Sierrans have been stepping up and speaking out all summer long. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s what Sierrans do. And in this edition of Footnotes Online, you have the opportunity to speak out yourself and maybe find a couple of events to enjoy as the summer winds down.
Your staff at the North Carolina Sierra Club
Cape Fear River Tour
Earlier this month, the Cape Fear Group hosted a river tour that took Sierrans and interested citizens from across the state for a ride on the Cape Fear River. The guests, many of whom have taken actions over the years to protect the river, finally got to explore this integral part of Wilmington’s economy and ecology.
The tannin-stained black water and salinized rice fields provided great views as the tour wound past the L.V. Sutton power plant, a visual reminder of coal’s dark history in the area, and up to near the site of the proposed Titan Cement facility. For many of the riders, it was a reminder of why we Sierrans constantly stand up to protect this part of the state. It was also a reminder that many of us don’t get out and explore this great state enough.
Enjoy a few pictures from this tour. And then find your own river, creek, or waterway to enjoy while summer’s still here.
Cement Regulations and Why They Matter
The proposed Titan Cement facility near Wilmington already has people worried about the impact such a massive polluting project could have on the air and water.
But this already dirty industry could get dirtier if the EPA delays and weakens the proposed regulations they announced in 2010. (Sidenote: it’s the cement industry that’s calling for the delay).
Will you stand up and tell the EPA to protect the public health by not delaying the new rules?
Do you know what happens when rules for cement kilns are relaxed? People can get sick. Really sick.
According to the EPA, when they announced the long overdue rules in 2010, they said the rules would prevent:
17,000 cases of aggravated asthma,
1,500 heart attacks,
1,000 emergency room visits for respiratory problems, such as asthma,
740 hospital admissions for respiratory or cardiovascular problems,
32,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms,
130,000 days when people miss work, and
750,000 days when people must restrict their activities because of particle pollution-related symptoms.
Billboards and Your Views
Folks looking forward to the viewing the Fall foliage that will soon adorn the state’s mountains may be saddened to learn that new rules currently under development by NC DOT may mean you will be seeing billboards instead of trees at the peak of autumn color.
And it’s not just the mountains that will bear the brunt of the assault on our trees. Visitors heading to Charlotte have had their local investment in beautification along Independence Boulevard run over roughshod. As the land flattens on the way to Wilmington, any of the longleaf pines within a football field or so of a billboard will be fair game to be cut.
Here’s where you come in. The NC DOT is in the process of adopting new rules to implement the bad billboard bill from last session that stirred up such a fuss. And you won’t be surprised that the billboard companies want to make that bad will worse with the new rules.
If your views don’t match up with those of the billboard companies, please send a message to the DOT today. Here are some key points (copy/pasting is ok!):
- I agree with the proposed rules– DOT should deny permits to remove trees and other vegetation if doing so would be in conflict with conservation easements, or with state or federal rules, statutes and permits.
- I agree that local governments should have at least 30 days advance review of the application to remove vegetation before the application is submitted to DOT.
- Don’t turn billboard companies loose with mechanized equipment that scrape every last blade of vegetation from the roadside.
- Don’t create a loophole to cut down even more trees to increase the visibility of roadside businesses. Clearing the view to businesses goes well beyond the language and intent of the law.
Let’s Get Political
We probably don’t have to remind you that the outcome of the elections in November will determine the direction of North Carolina’s policies on energy and environmental issues. Do we want to power our homes with clean, safe solar and wind or dirty, dangerous coal and nuclear? Do we want to protect natural places that make our state such a beautiful place to live, or allow them to be destroyed?
The State Political Committee is focused on 10 key House and Senate districts where we think Sierra Club’s grassroots power can make a big difference, but we need your help to ensure that environmentally-friendly candidates win those competitive races. We are putting together political action teams in Asheville, Raleigh, and Wilmington to develop and implement plans for engaging in our endorsed candidates’ campaigns, and then hitting the ground to make sure we don’t wake up on November 7th wishing we had just knocked on a few more doors or made a couple more phone calls.
Don’t miss out on the excitement! Contact Travis Hargett at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in learning more about our election work this fall.
Call for Nominations
The Executive Committee of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club will be holding elections this fall for 3 At-Large positions. Nominations should be sent to the Nominating Committee by September 14, 2012.
Ballots will be mailed to all members on November 15, 2012, and all ballots received by December 14, 2012, will be counted. To nominate yourself or someone else for a position on the Executive Committee, please contact Steve Copulsky at email@example.com or 704-543-7493.
Sierran of the Month
Mac Montgomery is a man who knows how to get things done. Over the last year he has revived the Cape Fear Group of the Sierra Club and made a force to be reckoned with.
That would be enough for many a man, but not for Mac. He has been a leader on the Offshore Wind Team, giving presentations up and down the North Carolina coast, making the case that our state should be First in Wind.
Mac surely knows how to step up, but he also knows when to step back. As a leader, he has recruited others to become more invested in the group and community and take on leadership roles. Mac and the other members of the Cape Fear Group aren’t just building a group, they are building a machine that will last for years to come and encourage others to enjoy, explore, and protect their part of North Carolina.
And for that, we honor Mac Montgomery as the Sierran of the Month.
2012 Legislative Session Wrap Up Webinar, Online
August 20, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
The presentation will cover all of the hottest environmental bills of the session, including the high profile fracking bill, the infamous sea level rise bill, and many others.
Will Mogan, the NC Chapter’s lobbyist, will go over what exactly each of the bills does, as well as give you some behind-the-scenes stories of how all of the action went down at the legislative building. The webinar will also include plenty of opportunities to ask questions, so if you’ve been wondering what exactly “forced pooling” is, or exactly how legislators plan to stop the sea from rising, be sure to join the webinar.
Duke University Sustainability Tour, Nicholas School of the Environment
September 1, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Click here for details: http://www.facebook.com/events/136835759790846/
The tour will start with a brief overview at the Nicholas School of the Environment building (450 Research Drive, parking instructions to come!) and include walks to the new Nicholas School building (under construction), the West Campus steam plant that is currently being converted from coal to natural gas, a look at the fleet of Chevy Volts, and the new cistern that stores and reuses water runoff near the School of Engineering.
Headwaters Group Kick-off Picnic, Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC
September 8, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Click here for details: http://www.facebook.com/events/165741870228477/
Get to know the Sierra Club– and each other! School is back in session, the weather is cooling off, and it’s time for the Headwaters Group and the NC Chapter to let you know about the exciting work we are doing and events we are planning to fulfill our mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the environment.
Meet newly-arrived and seasoned local Sierra Club enthusiasts at Sandy Creek Park (3510 Sandy Creek Drive) for a potluck picnic with the chance to explore 100+ acres of wetlands and forest in Central Durham. Bring your neighbors, kids, and furry friends!
For more information on Sierra Club Outings check out the Outings Calendar.
Did you know you can make a monthly gift to the NC Sierra Club? Find out how you can make a sustaining gift by visiting our website, or contacting the Chapter office at 919-833-8467.