April 30th – Join us for a vigil for Duke’s coal ash spill


Light the path forward: come to a candlelight vigil remembering the impacts of Duke’s toxic coal ash April 30

RSVP for the candlelight vigil

It’s been almost three months since a broken pipe sent tens of thousands of gallons of coal ash and contaminated water into the Dan River, and little has changed. At dozens of other sites, including at the Asheville plant and the Allen plant near Charlotte, Duke sits on a toxic timebomb of coal ash waste.

Politicians and powerbrokers fiddle while more coal burns, and Duke executives scheme to get the public to pay to clean up the coal ash waste across the state. They seem to think we’d forget about the damage that toxic coal ash is doing to our water. On the eve of Duke’s annual shareholder meeting, we will gather to show that we have not forgotten.

Join Sierra Club and members of multiple faith groups as we hold a candlelight vigil outside Duke’s headquarters in Charlotte on the evening of April 30.

Event Details 

WHO: Sierra Club, faith leaders from numerous denominations, North Carolinians from across the state and you!
WHAT: Light the Path Forward: a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of Duke’s coal ash
WHEN: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Duke headquarters, 550 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC [Map]

RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/DukeRally

Questions? Contact Emma Greenbaum at emma.greenbaum@sierraclub.org

Parking is available on the street, in a parking deck across the street called The Green, and at the Duke Tower itself. Coming from Asheville and want help with transportation? Send Emma Greenbaum an email and let us know.

Thanks for everything you do to protect our environment,

Emma Greenbaum
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Can you be there May 1 for the shareholders’ meeting at Duke Energy Corporate Office, 526 S Church St. Charlotte from 9am to 12pm? RSVP here: www.facebook.com/events/672290476221413/

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A Dark and Dirty Iceberg

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The Dan River coal ash spill, while the third largest in U.S. history, represents just the tip of a dark and dirty iceberg.

National media coverage from the L.A. Times to the Washington Post to the Rachel Maddow Show has pointed out the all too cozy relationship between Duke Energy, NC DENR, and Governor Pat McCrory. A Federal investigation into possible criminal charges and continued reports of illegal discharges from coal ash dumps has been a reminder that Duke Energy has its priorities wrong. And now a major shareholder revolt from some of the largest investors is calling for a separate investigation into the spill and even a vote against the re-election of four directors because they “have failed to fulfill their obligations of risk oversight as members of a committee overseeing health, safety, and environmental compliance at the company”.

The Dan River coal ash spill has reminded us that Duke has too many outdated, dirty coal plants threatening our air, water and public health. It has brought to greater public light the fact that decades of illegal coal ash pollution has taken a toll on all of us and our rivers, lakes and streams. It has brought together diverse groups of citizens pointing out that low-income communities have paid too high a price for Duke Energy’s coal ash waste, paying with contaminated drinking water and pollution.

For shareholders, customers and North Carolina residents, the next steps are clear. Duke must clean up toxic coal ash everywhere. Without real action, Duke’s legacy in NC will be covered in coal ash. Duke must set a clear plan to phase out more of its coal-fired power plants across the state, starting with the Asheville plant. Duke must support, not crush solar power – that means recognizing the value of solar and supporting small solar businesses in NC.
Customers should not be forced to foot the bill for Duke Energy’s coal ash problem. The company and its shareholders should have to pay the cost for decades of illegal pollution. All North Carolinians deserve real action from Duke Energy that doesn’t move the problem from one place to another. The best way to deal with coal ash long term is to phase out coal in North Carolina and lead the South with clean energy solutions.

It’s time to remind Duke Energy and the company’s shareholders that the nation’s largest utility company has failed us. It’s time to let our local and state elected officials, NC DENR, and the NC Utilities Commission know that we want to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

That’s why we need your voice and presence to be heard. Between now and the start of the 2014 Legislative Short Session, May14, we need in-district meetings with state elected officials calling for strong coal ash regulations. On April 30th we need you and clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. And we need your signs and voices to be heard at the May 1st Duke Shareholder meeting rally and press conference where hundreds of concerned citizens from across the Duke service area will gather.

North Carolina needs an energy company we can be proud of and shareholders need a company they can be proud of. Right now, Duke Energy fails on both counts. Join us as we work to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

Make plans to join us and invite your friends, neighbors, and clergy.

Light the path forward: Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash
Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Facebook Event: Light the path forward
Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference
Thursday, May 1st
8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference
Former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting)
Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting – April 30 Candlelight Vigil, May 1 Rally


This Earth Day, go solar and save!

NC First in Solar Barn

This Earth Day, celebrate solar!

Join Solarize Charlotte!

Join Solarize Charlotte and get a free solar analysis for your home. 

44 years ago, millions of people across the US stood up to corporate polluters and apathetic leaders by organizing their communities to protect the environment — the first-ever Earth Day.

Today Earth Day continues to remind us that the solutions to environmental problems aren’t always in the hands of lawmakers. Environmental solutions can be in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our own homes.

That’s why we are so excited to tell you about Solarize Charlotte — a new grassroots program that will bring clean, renewable solar energy to homes in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, and Gaston Counties.

Right now Solarize Charlotte is offering a free solar analysis to residents in the Charlotte area interested in installing solar panels on their homes.

Sign up for a free solar analysis with Solarize Charlotte now to learn how to power your home with the sun! Celebrate this Earth Day by bringing solar energy to your home.

Switching to solar power is a big, bold move. And Solarize Charlotte was started by a coalition of over 20 organizations — including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club — to make it as simple and affordable as possible.

The program connects homeowners with a lower-cost local North Carolina solar installer — simplifying the financing and installation process. It also uses group discounts and tax incentives to make rooftop solar even more affordable for anyone who wants to reduce their electricity bill and carbon footprint at the same time.

Solarize programs have already boosted solar energy usage and cut electricity bills in other North Carolina cities, including Durham, Asheville, and Carrboro. Now it’s time for Charlotte to shine.

Take a step towards a clean energy future in your own home by signing up for Solarize Charlotte today and receive a free solar analysis!

Earth Day reminds us that we still have plenty to do to protect our planet — including switching from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy sources.

And Solarize Charlotte is a big step in the right direction. Solar is good for everyone. So let’s get going and solarize!

Happy Earth Day,

Monica Embrey, Greenpeace Charlotte Field Organizer

Bill Gupton, Sierra Club Field Organizer

David Robinson, Group Chair, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group

PS. Aren’t able to join Solarize right now, but still want to help Charlotte go solar? Spread the word by liking Solarize Charlotte on Facebook and forwarding this email to family and friends!

Solarize Charlotte Launches, Offering Discounts and Ease for Rooftop Solar Energy

Solarize Charlotte SingleFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact:

Bill Gupton – 704.367.0068 or Luis Rodriguez -704.526.8125

Solarize Charlotte Launches, Offering Discounts and Ease for Rooftop Solar Energy

April 21, 2014 – The Cleaner is Cheaper coalition has announced that Earth Day will mark the launch of Solarize Charlotte, a non-profit effort to make rooftop solar systems as easy and affordable as possible for Charlotte area residents. The three month program, which is being supported by over 20 community, faith and grassroot groups, will offer group discounts and help participants with tax incentives and low interest loans to ensure that anyone who wants to lower their electricity bill and carbon footprint will be able to with their own rooftop solar energy system.

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to support the Solarize Charlotte program and the opportunity it presents to educate and engage the greater Charlotte community in solar energy and energy efficiency,” said Bill Gupton of the Sierra Club. “As affordable and clean solar energy grows, we’ll create hundreds of new jobs and help to clean up our air, water, and land. Solarize Charlotte is definitely an idea whose time has come.”

Solarize Charlotte, which will run until July 31st,  is working closely with RED Group, a certified, local solar company that specializes in residential and small commercial solar installations. The business will offer free home solar assessments to interested residents and a group discount to everyone who chooses to participate in the program. Between the group discount and tax incentives, participants will get up to 75% off the market price for their home solar system.

“Solar energy is a great way to invest in your home and your future by permanently reducing your electricity bill and using energy that doesn’t pollute our air or water,” said Cynthia Redwine, owner of RED Group. “North Carolina has huge potential for solar energy and we’re thrilled to help Charlotte residents tap into that potential with Solarize Charlotte.”

Solarize programs, endorsed by the Department of Energy, have been run across the country for the last five years, bringing solar energy to thousands of new customers. Solarize Charlotte will provide participants with solar panels manufactured in the United States in order to boost both local and national solar markets.

“The Solarize program is a winning strategy to boost local industry, get North Carolinians back to work, and provide clean, safe power to low-income communities and working families struggling in these tough economic times,” said Luis Rodriguez of Action NC. “The sun has, and always will be, our greatest energy source and this is a way to tap into that tremendous wealth.  Action NC works in low-income communities, with everyday North Carolinians who need this program now, not twenty years from now.  We are proud to stand with the Cleaner is Cheaper Coalition and support the effort to Solarize.”


For more infoon Solarize Charlotte visit cleanerischeaper.com

For more info on RED Group visit http://redgroupnc.com/


Bill Gupton, 704-367-0068, billgupton1@gmail.com or

Luis Rodriguez, 704-526-8125, luis@actionnc.org

The full list of supporting groups includes
Action NC, Appalachian Voices, Carolina Climate Action, Center for Community Change, Clean Air Carolina, Earthkeepers – Myers Park Baptist Church, Environment North Carolina, Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, NAACP, NC Conservation Network, NC Green Building Council, NC Interfaith Power & Light, NC League of Conservation Voters, NC WARN, SACE, SHIFT, Sierra Club, Sustain Charlotte, Temple Beth El.


Solarize Charlotte Press Conference Comments

Good morning. My name is Bill Gupton and I’m currently the Charlotte field organizer with the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club is extremely pleased to be a part of the growing list of organizations, institutions, and individuals committed to growing solar energy in the greater Charlotte Mecklenburg area. The success of the Solarize program in communities across the United States demonstrates that this is an idea whose time has come.

We know that solar energy offers a wide range of benefits over traditional fuel sources.

First, generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels offers significant public health benefits. The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be doing their part to help clean up air our and conserve our water.

Secondly, compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor-intensive. This means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Renewable energy projects therefore keep money circulating within the local economy, and renewable electricity production would reduce the need to spend money on importing coal and natural gas from other places. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be supporting local jobs and our North Carolina economy.

Thirdly, electricity production accounts for more than one-third of U.S. global warming emissions, with the majority generated by coal-fired power plants, which produce approximately 25 percent of total U.S. global warming emissions; natural gas-fired power plants produce 6 percent of total emissions. In contrast, most renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. Solarize Charlotte homeowners can take pride in being a part of the shift from energy sources that contribute to climate disruption.

Finally, renewable energy is providing affordable electricity across the country right now, and can help stabilize energy prices in the future. The costs of renewable energy technologies have declined steadily, and are projected to drop even more. For example, the average price of a solar panel has dropped almost 60 percent since 2011. Solarize Charlotte homeowners will be able to take advantage of group purchasing discounts, tax credits, and other incentives to reduce their monthly electricity costs while adding value to their property.

Most importantly, Solarize Charlotte is an opportunity for Charlotte area citizens to become part of the clean energy revolution. Sierra Club members and supporters will be joining other volunteers to reach out to neighborhood associations, church and civic groups, and other organizations to explain the installation process, the costs and tax considerations, and other factors to make the decision to install a solar system as easy as possible.

We hope that Solarize Charlotte will serve as a model for other cities in North Carolina and communities across the southeast to develop their own programs. We know that that the success of Solarize Charlotte will demonstrate that clean, affordable, roof-top residential solar energy is indeed an idea whose time is now!

Thank you.

Sources for solar benefits from the Union of Concerned Scientists

Become a Solarize Charlotte Champion – April 24th Training

Solarize Charlotte Single

I would like to invite Sierra Club members and supporters to a training next Thursday, April 24th from 6:30-8:00pm in the Greenpeace office (E 15th St and N Davidson). Our focus in the training will be preparing Solarize Charlotte Champions to do presentations and tabling for groups and events. You do not have to expert skills or knowledge about solar energy , just a passion for growing solar energy in Charlotte! We’ll make sure that you have the facts and skills that you need.

If you have connections to neighborhood associations, religious, social, or community groups, then I’d encourage you to start reaching out to them about hosting a short presentation for Solarize Charlotte during their regular meeting times for May, June, or July.

I am honored to be working with such a dedicated and passionate group of people to increase access to solar power in North Carolina.

For Solar,

Hanna Mitchell

Solar Project Assistant

PS. Our Solarize Charlotte website is LIVE at www.cleanerischeaper.com


Tell us what you think

Sierra Club

Dear Sierra Club members and supporters,

I’m so grateful to you for becoming one of our newest supporters. People like you are the heart and soul of the environmental movement — and our ability to protect the animals and places that are close to our hearts depends on harnessing your ideas and passion.

Brune Survey

Are you passionate about a particular issue affecting our planet? What strategies do you think will bring the most success in our fight?

Please take a moment to let us know what you care most about by taking our short survey. Your answers will help us chart a course for the coming years.

Endangered wildlife and wild places are constantly under threat from things like oil and gas drilling and the effects of climate disruption. We have so far to go to ensure we can stop the catastrophic destruction of our environment.

The coming months and years will present big challenges — and we must be ready to meet them.

It’s because of people like you that we are able to use the strength of our 2 million plus grassroots supporters to reach major milestones for the environment, like winning protections from dangerous air pollution, retiring over 100 dirty coal plants, and protecting treasured wild places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite as national parks.

Your opinions mean a lot. Take our short, five-question survey today and help us plan for the coming years.

Thank you again for taking this important first step to exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet with the Sierra Club.

Michael Brune
Sierra Club Executive Director

Click here to take our survey

Lobbying for a Coal Ash Clean-Up Bill

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Thank for you taking action to hold Duke accountable for their massive coal ash spill into the Dan River. And now our legislators need to follow through to make sure nothing like this ever happens again in North Carolina.

We have the momentum on our side– but your legislators need to hear from their constituents. That’s where you come in.

With just 27 days until the start of the legislative session on May 14, now is the best time to meet with legislators at home in their districts. The message is clear: the North Carolina General Assembly needs to make sure Duke Energy cleans up its waste at the three dozen unlined wet coal ash pits across the state, all of which threaten local water resources.

The NC Chapter recently held two webinars to give folks the training and the tools to effectively advocate and educate your legislators on coal ash. While it’s clearly not the same, you can gain a great deal of information, insight, and tools to become a better advocate.

With 170 legislators to meet with, it’s time to get started securing support from your legislators for meaningful action when the legislature reconvenes in May!

For additional information, contact Zak Keith, zak.keith@sierraclub.org, or Cassie Gavin, cassie.gavin@sierraclub.org.


  • Why Become a Volunteer Lobbyist?
  • Why Legislative Action is Needed Now?
  • Background on NC Coal Ash
    • The Dan River Spill
    • Facts About Coal Ash in North Carolina
  • Lobbying 101
    • Tips, the Ask, Materials
    • Importance of Reporting
  • Update on Status of Any Coal Ash Legislation

Click below to review the PowerPoint presentation

Lobbying Coal Ash BillSierra Club NC Chapter Coal Ash Webinar

What does McCutcheon decision mean?

McCutcheson Decision

McCutcheon vs. Federal Elections Commission

Last week the Supreme Court handed down a narrow 5-4 ruling, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount an individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle. Prior to April 2, an individual donor was capped at giving $123,200 in a two year election cycle to federal candidates, political action committees (PAC), and political parties. After this very narrow Supreme Court decision, an individual can now contribute more than $3.5 million to candidates, political parties, and PACs. This means one person can give the maximum amount to every single House and Senate race, party and PAC. Super wealthy donors can give money to uncontested races, then those candidates can redirect the money to targeted races.  

The original lawsuit was brought to the Supreme Court by climate change denying, coal businessman, Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee. McCutcheon wanted to be able to have even more influence over elected officials.
Let’s be clear, the elimination of this cap does not help you or me. Only around 1200 Americans met the cap of $123,200 in recent elections. To put this into context, $123,000 is more than double the typical income of an American household. This only helps the 1% of the 1%. When creating policies, elected officials will be even more accountable to wealthy polluters, instead of every day Americans. 
What McCutcheon does not do
1) It does not lift the contribution cap to individual candidates. However, the Supreme Court left the door open to potentially overturn campaign contribution limits in individual races. 
2) It does not affect super PAC contributions. McCutcheon was solely about contributions directly to candidates, parties and PACs. 
What is the Sierra Club doing about it?
The Sierra Club, along with NAACP, Communications Workers of America and Greenpeace, created the Democracy Initiative to help address some of the greatest threats to our democracy: the undue influence of money in politics, unprecedented attacks on voting rights, and dysfunction of the U.S. Senate. The Democracy Initiative has grown to 44 endorsing organizations, including MoveOn.org, SEIU, AFSCME, National Council of La Raza, and Common Cause. Collectively, we are working to engage issue-based membership organizations to engage more deeply to restore our democracy to one of, by and for the people. 
To better incorporate this work into all levels of the Sierra Club we recently created the Sierra Club Democracy Program. The same corporate polluters we all fight against to defend our air and water, are the same people pumping money into the pockets of candidates and the same people supporting laws that suppress voters. We mobilized around the McCutcheon decision with Sierra Club members and staff participating in rapid response events around the country on the day the decision was handed down. With a diverse range of coalition partners we are building a movement of organized people to push back on organized money. 
What you can do 
1) Help spread the word. Share this image on Facebook.  
2) Along with our allies we are working to mobilize letters to the editor to local and state papers. 
    *We will provide sample LTE language and messaging in a follow up email. 
3) In the coming weeks, we are reaching out to Sierra Club chapter leaders and staff about how to
    engage more deeply in this work over the long term. 
More information on McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission 
1) Sierra Club Statement & Blog on McCutcheon
2) Analyses of McCutcheon decision by Demos
This is a fight we can win because organized people can beat organized money.

Courtney Hight
Director, Democracy Program
Sierra Club
50 F Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20001


NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – April 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Celebration logo.JPG

As Earth Day approaches, we encourage you to celebrate North Carolina’s natural treasures by visiting one our state’s protected wilderness areas.  You don’t hear about it every day, but North Carolina has no less than twelve wilderness areas protecting 111,419 acres,  as well as five wilderness study areas that conserve an additional 25,816 acres.

It took many years and the hard work of countless volunteers to secure wilderness designation for these efforts.  Thanks to their efforts, in 2014, we can now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the North Carolina WIlderness Act of 1984!

Please enjoy this edition of Footnotes that focuses on wilderness.  We hope it does justice to the history and provides inspiration for you to get outdoors and explore, enjoy, and protect these wild places! As John Muir once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

And there’s more than just wilderness covered below, so read on for information about coal ash events, a television series focusing on climate change, outings galore, and more!


Your staff at the NC Sierra Club


Celebrate Wilderness In NC!

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984, the Wilderness Committee invites you to participate in the upcoming special Anniversary Year Wilderness events.

  • Save the DateJune 12, 5:30 – 8:00 pm – NC Wilderness Act 30th Anniversary Celebration – Raleigh, NC – Tickets available soon via OurWildNC.org.
  • Explore Our Wild NC Challenge – Participants who visit all 12 wilderness areas and 5 wilderness study areas in the state will receive a checklist of all of the areas and a ‘Wilderness Explorer’ patch as they begin the challenge. Click here for details.
  • Featured Wilderness Outing: Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Saturday, May 3 -  With pristine views of  Linville Gorge, Table Rock, Shortoff Mt. and Lake James, this is a hike worth joining.  Only a few spots are left.  Sign up today!


Volunteers Connecting Kids to Wilderness

In an age when children seem tethered to electronic devices and screens, the Chapter’s Wilderness Committee is hoping to put something young people’s hands, a bandana.  The committee received a grant to produce up to 600 bandannas to distribute to children across the state.  If you are wondering how a bandanna can help connect children to wilderness, well, then you likely haven’t seen the design yet.

Wilderness bandana project small.jpg


Designed by Avery Locklear, a volunteer from the Foothills group, and Jody Cedzidlo of Pittsboro, the bandanna’s creators hope to educate children about how our state’s wilderness came to be protected and encourage then to explore nature.

Volunteers worked together last Sunday to screen print the first round of bandannas that will be given away at the Celebration of the MIlitary Child Outdoors near Camp Onslow Beach on April 26.  Special thanks to Nancy Card, Kelly Mieszkalski, Pat Carstensen, Chris Bard, Miriam Chicurel-Bayard and Dustin Chicurel-Bayard for screen-printing the first run of this limited edition product.

Click here for more pictures of the mess made and the fun had during the screen-printing session.


Linville Gorge Wilderness

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

Linville Gorge was first recognized as a “wild area” in 1951 by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  John D. Rockefeller funded its early protection, then the area was officially designated as wilderness by the US Wilderness Act of 1964. The NC Wilderness Act of 1984 added 3,400 acres, bringing the total to 11,786 acres today. The gorge, which is often called the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina” is located in Burke County, about 14 miles northwest of Morganton, NC. It was named in honor of the early explorer, William Linville, who along with his son, John, was scalped by Cherokee Indians in 1766; but many of the area’s attributes are named from Cherokee legends too.

The wilderness boasts more than 20 hiking trails, 2,800 acres of roadless area, and, because the steep terrain prohibited clearcutting, acres of virgin forests can be still be enjoyed. Elevations range from 1,300 feet at the river to 4,120 atop Gingercake Mountain. Other outstanding features include Wiseman’s View, Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.

Linville Gorge Wilderness is a favorite area for backpackers and rock climbers.  Fishermen come hoping to hook brown, brook or rainbow trout from the Linville River rushing along the toe of the gorge.  The area is also popular to wildlife including black bear, timber rattlers and peregrine falcons.



And in case you missed it, Linville Gorge Wilderness is the host of this month’s featured wilderness outing on May 3!  Click here to claim one of the few remaining spots!

If you want to plan your own trip to Linville Gorge, here’s a link to the forest service page on the wilderness area.  You can also click here for a map that will help you explore the Gorge!


Coal Ash & You

We wish we could take all of April to celebrating wilderness areas, but our other important work continues!.  Surely you haven’t forgotten that nearly 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash burst into the Dan River this February.  The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal team is making sure that Duke stockholders haven’t forgotten either.

There are two events coming up where you can participate and show your desire to have the Dan River, and all of the toxic coal ash pits in our state cleaned up!  The events are listed below, but these aren’t the only chances you will have to speak up on the matter.  When the legislature reconvenes next month, your legislators need to hear from you.

Email our lead organizer, Zak Keith, at zachary.keith@sierraclub.org if you want to be a part of the Volunteer Lobby Corp that will work to push our legislators to act on cleaning up these toxic coal pits all across our state.

Then, join us to hold Duke Energy accountable!


April 30 – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash – Charlotte, NC

Clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

Location: New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St., Charlotte, NC (map)

May 19:00 a.m. – Rally at Duke Energy Shareholders Meeting – Charlotte, NC

As shareholders of the country’s largest utility gather in Charlotte, concerned citizens with rally outside, demonstrating the public’s desire to move away from dirty energy and to embrace existing clean energy solutions.

Location: Old Duke Energy Headquarters, 526 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC (map)

Living Dangerously

Highland Viewing party.jpg

Hundreds gather at Highland Brewery in Asheville for the premiere of the Years of Living Dangerously.

On Sunday, April 13, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign rolled out the green carpet and welcomed around 300 activists, artists, local elected officials, business owners and clergy to watch the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime’s new documentary on climate change.

Several local elected officials also made an appearance, including State Representative Joe Sam Queen, City Council Member Gwen Wisler, and County Commissioner Brownie Newman who recently championed a resolution setting carbon reduction goals for Buncombe County.

Event hosts took the opportunity to highlight the connection between carbon emissions and climate change, and the rapidly growing campaign to retire the Asheville coal plant. Attendants signed petitions, signed up to come to the Duke Energy shareholders’ meeting, and joined the online conversation by tweeting at Duke Energy and posting on Facebook.

The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign will be featured as part of the “Preacher’s Daughter” episode that will be airing in early May.  Click here to watch WLOS’s news coverage of the event!


Upcoming Events

April 17 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – U.S. Forest Service Discussion on Wilderness and Special Designated Areas – Asheville, NC

The public can give input on their favorite forest views, as well as how the U.S. Forest Service manages wilderness, specially designated areas and scenic views at this meeting. This public session is the latest in the three-phase, multi-year process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plan.

The plan is expected to be completed by 2016, and will guide management of Nantahala and Pisgah forests on how to manage for timber, wildlife, water, recreation and other uses, for the next 15 years.

Nantahala and Pisgah are two of four national forests in North Carolina, covering more than 1 million acres of the Western North Carolina mountains. Pisgah and Nantahala are among the most visited national forests in the nation, with more than 6 million visitors a year.

The April 17 meeting will focus on:

  • Identification and inventory of areas that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • The process for identifying special designated areas.
  • The Scenery Management System.

The six wilderness areas and five wilderness study areas being discussed make up about 9 percent of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.  Those include the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, Southern Nantahala and Ellicott Rock wildernesses in Nantahala National Forest, and Shining Rock, Middle Prong and Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest.

For more information on the plan, or to comment, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision

To participate in the wilderness and/or designated areas discussion, RSVP to NCPlanRevision@fs.fed.us by Thursday.

Location: Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville, NC (map)


April 25 -  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!


May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com


Upcoming Outings

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.


April 19 – Devil’s Courthouse to Flat Laurel Creek Trail – Asheville area

This 6 mile hike offers some beautiful vistas in addition to the panoramic view from Devil’s Courthouse. Hiker’s will learn about the ravens which congregate on the rock outcrops along the trail, and learn to identify them. The Mountains to Sea section is rather rugged, with intermittent tree roots and 10″ steps/rocks. Makes good footwear essential, and may be hiking poles as well.

The group will do a loop from Black Balsam parking area to MST going to Devil’s Courthouse, then return via Little Sam Knob trail, which connects to the Flat Laurel Creek trail. From Devil’s Courthouse, there is view of mountains across two state lines if visibility is good. Meet in Asheville at 10:00 am and return around 5:30 p.m.

This hike is for experienced hikers only. RSVP to hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.


April 19 – Discovering “The Poor Man’s Tarpon:” Shad Fishing on the Neuse River – Raleigh area

Learn about our native shad species, their habits and habitat, and enjoy an afternoon of shad fishing on the banks of the Neuse River. Called “the poor man’s tarpon” for their breaching, leaping, and tail-walking acrobatic performances, Shad fish are spawned in inland rivers and tributary creeks, migrate to the ocean to mature, and then return up river to spawn in their native streams. Our NC shad are sporty and historically important, a natural wonder right here at home, and a conservation success story.

Please note, this outing will be held on the Neuse River anywhere from Milburnie dam to Goldsboro, depending on where the latest fishing report indicates the shad are. Location will be announced before the outing. Most likely location Milburnie Dam.

Group size is limited to 6 people and participants need to have valid fishing license, rod and reel, and other items.  Click here to RSVP or for more information: http://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Capital-Group/


April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeas’’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains.This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking.  Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear.  Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking.  You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.  After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding.  Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.


April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravanning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

 Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.


May 3 – Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Morganton area

This is the featured wilderness outing mentioned in the section above.  Please click here for more information or to RSVP.

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Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting – April 30 Candlelight Vigil, May 1 Rally

Following the Dan River coal ash spill, citizens rallied to deliver thousands of petition signatures to Duke Energy calling for them to clean up their coal ash. Watch the short video to see scenes from that day.

Now we need your voice and your presence to send the Duke Energy leadership and major shareholders an even stronger and louder message. Organizations and individuals from across the Duke Energy Carolinas service area will gather for two powerful displays of our call for change. Please RSVP to let us know if you are attending the events and/or would like to help with outreach and turn out.

Light the Path Forward: Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash

Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference

Thursday, May 1st
8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference
Former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting)

Download and share the 2014 Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Flyer!

2014 Duke Shareholder Meeting Flyer2014 Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Flyer

Please RSVP to let us know if you are attending the events and/or would like to help with outreach and turn out.