November/December 2012 Newsletter:

What has the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club Group been up to in 2012?

Water Committee- Steve McPhee (Exiting Chair) and Jessica Ferrato (New Chair)

This has been an eventful year for the NEO Water Committee. We commented on the NEORSD Consent decree to the federal district court in January, attended the Great Lakes Water Quality Conference, and participated in the initial planning session for a Lake Erie Summit to unify Sierra Club efforts for improving Lake Erie. We offered literature and watershed education at Earthfest, Captains Stadium, Parade the Circle, and Burning River Festival and sponsored the film “Last Call At The Oasis” at the Cleveland International Film Festival. We promoted and coordinated volunteers at the Trash and Pancakes cleanup at Edgewater Beach, and at Mill Creek for the River Sweep cleanup. We worked with Amanda Keith, the state chapter water program coordinator for Northern Ohio, and we trained 13 Water Sentinels to monitor stream water quality with club-owned chemical testing equipment.

There is still plenty to do and you can help. Call our new Water Committee Chair, Jessica Ferrato at (216) 339-9855 or e-mail

Wetlands, Human Rights, and Population Committees- Dennis Plank

Please come to the Conservation Committee meetings or call Dennis at 216-939-8229 if you are interested in working on wetlands preservation, human rights, population stabilization, political lobbying, or outings. I believe in interdependency or everything is dependent on everything else.

John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” As a result I have supported the Ohio Wetlands Association, protested stereotyping of Indigenous Peoples, educated people on the population reaching 7 billion last year, lobbied administrators and legislators on the above, and lead walking, bike, art, and canoe outings to explore our interdependent environment.

Rainforest Committee- Michael Melampy

The NEO Sierra Club Rainforest Committee focuses on issues related to the conservation of tropical forests around the world although our primary area of interest has been the New World. In our meetings, we share information, organize educational conferences and promote films at the Cleveland International Film Festival and other venues concerning rainforest issues. We also provide small amounts of financial aid to conservation groups in tropical countries; so far, most of this aid has been directed to Ecuador.

New members are always needed and welcome. Our monthly meetings are held in the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Contact Michael Melampy at 440-826-2263 for dates and times.

Coal and Energy Committee- Randy Cunningham

We have been doing business via the internet this month (October), mostly with reports from Anne Caruso on fracking, and Akshai Singh on the Cleveland Sustainability 2019 process. In November we will either be feeling great relief, or premonitions of doom. Either way we will know what to expect and can start a planning process for 2013’s activities. To help with this committee, please contact Randy at 216-631-3337.

Nuclear Committee- Bob Greenbaum

We are focusing on AMPOhio’s letter of intent to purchase part ownership in a proposed (and hugely subsidized) new nuke from Santee-Cooper Units 2 & 3 V. C. Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina, of concern for Cleveland MUNY Light, Oberlin, Cuyahoga Falls, and other local public power agencies who purchase through AMP. We continue to monitor and oppose licence renewal at Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. We’re also focused on the Piketon centrifuge fiasco and ongoing national radioactive waste issues and the activities of NewGreen Corp., nuclear equipment cleaning and contaminated metal recycling facility in Perry, especially concern on shipment on Great Lakes and rail.

For more information or to get involved, contact Bob at 216-382-4321.

Fracking Committee- Anne Caruso

This year our group passed out Sierra Club fracking literature at several events around Cleveland including Earthfest, Parade the Circle, and the Living Green Festival. We attended fracking protests in Columbus and in Washington, DC, where 5000 people marched through the streets calling for a halt to oil and gas drilling until it is proven to be safe. We worked with Buckeye Forest Council, Neogap, and West Shore FACT (Faith Communities Together for Frac Awareness) to bring Teresa Mills to NE Ohio to give a presentation on injection wells. We joined other Ohioans at Quail Hollow State Park to highlight the travesty of drilling in state parks.

We look forward to working with other grassroots organizations to raise awareness of the health and environmental impacts of fracking. Among these are tremendous water withdrawals from our rivers and streams, air pollution that extends 200 miles from drilling sites, industrialization of our rural lands and residential neighborhoods, danger of methane and chemical leaks into our aquifers, earthquakes from injection well activity, and increased global warming from methane escaping from all phases of the extraction of shale oil and gas. Help the Fracking Committee spread the word about why it is important to stop and prevent fracking unless it is proven safe. Contact Anne at