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Grand Canyon

June, 1966

Sierra Club published full-page newspaper ads in the New York Times and Washington Post against building a dam that would flood the Grand Canyon. The next day, the IRS hand-delivered a suspension of the Club’s tax-exempt status. This action boosted the Club’s prestige and membership and helped in the fight to save the Canyon. The ad in question said simply, “This time it’s the Grand Canyon they want to flood. The Grand Canyon.”

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Storm King Mountain

1965

The Sierra Club brought suit to protect New York’s Storm King Mountain from a power project. The case established a precedent, allowing the Club standing for a non-economic interest in the case.

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Wilderness Act

1964

The Wilderness Act passed, establishing a process for permanently protecting some lands from development.

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Silent Spring

1962

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson published. The book alerted the general public to the dangers of pesticides, particularly the dangers to humans. Yet she remained in the tradition of Muir, summarizing her main argument, “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.”

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Dinosaur National Monument

1955

As a result of public pressure, the federal government dropped plans for a dam in Dinosaur National Monument. Building on the momentum generated by this success, the Wilderness Bill, drafted by Howard Zanhiser, was introduced into Congress by Hubert Humphrey and John Saylor.