ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHAPTER EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
HOSTED BY THE RACHEL CARSON GROUP
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Attendance: Greg Casini, Rich Levy TLG, Eric Rechel UNG, Adriana Raudzens staff,
Roger Wendel, Ed Lambert MEG, Kathy Glatz AL, Steve Welter IPG, Don Thompson,
Jim Lockhart PPG, Don Teronde SPG, Anne Cain AL, Randy Will EMG, Judy Johnson
RCG, Dan Bihn PCG, Susan LeFever staff, Dan Disner staff, Diane Uren EMG, Tony
Ruckel AL, Larry Skiffington AL, Todd Chamberlin AL, Myrna Poticha AL
Corrections and Approval of January 2003 ExCom - MSP
REPORT ON ONLINE POLLS – GREG CASINI
AdminCom Poll 2004-1:
The Administrative Committee approved a request by the South Platte Group to
make an endorsement in a special district election where the election boundary
overlaps with the High Plains Group territory. Our political endorsement
process requires endorsement by both group excoms in a situation like this, but
the HPG is not viable at this time (there is no HPG ExCom), so the SPG sought
permission to allow endorsement to be triggered by a vote of just the SPG
For information contact:
Charlie Oriez, SPG Political Chair
ExCom Poll 2004-1:
The Rocky Mountain Chapter Executive Committee has voted by the required two-
thirds majority to endorse Diana DeGette for US Congress in CD1 and Mark Udall
for US Congress in CD2.
Cain, Skiffington, Ruckel, Glatz, Chamberlin, Poticha, SdCG (Bobyn), EMG
(Jarboe), UG (Rechel), PCG (Bihn), BRG (Steigelmeier), IPG (Welter), MEG
(Lambert), PPG (Bryan), RCG (Johnson), TLG (Levy), SPG (TeRonde).
Not Voting: WG (Zwierzycki)
Modification and Approval of Agenda
Add Item 4A – create election action committee and approve Gayle and Deb co-
SESSION I – UPDATES
Office Update - Susan LeFever
The Chapter has hired a fund-raiser, Cindy Nelson who starts 4/19. She was
working for American Solar Energy. Her title is development associate. She is
not responsible for all fundraising – She will concentrate her efforts in three
1st - sponsors and maybe big gifts for auction
2nd - working with major donors
3rd – grants We have one this year (Adriana) and we want more grants.
We are hiring an organizer to work in Pueblo for 2 months. The job announcement
has gone out. The position is for 8 weeks and pays $450 per week.
Blue sheet status was brought up and Dan Disner stated that all loose ends were
in the process of being tied up w/groups and National.
Internal on-line Leader Directory update and instructions are being finalized by
Earth day is coming up we don’t have any special plans. Adriana is doing some
tabling. National has some good materials if anyone needs them for their own
events or adctivities. These are available at Club House to order or printout.
The Chapter is trying to get Carl Pope to town the week of June 15. We are
trying to pin him down to interact with the community (Colorado/local).
Susan handed out report from John Rosapepe who organized successful turnout at
EPA mercury hearings. Also showed windfarm and Tour d’pollution cards from JR.
Legislative Update – Susan LeFever
The renewable energy standard legislation has been our priority. The bill we
thought was going through was withdrawn after Sen. Entz amended it to allow
hydro-electric to account for an unlimited percentage of the required renewable.
This would have meant that no other sources would be developed because existing
hydro would easily meet the standard.
Susan explained that Spradly tacked something onto Philips’ bill that
resurrected the legislation. This is a good time to write to senators to support
changes to SB168 – swing votes are Senators Entz, Teck, Takis, Nichol, Hagadorn
– we only need to swing one of them
Rich Levy asks – what about referendum?
Susan explains that the process is under way, wording has been submitted for a
six different versions so we can pick the one we want when and if the time
comes to go that route, and that the process will be ready should legislation
Farm Bureau is spending $5000 on radio ads asking Entz why he didn’t support the
legislation – Lou Entz told us he’d vote for it but the opposition asked him to
add the bad wording and he did that too (Susan explaining Entz’s attempts to
please both sides).
Don TeRonde – Rural electrics are against it
SL - so we’ve excluded them from the requirements of the bill because it would
Polling is being done right now to see where the public is on this issue.
Agriculture will support this only with some biomass included
Anne Cain says it’s too broad regarding biomass
SL says “then tighten it up” and will send them to Anne for tightening up
The strategy is to scare Senate with the threat of a referendum that appears to
have public support.
Political Update – Susan LeFever
National SC is working on U.S. presidential race endorsement. Until then we
can’t, in the name of the SC, advocate for or against any presidential
candidate. We can dis Bush policies as bad on this and that but we have to wait
for an endorsement from National to actually advocate voting against him or for
The Chapter political committee has sent forth endorsement for Udall and DeGette
and sent out questionnaires.
Groups should be thinking about local endorsements – these are legally tricky
areas – look at political guidelines in Clubhouse – call Susan Kimbler or Susan
LeFever to be sure you’re following rules that will help keep us out of trouble
– especially if money is spent – so be sure to clear expenditure of money in
Finally – regarding the new election action committee – we’re looking for them
to do 3 trainings around the state but no schedule has yet been established.
Susan handed out list of 14 things you can do between now and November.
RTD Fastracks Update –Adriana Raudzens
At the last excom meeting, we endorsed FasTracks. Now DRCOG (Denver Regional
Council of Governments) is reviewing the plan. We brought 2000 citizen-signed
cards to DRCOG's public meeting. 200 people attended. We had excellent press.
In February I worked with local groups to put together FasTracks workshops.
Thank you to the Groups that participated! IPG hosted Alternatives to Sprawl, a
2 hour event that lasted 3 hours because of excellent Q&A. A New Transportation
website is up and running. I'll be sending out bi-weekly e-updates with info on
FasTracks, local and
national transit issues, volunteer opportunities. The emails will direct readers
through a link to the webpage. E-updates will go to the entire leaders list.
Let me know about events that are happening in your area so we can keep our
Summer events List up-to-date. This list will go on to the website. We have
available FasTracks materials that are educational, including a video and
bookmarks. We have 800 ookmarks if anyone wants them. There'll be a FasTracks
Speaker’s bureau training on the 14th of April.
We need to get FasTracks on the ballot. May first we will have petitions in our
We need to gather 60,000 signatures through volunteer efforts alone, that means
15,000 signatures per week. Sierra Club is a big volunteer group and we want to
do a huge share of the petition work. We want to provide 200 people who will be
team 100 members.
Team 100 members will spend about four hours of time at a table or event
collecting signatures. Team 12 are people who agree to get 12 signatures.
Volunteer today by filling out the volunteer form on the handout, or contact
The next e-update will contain talking points on FasTracks.
To sign a petition you need to be in the RTD area. There will be an explanation
the petition packet. We will have booths at Cinco de Mayo, Peoples fair,
Boulder Creek fest. We will gather signatures May 1 to June 7. We can go
further if we need to,
but we want to be the first initiative to turn in the signatures.
Reminder: June 16, Red Sox vs. Rockies event with RMC.
Chapter Strategic Plan – Greg Casini
Last meeting we did a strategic plan.
We are hoping to condense 6 areas into four areas
2004 Rocky Mountain Chapter Strategic Plan
Goals & Objectives
PRIORITY 1: Plan for More Effective RMC Leader Communication
To enhance the Chapter’s ability to communicate important information to group
leaders and allow group leaders to better understand what issues are being
addressed by Chapter committees and by other groups. To allow for more effective
communication between group and chapter leaders that live far apart or have
difficulty getting away from home in the evenings because of children. To allow
Groups to communicate their activities, events, and priorities to the Chapter
and other Group leaders. Steve Welter
1. Develop the Chapter Website as a Central Source of Leader Information
2. Develop better teleconferencing and instant messaging procedures for long
3. Provide Chapter support for Group websites
PRIORITY 2: Training and Mentoring
To provide leaders and potential leaders with the skills and information they
need to be effective. To encourage volunteers to become leaders. Diane Uren
1. Provide consistent source of basic task descriptions on chapter website
2. Provide training and mentoring for current leaders
3. Establish resource coordinator to point groups to information
4. Offer in-person training to group officers in conjunction with July Chapter
5. Establish a list of mentors, especially on administrative matters
6. Create and distribute CD of basic documents (including leader directory) in
response to training needs
PRIORITY 3: Group Membership Development Plans (resources)
To develop new leaders, expand membership participation, and improve office
communication. Rich Levy
1. Improve Internet Resources for Volunteer Leaders
2. Increase the Use of Listserves
3. Revive the Chapter Retreat to develop new leaders
4. Review Existing Group Boundaries to ensure member participation and
representation Charlie Oriez
5. Develop Leader Tool Kit
Priority 4: Youth Outreach
To engage more young people in our activities, and increase their interest in
the environment. Todd Chamberlain
1. Establish RMC youth committee
2. Form one new Sierra Student Coalition in Colorado
3. Have Regular Articles about Youth in the Peak and Prairie
4. Hire a Youth Outreach intern
5. Organize Special Youth activities such as a youth get out the vote, and a
winter retreat and celebration
Priority 5: PR/Marketing
To increase visibility on our issues to target audiences Merge this into 1st
1. Establish a Chapter Marketing Committee with experienced volunteers
2. Create a listing of state newspapers with calendar sections and contact
3. Put “How to write a Letter to Editor” on Website and Leader Resources
4. Develop a listing of Letter to Editor opportunities in Colorado
5. Create a document on “How to write a press release”
6. Request National Media Training
Priority 6: Outreach to Specific Potential Allies Merge this into other
1. Encourage Groups and Committees to form Coalitions by providing resources on
how to create, build and nurture coalitions.
Chapter Website Improvements
The Chapter Website needs to refocus as a tool for engaging members and
activist. It will play an important role in each of our priority areas.
Lead – Chapter IT Committee for Structure and ideas, Greg, Rich Levy and Staff
for Content, Youth Committee for Youth Page
Createa section of the Website for leader and volunteer resources:
a. Updated Leader List – Dan Disner
b. Volunteer Job Descriptions
c. Training Opportunities
d. Training and Mentoring Resources – Diane Uren, Kirk Cunningham
e. Issue information and Position Statements
f. Leader Toolkit
Recruiting and nurturing volunteers
Holding press conferences, writing press releases
How to write an LTE and where to send it
Tips for teleconferencing
Forming and building Coalitions
Using the Chapter Web Calendar
How to Hold a House Party to recruit volunteers – Judy Johnson and
g. (New Idea – Youth Webpage??)
Set up a system so that volunteer forms are automatically sent to the
appropriate chapter and group leaders, and a response letter goes to each
volunteer automatically. – Charlie O.
Increase the Use of Teleconferencing and Instant Messaging – Dan Bihn, Susan
Investigate current Club resources for teleconferencing (both paid and
free) and how it can be implemented (Dan Bihn and Susan L).
Investigate options for Instant Messaging and how it can be implemented
Set up teleconference meeting between group members to discuss what’s
been learned and decide on recommendations. (Dan Bihn)
Provide Chapter Support for Group Websites – IT Committee
Determine which groups need assistance and what type of assistance is
needed (IT Committee)
Use Chapter volunteer resources find webmasters for groups. Webmasters
need not be from the group area. (Dan Disner will offer the assistance of
the IT committee)
Encourage group webmasters to utilize national resources and training.
Increase the Use of Listserves
Write Articles about listserves in Peak and Prairie – Charlie O.
Lead – Diane Uren
Hold a one-day Basic Training at the July ExCom Meeting – JoLynn find space,
Diane, Greg, Susan, Dan plan training
Have one-hour trainings at subsequent ExCom meetings
Provide CD Rom of basic info and materials to duplicate the website
Request National Media Training
Develop a list of training needs from Survey– Rich Levy
Hold a Chapter retreat (or mini-retreats) that are geared toward member
development and offer time for individual groups to get together, develop plans
and strategies, and touch base with other groups.
Establish a Chapter Retreat Committee to plan a retreat in 2004 - ExCom
Create a retreat that will target new and potential leaders and provide them
with the skills and information they need to be effective.
Consider Mini Retreats by topic area, such as the successful Energy
Review Group Boundaries to maximize member service and participation –
Create a Marketing Committee with experienced volunteers – ExCom
Establish and approve RMC youth committee – ExCom
ID existing SSCs in Colorado – Kathy Glatz
Research SSC resources from national SC and national SSC – Todd C
Draft P&P newsletter article about the youth committee – Greg C
Include "youth outreach" into RMC plans and activities -
Hire a Youth Outreach intern – Susan with approval from ExCom or John Wade
Organize a youth retreat for August – Eric R.
Organize a youth get out the vote this fall – Todd C.
Organize a winter retreat and celebration - Intern
Dan has been working with IT committee to bring new ideas to the Website. A
fellow from Dean for America offered some ideas about content management making
it easier for people to update the website on their own. And it would have old
news deleted from the website. Make it easier to add content to the website.
We’ll have a demo in the next week or so. Make this easier for non-techies.
Still have control of the message
Steve Welter – Develop teleconferencing and instant messaging. Go through the
Chapter office to use the system to get set up to use the teleconference.
Groups and individuals will have access to a system to which individuals pay
their own way.
Would like to have leader training in July for Steamboat Springs ExComm
meeting. Stay in Steamboat Springs 2 days. It will be the one after July 4th.
Need to define the parameters of this, and figure out how much space we need.
We need to design a program to provide for follow up at the retreat to bring in
Q. Would we condense the ExComm meeting?
A. We would do whatever work is needed.
People want to do 3 days. Maybe a week!
Resource wise, the group is not there this time of year. We need help from
People support and we will go forward.
We would want to have the leader toolkit organized by then
Youth Outreach. We need more volunteers. We have 2 right now.
If you know anybody who would be interested in helping let Todd know.
Have talked to a few people in the Student Coalition, but they are ending next
Todd can think about a youth component to the retreat.
Q Have you contacted high schools? There are training retreats all summer. That
can set us up for the fall. 2 college, 4 high school.
SESSION II – CONSERVATION MATTERS I
Policy statement on Rocky Flats NWF recreational access –Kirk Cunningham
Bill Kossak Chair of Rocky Flats – Kirk Cunningham Conservation Chair
Kirk - A lot of adjacent cities want RF as open space. Recreational users want
unlimited use. At all public meetings they advocate for use. SC advocates
for holding off on use until threats are better assessed. Until refuge act was
passed RF was somewhat off the radar. Hoping to set up a proper committee.
Bill – closure is scheduled for 2006. There are 300,000 cu. meters of material
estimated to remove. There is substantial mistrust of government on this site.
No baseline has been established for wildlife etc. There are just too many
unknowns at this point and will be in 2006 because the process has been out of
sync. Udal and Alard worked together to exclude development in this area
(Arvada had plans) and refuge was the only or (easiest) way to do this.
Don Thompson pointed out that it could be a refuge without human use i.e.
Kirk – Wildlife service views refuge designation as including recreation use.
10. ROCKY FLATS NWF RECREATIONAL ACCESS - KIRK CUNNINGHAM
Rocky Flats Refuge Manager
Rocky Mountain Arsenal- Building 121
Commerce City, CO 80022
These comments represent the official comments of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain
Chapter to the Draft CCP/EIS for Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. As these
comments discuss, because FWS has not provided enough information to the public
to make an informed decision about public access to Rocky Flats, the Sierra Club
supports Alternative C (Ecological Restoration) which provides for the least
amount of public access. Until such time as there is more publicly-available
scientific information that provides support for FWS’ proposal to allow
significant public use of this site, the Sierra Club believes the area should be
closed to visitor use. The Sierra Club urges FWS to delay any final decision
until the clean up is complete and an EPA assessment of the site has occurred.
At that time, environmental documentation relevant to the clean up’s affects on
public use of the Refuge should be provided to the public and analyzed by FWS in
an updated DEIS.
1. FWS fails to consider whether the human uses proposed in areas of
contamination and cleanup at Rocky Flats under the various alternatives will
have a “significant effect on the quality of the human environment.”
NEPA requires that environmental considerations be integrated into federal
planning. Whenever a federal agency proposes a major federal action, it must
consider whether that action will have a significant effect on the quality of
the human environment. This means
FWS must evaluate, among other things, the “degree to which the proposed action
affects public health or safety.” 40 CFR 1508.27. Regulations also require that
when information on reasonably foreseeable adverse impacts is essential to a
reasoned decision, the agency must secure the information if the cost is not
exorbitant. 40 CFR 1502.22(a).
“NEPA procedures must insure that environmental information is available to
public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are
taken.” 40 CFR 1500.1. NEPA has twin purposes: to obligate a federal agency to
consider “every significant aspect of the environmental impact of the proposed
action.” And to ensure the public that the agency has indeed considered
environmental concerns in its decision-making process. The purpose of an EIS is
to educate the public and ensure the public that the agency has considered
environmental concerns —including impacts on human health and the quality of the
human environment—in its decision-making process. FWS has failed in both
respects in this EIS.
FWS states that “the EIS does not discuss the cleanup activities, because they
are outside the scope of Refuge management activities considered in the CCP.”
(DEIS p.8). FWS assumes, without citing any document, statement or scientific
study, that it need not consider soil contamination levels, residual
contamination, and how they may be a source of harm to people and the
environment when coupled with the activities proposed for these areas or other
effects that historical contamination may have on proposed activities.
The Sierra Club wholly recognize that FWS is not responsible for the clean up at
Rocky Flats, including the methods used, the level of clean up, how quickly
clean up occurs, or which areas are transferred and which are retained by DOE.
However, NEPA requires FWS to analyze the extent to which the human uses
proposed under the DEIS when coupled with the contamination that remains after
the DOE cleanup will impact human health and the quality of the environment.
FWS must ascertain and must provide to the public information about whether
activities will have a “significant effect on the quality of the human
environment.” This evaluation necessarily must include information about, and
a discussion of, the clean-up standard, the areas that will be cleaned, the soil
depths where clean up will occur, and the impact to human health and the
environment that any of these facts will have. FWS need not perform an EIS on
the clean up itself. But it must perform an EIS on the impacts that the proposed
activities will have on the quality of the human environment where those
activities will occur on a site that has been severely contaminated and where
there will yet be residual contamination that may be stirred up by the
activities proposed by FWS.
FWS avoids any analysis of effects to human health without a single statement as
to how it can avoid such discussion. FWS does not cite a single study that
evaluates effects to human activity. They do not cite any legal support for
excluding such a central and critical discussion to its EIS. We believe it is
impossible for this document to meet the obligations of NEPA unless there is a
greater discussion of what the existing environmental conditions are of the area
that is being addressed.
FWS must evaluate whether the cleanup standard used by EPA (that of the refuge
worker) will protect human health and the environment given the level of active
recreation under each of the alternatives proposed by FWS. For instance,
CCP/DEIS never refers to the standard to which EPA will clean the Refuge.
Independent research indicates that at least part of the Refuge will be cleaned
to a level that will protect a Refuge worker. This standard raises several
questions that FWS must address in its EIS, namely whether other groups,
especially children, the elderly, or the infirmed or unhealthy visitor, will
also be protected under this standard when that visitor participates in the
activities proposed by the Refuge. Does this standard consider the proposed
recreational activities and their resulting disturbances in determining whether
the area is “clean enough?” The standard may protect the Refuge worker who
operates machinery to blaze a new trail. However, as this trail erodes over
time, will the average visitor still be safe? Moreover, will the interaction of
wildlife (including burrowing wildlife such as prairies dogs) and humans cause a
dispersion and rentrainment of toxic material that lies on or beneath the
surface? And will such dispersion degrade the quality of the human environment
downwind, down gradient and beyond the refuge?
2. The CCP/EIS is premature given because (1) FWS will not inherit the site for
many years, and conditions may change in the interim, and (2) FWS cannot
accurately analyze the impacts of proposed alternatives until the nature and
extent of residual contamination on the site is known—something that cannot be
known until FWS receives jurisdiction of the site.
The DEIS states that a MOU between DOI and DOE “will guide the transition of
Rocky Flat to its status as a National Wildlife Refuge.” As of the date of
these comments, this MOU has not been signed. The DEIS further points out that
“the final size and configuration of DOE-retained lands will not be determined
until the final remedy is completed and the area is agreed to by the Rocky Flats
Cleanup Agreement (RFCA) Parties.”
How can FWS plan for management of the Rocky Flats Refuge without knowing what
further or additional responsibilities it will have under the MOU, and what size
and configuration the contaminated lands will ultimately have? Clearly, it
cannot plan for management until these things are known as a baseline for the
study. The CCP/DEIS is then, admittedly, incomplete and uncertain because FWS
does not yet know what area it will be managing, and what its responsibilities
for management will be.
The progression of environmental documentation for clean up and ultimate
management and use of the Refuge is very fractured and not easy to follow. The
documents and reports addressing the clean up are disjointed, and yet they are
critical to FWS’ EIS and the public’s ability to comment effectively. They are
no where referred to or listed in this DEIS. It would be easier for the public,
and would make better logical and planning sense to wait to plan for the Refuge
until after the clean up and any EPA analysis are complete. Short of this, FWS
should at a minimum provide a bibliography that details the relevant reports and
information necessary to make a reasoned decision about what public uses should
be permitted given the clean up efforts.
Finally, FWS puts the cart before the horse. Considering public uses for the
before the completion of the cleanup and any accompanying environmental analysis
of the cleanup or any EPA assessment creates confusion for the public, means a
less reliable decision, and is legally suspect.
3. The EIS leaves many specific questions unanswered.
The Rocky Flats Refuge Act
The 2001 Rocky Flats Refuge Act mandates that the Refuge will be managed to
restore and preserve native ecosystems, provide habitat for native plans and
wildlife, and provide opportunities for compatible scientific research.
How can FWS manage for native ecosystems without inquiring into the baseline
levels of residual contamination that will still exist when it receives the
How can FWS plan for wildlife-compatible recreation without knowing whether that
recreational activity runs a risk of disturbing potentially contaminated areas,
and thus degrading the quality of the human environment?
1) Will equestrian use disturb soils in a way that could expose radioactive
2) Will a “seamless refuge” allow visitors to access sites that are not cleaned
up to the same level as the refuge? Will the public be educated about the
differences in clean up levels?
3) Can burrowing wildlife, including prairie dogs, dig to a level in the ground
that has not been cleaned up? What is this level? If so, how does this
potentially affect re-distribution of certain materials to the surface? Can the
public be exposed to radioactive materials as a result of animal disruption to
soils? To what extent can toxic or radioactive material either transported or
ingested by burrowing animals be moved up and down the food chain by the
interaction of communities of animals sharing the same habitat?
4) How will FWS monitor on-going impacts to human health and environment? IF FWS
will not be monitoring the effects that visitor use may suffer, who will be
5) How will proximity to a DOE-retained Superfund affect the Refuge?
6) What residuals will be left on the Refuge?
7) How will any on-going cleanup activities or monitoring affect the proposed
visitor use? How will it affect human health and the environment?
8) Is DOE considering, as it cleans up the property, the uses to which the
property will potentially be put? For instance, does DOE consider that some
recreational activities, like horseback riding, could disturb contaminated soils
and send particles into the air?
9) There is absolutely no discussion of whether equestrian use, hiking, bicycle
use, etc. could disrupt soil and dirt in a way that would release potentially
dangerous particles in the air.
10) Various studies show that between 20-32% of children between the ages of 1
and 6 are pica children, meaning that they eat soil and other non-food items—up
8 oz per day. What hazards lie in store for such children who may visit the
refuge with their parents.
11) Please explain further the impacts on human health of a “seamless Refuge.”
Transition from DOE to FWS
FWS actions necessarily depend on DOE’s clean up actions.
How will FWS prevent exposure to hazardous materials and prevent disturbances to
where cleanup has not been achieved?
How does FWS plan to manage access to contaminated sites? And what is the
validity of the level which forms the bright line above which land will be
considered contaminated, but below which it will be considered an appropriate
place for active recreation? What exactly does it mean to be a “seamless refuge”
and does this action protect human health?
Impacts to Wildlife
1) The DEIS states that “hunting to control wildlife populations would be
permitted under all action alternatives.” Hunting is not currently allowed at
Rocky Flats. Can FWS point to any scientific data indicating that the deer
population is not now currently optimum, given the size of the habitat, and
self-regulating? If deer populations have remained stable and in an acceptable
range, why is hunting necessary or even advisable? Is consumptive use of fish
and wildlife advisable given the history of Rocky Flats? Has FWS studied this
2) Has FWS evaluated the effect of burrowing animals in or near to clean up
Impacts due to Fire
Wildfires have not been allowed to burn and only one controlled burn has been
conducted on Rocky Flats since 1972. (DEIS p. 103). FWS plans to have
controlled burns. Has FWS or any other agency evaluated how controlled burns
could effect residual contamination? Has FWS or any other agency evaluated the
extent to which toxic material in contaminated soils would be exposed after a
controlled burn, or would be dispersed into the environment during a burn?
4. The Precautionary Principle supports limiting public access until further
information is known, studies have been done to evaluate potential environmental
impacts, the public is assured that the Refuge is safe for visitation, and that
visitation will not cause further releases and dispersion of toxic material and
In summary, the DEIS is devoid of any information or discussion on the potential
adverse effects from hazardous substances. Given this, it is virtually
impossible for the public to adequately assess the impacts of the alternatives.
The FEIS should summarize and reference information on the potential adverse
effects from hazardous substances, and from the effects of human, wildlife and
natural actions and interactions on these hazardous substances. The public
needs more information regarding residual contamination after remediation and
details about what monitoring will occur, who is responsible for it, whether it
will occur on the Refuge or only on the DOE retained-lands, and how often it
FWS cannot just assume that the site will be cleaned up to a level that makes
any of the activities proposed under the various alternatives “safe” for the
environment. If FWS is assuming that clean up poses no risk to human health and
the environment, the EIS should say so, rather than pretend this is not a
question at all. These questions must be addressed. Conclusory statements about
the impact of these proposed activities do not meet the requirement of NEPA that
FWS consider environmental impacts of the proposed federal action.
Moved, Kirk Cunningham
“The Rocky Mountain Chapter accept the document in essence.”
Don Teronde indicated concern that our position is based on health and safety
isssue and not that we’re opposed to recreation use.
Kirk states it is all interrelated, this document does this. MSP
Interim Policy with respect to the Chapter’s interaction with SRCA – Kirk
Kirk – this is a contentious issue. Last time we fired our forest chair, now we
don’t have anyone officially at chapter level dealing with forest issues.
Stansfield and Levy do at group levels. SRCA people are good and we’re lucky to
have those resources here in Colorado. Decisions are made quickly and we don’t
have a good window to deal with their decisions. Without committee or staff to
deal with this process we are ineffective. We are hoping to get someone to
replace Deb Robison but until them we’re left in an awkward position because we
can’t look at SRCA actions and documents.
We have options: until then we shouldn’t sign off on any policy stuff that may
conflict with our positions or should we sign off on anything they do because
we trust them and they’re good people? We need some direction and a way to
deal with this issue.
Rich Levy: Are we part of SRCA?
Kirk Cunningham: Yes but that doesn’t mean we have to sign off on all.
Steve Glaser: Because Deb is not replaced we’re in this situation blame it on
chapter and suggests chapter talk to national.
Susan Lefever: I understands that national has posted for the position and
Kirk Cunningham: Deb was good but not into timber sales and other specific
Greg Casini: We have input and will make the effort to get a person qualified
and to dedicate defined time to SRCA
11. CHAPTER INTERACTIONS WITH SRCA - KIRK CUNNINGHAM
This matter was discussed during the last Conservation Committee conference call
and in subsequent emails. People commenting on it were JoLynn Jarboe, Rich Levy,
Joan Seeman, Steve Glazer and Ross Vincent. Joan, Steve, and Ross were in favor
of option 2 below, JoLynn in favor of 1, and Rich did not state a position.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
How can the Chapter interact profitably with the Southern Rockies Conservation
Alliance (SRCA) in the absence of a knowledgeable liaison? SW regional staff
person Deb Robison formerly played that role.
One problem with the SC/SRCA interaction is that most SRCA work monitoring,
commenting on, and organizing around national forest (mostly) management issues
is conducted by the professional staff of SRCA member groups. Issues come to the
attention of the coalition at a rapid pace, requiring knowledgeable analysis and
response to the agency, preceded by email and conference call discussions,
suggested amendments to comments, and organizational sign-ons, often within a
matter of days or at most a couple weeks to meet deadlines. Given the usual
restraints on volunteer time and energy, one or two volunteers (and perhaps even
more) cannot cope with this decision-making process on the Club's behalf. A SC
staff person (like Deb Robison was) with SRCA as a major part of her job
description can adequately perform the liaison role, or perhaps a multi-person
committee of seasoned and energetic volunteers.
We have neither at the moment. Deb's replacement will probably not be hired
until after the fall elections. Todd Chamberlin has agreed to take on the work
of trying to find volunteers for a Chapter National Forests/Public Lands
Committee, but Todd's time is limited and that effort is likely to take several
months (if, in fact, it ever succeeds).
The second problem with the SC/SRCA relationship is that the Club's End
Commercial Logging policy is somewhat contrary to the policies of other SRCA
groups. While the ECL policy is not absolutely rigid, any SRCA staff comments on
timber sales, fire mitigation or other activities that could involve commercial
logging need to be examined carefully for any essential conflict with the
policy. If there is disagreement, we would not be able to sign on and would need
to come up with our own position statement on the issue in question. Policy
differences of this sort become especially important when a comment on a Forest
Service or BLM action may lead eventually to litigation. Furthermore, the ECL
policy extends not only to roadless areas that are the focus of SRCA's
attention, but also to roaded and timbered parts of the National Forest.
Aside from issues involving tree-cutting, SRCA groups and the Sierra Club are
generally on the same wavelength. For example, road-building, ORVs, endangered
species, water quality etc. are areas where there are seldom disagreements.
POLICY OPTION #1In light of the above problem statement, the Chapter follow the
following procedures with respect to SRCA until such time as the Chapter has
available either a SW regional staff person who can play the liaison role and/or
until the Chapter has established a National
Forests/Public Lands Committee capable of functioning near the SRCA level.
1. When SRCA invites the Chapter to sign on to comments on issues involving
timber sales or any other issues involving tree-cutting, we will not do so, nor,
to be consistent, should we circulate alerts based on SRCA positions on Chapter
2. When SRCA invites the Chapter to sign on to comments on other National Forest
and Public Lands issues, Kirk Cunningham (or his designee) will sign the Chapter
onto them, cases sight unseen for lack of time to examine documents and
knowledge about the issue in question, and under the assumption that SRCA staff
is competent and there are not likely to be policy conflicts. However, before
signing on, Kirk will contact any local Club leaders who may be more familiar
with the issue for their input.
OBJECTION TO THIS POLICY - ROSS VINCENT, STEVE GLAZER, JOAN SEEMAN
There is national policy on sign-on letters that generally discourages Club
entities from signing on and, I think, precludes doing so in the manner you have
To the extent that the proposed sign-on letters may deal with national forest
policy issues, the Chapter lacks the authority to sign on unless the relevant
comments are clearly consistent with established national policy and positions
and, even then, consultation with the appropriate national committee is probably
If the comments deal exclusively with lands and issues within the Chapter's
jurisdiction (i.e., relevant to CO only), the Chapter can sign-on, but is still
discouraged from doing so under normal circumstances.
What we clearly cannot do is sign on without carefully reviewing each and every
proposed letter and determining that:
* "the topic is one that the Sierra Club thinks is important;
* "the treatment of it falls within Club policy;
* "the letter contributes to Sierra Club goals on the issue: and
* "we completely agree with the message and tone of the letter."
We clearly cannot "automatically sign the Chapter onto them sight unseen." And
in my judgement, that would be a dangerous precedent to set.
In a more general sense, I don't think we should sign onto letters on issues
where we don't have reliable activists willing and able to oversee the process
and to follow up. Most corporate and government bureaucrats are not totally
stupid. If we routinely sign onto letters we don't really care about and don't
follow up on, they will figure it out and they will begin to take us less
seriously on the issues we really do care about. It certainly doesn't help us
and it doesn't do much to add credibility to the work of our friends either.
And if we don't have activists willing to take responsibility for some issues,
then obviously our members and leaders don't consider those issues a high
priority. As the policy says:
"(i)f an issue isn't important enough to Club leaders to justify preparing our
own letter, then it probably isn't a high enough priority for the Club and its
members to justify the use of the Club's name, no matter how noble the cause or
effective the letter."
In the absence of committed activists willing to commit to those issues, I
suggest that we thank our friends profusely for the great work they do and ask
them to keep us advised, but respectfully decline to sign onto their letters.
Blame national, if necessary.
POLICY OPTION #2
Until the Chapter has available to it either a SW Office staff person as a
liaison to SRCA and/or a National Forest/Public Lands Committee that can perform
that function, it will not sign-on to SRCA comments and appeals or distribute
SRCA alerts on its listserves.
ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS POLICY - Kirk
While this policy would be consistent with the Club’s rules, it is an example
where good rules in general may marginalize the Club’s influence (both on
agencies and on its coalition partners)
in this particular case. Outside of the Club’s leadership, no one cares whether
we follow our internal rules, but rather whether we are able to stop harmful
and/or illegal actions on public lands. Administrative matters in the BLM and
Forest Service can only be influenced by knowledgeable and timely actions backed
up ultimately by the threat of lawsuits. SRCA is valuable to the Club because it
has available technical and to a degree, legal expertise that we do not have.
The Club is of some value to SRCA because their message and alerts can reach the
wider audience of the Chapter membership. It is a symbiosis that will be
interrupted until the conditions in the policy are met.
Moved, Jim Lockhart
Seconded, Tony Ruckel
“Rocky Mountain Chapter accepts Option One modified as follows.” MSP
POLICY OPTION #1In light of the above problem statement, the Chapter follow the
following procedures with respect to SRCA until such time as the Chapter has
available either a SW regional staff person who can play the liaison role and/or
until the Chapter has established a National
Forests/Public Lands Committee capable of functioning near the SRCA level.
1. When SRCA invites the Chapter to sign on to comments on issues involving
timber sales or any other issues involving tree-cutting, we will not do so, nor,
to be consistent, should we circulate alerts based on these SRCA positions on
2. When SRCA invites the Chapter to sign on to comments on other National Forest
and Public Lands issues, Kirk Cunningham (or his designee) will sign the Chapter
onto them as appropriate. However, before signing on, Kirk will contact any
local Club leaders who may be more familiar with the issue for their input. We
will circulate action alerts on the issues we sign off on.
Revitalizing SWRCC – Greg Casini
Things have been happening and Betsy wants us to come together and work on this.
Greg wants us to give them a sense of what we’re willing to put in.
Tony Ruckel: SWRCC was originally developed on a theory to broaden leadership
at a national level. They had big budgets and you went to meetings to see the
people active in it. They had big fights (issues – wilderness, etc) to be
involved in. As more money came in sub offices were established. Then
reorganization of the Club with more rep bodies (chapters and regional) and less
by committees with less responsibilities created a fiefdom without chapter
responsibilities. Now Betsy is here and likely to get it going
Steve Glazer: Served for 5 years chaired for 4. At time of reorganization they
revised purpose because regional VPs were closely aligned with national. Vice
presidents were in competition with governance. Reassigned money authority to
RCCs , required RCCs to be source of training (each meeting = one theme). There
are strategy teams responsible for budgets. The board created a voucher system.
When SWRCC lost chair last year it was not submitting budgets. Colorado River
Task Force (CRTF) submitted a budget but was only funded $350. So the only way
it ended up being funded was through the voucher system. Because the board has
not agreed with chapter strategy on how to deal with Colorado river issues it
has usurped Colorado river task force from chapter and decided to institute club
term limit policy and decided to change leadership of CRTF. Members of CRTF
are being cycled off so therefore losing expertise. We need to support Betsy
and get chapter control back over SWRC.
Tony Ruckel: The board is dysfunctional. Just go forth and do this and take
back the authority and national will not come after us.
Steve Glazer: Maintaining control over club policies is essential to chapter.
We can’t allow national board to make local decisions. We should send strong
message to Betsy of support. SWRC needs leadership and a strong chair.
Greg Casini: Betsy wants several people at least for fall meeting, us to
promote this. Who wants to be active in this?
Tony Ruckel: SWRC would be irrelevant if not addressing Colorado river (at top
Steve Glazer: SWRC on Colorado River should support river comm. And fund it.
People who understand the basin states issues need to be the ones who control
Susan Lefever: Lets set up outside discussions about this.
Diane Uren: Tell Betsy we’re planning the big Steamboat thing and ask would
they want to take part?
Steve Glazer: Last week appointed to chair Nat’l SC rivers comm. Involved in
oversight of Colorado River task force.
12. REVITALIZING SWRCC– GREG CASINI
see addendum 1. for history and Rio Grand Chapter input
From: Elizabeth B. Barnett
Date: 1, April 2004 10:05 AM
Subject: Request for info on SWRCC delegates from your chapter
Hello, Southwest Regional Chairs and Conservation Chairs
As Doug Fraser indicated in his e-mail of a couple of days ago, the Rio
Grande Chapter Executive Committee has designated me as a SWRCC delegate and
point person for our chapter. As Doug has also mentioned, I learned at the
Board meeting that SWRCC was not functioning. I feel that RCCs in general are
important in dealing with the many issues of common concern in our states, that
they are an important link in the Club1s vertical communications, and that they
provide a stepping stone for chapter and regional leaders to move into national
leadership positions, including the
Board. I also think it is important for the visibility of our regional issues
and for us to have at least one member of the Board who is from our region.
Right now, a very low percentage of southwesterners is found on the Club’s list
of 140 national leaders.
I am willing to organize and conduct the first meeting; however, I would like
to encourage current SWRCC participants to accept that role and to run for
election as SWRCC officers for the remainder of 2004 and 2005 at a
reorganization meeting, which I hope can occur in the fall.
Looking forward to talking with you.
SESSION III – CONSERVATION MATTERS II
Report on Northwest Colorado Stewardship – Rich Levy
For the last year, Rich has been participating in NCS.
Started 6 years ago, Moffat County is trying to gain control of public lands
including Dinosaur National Monument, Yampa, Green, etc.
Oil and gas potential which they would like to develop.
The powers that be thought they would try this, and this has the backing of the
There is a group in the Department of Interior who want to have a true
Very diverse group of 40 people who have been thru a “partnership training.”
Rich is there to get a balanced document.
Also there are people with agenda. Moffat County commissioner is on the group
who want to open up as much as possible to resource extraction.
Has decided to take on a BLM river plan.
They will create an alternative that is likely to become the preferred
Moffat is 200 x 80 miles in size and 70% is public lands.
We plan to stay within NEPA, EIS, etc.
Lots of potential and focus as this group is a model for other collaborations.
Major questions about drilling and citizens’ proposal.
Any one person can veto any part of the proposal.
That makes it pretty hard to get a strong statement.
Rich is representing the Sierra Club, and is keeping Kirk informed about it all.
We may see things in the newspaper.
This is very powerful, and high profile.
Rich wants to make sure the ExComm is on board with this plan.
Have worked on a small fire project.
Either it will succeed wildly or fail miserably.
Q. Are there changes to Dinosaur National Monument?
A. No, it’s only BLM, not NPS
Q. Is it Federal?
A. It is independently funded, though we have gotten some federal funding and
Q. Sierra Club in collaborative groups has some pitfalls. Praise Rich for
getting involved. His representation of us is not a formal representation that
has to be approved by us. He is not there to formally represent us or commit us
to any proposal.
Q. What are the rules about working with the press?
A. They advertise meetings and the press attends. They try to follow NEPA rules
for public notice/participation. We just hired a facilitator.
Q. It might be useful to have a strategy for alerting the national press.
A. Some folks in the group are considering national media.
Q. I found that just attempting the collaboration is useful.
A. We have discovered some folks who are more environmental than you would have
guessed. People are closet environmentalists.
Report on Colorado Wolf Issues – Tina Arapkiles
Tina works in the Southwest Regional Office.
Working to get wolves back in Colorado since 2000
There are 18 collared wolves in the wild in this region to date.
In the N Rockies there was a recovery plan in 2000 to get to ten breeding pairs
in each state, now they are saying 30 in the whole region would be the goal.
Tina on the Board of the Wildlands Project that looks at protecting wildlife
Tina met a guy who was the lead wolf biologist at Yellowstone. He works for
Turner who owns some land that would make good wolf habitat.
Sinapu has been advocating wolf restoration in the S Rockies. They do a great
job on education, but not on moving the issue forward.
Tina and Mike decided to form a Coalition the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration
Fish and Wildlife has expanded their participation in wolf protection.
They are looking at ecosystem health rather than raw numbers.
That is a hopeful note.
Other hopeful note.
The state of Colorado has a Wolf restoration process. The process is moving
forward and there have been six hearings. We were well represented including 300
plus people in Denver. There were at least 50 people at each except Craig.
Now they are going to establish a working group. Tina has put her name in the
hat to be included in the group. It will meet six times and produce a report.
The report will trigger another set of hearings.
Utah is also doing wolf management planning.
The wolf is at the door.
Colorado cattlemen want to be part of the process so there is not a sense that
they are having it shoved down their throats. There is some promise of
There is still a bounty on wolves in Colorado.
Membership on the committee is fairly arbitrary. But it will be opened up to
people on the mailing list to comment. People will be on as individuals with a
variety of interests. 4 from ranching, 4 environmentalists, 2 county, 2
biologists, 1 tourism bureau.
It is a positive issue. Restoring a species and reviving an ecosystem.
If any local groups want to form a “wolf family” contact Tina.
What about an Adopt a Wolf Program?
We should as chapter come up with a policy we like.
The Wildlife committee could come up with a policy. Have a working group at the
July meeting to come up with a policy.
Talk to Mike Smith – Tina Arapkiles will contact him and involve Don TeRonde
This could really put us in a positive light.
Attending Jolynn Jarboe - EMG
That we support the development of a science based wolf reintroduction policy
IPG has an informal wolf group that people could join. Contact Billie Gutgsell.
SESSION IV - LEGAL MATTERS - EXECUTIVE SESSION
We go into executive session
Legal Update - Bill Rogers or Kirk Cunningham
Case status reports were distributed to voting ExCom members at the meeting.
We leave executive session
SESSION V – GROUP REPORTS
See Addendum 2 for IT committee report.
Group & Section Reports – 60 minutes
Rich Levy presented a list of resources available to activists.
He handed out the Grassroots Training Manual.
All these web addresses can be compiled on a CD.
UNG - Eric Rechel
Several people in the community concerned about white tail prairie dog – 10% of
what it was 100 years ago. The BLM and DOW are helping our group to do something
The County commissioner approved our project to relocate the Prairie Dogs.
BLM is working on some sites by the Utah border.
Next step to go to the homebuilders to talk to them about the program so we can
They are now looking for the homebuilders to let us know when there is some dogs
We have found an expert to train us to do this.
Just started in January.
In the Forest service plan, they say they are going to close roads, but they
don’t have resources to close the roads.
The UG could help out with closing roads with shovels and seeding, etc.
A FS person is coming to the next meeting to tell us. WE hope to involve members
in this kind of activity. Even make it an outing.
They have 20 roads that need to be closed
Could get a grant for that.
MEG - Ed Spencer
In two weeks we are a sponsor of the Earth day Fair in Evergreen lakehouse.
We do a recycling guide every year.
Evergreen area Community Plan. Some of our members have been working on it and
it will go before the commissioners soon. Water use, growth, pollution control
Protecting land Oil and gas leases.
Outings at least one per month.
Last week windy Gap to Chief Hosa
Involved in the South Platte Wild and Scenic Planning.
Everyone will oppose draft Record of Decision.
Wilderness 40th Anniversary. We will be a sponsor.
IPG - Steve Welter
Restarted General meeting sin February. About 50 peopl came for Tina’s talk on
wolves. Then we sent out notices to people about the hearings.
Every other month
Somebody talking about Roan Plateau.
Program on Alternatives to sprawl was a community wide program.
Started a new energy committee Leslie Glustrom is the chair.
Got some folks involved.
Alice Madden and Terry Phillips came to talk to the group.
Working with energy groups in Boulder to get the city to meet Kyoto standards as
a model for other cities.
Try to be a cosponsor with energy experts of a meeting.
Planted cottonwoods at Sandhill ponds reclamation area. 15 people came to plant
Bill Rutgeer appointed to city transportation planning
Sonia Guram has been appointed to a national committee on sustainability.
PPG - Jim
Settled the lawsuit on the PP Highway a long time ago. City created a fund to
rehabilitate the streams. This summer we will start some small-scale restoration
Involved in the Wild 10 proposal on the Arkansas and other drainage.
Recycling working with local group to improve deplorable recycling efforts.
Would like to see city waste be recycled.
May 8, the Telluride Mtn Film Festival.
Biggest thing is the ICO program with 2 leaders who are leading outings and
Meeting at the DOW building.
Now have a book club that meets before the ExComm Meeting. Desert Solitaire,
Fast Food Nation.
SPG - Don TeRonde
Three Coffees in the new annexed areas. Found 13-14 new members at each. Have
plans to get them active.
Set some goals and a plan for the year including FasTracks.
Petition drive at the Mineral station.
Also planning to monitor Homeowners Association Meetings to look for projects
like Walmarts that we might want to bring attention to. People called to
Two members went to the Santa Fe Leadership training.
SdCG - Anne Cain
SSC is up and running at Pueblo. They hope to increase voting registration, want
to sign onto 2020 campaign, solar campaign and more!
Two new keen student members are now group officers. So they are tied into the
Several sponsors and participants for earth day celebration. 25 groups at the
Media Development Center.Location secured grand opening in june]
Chemical weapons. Funding has been cut. Big delay. Unknown whether funding will
People have completely lost interest in sustainable development.
Activewly looking fr a community member to spearhead this project.
SDCG and better pueblo are trying to spearhead this campaing especially with the
Excel is the foremost issue and hoodwinking by Excel. City Council gave them
everything to keep them from going to Brush
There will be a conflict between labor and enviro groups because of the
Mercury may be a key element of the campaign
WE are working on testing the mercury in fish in Pueblo Reservoir. It hasn’t
been tested for Mercury for 20 years. Coming from Comanche and smelting at CF&I
Jay Zar is our outings chair.
EMG – JoLynn Jarboe
Concentrating on fast tracks and voter registration.
Booths at Cinco de Mayo to hopefully gather signatures.
Signing up people to vote. 1st week in June. Need to be done by that weekend.
Annual Garage Sale June 11. Goal to make $1000.
RCG - Judy Johnson
Steve Glazer did a fabulous presentation on Water at the meeting.
March had a meeting with Tina on Wolves.
April Meeting has been working on today’s meeting.
So many glitches it is hard to believe.
Took the Grassroots Organizing training.
Met a woman from Westminster.
1480 to 1664 when they fixed the group zip codes.
Charlie fixed it up and now we got more members.
As a result of the training she was ready to do battle with Wal-Mart.
PCG - Dan Bihn
Our General Meetings get better and better
We had Wolves this month.
20-35 people coming to each
2-4 volunteers each time.
Janna is getting people to attend.
Political Committee is meeting each month and doing good work.
Serenade Park a person is trying to build an amphitheater the same size as red
rocks and we are working to stop it.
The west nile virus. Last year lots of areal spraying. WE are trying to
encourage lavacide and working with the pest manager and have a good dialog.
Don passed out info on the Wolf Creek Ski Area.
They are doing an EIS. IT will have 300 acres, 2000 dwelling units. This is a
huge proposal and is in wetlands.
SESSION VI - FINANCIAL MATTERS
Treasurer’s / Financial Report - Mark Collier
Mark - this is the time he would normally give a financial report but there’s
not a lot to report on because it’s 1st quarter. We’re not going to generate a
lot of extra paper. It’s early in the year and we’re pretty much going on
budget. Got a tremendous allocation of deferred giving, when someone gives in a
will. We got almost $7,000 in first quarter and it is about $1500 more than
expected for entire year! Another unexpected $13,000 C3 donation when expecting
$2500 for whole year! March appeal is early but David did a projection at end of
march forecasting down about $7,000 from the budget. It is in line with past
years and is close to a record. Expectation (budget) was aggressive and based on
hope that new fundraising person would already have been on line.
It’s ok to continue follow up on March Appeal as long as not more mailing but
phoning is ok. Greg encourages groups to do all the phoning they want and they
will continue to get their 50%. March Appeal window is for mass mailing.
Targeted mailings can be done at other times.
John addressed new thing for Groups making their own money during MA phoning
(from office) – committee $30 per hour.
Mark - Groups share goes out end of July and again at end of year
Mark – Strategy to share with all to think about. For long time national gave
chapter mostly C4, about a year and half ago we heard they were going to give
60% C4 and 40% C3 with more dollars overall. Mark went out to SF for meeting
on that to say we were ok but had some issues. It may tend to change the club
in some ways, if we gradually shift to more C3 we will not have as much lee way
in what we can do. National assured that was not what would happen. Last year
we converted enough C3 to come out ok and not change our program. David projects
we are running $10,000 in red regarding C4 money because more of our activities
are C4. There’s C3 money there but we don’t have enough C3 activities on the
agenda. Thus our behavior changes due to the new policy from National 1 ½ years
ago. We can forestall by raising more C4 ourselves, or finding pockets of C3
activity we are currently paying for with C4 dollars. David M and Mark think
they’ve done mostly what they can in that regard however. So Mark just wanted to
let us know that this looks like a trend that will cause us to loose some of our
ability to follow our own agenda. If you (groups) are doing something that is C3
and paying for it with C4 dollars let us know because the C3 dollars can be
reimbursed. This new 60/40 split was originally a 2 year test program, but we
don’t know what they’ll do and we should expect that they will continue it. We
may want to pass a resolution that we are concerned about this. We are on high
side of middle size chapters. Small chapters are happy because they have more
dollars than ever before. But for our size chapter it appears to be an issue. If
we decide to pass a resolution in fall we may think about asking national to
alter the percentage.
Rich – is it only intent of donor that makes it C3 or C4? Yes
Mark – P&P is about 60% C3
Finance Committee Quarterly Report - John Hutson
John Hutson: As mark mentioned our C3 is higher than C3 spending for chapter.
We are going to talk about how to readjust our C3/C4 activities creatively. The
IPG is overspending C3 as opposed to C4. We are going to monitor the situation.
If it doesn’t change we can shift some C3 dollars to IPG in exchange for C4.
Mark Collier: So we could just change the ratio that we give them. That could
create an issue of unfairness with other groups. We didn’t want to do it
arbitrarily. At some point Finance may come to excomm for a solution. Small
groups are getting all C4 and asked to submit for C3 reimburse but they’re not
doing it so far except for BRG and IPG.
Rich suggests that groups could offer voluntary changes in their own ratio.
Steve Welter agrees.
John says they want to monitor it for a while.
Mark says it doesn’t matter for small groups but the larger groups would make a
big difference and that if the larger groups wanted to offer to take less C4 the
finance committee would be open to accepting those offers.
John – minor issues – groups selling things via credit cards – requires merchant
bank account, the cost of which may offset the benefits. So groups should talk
to chapter about facilitating CC sales – we don’t really want to get involved in
too much of it because it creates more work for chapter people (a lot more).
Another minor issue – mark talked to Steve Thilker about official liquidation of
HPG. Steve is out of town and will address issue upon return. Chapter needs to
have signatory over all group accounts for obvious reasons. We’ll probably hold
on to HPG assets for a time incase of regeneration. SC rules require chapter
signatory on all group accounts. In 7 years Mark has signed a lot of signatory
cards but this year is going to make sure that is the case. Reminder will come
along for sales tax licenses - make sure all groups have the correct licenses –
if you have no office you need special events tax license. Mark thinks most of
them have the wrong license. As long as you sell non-taxable items you don’t
John Hutson: Internal grants has been suspended for this year.
Mark Collier: All of previous internal grants have expired so because of C3/C4
money situation we can’t do it this year.
John Hutson: Action item, groups giving money to non-profits – to present
resolution to excom in July.
Mark Collier: Every delegate was supposed to go back to their Groups and
discuss the resolution language given them at October excom.
Steve Welter: Finance was supposed to get back to groups with reworked language
and they haven’t gotten it.
Mark Collier: We had presented language in packet that no one had talked about
except IPG. We could have moved forward with approval but since no one else had
weighed in it should be put forward. With input from Groups then they would
John Hutson: We did hire fundraiser and salary is higher than budget but they
start later so it evens out this year but will be an issue next year. Mark has
been put on national committee. Big reporting at end of year for national.
It is a total bad thing that Mark has to do it. It takes him about 4 whole days
to do and sometimes much longer. National has heard our cries and formed a task
force reporting to finance commission to streamline the process and make it
easier. Much of the form is dictated by IRS. One thing may be to integrate
chapter/group/national finance. So instead of each entity having their own quick
books etc., maybe they could all enter into web based quick books (chapters and
groups) but there are trade offs. It could cut into each entities autonomy.
Checks coming from national instead of your local treasurer. Pay for things and
get reimbursed? Being willing and able to loan money to SC should not be a
criterion for local officers. Mark will be working on this task force to
develop ideas. Another possibility is that all could use the same program with
the same fields so it could be integrated at end of year but controlled
individually throughout the year.
Thank Judy Johnson and her crew.
Going to have next July 10-12? Big event in Steamboat
Give out reimbursement forms for travel expences
Adjourned at 5:10
REVIVING SWRCC—Rio Grande Chapter ExCom Meeting 3/20/04 (updated 4/3/04)
History of SWRCC
SWRCC was organized in 1969. Chapter leaders from the Four Corners states met
in Santa Fe at the behest of Jeff Ingram (first regional rep, hired by Dave
Arizona: Betsy Barnett (1), John McComb (2)
Colorado: Tony Ruckel (1, 3), Margaret and Vincent Arp
New Mexico: Brant Calkin (2, 3), Dana Douglass, Henry Zeller
Utah: Hank Hassell, June Viavant (1), Jack McClellan
(1) Elected to the Board
(2) Served as Regional Rep
(3) Served as Club President
Subsequently, other regional activists moved on to become directors: Bob Howard
(NM), Joni Bosh (AZ), Ruth Frear (UT), Jim Catlin (UT), Dave Foreman (NM), and
Lisa Force (AZ). Dave Foreman and Lisa Force came to the Board primarily as
activists in other organizations. Jim Catlin and Lisa Force are current
directors. Jim finishes his second term in 2005; Lisa was elected last year.
Ed Dobson, who formerly lived in the Northern Rockies and fairly recently moved
to Bluff, is a current director up for reelection in the current election.
Within a couple of years, each chapter had 4 delegates, and SWRCC members met
four times a year. We drew inspiration from holding most of our meetings in the
locales of our issues. We drove because most of the areas were remote and
because funding was not abundant.
At the February Board meeting, I picked up a list of national committees and
leaders (which is how I learned SWRCC wasn’t operating). Not counting the
Board, the list contained contact information for about 140 national volunteer
leaders, of which only 8 live in the Southwest, including the Cellariuses, who
moved to Arizona from Oregon and who have been national-level leaders for
A Two-Year Sampling of SWRCC Meetings (mid-1970s)
Wild and Scenic Rivers Workshop, Stoner, Colorado
Weather Modification Workshop, BuRec Offices, Lakeland, Colorado
Uncompaghre (or Weminuche—don’t remember which) Wilderness
Classification Workshop, Ouray, Colorado
Proposed Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Escalante, Utah
Priorities-setting meeting, Sedona, Arizona
Kaiparowitz Power Project National Press Conference, Page, Arizona
(included a panel of about 13 dignitaries, scientists, representatives
of various governmental entities, and environmental lawyers; flyovers
of the impact areas; reporters from the New York Times, Christian
Science Monitor, Albuquerque Journal, Salt Lake City and west coast TV
stations; regional environmentalists as observers; and a mob of local
picketers who came to protest our opposition to what they regarded as
a new source of livelihood)
Joint meeting with SCRCC in Cedar Breaks, Utah, to discuss the
repercussions of defeating a major coal-fired power plant in the
Southwest, which consisted of plans for a new nuclear power plant t in
Winter meeting in Crested Butte to learn about the molybdenum mine
proposed for Mount Evans.
Summer meeting with the Board in Crested Butte to gain national Club
support for opposing the Mount Evans mine.
Role of the RCCs in the 1970s and 1980s
An RCC Caucus was formed consisting of the chairperson of each of the 10 RCCs in
the lower 48 and a representative each from Alaska and Hawaii. The Caucus met
with the Board of Directors 3 or 4 times a year. Board agendas routinely
included a report by the chairperson of the Caucus. In turn, the 10 Board
members who were not on the Board ExCom were assigned to attend each region’s
RCC meetings, thus creating solid lines of top-down and bottom-up communication.
Why I think RCCs Are Important to Chapters and Regions
SWRCC has provided and could again provide an opportunity to
Exchange information and coordinate action on regional issues.
Broaden delegates’ perspectives beyond chapter boundaries and prepare
chapter/regional leaders for national leadership positions (I believe
it’s important for the Southwest to have representation on national issue
committees and the Board.)
Raise the visibility of regional issues and activists before the Board
and throughout the Club.
Improve vertical communications.
Be a sounding board for how decisions in one chapter or the RCC might
affect other chapters in the region and adjacent RCCs.
Maintain a balance between staff and volunteer leadership in the
Concurrently (?) with serious budget problems, restructuring sidelined the RCCs
in the 90s, so folks at the top as well as at the bottom have contributed to
weakening the RCCs. As I understand it, at the time of restructuring, the RCCs
were first put under the Council of Club Leaders, then under the Conservation
Governance Committee and one of its subcommittees, the Regional Conservation
Strategy Team. At the February Board meeting and subsequently, I talked with
current and former Board members, senior and regional staff, and regional
activists, who agreed that the RCCs (and hence the Club) are suffering from
having been sidelined. Last week I talked with Tony Ruckel, who is now a
Council delegate, and he offered to propose the matter of the RCCs’ role as an
agenda topic for the Council’s May meeting.
An Idea for Proceeding (a straw man for discussion)
Barbara Coman, the liaison to the Southwest Region on the Regional Conservation
Steering Committee (RCST) has told me that we should ask Dexter Perkins, RCST
chair, for a $1,000 to meet expenses of organizing a fall meeting, including
holding any conference calls. Much of the preparation can be done by e-mail.
She also said, and I agree, that 2 full delegates per chapter in a region with
only 4 chapters is not enough (Other RCCs have as many as 4 delegates per
chapter, and SWRCC used to have that number.).
The participants and agenda for this meeting might include the following:
regional leaders (currently designated SWRCC delegates, any chapter and
group chairs and conservation chairs who would like to come, liaisons to
national committees, and regional staff to meet in September or October
at a central location. It’s nice to find a place with a campground,
motel, and meeting facilities nearby.
Get back on schedule: Discuss potential regional issues at chapter
conservation committee meetings and develop a list of issues to be
brainstormed by e-mail. Select a dozen to be discussed in depth at the
fall meeting. Prepare a work plan for the meeting for submittal to the
RCST. Select 2-4 priorities for 2005 at the fall meeting.
Develop a work plan and budget for 2005 at this meeting and submit it to
the RCST by Jan 15. Make task assignments.
Identify liaisons to national programs and campaigns (some of these
already exist; see whether they want to continue)
Betsy Barnett, Los Alamos
From: Doug Fraser
Subject: Revitalizing SWRCC
Dear Sierra Club Leaders,
Let me first introduce myself by saying that for the past two years I've been
Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Club, which as you know includes New
Mexico and west Texas. Before that I've been involved for quite a number of
years in Chapter activities. During that time I've watched the withering of
the SWRCC to its present comatose condition. Ted Mertig has kept us informed
while the national Board of Directors was visiting our State last month, Betsy
Barnett, who was Chair of SWRCC in 1974-75 as well a member of the national
Board 1980-86, stepped forward as someone who might be interested in
resurrecting the organization. As a result of that interest and background,
the Chapter's Ex. Com. has appointed her as a Delegate and point person to see
what can be done. She has talked with Barbara Coman, the Regional Conservation
Steering Team's (RCST's) liaison to SWRCC. The purpose of the phone call was
to find out the requirements and obtaining funding for holding a meeting to
reestablish SWRCC in the near future.
Barbara said that the line item in the RCST budget for SWRCC had been deleted
when we failed to submit a work plan by the January 15 deadline. Although the
RCST has a reserve, it is small, and although SWRCC can expect some support
(probably $1,000 for starters, for conference calls), SWRCC participants should
not expect money for meeting before laying considerable groundwork. She
estimated SWRCC could be ready to meet this fall, assuming the work is done.
Barbara pointed out also that participants would have to take into account in
their planning that 80% of RCC funding is in C-3 money. It is her impression
that the chapters have disbanded their delegates. Betsy has reviewed chapter
and SWRCC web lists and it does appear that none of the officers and several
former delegates from 2003 are no longer active in those capacities.
Barbara offered several suggestions for laying the groundwork for getting RCST
approval for funding a meeting in the fall:
1.She thought that 2 delegates from only 4 chapters is not enough and that we
ought to have at least 3 per chapter.
2.She suggested that SWRCC delegates review other RCCs' work plans and that
they follow the procedure below:
* Prepare an article to appear as soon as possible in each chapter's newsletter
describing SWRCC's purpose and asking for suggestions on issues of regional
* Set up a link in chapter websites where people could respond with their
* Explore those issues and keep the people who suggested them involved.
* Work by e-mail, phone, and conference calls to develop ideas. Talk to Dexter
Perkins (RCST chairperson) to obtain funding for three conference calls.
* Think about 3 or 4 overarching issues for the long term.
* Prepare a work plan for a fall meeting for submittal to the RCST, to be
accompanied by a budget for the meeting.
* Meet in September or October to select priorities and think about a work plan
and budget for the year 2005 for submittal by January 15.
Betsy will contact you by phone in a few days to:
* Determine whether anyone from your chapter is interested in coordinating the
groundwork and chairing a SWRCC reorganization meeting in the fall. Betsy is
willing to do this if no one else expresses interest.
* Find out who your SWRCC delegates are. Betsy will then work with all
delegates by phone and e-mail to determine the necessary tasks and who will
have responsibility for carrying them out. These tasks would include a
schedule for accomplishing the tasks; writing a newsletter article; arranging
for a link to chapter websites; developing a list of issues to be brainstormed
at a fall meeting; determining at what points conference calls would be
appropriate; working out the logistics and budget for a fall meeting; arranging
for funding with the RCST; preparing the work plan and agenda for a meeting;
and other tasks, as necessary.
Maybe with a little luck and Betsy's hard work we can get SWRCC back and
running. Please, be prepared to let Betsy know your views when she calls.
March 16, 2004
As a reminder, the four of us agreed to take the lead in identifying regional
issues that could be more effectively handled by the Southwest Regional
Conservation Committee (if, indeed, we identify any), rather than by our
individual Chapters. Some of the preliminary ideas we discussed revolved
* Power plants, especially coal burning (regional haze, transmission lines,
* Water (shared rivers, conservation). In my view, this would probably exclude
Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam issues since they already seem to be covered by the
Colorado River Task Force and the Board's Colorado River/Glen Canyon
Restoration Task Force.
* Oil and gas development in our wild areas.
* Nuclear issues (fallout if underground testing is resumed in Nevada, shipment
and storage of radioactive wastes).
The approach we discussed was to ask our Conservation Committees to examine
this question and then elevate the discussion to our Steering and/or Executive
Committees. Following that process, I suggest that we then try to pull things
together via e-mail or a conference call.
Separately and privately, I am going to ask Wayne Hoskisson (past Chair of the
SWRCC) to educate me on the committee (history, successes and failures,
reporting relationships, and functioning capabilities, etc.) If he gives me
something worthwhile, I will share his insights with you.
We didn't discuss timing, but I suggest we use June 1 as a target date for
completing the reviews by our Conservation and Executive Committees. (This
will give our Chapter the opportunity of using one cycle of Conservation and
Executive Committee meetings.)
Sure enjoyed meeting and working with each of you in California.
March 15, 2004
Here is some preliminary thinking on a possible regional project. What is
enticing is the fact that it is a forest project that might be acceptable in
"A forest issue that focused on community protection (from fire) and what that
would mean locally might work. Especially if it was more of an attack piece on
the Healthy Forest Initiative. Someone could be funded to create a regional
education/media piece that compared dollars spent on urban interface thinning
projects versus dollars spent on some back country timber sale. It could also
include dollars spent on fighting fires in the region vs. preventing them. The
fact that the public is cut out of the planning process would probably fit in
More after our conservation committee has spoken,
IT COMMITTEE REPORT – DAN BIHN
Since the last ExCom meeting in January, the IT-COMM has made solid progress. We
have created a steering committee of the active core team to chart the course
for the coming year. Our current plans for 2004 include:
Streamlining IT Committee Organization. The tasks needed to accomplish our goals
require teams of diverse and distinct interests and skill sets. To provide
focus, reduce unwanted email traffic, make scheduling meetings easier, and
facilitate volunteer recruitment, we have created three working groups: Tech
Core, Web Masters, and E-Community. Volunteers anyone?
Recycle-IT. This program has been very successful. In its pilot phase,
truckloads of old PC’s have been diverted from the landfill and now are being
used by local schools and organizations. The pilot phase was developed and
managed by RMC’s Charlie Oriez. Moving forward, we will clearly divide the
program into its three natural parts: harvesting, processing, and redeploying.
RMC will take leadership on the harvesting (recycling); the Polis Foundation
will continue doing the processing; and the Colorado Linux Users and Enthusiasts
(CLUE) will be able to lead-up redeployment. We believe an RMC Recycling
Committee would be the best home for our part of this program.
Tech Core. Charlie Oriez, Mark Collier, and Rich Winklesky are leading up this
group. In preparing the system to facilitate the routing of volunteer forms to
groups, we discovered and corrected numerous errors in the zip code assignment
tables, particularly in the Denver metro area. We understand that there will be
a new task force created at this excomm meeting to evaluate group boundaries. We
are prepared to provide data on existing boundaries based on national's zip code
database, but the new task force and our groups need to understand that the
accuracy of those zip code tables is suspect at best, despite our best efforts.
RMC Website. Peter Butler and Martha Roden are heading up an RMC website
upgrade. Their objective is to improve usability, attractiveness, and
maintainability. In the next few weeks we will have a hot-mockup online to
solicit feedback before completing the redesign.
Content Management Systems. We are planning on rolling out a “Content Management
System” (CMS) which will allow a much larger group of volunteers to contribute
content without the need for specialized technical know-how and without IT-COMM
assistance. We are currently planning on using the same toolset used by the Dean
for America campaign (maybe we can raise $23M this year, too!). Ultimately, this
will make the RMC site more timely and inviting. Look forward to seeing a live
demo within the next month.
E-Community. We are just beginning to explore this promising area. We will
investigate, define, and select an Electronic Community a toolset to facilitate
the work and operations of Chapter and Group committees. These communities will
be similar to, but more appropriate than Yahoo! Groups. Envisioned is a
password protected meeting areas to post meeting agendas and minutes; manage
action items; conduct polling and voting; manage list-serv-like email; and to
facilitate teleconferencing. Think “My Sierra Club.” We should have more to
report at the next ExCom meeting.
Statistics. We averaged 485 daily visits in March, third highest monthly average
since we started tracking statistics. Each visitor averaged just over 3 pages
per visit. Most popular pages were the events calendar, SW office, P&P, GLS, and
local groups, in particular PCG. Charlie reports, “Groups that have not
recently updated their home pages are BRG, EMG, MEG, SdCG, TLG, UG, WG. Some
still list last year's officers as points of contacts. Others are listing Jan
and Feb meetings or urging members to write letters protesting agency actions
that have deadlines in Feb. Obsolete information makes your groups look bad.”
The Content Management System project will help keep content current and timely,
but ownership and leadership from each Group will still be essential.
We continue to have a problem with spammers using up our bandwidth attempting to
harvest email addresses from our pages. Charlie continues to block them as