Saturday, November 29, 2008

Environmental Stewardship Field, Association Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

Our next inductee is the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, and accepting on behalf of the Sierra Club is James Mastaler, Chapter Staffer.

Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself. It is the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States, made up of 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors. Founded by John Muir, the Sierra Club endeavors to:
  1. Explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth.
  2. Practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources.
  3. Educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.
  4. Use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
Grounded in their ethic of land conservation, the Sierra Club plays a significant role in government. During the Clinton Administration, the Club campaigned and helped President Clinton designate national monuments to protect giant sequoias threatened by logging in the Sierra Nevada and to protect 60 million acres of wild national forests, including the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The Club was the leading force in the campaign to protect these forests.

In 2002 a bill was signed into law protecting nearly 500,000 acres of Mojave Desert wilderness in southern Nevada. Another enacted wilderness bill added about 57,000 acres to areas in central California.

A court in Utah agreed with the Sierra Club that the proposed Legacy Highway near Salt Lake City was not properly evaluated before it was permitted, halting construction.

The U.S. Senate rejected a proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and the state of California led the nation in enacting legislation to further control automobile emissions.

The Club continues to play an important role in government today, having given much time, energy and resources in their endorsement and campaigning for now President-elect Barack Obama. The Sierra Club is excited to work with the new presidential administration, and state and local elected officials across the country, to influence the future of our planet, the security of our nation, our economic stability and the health of our air, water, and wild lands.

It is my great honor to induct the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club into the Environmentla Hall of Fame and to show our appreciation to its James Mastaler.