Depending on your point of view, these times can be seen as challenging or inspiring (or somewhere in between). Whether it’s the 2,000 people who wrote their state legislators last week to keep environmental boards and commissions, doing their job to protect our health, or the 40,000 people who went to Washington this past weekend to call for action on climate change, Sierrans stand up when needed. And we need you now!
Aside from asking your help on a couple of key legislative issues, this month’s edition of Footnotes Online has outings and opportunities galore. And, if you need a pep talk, we’ve got that, too.
Thanks for all that you do,
Your staff at the NC Sierra Club
Legislative Matters That Really Matter
The outrage over SB 10 is completely justified. It’s an unprecedented power grab. It’s happening right now. And you can help stop it.
SB 10 is the bill getting all the news that would purge all sitting members of key commissions, such as the Environmental Management Commission (EMC), Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), the Utilities Commission, and many others.
SB 10 eliminates years of institutional knowledge and memory, making it difficult for the boards to function efficiently in the months to come. And it puts North Carolina on a path to overturn years of carefully constructed policies developed by diverse and representative public servants.
It gets worse. Among the changes, the bill completely eliminates the careful balance of interests among environmental, scientific, and business representatives who serve on the CRC and the EMC, two of the most important commissions. This is a dangerous precedent, one that could encourage pay-to-play politics for board appointments.
The legislature passed SB 820 last year, which created a Mining and Energy commission to develop rules and regulations to govern the fracking industry. Concerned citizens were promised that no fracking permits would be issued without a separate vote of the legislature. That vote would come after legislators had the opportunity to review the commission’s recommended rules to be sure they are adequate to make fracking safe.
Now, just 8 months later, some legislators are seeking to make sure fracking moves forward, ready or not.
Enter SB 76. This legislation appears ready and willing to spur oil and gas development by lowering the bar for environmental, landowner and local government protections. SB 76 removes a number of the safeguards included in last year’s fracking bill, which is now law.
This bill will be voted on in the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow (Thursday) and then likely head to the floor. Click here to tell lawmakers that they shouldn’t try to rush oil and gas development by removing protections for the public.
The Lobby Corps
Join the more than 30 people who are already part of the NC Sierra Club Lobby Corps! Our volunteer lobbyists are instrumental in making sure that legislators have the information they need when taking up serious issues. From fracking to clean energy, and issues local and statewide, our success depends on Sierrans like you stepping up.
You are the leader that you’ve been waiting for. Sign up to learn more about the Lobby Corps today!
For Members Only
Members of the Sierra Club will receive a ballot in the coming weeks that will allow them to vote for candidates running for the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors.
The North Carolina Chapter recommends a vote for: Robin Mann, Jim Dougherty, Susana Reyes, and Becky Gillette in the upcoming elections.
Forward on Climate Rally
This past Sunday, around 500 North Carolinians went to Washington, D.C., to take part in the largest climate change rally this country has ever seen!
When the call was made to ask the President to act climate change, residents of the Old North State answered. But we all know that acting locally is a key component of creating change.
So whether it is urging the President to block the Keystone XL pipeline, or pressuring Duke Energy to shut down its dirty Asheville Coal Plant, North Carolinians are standing up.
And we couldn’t be prouder. Thanks to everyone who made the trip to Washington to take a stand against climate change.
North Carolinians gather near the base of the Washington Monument on February 17, 2013.
Photo Credit: Zak Keith
Calling All Photographers!
Nature-related photography has been ingrained in Sierra Club activities for almost 100 years. Ansel Adams’ dedication to wilderness preservation, and to the Sierra Club, inspired an appreciation for natural beauty and a strong conservation ethic. In 1928, Adams became the Club’s official trip photographer and in 1930, he became assistant manager of the outings, which consisted of month-long excursions of up to 200 people.
So when Van Crandall had the idea to create a project that would encourage Sierrans to take pictures of the natural places of North Carolina, it was easy to see how this made sense.
If you are a photographer (professional or amateur or anywhere in between) we want your help! Soon, there will be a website that will host pictures that capture Sierrans’ endeavors to explore, enjoy, and protect our great state.
Photo credit: Van Crandall. The next one could be yours!
Events and Outings
February 21 – 7:00 p.m. – Legislative Panel Hosted by the Capital Group – Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3313 Wade Ave Raleigh, NC 27607 (map)
The Capital Group has put together a panel to discuss this year’s major environmental issues. Although the session just started, legislators are already debating bills that will impact North Carolina’s environment.
Panelists include Rep. Tom Murry, Rep. Chuck McGrady, Rep. Duane Hall, and policy analyst Nadia Luhr. The panelists will discuss their environmental outlook for 2013 and answer your questions. This is a great opportunity to learn what’s happening on Jones St. and find out what you can do.
February 23 – Avery Creek-Twin Falls Trail Hike – near Brevard (group leaving from Asheville)
This hike is an easy to moderate, 4-mile round trip hike along Avery Creek to three waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Nice views of the creek with ice possible, making it a winter wonderland.
Meet in Asheville at 10:00 a.m. and return about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. RSVP to hike leader Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-772-0379.
February 28 – 7:00 p.m. – Backpacking 101 – Raleigh
Have you ever wanted to try backpacking or at least learn more about it? We’ll cover gear from head to foot during a brief 2-hour meeting/social. Bring the gear you currently own, including backpack, tent, sleeping bag/pad, camp stove or kitchen set, water devices and tools, hiking boots, first aid kit, etc.
If you’re comfortable with what you learn and have/acquire the proper gear, join us for a Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest on March 9-10.
Please contact trip leaders at email@example.com or 919-971-3788 for more information. Register for this class here: http://backpack101nccg.eventbrite.com/
Class to be held in the clubhouse of Caraleigh Mills Condominiums: 1535 Caraleigh Mills Ct., Raleigh, NC 27603 (map)
March 8-10 – Dragon’s Tooth and McAfee’s Knob Backpack – Catawba, Virginia
Overnight backpack trip rated strenuous for cold and snow, as well as elevation gain/loss. We will set a base camp at either the junction of the Boy Scout Connector Trail & the Appalachian Trail, or John’s Spring on the AT. Friday will be the out-and-back to Dragon’s Tooth. Saturday will be the out-and-back to McAfee’s Knob. Sunday we will pack up and out, with a stop at the Homeplace Restaurant on VA 311 in Catawba Valley.
Group size is limited depending on experience of participants. $25 per person deposit required – refundable at the trailhead. Contact Information: Jerry Weston Jweston@gbwlaw.com most mornings or firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 p.m. please.
March 9-10 – Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Leaving from Raleigh
Test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. The group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail. Along the way, participants will talk about the history of the Uwharrie Mountains, some of the oldest in North America. Click here for a PDF of the planned route as presented in the Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide, Hike 205.
Departure from Raleigh at 8:00 a.m. for caravaning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where we will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. We’ll backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning we will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.
March 16 – 10:00 a.m. – Daniel Ridge Hike – Pisgah Forest (group leaving from Asheville)
This moderate 4-mile loop hike in Pisgah Forest near the Fish Hatchery follows the creek and finishes with an amazing waterfall at the end. Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots, bring water and lunch or a snack.
Leave Asheville at 10:00 a.m. and return by 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. RSVP to leader at email@example.com or 828-772-0379.
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.