopped or put on hold at Big Cajun I and II and Little Gypsy.

In other campaign areas an Earthjustice lawsuit on behalf of LEAN and Sierra Club achieved victory in forcing USEPA to promulgate new more restrictive rules for emissions into the air from PVC manufacturing facilities. A settlement was reached in the Enervest case in which Audubon and the Delta Chapter forced a major oilfield pipeline operator to remove mercury flow meters and clean up mercury leakage to the ground and surface water in the northeast part of the state.

After years of effort by the Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program and the Delta Chapter in coalition with adjacent communities and other groups we achieved closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). The MRGO is credited with bringing the Katrina storm surge into the heart of New Orleans, and with causing the destruction of thousands of acres of natural wetlands. In another effort New Orleans group member Barry Kohl and others worked very effectively to achieve an addition of 1,000 acres of cypress swamp to Jean Lafitte Park near New Orleans, advocating for it to be included in congressional legislation despite strong political resistance.
On the legislative front the Delta Chapter is represented by an experienced lobbyist and local volunteers who advocate for good bills in the state legislature and help us to slow down or stop the bad ones. Examples of some of the good bills were the addition of Bayou Manchac to the State Scenic Rivers System and tax credits for residential solar installations. This year we will advocate for legislation to require energy efficiency in operation of state government buildings and motor vehicles and for a comprehensive look at statewide recycling. In April this past year the Delta Chapter coordinated an environmental voter day in Baton Rouge and distributed a revised Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book. We will hold the event again this year on April 21 and all members and interested persons are invited.

Delta Chapter just recently completed the hiring of a Conservation Coordinator, Devin Martin, who will be working on programs that invite membership and volunteer involvement. One such program will be the Water Sentinels citizen volunteer water sampling project on the Bayou Teche. We are planning a citizen water sampler training in Breaux Bridge on April 16 and we are hoping to expand the program to other parts of the state.

These are just a few examples of what we are doing. You can find out more by watching for our quarterly printed newsletters and by visiting the Chapter web site at We also request that you make sure that we have your email address so that you can receive occasional postings on what we are up to. If you are not sure, just send your name and email address to me at and I will check it for you. As always we invite your help and participation in any of our conservation or advocacy programs.

This letter is an appeal to you, our Delta Chapter members to make a contribution that goes directly to the work being done by the Delta Chapter in our state. The funding we receive from the national organization has greatly decreased over the past two years, and is projected to decrease again this year. Once a year, the chapters are authorized by national to make a direct appeal to our members. Your support is extremely important to the work of the Delta Chapter on your behalf. Without your financial support and vote of confidence we would not be able to function.

If you contributed to our March Appeal last year you have our most heartfelt appreciation. A contribution this year will help us to weather the storm of funding cutbacks, and to continue to represent you and your families in protecting the health of our communities and the natural landscape in Louisiana.

Thanks so much for your support, and please feel free to contact me any time at


Haywood R. Martin, Chair
Sierra Club Delta Chapter