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Sierra Club

November, 2008
Mineral King News
Mineral King Group – Visalia 559-739-8527 http://kernkaweah.sierraclub.org/mineralking/

Your Club in Action Proactively, we support the City Barack Obama


By Mary Moy, Conservation Chair, and of Visalia Environmental for President –
Joanne Dudley, Secretary Committee, a citizen advisory
group that has been instrumental in
See Page 4
Visalia becoming a Cool City which
The Mineral King Group of the is a commitment to incorporate
Sierra Club continues to be actively development that reduces
engaged in many local environmental greenhouse gas emissions that Sierra Club
issues. contribute to global warming. Positions on
Group members monitored, Additionally, Mineral King
critiqued and challenged the Tulare
Ballot
members attend the Tulare County Propositions:
County General Plan Update. The Water Commission meetings to
update encouraged sprawl on the valley promote water quality and supply to
floor and in the foothills, allowed for loss citizens of Tulare County for current ! Propositions 1A –
of farmland, contributed to global and future users. Bonds for High
warming and poor air quality, allowed Finally, working with our Kern Speed Rail – YES
destruction of wildlife habitat and failed to Kaweah Chapter, we have promoted
conserve water and energy. Members a bill sponsored by Senator Boxer ! Proposition 2 –
were instrumental in sending more than and Representative Jim Costa to Confining Farm
600 pages of comments to the County. protect 69,500 acres of wildlands Animals – YES
As a result, the Plan Update is now in the within Sequoia and Kings Canyon
process of a major rewrite. ! Proposition 4 –
National Parks. If passed, it will be
Another focus for the Mineral King Parental Notificat-
called the John Krebs Wilderness
Group is the Yokohl Ranch proposal. ion of Minor’s
honor the former congressman who Abortion – NO
This proposal threatens to permanently made it possible for the Mineral
change the character of Tulare County. King Valley to be added to Sequoia ! Proposition 7 –
Accordingly, several leaders of the National Park. Renewable Energy
Mineral King Group have joined the As you can see the volunteer – NO
Tulare County Citizens for efforts of members of the Mineral
Responsible Growth [tccrg.org], a citizens King Group are having a positive ! Proposition 10 –
group devoted to promoting better land influence on the quality of life in our Alternative Fuel &
use planning in the County. The Tulare communities. Won’t you join us? Renewable Energy
County Citizens for Responsible Growth Bonds - NO
and the Mineral King Group are using the “Be the change you want to see in
same keen oversight to monitor the City the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi
of Tulare General Plan Update and the
proposed City of Tulare Motor Sports
Complex.

Highlights:
Join Our Outings Team – 2 Barack Obama for President – 4 Your Group Needs You! - 6
Book Review: The Great Turning – 3 Water Conservation & Climate - 5 Protecting Elk Bayou – 7
Sierra Club Hikers at Kaweah Oaks Preserve

Photo by Anna Sul

Come Join Our Outings Team


By Joanne Dudley, Outings Chair

It is always a pleasure to What a way to spend a


lead hikes into the foothills and day!
high elevations of our beautiful David and I believe those who
Sierra Nevada Mountains. spend quality time in nature will
People from all over the world be motivated to preserve and
come to see this wondrous protect it. Accordingly, we see
landscape to which we can travel the outings program as a crucial
in just a few hours. arm to the Sierra Club’s mission
Each spring and fall, my to enjoy, explore and protect the
husband David and I like to lead planet. Our hope is to encourage
hikes into the beauty of our oak other members of the Mineral
studded foothills. During the hot King Group into leading hikes so
summer days, we offer an escape the number of hiking opportu-
to the higher elevations to enjoy nities increases from one a month
blue dream skies, mountain lakes to one a week. If you like to hike
and stunning vistas into granite and enjoy sharing nature with
wonderlands. In addition to all others, you will enjoy being a
the beauty we encounter, we have member of our outings team.
Page 2 of 8 the joy of meeting and Call us at 733-2078 and let us
conversing with the nicest inform you about becoming a
people. leader. We will be so happy to
hear from you!
Book Review: The Great Turning
By Janet Wood, Mineral King Group Chair

In his informative and inspiring


book, The Great Turning: From
Empire to Earth Community, author
David C. Korten challenges us to bring
about fundamental changes to the way
we live in order to save ourselves and
our planet. Since its first publication in
2006, it has become one of the most
important books on the subject of our
global environmental crisis.
Korten confirms what environ-
mental authorities have been telling us
for nearly three decades; that the inequality will hate this book, for it
threats to the future of humanity are sheds light on dark places and
dire. He points out how profligate inspires the reader to wake up, take
consumption is threatening to exceed action and bring about change.
Earth's capacity to sustain it, and how Social activists, progressives,
this may ultimately lead to an and environmentalists dedicated to
accelerating wave of collapsing moving the world forward into a
environmental systems and violent better place, however, will gain
competition for what remains of the insight and inspiration as to how we
planet's resources got ourselves into this mess, and how
While many experts trace the we can instead bring about
global environmental problems we now fundamental changes to the way we
face to the Industrial Revolution, live in order to save ourselves and
Korten explores the even deeper roots our planet. Whether or not we accept
of the problem by examining the rise of the call to action will, as the author
the mentality of Empire beginning in stresses, determine whether the next
ancient Athens. Empire is defined by Great Turning will be toward
Korten as a mentality of domination, devastation and darkness, or toward
rather than that of cooperation, and he the light and joy of an earth
exposes how it pervades every global community that sustains us all.
governmental institution. He argues The Great Turning is an
convincingly that the increasingly important book for the times we live
destructive and oppressive nature of the in, when so many threats to our
global corporate economy threatens to future well-being loom on the
turn society into an Empire with horizon.
“fortune for the few and misery for the If you have the time to only
many.” The Great Turning explores read one book on the subject of the
this threat in detail and provides a global environmental crisis, The
detailed plan for meeting and over- Great Turning is probably that book.
coming it.
Those who support corporate
dominance, empire, violence and

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Barack Obama for President
By John Kamansky

The Sierra Club has endorsed using the money for investments for a
Barack Obama for President. Barack cleaner environment.
Obama’s positions on environmental As the foundation of his
issues are far more closely aligned to present plan and future developments
the Sierra Club than any other and programs, Barack Obama is
candidate. committed to the use of the latest
Barack’s energy plan for the technological and scientific
country attacks our world’s problems knowledge and research, and that it be
with a multi-pronged approach. It uncolored by ideology. He is also
includes tax credits for domestic committed to appointing individuals
automakers to retool for new fuel with strong scientific backgrounds and
efficient cars, plug-in hybrids and reputations for integrity and
advanced biofuels. Investment in objectivity to senior management
these and in alternative and renewable positions that require decisions
sources of energy as developed and incorporating science and technology.
instituted in our own economy will aid He would establish clear
in revitalizing American jobs and guidelines for the review and release
industry. of government publications, insuring
Part of Obama’s plan to timely release without distortion by
combat global warming would include ideological biases of political
a cap and auction system to reduce appointees. The country needs this
carbon emissions below 1990 levels new approach to knowledge and to our
by 2050, making polluters pay and energy problems.

Sierra Club
Information Table
at Earth Day, April,
2008 – Save the
Earth, Eat Locally!

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Water Conservation and the Climate Change Connection
By Kim Loeb

Turn on the faucet and out comes So, water conservation not only saves
water. We usually don’t give this a second precious water, it can significantly help fight
thought, but where does our water come global warming.
from? Will we always have abundant Outdoor irrigation is the place to start
water? looking for ways to save water. California
Most Tulare and King’s County Water Service, the company that supplies water
residents obtain their water from wells to Visalia, has found that residents use 3 times
drilled into the underground aquifer. The more water during the summer than in winter.
aquifer is recharged by the slowly melting Most of this additional water use is for land-
Sierra snowpack flowing through streams, scape irrigation.
rivers and irrigation canals which Inside the house, make sure you have
percolate water into the ground. Recharge high-efficiency showerheads and faucet
generally occurs only east of Highway 99 aerators. Older toilets can use 5 gallons or more
due to thick clay layers to the west that per flush. New high-efficiency toilets use as
preclude percolation. little as 1.28 or fewer gallons per flush. High-
But we have long been pumping efficiency washing machines use much less
more water from the aquifer than is water and spin clothes drier – allowing clothes
recharged, a condition known as overdraft. to dry quickly on a clothes line in the sun or
In Visalia, for example, the water table is even in an electric or gas drier if you have one.
now 114 feet below ground surface; 60
years ago it was at 25 feet. It has been in a Sources for water conservation information:
declining trend ever since.
Scientists tell us that climate www.h2ouse.org
change will likely change precipitation www.fypower.org
patterns in the Sierras resulting in more www.owue.water.ca.gov
rain and less snow. Without the Sierra www.calwater.com/conservation
snowpack, water will rush down the rivers
all at once during rain events, resulting in
much less percolation.
Politicians and interest groups
seem focused mainly on trying to obtain
water from somewhere else; however, it is
far easier and cheaper to focus on using
less water. As a bonus, water conservation
is a very effective way to reduce the
greenhouse gases that are responsible for
climate change.
According to the California
Energy Commission, approximately 19%
of California’s electricity and 32% of
California’s natural gas is used to pump,
transport, and treat water. The majority of
the state’s electricity is generated by Page 5 of 8
natural gas and coal-fired power plants.
Mineral King Group Needs You
By Joanne Dudley, Secretary & Outings Chair

Our Mineral King Group of issues are being discussed. The


the Sierra Club has three hundred plus proposed development in Yokohl
members. I imagine they are a diverse Valley is of great concern and we need
group with the common goal of to stay informed of its progress.
protecting our environment. I can These are just a few projects
only imagine because I haven’t had which can have great consequences
the pleasure of meeting many of our for the quality of life in our area and
members. Our Executive Committee which need to be monitored.
puts forth great effort to encourage On a proactive level, we
participation from many of our welcome help in educating our public
members by having dinner socials, on Earth Day and during the year at
environmental film screenings, speaking events and film screenings.
speakers, hikes and by information Come join us as we seek to inform
sharing through the Roadrunner, the people in creative and enjoyable
Mineral King website, and an events.
occasional newsletter like this one. Finally, we seek your input on
We wish we could encourage how we can more effectively
active participation from more of you. encourage participation from a larger
There are many venues through which number of our members.
you might participate. Our Executive What might we do to entice
Committee Meetings are held the 4th you to come forward and get
Monday at 6 p.m. at Colima’s acquainted with us? We know there is
Restaurant on Noble Ave. in Visalia. a great potential left untapped until we
Everyone is welcome to come and become actively engaged with more of
learn about our issues without being our members.
an ExCom member. We also Please take the time to jot
welcome new people interested in down some of your suggestions for
becoming a member of the Executive making us more responsive to your
Committee. wishes and ideas. You can send them
As an environmental group, to me at mtnlover@sbcglobal.net. We
we try to keep informed about various will value your suggestions and we
issues in the Valley. We are very look forward to meeting you!
interested in monitoring the County
General Plan Update. The more
people available to attend County
Planning Meetings and County
Supervisors Meetings, the more
effectively we can have input into the
final plan. We are also concerned
about air quality in the San Joaquin
Valley and we need individuals to
Page 6 of 8 attend meetings where air quality
Protecting Our Local Waterway – Elk Bayou
By Richard Garcia

Elk Bayou is a natural It should establish an Elk Bayou


waterway that extends from the citizens committee to review any
web of waterways at the Kaweah proposed development or
Oak Preserve just east of Visalia, construction on property located
heading southwest, under State along the Elk Bayou water way.
Highway 198, to State freeway 99 • The Elk Bayou Citizens
next to Elk Bayou Park in the City Committee would establish a set of
of Tulare. It then continues written guidelines that must be
southwest, past road 80 (Elk Bayou followed when constructing any
Road) until feeding into irrigation structure near Elk Bayou.
channels just west of State • The City of Tulare should
Highway 43. One of the encourage the County of Tulare to
recommendations the Tulare Motor take steps to protect the Elk Bayou
Sports Advisory Committee will watercourse from road 124 to state
make to the City of Tulare is a call highway 198.
for protection of the Elk Bayou.
… continued on outside back cover
Recommendations include:

• The City needs to act to “Protect


Elk Bayou for future generations.

Upcoming Events for Members


Volunteer Opportunities!
Dinner Socials in Visalia
The Mineral King Group is your local
To R.S.V.P., contact Bev at (559) 732-3785
Sierra Club Group for Tulare County west of
or bev.garcia@kernkaweah.sierraclub.org
Porterville, and for Kings County. It is
governed by an “Executive Committee.” But
November 11, 2008 (Tuesday) 6 p.m. -
you don’t have to be on the Ex Comm to
Come meet and greet fellow Sierra Club
volunteer!
members at the Olive Garden Italian
Please contact us if you’d like to help
Restaurant, 4110 S. Mooney Blvd.,
at any level! We are working to make sure
Visalia. It will be a relaxed evening of
the Tulare County General Plan protects our
spirited conversation and good food. We
environment, and to explore and enjoy our
look forward to meeting you. Please
local mountains.
R.S.V.P. if you plan to come: phone
The Group ExComm meets the fourth
Beverly Garcia, 559-624-0199 or e-mail
Monday of the month. Any member is
bev.garcia@kernkaweah.sierraclub.org.
always welcome to attend.

Please send us your e-mail address for periodic calendar and news
updates from the Mineral King Group.
E-mail your request to: harold.wood@sierraclub.org Page 7 of 8
Elk Bayou (continued from page 7)
Sierra Club Mineral
King Group • The City of Tulare should take • The City should seek expert
action to acquire control of the weir wildlife management professionals
dam on the west side of Freeway 99 to establish guidelines on how to
P.O. Box 3543
Visalia, CA 93278 to allow the City of Tulare to control best manage the Bayou. A model
USA the volume of water standing in Elk like the Visalia Kaweah Oak
bayou. Preserve would protect wildlife
Phone:
559-739-8527 • A complete study and inventory of while affording visitors controlled
all wildlife, endangered or not, access via walking trails and vista
Newsletter Editor: should be conducted by wildlife and points.
harold.wood
@sierraclub.org native plant experts. • The City must adopt a plan to
• The Bud Long-supplied maps for protect the Bayou from Off Road
the Motor Sports project do not show Vehicle use. Signage and more
how their proposed RV park importantly, enforcement policies
interfaces with the Bayou. The need to be adopted.
developers probably have not given
it much thought, and may plan to Properly planned and
pour concert and asphalt right up to managed, the Elk Bayou RV park,
the 100 ft set back. A natural could be the most beautiful and
aesthetic transition between camp inviting rest stop between Los
sites and the Bayou habitat should be Angeles and San Francisco. The
studied and planned. This would be natural beauty and ecosystems of
an excellent opportunity to study the these few remaining waterways
Bayou’s ecosystem and establish need protection. It is our hope that
native plants that would be drought this project can become a catalyst
resistant, compatible with flood for better stewardship of these
We’re on the Web!
control needs, and eliminate or at precious natural resources.
Visit our website at: least limit the need of herbicide
http://mineralking.sierraclub.org applications.

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IDEA! Printing

Barack Obama
for President –
See Page 4