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March/April 2007
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
Susquehanna Group

Everyone interested is welcome at all Sierra Club activities, whether or not a member (except for Executive Committee meetings).
General Meetings: These are held at 7:30 pm on the third Tuesday of each month, except July and August. They are held at Central United Methodist Church, 17 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott, NY (it is on Route 26 - from Route 17, follow 26 n. to Endicott, w. on E. Main, n. on Nanticoke). The public is welcome and refreshments are served following the meeting. Call Jack Davis, 570-553-2081, or Scott Lauffer, 341-3746 or for further information.

Tuesday, March 20
AES Westover to Reduce Emissions
Jim Mulligan, Plant Manager of the AES Westover Power Plant, will address the installation of clean-coal emissions control technology at its 126 MW coal-fired facility. The $50 million project will increase AES Westover's removal rates for NO(X) emissions from 60% today to 90%, SO(2) emissions by 95% and mercury emissions by 90%, all expected by the end of 2008. The upgrade is part of a consent decree by the New York DEC requiring reduction in emissions by 2010.

Tuesday, April 17
Exploring Timbukto and the Rivers of West Africa
Yes -Timbuktu really exisits. Join Cindy Westerman on a tour of this fabled city on the border of the Sahara Desert, the Niger and Gambia rivers, the Dogon region of Mali and remote villages in Senegal. The presentation will consist of slides showing the landscape, people and wildlife of the region as well as a discussion of the environmental problems facing West Africa today.

Executive Committee Meetings
The Executive Committee (usually) meets on the Tuesday before each General Meeting at 7:30 pm.

What can you do about Global Climate Change?
Learn about it. Get the DVD of Al Gore's film, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH , which recently won an Academy Award. It's also currently on TV on Showtime. There is a great website associated with Gore's film. It is:  There are many books and other websites that offer great ideas.
  • Talk to your representatives at the local, state and national level. Ask them to support solutions to reduce the amount of carbon emissions we produce. We need rebates to encourage people to buy hybrid cars and solar panels for our homes. PA offers such rebates. Does NY? Public officials should be using hybrid cars in their fleets whenever possible.
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent lighting. This will reduce your electric bill, and the need for new power generation. Give compact fluorescent bulbs to your friends as gifts.
  • Plant a garden or buy local produce when you can. Much supermarket produce comes from across the country, or from other countries; transportation adds carbon to our atmosphere.
  • Use wind energy (AKA "a clothesline") instead of the electric or gas clothes dryer.
  • Support green energy from your utility. Ask what you have to do to have your utility provide wind power for part of your energy needs.
  • Try to drive less. Car pool. Batch your trips. Use public transportation or bicycle. Avoid recreational use of gasoline.
  • When you replace your car, look for one that gets the best gasoline mileage possible, and consider a hybrid. We will be seeing ever-higher gasoline prices in the future, and hybrids will extend what gasoline is available.
  • Consider some form of solar panels for your house. New products are coming out all the time. Rebates will make it economically feasible. Is now the time? Start reading about the alternatives. Talk to people who have installed solar. Visit local installations.
  • Share your best energy-saving tips with this newsletter.
Most climatologists now believe that we have a narrow window of opportunity to make changes to slow global climate change. Not to act is to become, in fact, part of the problem. Your children and your children's children thank you!

Jack Davis, Membership Chair

Binghamton one of the Greenest Cities?
In a “Best Green Places” survey to be featured in its April issue, Country Home magazine ranked Binghamton 9th out of 379 metropolitan areas. Burlington, VT ranked first, and Ithaca was second. "I think it speaks to the environment we live in here. It's a beautiful valley, a lot of opportunity for outdoor activities. We're developing our river walks, we have a lot of green parks here," says Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.
Binghamton’s parks and high recycling rate were not considered in compiling the rankings. Fine details about the survey's criteria and Binghamton's statistics were not reported, however. The Associated Press stated that the rankings were based on air and watershed quality, mass transit use, power use, organic producers and farmers' markets. The magazine also used data from the US Census Bureau, the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of Agriculture, the EPA, and the Green Building Council. If Binghamton is one of the greenest, what does this say about the state of other cities across the country?

"When you stand back and look at the area, we don't have a lot of sprawl; we have a lot of green space," said Chip McElwee, executive director of the Broome County Soil and Water Conservation District. McElwee was not surprised that the area scored well in watershed quality. He said 65-70 percent of the region's watershed is undeveloped land. "The contribution to the watershed from these forested areas is good, clean water," McElwee said.

It is a surprise that Binghamton ranked so high. At our January meeting, we learned what Ithaca is doing (from the presentation on Sustainable Tompkins). We have a long way to go to reach that level of awareness and community participation towards a greener city. Maybe this ranking will give us a morale boost as well as a goal to reach.

Jeff Bohner, Group Chair

Sierra Club Websites
Each of these provides links to the other two:
Atlantic Chapter (NY State):
Susquehanna Group (NY Southern Tier - Binghamton - area): (you're there now)

Sierra Club 2008 Calendars
(our prices remain tax inc.):
Wilderness - list $12.95, our price $12.00. All the grandeur of the North American Wilderness.
Engagement - List $13.95, our price $13.00. Stunning images of Flora and Fauna.
Call Viv Stevens, 748-9865, to get your calendars, Proceeds support your local Sierra Club group.

Group Elections
Nominating Committee Report:
There will be no election this year for the group executive committee. The nominating committee selected only five candidates for five positions:
Returning are: Jeff Bohner, Julian Shepherd, Erin Riddle, and Vivian Stevens.
Deanna France will replace Cindy Westerman, who is retiring from the ExCom after many years of valuable contributions.
Dave Ketchum, Bylaws reader

This page last updated December 22, 2007