Wow! In a matter of a few days over 1,100 people have taken action.
Cut and past the message below and spread far and wide. Share the link. Post the link on your Facebook page. Tweet the link. Let’s make it 5,000! Do it for the Lorax!
Thanks to the NC Conservation Network for their leadership on this! From their email:
As fall begins to color our beautiful state, thousands of visitors will travel to North Carolina to view…billboards? That’s what billboard companies and some state legislators would like you to believe. Perhaps most incredibly, a spokesman for the billboard industry recently gave testimony at a public hearing by the state Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and said that cutting down more trees would be good because trees cause global warming, drought, and air pollution (we’re not kidding!).
Tell your state legislators that no one visits North Carolina to see our beautiful billboards and to oppose any plans to further increase clear-cutting of trees near billboards: http://action.ncconservationnetwork.org/trees
Last year, the state legislature passed a law that lets the billboard industry chop down even more trees near billboards – even overruling local town rules on this practice. Billboard companies have recently been lobbying the NCDOT to ensure that they can cut down as many trees as possible. The Executive Director of the billboard companies’ lobbying group, the NC Outdoor Advertising Association, recently spoke at an Asheville public hearing on this issue and gave some pretty absurd reasons why it would be good for billboard companies to cut down more trees, including:
- Trees cause global warming. Citing a study* which he said found trees have a “net detrimental effect on global warming” because “when leaves fall off trees and decompose…it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” *However, the authors of the study issued a press release because their report was being cited incorrectly, writing “The most frequent misinterpretation we find in the media is that emissions of methane from plants are responsible for global warming.” The press release was titled “Global Warming – The Blame is not with the Plants.”1
- Trees cause air pollution. He was completely serious, saying that: “Trees give off more methane than they capture carbon dioxide, are you aware of that fact?” In reality, trees remove both gaseous pollutants and airborne particles.
- Trees cause drought. He said that: “We are in a drought prone state” and “Trees deplete our groundwater. Streams are drying up because of forests and the foliage and the trees.” Again, he was being serious.
So to solve global warming, combat droughts, and reduce air pollution the billboard companies will help us by cutting down trees. Especially trees that happen to grow near roadside billboards.
Sign our petition to state legislators today and tell them that you’re disappointed with the new rules passed to allow billboard companies to cut more trees near North Carolina billboards.
NC Conservation Network
Additional Information from Billboard Free Asheville
SOME OF OUR CONCERNS:
- Legislators did not have the true facts to approve SB183 in 2011. There are many documented reasons to revisit the law.
- Billboards may be erected and trees cut along State and Federal highways under NC law (SB183), regardless of local ordinances. This is contrary to the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which stipulates compliance with local zoning.
- It is illegal to give away trees when they belong to the public domain; this is a subsidy of out-of-state corporations. Since the passage of SB183, 70,000 trees, valued at $56,000,000, have been removed. It is a “Crime in Progress.”
- North Carolina prides itself about its Scenic Beauty and relies on TOURISM.
- One fourth of the North Carolina road maintenance budget comes from FEDERAL FUNDS. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 and U.S.C #131 originally eliminated billboards from Federal Highways with control and enforcement given to the states. The penalty for lack of enforcement is loss of FEDERAL HIGHWAY SUBSIDIES.
- Billboards are allowed on industrial sites and Brownfields (EPA initiative). Without proper oversight, clear-cutting has already taken place and Brownfield sites have been breached. Hazardous waste is possibly leaching into the storm waters.
- NC has the HIGHEST TAX RATE @38.9 CENTS PER GALLON (American Petroleum Institute Jan. 2012) to support the second largest network of state-maintained roads in the nation.
- Local jurisdictions have had their concerns ignored and have been over-ridden by the zealous nature of the out-of-state Outdoor Advertising Industry.
- There are 7,000 signs in North Carolina. Permitting and establishment of the advertising vehicles do not bear the cost of use relative to the profits of the industrial giants like Clear Channel, CBS, Fairway and Lamar to name a few. A digital billboard nets up to $300,000 per year!
“RIGHT TO BE SEEN”
A long string of court decisions makes it clear that billboards do NOT have a “right to be seen.” The billboard industry wants the public to think that billboards have a “right to be seen” — that is, that allowing trees to grow in front of billboards violates the rights of the billboard owners. Court decisions makes it quite clear that there is NO such right.
We are citizens. Those are our trees, although the politicians in Raleigh subsidize the out-of-state billboard corporations, by giving to them our publicly-owned trees. Many of us are angry. We believe that to our trees, WE have a “right!”
READ THE FACTS: From Scenic America: