BY THE NUMBERS
4,600,000,000,000: The number of dollars that the world’s biggest banks invested in fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to a recent report coauthored by the Sierra Club. JPMorgan Chase was the largest funder, with Citibank and Wells Fargo just behind.
59: The percentage of 10,000 children surveyed across 10 countries who are extremely worried or very worried about climate change. Over 45 percent said these feelings negatively affect their mental health.
85: The percentage decline in the cost of batteries that can store renewable energy since 2010. Batteries will be key to limiting warming to no more than 2.7°F, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
129: The number of skin-lightening products still being sold by major retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, that contain harmful or illegal levels of mercury, according to a study by the Zero Mercury Working Group.
» Read more: sc.org/lighteners
Don’t Go for the Gold
Native tribes, local ranchers, and desert lovers celebrated when Canadian mining company K2 Gold announced in March that it would indefinitely suspend plans to drill for gold on Conglomerate Mesa, the ancestral lands of the Timbisha Shoshone and Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone, near Death Valley, California. The mesa provides habitat for Joshua trees and Townsend big-eared bats.
» Read more: sc.org/saved-mesa
New Fiscal Year, Who Dis?
President Joe Biden released the FY2023 budget, which included the largest funding request ever for the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior. The budget would repeal fossil fuel subsidies and make the tax code more equitable. Kirin Kennedy, the Sierra Club’s director of people and nature policy, praised it for centering “people over polluters” and making sure corporations and billionaires “pay their fair share.”
» Read more: sc.org/2023-budget
That’s Fracked Up
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would pipe fracked gas across 183 streams and wetlands in Virginia and West Virginia. But it’s not too late to stop the pipeline. The approval is conditional on the MVP getting certain state and federal permits—one of which, a biological opinion from the Fish and Wildlife Service, was thrown out in February in a case argued by Sierra Club Environmental Law Program attorney Elly Benson.
» Read more: sc.org/mvp-overview
» Take action: sc.org/stop-mvp
Triumph in the Gulf
The US District Court for the District of Columbia vacated what would have been the largest offshore drilling lease sale in US history, citing a flawed climate impact analysis. The ruling took place five months after the Sierra Club and its partners sued the Biden administration over that lease sale, which covered more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.
Keep It in the Ground
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down the approval granted by the Trump administration for an expansion of the Bull Mountain coal mine in Montana, ruling in favor of the Sierra Club and its allies, who argued that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act. If approved, the expansion would have made Bull Mountain the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Win for Wolves
A federal district court reinstated protections for gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. The decision followed a lawsuit brought against the Biden administration by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club and its allies. Since being delisted from the ESA, up to a third of gray wolves in some areas have been killed.
CHECK IT OUT
The Sierra Club is a democratically run organization, and the results of our 2022 board of directors election are in. The new members are Cheyenne Skye Branscum, Allison Chin, Michael Dorsey, Cynthia Hoyle, and Aaron Mair.
Learn more: sc.org/2022-board.
Stop Poisoning Hawai’i
The Department of Defense announced plans to permanently shut down the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, which in November 2021 leaked more than 14,000 gallons of jet fuel into O’ahu’s groundwater. The move followed years of pressure from the Sierra Club’s Hawai’i Chapter and other local grassroots organizations. Following the announcement, though, the US Navy appealed an order from Hawai’i to drain the tanks. After losing a round in state court in April, the navy gave up and dropped the appeal. “We are glad that after nearly four long months, they’ve decided to stop wasting time and start fixing this problem,” said chapter director Wayne Tanaka.
» Read more: sc.org/red-hill
New Day in New Jersey
Following the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ unanimous approval of a petition to modify its power-purchase agreements with Starwood Energy Group, the owner of the state’s last operating coal-fired power plants, those plants are now slated to be retired in May 2022. “This is a historic decision,” said Greg Gorman, conservation chair of the New Jersey Chapter. “It marks the end of coal burning in New Jersey. We’re also thrilled that Starwood Energy is looking to directly transition to cleaner, cheaper renewable energy at these sites, ending nearly three decades of pollution in Carneys Point and Penns Grove, historically overburdened communities on the Delaware River.”
» Read more: sc.org/jersey-coal
LEE EN ESPAÑOL
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Ve a sc.org/espanol.
Stop the Burn “Eco-rapumentary”
For decades, Big Sugar in and around Florida’s Everglades has torched sugarcane fields after harvesting to make way for the next crop, despite the horrible air pollution it creates. “Florida has maintained this archaic practice to cut costs,” said Patrick Ferguson, the Sierra Club representative for the Stop the Burn–Go Green Harvest campaign. “It’s a toxic, outdated, and unnecessary harvesting practice.” To draw attention to the issue, cinematographer and musician Dane Myers has released possibly the world’s first eco-rapumentary, Clouds of Different Colors, which brings together art, song, poetry, film, and frontline testimonials. “The more I learned about it, the madder I got,” Myers said. “Doing this project demanded I grow as an artist and try to make something worthwhile to spread the word.”
» See Clouds of Different Colors: bit.ly/eco-rapumentary
» Read more: sc.org/clouds-review
Clean Water for All
On World Water Day (March 22), the Sierra Club launched the Clean Water, Toxics, and Resilience campaign, which will provide resources to amplify chapters’ advocacy for stronger water and toxics protections and enforcement. It will also address chemical waste disposal, plastics production, and air pollution. “All of us depend on clean water, yet not all have equal access,” said Beth Roach, the director of the new effort. “World Water Day reminds us that those who bear the greatest burdens from water pollution and other threats must have their voices heard.” Roach grew up next to the formerly heavily polluted James River in Virginia. “In my life, I’ve seen an ecosystem that was devastated rebound and enter this resilient stage because of public outcry and better practices,” Roach said. “I don’t remember seeing eagles or great blue herons while growing up, but now they’re a common sight.”
» Read more: sc.org/cwtr-campaign