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Montana audubon ~ actions ~ April 2012

  1. owen sowerwine natural Area needs your help! (opens pdf)

  2. EPA Carbon rules - Ready. set. go.

  3. Restore the Gulf & LWCF -- Senate "Thanks" in order

  4. more clean energy and climate actions

  5. inspire others -- write a letter to the editor -- ongoing

  6. Keystone xl pipeline - Tell the President no

2. New Carbon Pollution Rules announced by epa

Cut Carbon Now! Snowy OwlThe EPA has proposed (April) historic new safeguards to limit carbon pollution from industiral power plants. Power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in the country, and there are currently no limits on the amount of greenhouse gases they can emit.

Your voice is needed now to support the proposed protections and to counter big polluters who are spending millions to get Congress to block the EPA's action. Can the collective "we" get a million comments into the EPA in supportof this rule?

Look for this postcard in your Audubon magazine, through your Chapter, or an easy on-line comment form at National Audubon Society's action page! So easy - do it today!

Read what the EPA has to offer here. GRIST opines here

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3. Thank Our Senators for a Conservation Victory

The U.S. Senate recently (March 9) passed a Transportation Bill containing the most important conservation victory in a decade. The bill contains provisions that ensure 80% of BP oil spill fines will be spent on Gulf Coast restoration instead of unrelated federal spending (the RESTORE Act) and would also give a much-needed infusion of support to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps protect precious American natural resources.

Volunteers feeding PelicansThese historic conservation measures passed the Senate by an overwhelming 76-22 vote! In addition, several bad amendments that you may have heard about, including one that would have fast-tracked the Keystone XL Pipeline, were defeated, making it a banner day for the environment. The Audubon community has been fighting hard to pass the RESTORE Act for more than 18 months.

We invite you to thank Senators max Baucus and Jon Tester for supporting these vitally important conservation measures. It's really easy, and they deserve it! A little thanks goes a long way to keep these conservation votes coming...

Sen. Max Baucus: call: (202) 224-2651  
Sen. Jon Tester: call: (202) 224-2644


Now we need the House to act... stay tuned.

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4. more clean energy & climate policy actions I want a future!

2012. We often wonder whether our voices are truly heard, especially when advocating for solutions to climate change.  Yet when our voices are amplified—by the sheer numbers of citizens calling, rallying or writing—it can work.  We continue to beat back thrashings to a bedrock law, The Clean Air Act. These attempts to gut the Clean Air Act would severely limit the EPA's ability to protect all of us—including birds and wildlife—from dangerous global warming and other pollution like mercury and particulates.

Although we know we need to DRAMATICALLY pick up the pace of climate action at the local, state and federal levels, we also know the EPA needs to maintain its authority to set common sense limits on carbon pollution. Please write a letter to the editor expressing your support for clean air and water.

April is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision requiring the EPA to set carbon limits. We hope to collect comments on EPA standards any day, and hope they do not delay. Stay tuned.

Threats will continue -- see below for our Congressional delegations contact information and let them know how you feel.

Help us defend the Clean Air Act.

Read this opinion piece by Audubon and our partners about What is at Stake:

Montana clean air safeguards coming under attack. Missoulian Nov. 4, 2011

We have worked with National Audubon to develop this two page FACT SHEET designed to give you the tools to best to lend your voice for the protection of the Clean Air Act, especially keeping the authority of EPA to reduce greenhouse gas pollutants.

Please take a look at the Fact Sheet and craft a quick letter, email or phone call:

Rep. Denny Rehberg: call: (202) 225-3211 email Denny here.
Sen. Max Baucus
: call: (202) 224-2651  
Sen. Jon Tester: call: (202) 224-2644

Latest data for atmospheric CO2

Need inspiration to keep working for solutions? Watch this video.

There's a narrow window for reducing carbon pollution. We must bend the global emissions curve downward, and we need every one of us to voice your concern. You can attend EVENTS, TALK to your friends, WRITE a letter to the newspaper, or VOLUNTEER... contact Amy.

With no action in the Senate, we need the EPA and the Clean Air Act to protect our health and planet. Big oil, gas and coal companies want to limit the EPA’s authority to protect public health. They claim they would rather Congress enact a law to regulate greenhouse gases. The truth is they have not only failed to support any meaningful Congressional regulation of such pollutants, they have fought against them. They cannot have it both ways – no laws and no regulations – while continuing to pour polluting greenhouse gases into our environment.

Every day the Senate fails to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation is another day we look for more ways to drill and mine in sensitive lands. It’s another day we endure greater disruptions from greenhouse gas pollution. The longer Congress delays, the more we will have to decrease future carbon emissions to reduce the current “overflow” of CO2 in the atmosphere; the job will become more abrupt, more painful, and more expensive.

We will continue to work for strong energy and climate legislation that will build a clean and safe energy economy to create jobs, make our country more secure by reducing our dependence on oil, and fight global warming.

Call or email our Senators and ask them to protect the EPA's ability to reduce greenhouse gas pollutants.

Sen. Max Baucus: call: (202) 224-2651  
Sen. Jon Tester: call: (202) 224-2644

Here's a simple message:telephone

Please hold the line. Inaction is not an option. And we cannot afford to weaken the EPA's ability to protect our health and regulate greenhouse gas pollution. We cannot afford to wait.

The BP Gulf Coast oil spill continues to be a wake-up call that we need clean energy now more than ever. We have to question why we continue to rely so heavily on carbon-polluting fossil fuels – whether it’s oil from hostile foreign nations or along America’s coasts, or coal from Eastern Montana.

Did you read the Guest Opinion we wrote with 11 other Montana conservation groups?

Contact Amy Cilimburg.  406-465-1141

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5. letters to the editor

We need letters to the editor asking for solutions to global climate change - we are not giving up in our efforts to solve climate change. Speak up for clean energy, more jobs, watershed protections, and reduced pollution! BP's disaster in the Gulf, wolverines and polar bears in trouble, huge ice sheets breaking away from Greenland, unprecedented heat waves in Russia, droughts in Texas, and floods in Pakistan provide dramatic evidence that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels and take action now to avert even more catastrophic climate change.

Tips for writing good letters are HERE >>

A list of Montana newspapers and links to send in letters is HERE >>

Here are some great opinion pieces that might give you ideas:

General Talking Points for letters: (see below for wildlife/natural resource talking points)

  • The BP oil spill disaster continues as a call to action for our leaders to implement real energy reform. It's time to cut our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and reduce carbon pollution.
  • America would benefit from independence from fossil fuels and foreign oil. Encouraging energy efficiency and home-grown renewables is patriotic.
  • Carbon pollution has led to major impacts to human health, communities and natural resources. Let's keep the Clean Air Act intact and working to save lives.
  • Doing nothing will cost more in damage from droughts, spread of insect-borne diseases, more intense weather events like fires, hurricanes and storms, and ever increasing insurance rates. We must invest a modest amount now to get cleaner air, greater energy security, and new energy jobs.
  • Businesses in the emerging clean energy economy have grown at a faster rate than U.S. jobs overall and many cannot be outsourced.
  • Delay is not an option. We must reduce carbon pollution. America must become a global leader in clean energy for the 21st century.
  • The world needs our leadership. .

Talking Points for wildlife enthusiasts, sportsman, and nature lovers:

  • Our natural resources make enormous contributions to our national, state and local economies. The combined economic contribution of outdoor activities such as birding, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping and other forms of wildlife-dependent recreation, if combined into one business, would rank in the top 10 Fortune 500 companies.
  • Birds and butterflies are already moving north and are impacted today. The recent inter-agency scientific report "State of the Birds" show US birds are vulnerable to a warming world and action is needed now.
  • Losses of western trout populations are predicted with warming waters. Trout are especially vulnerable to climate change because they are dependent on an abundance of clear, cold water. As coldwater habitats warm, rising temperatures will negatively impact a variety of trout life history phases – from eggs to juveniles and adults.

see Amy for more of these..

Here are TIPS to help you write an effective letter and get it published:

  1. Be timely - Many papers are covering the energy debate in Congress.  Your letter will have a greater chance of being printed if it is in response to an editorial, op-ed, or story about the current energy debate. Mention the name or date of the article. 

  2. Follow the paper's guidelines - BELOW is information about where to email a letter to the editor of any of Montana's eight major newspapers, and the word limit for each. 

    In general, you should:
    1. put your final letter into the body of an email (don't send as an attachment);
    2. put the editor's email address in the "To" field;
    3. put "letter to the editor" in the "Subject" line;
    4. have the salutation read, "Dear editor," followed by your letter; and
    5. include your name, address and phone number with the letter (many papers will call to confirm authorship before running a letter).

  3. Get personal - Share your expertise. Editors are more likely to publish a letter, and the letter will have more impact, if it demonstrates local relevance.  If you are a business person, talk about the importance of your industry and clean energy jobs.  If you have solar panels on your roof-share that information. 

  4. Refer to our Congressional delegation - Senator Max Baucus, Senator Jon Tester and Representative Dennis Rehberg - by name. If your letter includes a legislator's name, staff will usually give him the letter to read personally.  

  5. Keep your letter short, focused, and interesting. In general, letters should be under 200 words, 150 or less is best.  Stay focused on one main point - in this case, urging our delegation to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act.  Get to the main point in the first two sentences. 

  6. Write the letter in your own words. Editors want letters in their papers to be original and from a reader. Write the letter in your own words. 

  7. Read these 5 pointers for talking Climate & Energy from the Sightline Institute.

  8. Follow-up with Montana's delegation. If your letter is printed, clip out your printed letter and send it to the elected officials you mentioned with a brief cover note. This way you can be certain that your elected official sees it.

  9. Contact the newspaper if your letter doesn't run. If your letter doesn't appear, contact the editor after a few days to ask whether it will run.

You may find it a little intimidating to write a letter to the editor. Don't be afraid to ask for help -- contact Amy Cilimburg if you'd like specific ideas or help with your letter. 406-465-1141.
You can also download a helpful "How To" guide HERE >>


Thanks for speaking up for clean energy, jobs and reduced pollution!

Contact Amy Cilimburg.  406-465-1141

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6. keystone xl pipeline

Learn more about Tar Sands, the Boreal Forest, and Oil Pipelines HERE.

Washington DC2012. As you've likely heard, the decision to allow this pipeline has been delayed! National Audubon Society's President weighs in with his message.

Now there is talk of a reroute. Since President Obama will decide whether to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline - not Congress, he's still the one to influence.

Can you call President Obama and tell him no thanks for the tarsands oil, ever?

phone: 202.456.1111 -- fax: 202.456.2461

Need inspiration? Over 10,000 individuals circled the White House on November 6. Great photos here and on Facebook.

This followed one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in recent history. Over 1,200 people got arrested in Washington D.C. in September in opposition to this Keystone XL project.

The Keystone XL pipeline would transport oil from tar sands, an unusually dirty and carbon-intensive fuel. In Canada vast boreal forests are being strip-mined, the forest bulldozed, the earth beneath pulverized and washed with undisclosed chemical solvents, using too much fresh water and too little regard for the people in communities downstream. The pipeline to transport this dirty oil is dangerous to landowners, water supplies and communities along its route (Alberta through Montana to the Texas coast). The proposed pipeline runs over the Ogallala aquifer and through the area the endangered Whooping Crane migrate.

The costs are high. Can we afford to continue to use a fuel that produces two to three times more greenhouse gas pollutants than conventional oil?

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7. over 1 Year later - Gulf Coast Oil spill & what we can do

will update soon on the April 20, two-year anniversary.. and what we can do...

Fall 2011. National Audubon Society has been working to restore the Gulf Region since before the oil spill. And they, together with an amazing team of volunteers, have poured their hearts, brains and muscles into helping the birds, shores and marshes recover. Restoration means rebuilding the delta. And it takes money. BP is poised to finally deliver on promises to put up the funds to began repairing this critical region so harmed by the spill and decades of oil and other development.

There is ONE CRITICAL ACTION YOU CAN TAKE. We need to tell Congress to direct Clean Water Act penalty money to Gulf Restoration. Otherwise it will just go to the US Treasury and the region's communities, wildlife and birds will never see a dime.

While we're at it, let's urge Congress to act to strengthen oil drilling safeguards and stop issuing new permits until we can be sure that an accident like last year's can never happen again.


Direct impact to Montana Birds. Most of "our" birds migrate and winter to the west of the Gulf Coast. However, some eastern Montana migratory birds are likely part of the "Central Flyway" It is possible that a portion of our white pelican populations, and perhaps some shorebirds use the Gulf Coast during winter months (we simply don't know just who goes where...). Time will tell how birds, other wildlife and entire ecosystems will fair. For more on Montana birds, read this short article in the Missoula Independent and this from the Billings Gazette.

We can learn from this tragic lesson - it is an opportunity to help people understand the consequences of energy consumption. We know that extracting fossil fuels is harmful to our environment, whether leveling a mountain to get coal, pock-marking western grasslands with natural gas wells, or drilling for oil under thousands of feet of water. We know that burning fossil fuels adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which in turn is hastening the rate of global warming.  It’s time to make the move to more efficient and cleaner energy systems!

We can:

  1. Write a letter to the editor about the impacts of oil spill to birds and ecosystems, connecting to Montana birds.  Feel free to point out that oil companies, lobbyists and special interests have fought energy reform for decades to protect their profits! It's time for the polluters to pay and it is time to transition away from nasty fossil fuels. Conclude with need for real energy solutions and climate change legislation.

    An aside, sort of: see this New York Times article about oil subsidies. And this about fossil fuel subsidies and fairness more generally.

  2. Call elected officials and urge them not to give up on clean energy and climate legislation.  Oil companies and lobbyists have fought energy reform to protect their profits for far too long. The spill anniversary is another call to action for our nation's leaders to implement comprehensive clean energy and climate solutions that will enhance our security, cut our dependence on oil, create millions of American jobs, and preserve our planet for future generations.

  3. Be sure you are signed up with Montana Audubon for our action alerts – we can keep you posted on how to respond (pretty low email traffic all in all). Go HERE

  4. Learn more from National Audubon Society.

Contact Amy Cilimburg.  406-465-1141

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whew, that's a lot of action -- thank you!


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