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Sierra Club Guidance on Land Application of Sludges: How to Deal with Biosolids and the Club

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The Sierra Club is looked up to by many for “environmental conscience.” With 700,000 members and a budget over 75 million a year, it wields a lot of influence. Their fights against sprawl and for protecting natural resources are always in the limelight.

In 2001 a Sewage Sludge Task Force of the Sierra Club Waste Committee began a review of the Club's Guidance on recycling sludge. Members of the Federation who were club members participated in the development process but their viewpoints were ignored. This resulted in new Guidance that was posted on the Club's website designed to assist their activists. This new Guidance strongly reflects the views of the Cornell Waste Management Institute and could result in banning land application. It is felt by the WEF members that this Guidance violates Club Policy. Much was learned about the organization of the Club and the differences between Policy and Guidance.

The paper describes the organization of the Sierra Club, the chronology of development of the new Guidance and the players on the Task Force. The paper also describes the new Guidance and what it might mean. Finally the authors suggest ways on how to communicate with the Sierra Club. These techniques include how to listen to audiences as well as what style of presentation to use. They are helpful in dealing with other interested parties as well as the general public.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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