A year ends, a year begins. As we spend time this holiday season with family and friends, it will serve as a reminder of why we do this work. In the coming year, we will continue the fight for clean water and to halt climate change. To understand the reason we do this work, we need to look no further than in the faces of our loved ones.
In this edition of Footnotes, we have one last tale of success, an action you can take to round out the year in activism, a recap of the Chapter’s work in 2013, and a look ahead to next year. Thanks for all that you do. And please enjoy the holidays.
Your staff at the NC Sierra Club
High Bar Set in the Highlands
80%. That’s a lot. But that’s the goal that the Buncombe County Commission set for themselves to reduce the county’s carbon footprint by 80%.
The resolution passed on December 3 with bipartisan support on a 5-2 vote. The Commission also approved investing $800,000 in energy efficiency initiatives over the next few years which will save Buncombe County over $175,000 per year in energy costs.
Votes like this don’t happen on their own. It takes hard work, perseverance, and strong volunteers. And our leaders in Asheville’s Wenoca Group of the NC Sierra Club were key to making this happen.
Our thanks go out to Judy Maddox, Ken Brame, and other leaders in the Wenoca Group for their hard work. They helped turn out more than 50 community members to show their support for the resolution. The group stepped up in a big way to make a mountain county in rural North Carolina a national leader in the movement towards clean energy!
Hundreds gathered in Pack Square in Asheville this summer in support of closing down Duke Energy’s Asheville Coal Plant.
Step Up for Clean Water
Right now, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is conducting a Triennial Review of water quality standards, and is accepting public comments through January 3, 2014. States are required by the federal Clean Water Act to review water standards every three years, in order to keep up with science and EPA recommendations. North Carolina last completed this process in 2006.
The Catawba River was ranked as one our country’s most polluted rivers this year by American Rivers.
DENR neglected to propose any updates to standards this go round, despite the fact that many NC water protections are not up to par with federally recommended standards. There’s a lot we can say about this process. But it’s not what we can say that matters. It’s what you say that can make a difference.
And if you need a little guidance on what to say, we’ve got you covered. The big picture items to keep in mind are:
- NC Needs Standards for Toxic Heavy Metals;
- NC Needs Nitrogen and Phosphorus Nutrient Standards to Protect Waters;
- North Carolina Should Adopt a Methylmercury Standard; and,
- North Carolina Should Strengthen Water Quality Standards to Comply with EPA Recommendations.
Notice: Both of those links go to the same place. How’s that for efficiency?!
2013: Looking Back & Looking Forward
Do you want to know how awesome the members of the NC Sierra Club are? If you answered ‘no’ to that question, you may want to skip to the next section because some serious bragging is about to commence.
In 2013, Sierrans…
- Continued the fifth year of the fight against Titan where more than 16,000 people have signed a petition opposing the proposed cement plant near Wilmington;
- Helped turn out 400 people to a public hearing about Titan’s air permit and generated close to 1,000 comments to DENR on the matter;
- Organized boat tours to the proposed Titan site for over 90 residents;
- Over 500 North Carolinians attended our country’s largest climate change rally in Washington, DC in February;
- Organized four public presentations on offshore wind, with more than 150 people attending;
- Orchestrated a solar campaign that reached more than 5,000,000 people;
- Pushed the Governor to declare June 2013 as Solar Energy Month;
- Successfully helped defend the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from repeal;
- Urged legislators to not repeal the Jordan Lake Rules, resulting in a delay rather than an all-out repeal; and,
- Tirelessly advocated on issues such as building code standards, clean air, clean water, fracking, and more!
For a full overview of our work throughout this year, please check out our 2013 Annual Report: https://nc2.sierraclub.org/2013AnnualReport
Without volunteers stepping up time and time again, this year’s successes would not have been possible. And the same will be true next year.
Thank you for all of your hard work this year. Our state is a better and healthier place because of the work of volunteers like you.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 – Hanging Rock State Park Day Hike
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and join us for a hike. We will hike portions of the Lake, Chestnut Oak, Magnolia and Wolf Rock Trails. Come see why Hanging Rock State Park was the Park of the Year for 2012. These trails will give you an idea of how important our state parks are in preserving North Carolina’s natural heritage as well as preserving a place of peace and solitude. The hike is 5 miles and is rated moderate. Contact Henry Fansler at 336-473-0283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 – 1:00 pm – New Year’s Day Yadkin River Day Hike
This moderately difficult 5-mile hike will take place in the Yadkin River section of Pilot Mountain State Park. Sleep late as we’ll meet at 1:00 for an afternoon hike. Bring water, snacks and rain gear. For more information, contact Joel Wooten before 9:00 p.m. at 336-679-8672 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Friday, January 3 thru Sunday, January 5, 2014 – Laurel Fork Gorge
The Braemer Castle Hostel will be our base. Rooms appear very clean. $15 per night for bunk room. $25 for private room. We have numerous options for a hike Friday in the Dennis Cove area. Saturday morning we set a shuttle to begin the day’s hike on the AT from Watauga Dam to US 321 at the south end of Watauga Lake. The trip is weather dependent. There is almost certain to be snow on the ground in the area and at our elevation. Some of the roads we use to set a shuttle are secondary. In the event of a late week winter storm that forces cancellation of the trip, Plan B is the north section of the Neusiok for warmer weather.
More details upon inquiry. Contact Jerry Weston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 pm please.
Sunday, January 12, 2014 – 10:30 am – Hanging Rock State Park
Join members of the Foothills group for a lively jaunt through the Sauratown Mountains, the only mountain range contained in a single county. This strenuous hike will include a walk to the top of Hanging Rock with beautiful fall vistas. This 8.5 mile hike will include elevation gains and rocky uneven terrain. We’ll hike up to the top of Hanging Rock and enjoy the vista. Next we’ll take Wolf Rock and Magnolia Springs Trail to intersect with the Moores Wall Loop and return back to our starting location.
Estimated hiking time is 3 hours, total time w/stops for views and snacks should be about 4 hrs. Adults only, no pets or children. Must be fit and able to hike a pretty good clip for several hours. Participation limited to 8. For more information and to register, contact Kim Ashley (email@example.com) or Michael Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.