Speak Out Against Unsustainable Wolf Management
On October 15 Wisconsin began its third wolf hunting season since the species was removed from the Endangered Species Act list. The hunt will continue until the end of February, unless this year's quota of 156 wolves (includes 6 wolves for the tribes that won't be used) is reached before then. Given that 113 wolves have already been killed during the first 14 days of the season, it is likely that it will end early. The problem is that, when all is said and done, current DNR rules might allow for killing more wolves than the quota specifies, and over time, scientists fear that the hunt may be unsustainable. For instance, before zone 2 in northeastern Wisconsin closed, 29 wolves were harvested, despite the fact that the quota was 15. Six wildlife researchers recently voiced serious concerns to the US Fish & Wildlife Service about DNR’s population monitoring methods since the wolves were delisted – and they have even called for an emergency relisting of the species. Specifically, data on successful reproduction of wolf packs has not been presented, and required necropsies of dead wolves have not been performed to determine whether poaching has increased since the advent of the hunt or deregulation of hound training earlier this year. In addition, wolf monitoring methods have changed from year to year, complicating efforts to document changes over time.
While the John Muir Chapter’s newly formed Protecting Native Forests & Wildlife Subcommittee is carefully weighing the implications of supporting federal relisting, we share the experts' concerns about Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. To that end, we are urging the DNR to include all human-caused wolf mortality when considering when to close this year’s wolf season, rather than keeping the hunt open until the quota in each of the six hunting zones is officially achieved or exceeded.
This is important, given the potential lag time allowed between time required to report kills (with the hotline between open between 7am and 10pm, rather than 24 hours a day) and giving hunters five days before voluntarily presenting carcasses for inspection. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that allows hounds to be used for wolf hunting, and we are the only state that offers depredation payments for lost hunting dogs, with payments amounting to nearly $500,000 since 1985. Hunting is allowed statewide during breeding periods.
Please click here to urge the DNR to include all human-caused mortality to ensure that this year’s quota of 156 will not be vastly exceeded. Given the rapid pace of this year’s hunt, on top of deficient population monitoring, and the 367+ wolves killed in previous seasons, allowing careless management of this iconic, native predator could put populations in jeopardy once again.
Take Action to Expand Clean Transportation Options in Wisconsin
Expanding investments in transit, biking, walking, and local roads is essential for reducing our dependence on dirty tar sands oil, reducing climate change emissions and air pollution, and meeting mobility needs of low-income communities, disabled citizens, young professionals and seniors.
For many years, WisDOT has been spending billions of taxpayer dollars overbuilding highways, while shortchanging local roads, transit, and biking and walking infrastructure.
Highways continue to expand, even as demand for them is dropping. Wisconsinites drove 8.4% fewer miles in 2012 than in 2007, and surveys show young professionals increasingly want to live and work in places that offer options other than driving! Help us block repeated attempts to remove transit from the transportation budget, support for a more balanced transportation budget that meets the needs of all citizens, reject attempts to divert flexible funds that should be used for cleaner transportation options to highways. Click here to sign the petition calling for a more balanced transportation budget today!
If you want to get more involved in clean transportation work, attend one of our Transportation Town Hall meetings in October. Please join the Sierra Club and other members of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) for an event on Tuesday, October 14 in Milwaukee to learn more about the proposed $1.1 billion I-94 highway expansion that will bisect neighborhoods, desecrate cemeteries, and disrupt local businesses. Whether or not you can attend, please sign our petition calling for cleaner, cheaper, safer alternatives to this costly highway boondoggle today! If you live outside of Milwaukee, join us at upcoming events in Eau Claire (10/13), Appleton (10/16), La Crosse (10/22), Wausau (10/23) and other locations for lively discussions about Wisconsin’s transportation future and funding decisions.
Take Action to Stop Destructive Mining Threatening the Penokee Hills
Gogebic Taconite's proposed open pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Range offers short-term benefits in exchange for increasing the risks of permanent water contamination, adverse health effects, and degradation
of the Bad River Tribe's culture. The Penokee Range is home to hardwood forest and pristine rivers and streams, wetlands, and lakes. The land provides crucial habitat to wolves, bald eagles, songbirds, rare plants, and countless other animals that rely on the forested community.
This project would have massive air and water impacts on the Bad River Watershed, including threatening over 1,000 acres of wetlands, including the Bad River / Kakagon Sloughs, over 75 miles of Outstanding and Exceptional Resource Waters, and the aquifer that supplies well water to homes and businesses in the area. Over 200 inches of snow each year provides fresh clean water that supports the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior. The Kakagon and Bad River coastal wetland complex on Lake Superior are known as "Wisconsin's Everglades". This area is critical to the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa for wild rice production. The new iron mining law fundamentally limits DNR’s authority and resources needed to scientifically evaluate the impacts of this damaging proposal. We cannot risk these vital water resources and public health just to suit arbitrary mining company deadlines.
Mining is a 'boom and bust' economy, especially true with the inconsistent steel market. The mine threatens the current tourism and wild rice economy critical to the region. The risks don't outweigh the potential short-term jobs. Click here to urge the DNR to reject this risky proposal in order to safeguard Wisconsin's fragile natural resources.
Take Action to Prevent Another Raw Trade Deal Today
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a devastating trade policy that would cost Wisconsin jobs and lower working conditions and environmental standards worldwide, is being rammed through Congress in an alarming way. Last week, fast track authority for the TPP was introduced. Fast track limits legislative review and debate, requiring Congress to vote the deal up or down without amendments. Once approved, the TPP would actually require changes in local law where it conflicts with the terms of the agreement.
Like other free trade agreements before this one, the Sierra Club is concerned that US citizens have been kept in the dark while its details have been negotiated for years in secret by and for the world’s largest corporations. In twenty years NAFTA has cost American workers 700,000 jobs. How many jobs are we going to lose with the Trans-Pacific Partnership? The Sierra Club is also troubled by the TPP’s potential to undermine state and federal environmental protections. Similar provisions in previous agreements have already led to a race to the bottom that has resulted in water contamination, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity for participating countries. Finally, we have acute concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement’s potential to fuel destructive frac sand mining and fracking by speeding up exports of US natural gas to TPP countries with no Department of Energy review or assessment of the environmental or economic implications.
Since 2010, negotiations have been taking place for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge, NAFTA-style deal involving the United States and the governments of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Negotiations are being conducted in secret, with little opportunity for citizens to see what is being proposed and agreed to. Everything from labor standards, food safety, environmental standards and human rights will be rolled back and dismantled if the TPP passes. The public deserves the necessary time to debate and fully understand the ramifications of this massive trade deal. Click here to send a letter to your member of Congress. Tell them to get TPP off fast track today.
Urge Legislators to Support Clean Energy for Wisconsin!
|Sign the petition & help us reach our 5,000 signature goal this summer!
Wisconsin’s job creation rank continues to slip as we send over $12.5 billion out of state to import fossil fuels every year. We have a great chance to kickstart our economy by using assets that exist in our state right now to create high-tech renewable energy jobs. All that is missing is the political will to grasp the future. By investing in clean energy, Wisconsin will be far better positioned to compete in the 21st Century economy.
Wisconsin’s 10% Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will be met by all of our utilities by 2015. New goals are needed now to ensure continued renewable energy development that will create jobs, protect our health and environment, and keep more of our money in Wisconsin. We cannot afford to fall behind as clean energy companies chase states with better policies! Sign our petition urging your state legislators to protect our environment and create jobs by expanding renewable electricity standards, improving net metering, and allowing clean energy choice today!
Clean Energy Creates Jobs! Wisconsin already employs over 1,600 in the solar industry and another 2-3,000 in the wind industry. Investing in clean energy would stimulate economic development, provide revenue for rural communities, and create much-need jobs in a variety of areas, from manufacturing to research to installation and maintenance positions.
Wisconsin can't afford to fall behind in the clean energy race! According to the American Wind Energy Association, Wisconsin had only 648 MW of wind installed by the end of 2012, as compared to 988 MW in Michigan, 1,543 MW in Indiana, 3,568 MW in Illinois, 5,133 MW in Iowa, and 2,987 MW in Minnesota. As we look around to neighboring states, we are left wondering, why isn’t Wisconsin open for clean energy business?
Clean Air Protects our Environment! Burning coal is the top contributor to climate change, and Mercury from coal-fired power plants has led to fish consumption advisories for every lake and river in Wisconsin. Clean energy provides an emission-free alternative to coal.
Clean Energy Protects our Health! Soot and smog from coal-fired power plants have been linked to asthma, heart attacks, and deaths. In contrast, no peer-reviewed studies have found any negative health effects of wind energy, or evidence of ‘wind turbine syndrome.’
Sign our petition urging your state legislators to protect our environment and create jobs by expanding renewable electricity standards, improving net metering, and allowing clean energy choice today!
Visit the JMC Legislative Tracker
Learn about the John Muir Chapter's positions on current Wisconsin legislation that affects YOU, right here in Wisconsin. Find out more by visiting Legislative Tracker, then Take Action by contacting your elected officials today!
Take Action on National Conservation Issues
Click Here to take action on federal legislation related to clean energy and global warming, protecting forests and other wild lands, protecting threatened and endangered species, and more through the Sierra Club action page.