Catawba Wildflower Glen Service Outing – Nov 1st

A great opportunity to learn, experience and give back! For more information or to RSVP, contact Central Piedmont Outings Chair Linda Alley.

Join us at this Catawba Lands Conservancy preserve to help Mary Stauble, Land Stewardship Volunteer, remove invasive plants and contribute to protecting this important natural landscape.  The Wildflower Glen is one of the conservancy’s crown jewels due to its rich ecological diversity and proximity to Charlotte.

We’ll meet at the property at 9 a.m. for an orientation where we’ll learn about the history and importance of the preserve.  Then we’ll spend some time pulling out invasive plants.  Afterwards, Mary will lead us on a walk through the glen.  Mary frequently visits the Glen and she is very knowledgeable about the local flora.

Please bring work gloves, clippers (optional), water, and a hat.  The Glen is located in Northwest Charlotte.

Saturday, November 1
9:00 AM

Catawba Lands Conservancy Wildflower Glen
12001 Riverhaven Drive
Charlotte, NC

You can learn more about why and how to control non-native invasive plants here:

http://nceppc.weebly.com/

http://ncbg.unc.edu/uploads/files/ControllingBooklet.pdf

All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver.

Seize the Day – Try to Find Your Own Voice

Carpe Diem; Seize the day! Strive to find your own voice.

Find your own voice and ways to become active on issues related to climate change. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Seize the day…..

Robin Williams – “Seize the Day”

Films:

Dead Poet’s Society
Hook
Jack
Mrs. Doubtfire
What Dreams May Come
Good Morning Vietnam
Patch Adams

Lyrics:

Carpe Diem; Seize the day!
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Strive to find your own voice
Seize the day – look at it in another way

We are members of the human race
And the human race
Is filled with passion
Words and ideas can change the world

The powerful play goes on
And you may contribute a verse
The powerful play goes on
Goes on

I’m a hip old granny who can hip hop be bop
Dance dance dance till you drop drop drop
I’m a hip old granny who can hip hop be bop
Yo yo make a wicked cup of coco

I’m a raptor doing what i can
Gonna eat everything till the appearance of man
Yo yo see me I’m living below the soil
I’ll be back but I’m coming as oil

This is rock and roll
Dance dance dance till you drop drop drop
Cast your eyes to the summer sky
And today – make a wish

(refrain)

Only in their dreams can men be truly free
Twas always thus, and always thus will be

Why Lisa Cried When Eric Dumped ALEC

Great piece by Michael Brune about why we need to stand up to ALEC!

Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Michael Brune

October 7, 2014

Exactly 54 days after Lisa B. Nelson, the new CEO of the American Legislative Council (ALEC), started her job, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, dropped the bomb: Google wanted out of its relationship with ALEC. “That was some sort of mistake,” Schmidt said on The Diane Rehm Show when a caller asked why Google was supporting the organization. “We’re trying to not do that in the future.”

It’s like breaking up via text with your girlfriend when you’re 16,” said Nelson, presumably before throwing out the mixtapes and Google hoodie Eric gave her and unfriending him on Facebook. Wait a minute, she couldn’t do that, because Facebook is also leaving ALEC. Well, then maybe she could post a picture of her trashed hoodie and mixtapes to Yahoo’s Flickr site? Nope, Yahoo’s ditching ALEC, too.

How about leaving mean reviews of Google, Flickr, and Yahoo on Yelp? Sorry, Yelp already gave ALEC the thumbs down. And before she opens Outlook to send some “actually-I’m the-one-who-broke-up-with-YOU” emails, she might recall that even Microsoft has Ctrl-Z’d its relationship with ALEC.

Any way you look at it, Lisa B. Nelson’s first 60 days on the job were, as they say, character building. But, really, she shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not her — it’s ALEC.

What is it about ALEC that has given so many Big Tech firms cold feet? For that matter, what is ALEC, exactly? It calls itself a nonpartisan organization that focuses on the principles of limited government, free markets, and federalism. Not quite. The New York Times, reporting on Google’s defection, described ALEC as “a conservative-leaning group that has urged repeal of state renewable power standards and other pro-renewable policies.” And the Times was being kind.

ALEC is actually one of the most brazen attempts to steal our democracy that corporate interests have yet conceived. The “council” is composed of representatives from corporations, along with state legislators. Corporations like Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries pay fees along with other generous financial contributions. The legislators pay nominal dues but are forced to bring their families on all-expenses-paid vacations, where they mingle with their corporate benefactors and receive “model” bills (written by the corporations for the corporations). The rested-and-relaxed lawmakers can then take these Stepford bills home and introduce them in their state houses. The only way to make this easier would be to cut out the middleman and just let the corporations pass the laws themselves.

Because this all happens at the state level, it tends to fly under the national radar. It’s also aimed dead at the heart of our absolutely critical local campaigns to develop clean energy and combat climate change.

ALEC exists solely to do the will of the corporations that bankroll it, which is how technology firms got seduced into supporting it in the first place. They hoped ALEC could help them with issues aligned with their own values, such as an open Internet.

What changed? The Climate Movement, which reared its head and roared on September 21 around the world, has made it a lot harder for some companies to keep turning a blind eye to the harm that ALEC does by undermining clean energy and funding climate denial.

Eric Schmidt was blunt: ALEC is “literally lying” about the reality of climate change, he said. “[They] are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people.” I can see how that would be a problem for a company whose official corporate motto is still “Don’t be evil.”

“Our citizens keep marching,” said President Obama at the UN Climate Summit last month, one day after hundreds of thousands around the world mobilized to demand climate action. “We cannot pretend we do not hear them.”

That is the strength of a movement like this one. It blazes a light that makes it impossible to miss the difference between what is good and what is evil. And here’s how strong we have grown: Last week, Occidental Petroleum — an oil company! — announced it was leaving ALEC rather than be associated with its positions on climate change and EPA regulations. Other tech (and non-tech) companies that have severed ties with ALEC include Amazon, General Electric, Apple, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble. Many of these companies left a few years ago after Color of Change and other grassroots organizations called out ALEC for its support of voter-suppression and “stand your ground” laws around the country.

Unfortunately, ALEC still has plenty of corporate funders who are willing to ignore the difference between what’s good and what’s evil. Perhaps Lisa Nelson shouldn’t have been so quick to toss that Google hoodie — she could have sold it on eBay!

That’s right: eBay is still supporting an organization that Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yelp, Yahoo, and Facebook have all unfriended.

Send a message to CEO John Donahoe today and tell him that it’s about time eBay, too, opened its eyes and saw the light.

Outing: Huntington Beach State Park Car Camping and Kayaking Weekend, Nov 14-16

Spaces are limited for this great Sierra Club outing! RSVP on our Meetup site today.

1020_10_1

Huntington Beach State Park Car Camping and Kayaking Weekend

Nov 14 – 16 (Friday to Sunday)
Huntington Beach State Park
16148 Ocean Hwy
Murrells Inlet, SC

Huntington Beach State Park, located about twenty miles north of Georgetown, SC is a great beach state park to visit anytime of the year. The park is located right on the coast of SC, and has many amenities to offer the visitor. Camping in cooler weather, walking on the beach, and hiking the park trails without the heat and insects of warmer weather, can be a pleasant experience. This is a great park for bird watching, hiking, and biking.

Group campsite #P2 has been reserved for our tent camping weekend. This site has plenty of room for tent campers, with picnic tables, a fire ring with benches, and a modern park restroom nearby. There is a large parking lot next to the camping area. A short boardwalk leads from the parking lot to the beach. There also is a 13-mile paved bike trail which runs through the park, and into nearby neighborhoods. We will tent camp in our campsite, just pick a place and pitch your personal tent. You will also need to bring your personal camping gear to the campsite, a short walk from the parking lot.  Each participant will also be responsible for bringing their own food and snacks.  This will be a combined outing with the South Carolina Sierra Club that promises to be a lot of fun!

Weather permitting; there will be an optional kayak trip.  Tentative location is Conway Riverwalk.  Anyone wishing to go on the kayak trip needs to let me know in advance so we can get that lined up.  There will be a limited number of boats available for rent, so people who have their own canoe or kayak are encouraged to bring them.

Also, there will be an optional Low Country Boil at the campsite Saturday night.  There is a fee for this, $6,  and I need to know who is interested in advance so we can get a count.

Group size is limited to 25.  Each participant on a Sierra Club Outing has to sign a standard liability waiver.  You can view the waiver here:

https://nc2.sierraclub.org/sites/nc.sierraclub.org/files/SignInWaiver%20with%20photo%20release.pdf

COST: $5 per person/per night.  Kayak rental is an additional fee.

Please – NO PETS.

For additional information, contact our Outings Chair Linda Alley.

Spaces are limited for this great Sierra Club outing! RSVP on our Meetup site today.

 

Show Solidarity on Global Frackdown Day!

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Tell President Obama to protect our communities and public lands from fracking.

Take action!

Take action!

Today, hundreds of communities around the world are hosting events in celebration of Global Frackdown Day. Thousands of messages will be sent to our world leaders demanding they take action to protect our climate and our communities from dirty fossil fuels like fracked oil and gas. Add your voice and be part of Global Frackdown Day, too!

There’s no question about it — fracking near our homes, schools, and on our public lands is detrimental to our health as well as our air and water quality. When a drilling rig is just hundreds of feet from your backyard, we have a problem. When drilling rigs light up the night sky on our public lands, we have a problem. When a community’s drinking water is polluted with fracking chemicals, we have a problem. The answer is simple, though — we must keep dirty fuels like fracked oil and gas in the ground.

Tell President Obama to protect our communities and public lands from dirty and dangerous fracking.

On Global Frackdown Day, you can join the thousands of people who are demanding that their interests — clean air and water and protected lands — be the priority for every elected official and governing agency. Together, we can send a strong message: we are more important than the fracking industry. Please take a moment to send your message to President Obama today.

Thanks for all that you do,

Lawson LeGate
Co-lead, Dirty Fuels Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Six letters are even better than one! Please share this email with five of your friends and family so we can send a strong message to President Obama.

Join Us for the Charlotte Global Frackdown on Oct 11!

Global Frackdown Oct 11 2014

Charlotte Global Frackdown

October 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Piedmont Natural Gas Corporate Office
4720 Piedmont Row Drive
Charlotte, NC 28210

PNG Map

RSVP at: https://actionnetwork.org/events/charlotte-global-frackdown

Make your signs and join us on Saturday!

Facking Slogans

RSVP today at: https://actionnetwork.org/events/charlotte-global-frackdown

Piedmont Natural Gas, ALEC and Political Influence

Join us this Saturday, October 11th, at 12:00 noon as we gather to Keep North Carolina Frack Free. RSVP today and make your signs!

Global Frackdown 4Piedmont Natural Gas Corporate Office 4720 Piedmont Row Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210

RSVP at: https://actionnetwork.org/events/charlotte-global-frackdown

Piedmont Natural Gas Website Promotes ALEC

PNG and ALEC

Fracking Rules in North Carolina Tied to Koch, Halliburton, and ALEC

Jesse Coleman, Greenpeace

05/19/2014

A new bill proposed in North Carolina would make it a felony offense for first responders, doctors, or public safety officials to disclose the ingredients of fracking fluid. Fracking fluid is the mix of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a process used by the oil and gas industry to break apart underground shale rock formations, releasing the fossil fuels held inside. Chemicals in frack fluid have been found to be toxic and carcinogenic. First responders found guilty of disclosing the contents of fracking fluid face jail time and heavy fines under the proposed legislation.

The three republican state senators that proposed the bill have close ties to the oil and gas industry and industry lobbyists McguireWoods. McGuireWoods, a lobbying firm that represents Halliburton, Koch Industries, and other oil and gas interests, donated to all three senators.

Bob Rucho: Top contributors to Rucho’s campaign include Piedmont Natural Gas, and McguireWoods.

Andrew Brock: Brock received money from Duke Energy, a North Carolina based utility with interests in natural gas, and McGuireWoods.

Buck Newton: Newton also received money from Duke energy and McGuireWoods.

Fracking Industry Lobbyists a Powerful Force in North Carolina

The shale industry’s control over fracking chemical disclosure legislation in North Carolina has been under particular scrutiny in recent weeks, after a cache of emails revealed that Halliburton, Koch Industries, and other fracking industry interests had close ties to officials responsible for writing fracking rules.

A cache of emails obtained by Greenpeace revealed the cozy relationship between the hydraulic fracturing industry and North Carolina‘s Mining and Energy Commission, the official body responsible for chemical disclosure rules.

The Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) was set up after an errant vote by a state senator legalized fracking in North Carolina. Because the state had not seen oil and gas drilling in recent history, the Mining and Energy Commission was tasked with writing oil and gas regulations, specifically for fracking. The 15 members of the MEC propose regulations for fracking, which are then passed on to the North Carolina legislature to be turned into law.

Halliburton’s Hand

Halliburton has played a significant role in shaping potential fracking regulations in North Carolina. In March of 2013, the Commissioners approved a chemical disclosure bill in committee which would have required fracking companies to disclose to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the chemical ingredients of frack fluid, many of which are extremely toxic. However, Halliburton, a major fracking services company, raised some reservations which killed the bill, as AP reporter Michael Biesecker confirmed:

In an interview with AP, Mining and Energy Commission Chairman Jim Womack acknowledged that before deciding to delay the vote, he spoke with a senior Halliburton executive.

Jim Womack

Jim Womack

“They indicated to me in a phone conversation that there may be other options than what was written in that rule,” Womack said.

The bill was taken off the agenda by Womack, and sent back to be rewritten by the chemical disclosure committee.
Commissioner Womack himself is not worried about water contamination from fracking. He once said:

“You’re more likely to have a meteorite fall from the sky and hit you on the head than you are to contaminate groundwater with fracking fluid percolating up from under the ground.”

Halliburton has always cast a long shadow over the MEC. Commissioner Vikram Rao was at Halliburton for over 30 years, ultimately as the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.  He maintains a significant financial stake in Halliburton, and also has over $10,000 invested in BioLargo, a company involved in disposal of fracking wastewater.

Rao has also called the idea of disclosing the contents of frackfluid “a joke.”

Documents obtained by Greenpeace also reveal that the shale industry was close with one commissioner in particular.

George Howard, the pro-fracking conservationist

George Howard

George Howard

George Howard serves as vice chairman of the MEC, and as the chairman of the chemical disclosure committee, which is tasked with creating regulations for frack fluid and other fracking chemicals. He was appointed by North Carolina’s Senate President Pro-Tem Philip E. Berger to serve in one of two “conservation” slots on the MEC. Berger received $46,700 in campaign contributions from fracking interests between 2009 and 2011.

In his tenure as Mining and Energy Commissioner, George Howard has been a strong proponent of hydraulic fracturing. He has said that public fears around fracking are exaggerated and that responding to public pressure is “pandering.” He has also claimed “it is physically impossible for hydraulic fracturing – the full industry term for fracking – to contaminate underground aquifers.”

In addition to serving as commissioner for the MEC, Howard is the founder and CEO of Restoration Systems, an environmental remediation company. Through Restoration Systems, Howard has a significant financial stake in the fracking industry, including a multi-million dollar shale play project in Pennsylvania. Howard has also invested in the area of North Carolina most likely to be leased by fracking companies.

Howard is connected to other top regulators, especially John Skvarla, the Head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), who was president of Restoration Systems before becoming an environmental regulator. DENR would be the agency responsible for enforcing fracking laws recommended by the MEC.

Halliburton/Koch Industries Lobbyist Pushed ALEC fracking bill

Documents obtained by Greenpeace include correspondence between George Howard and various representatives of the oil and gas industry during the creation of the first chemical disclosure bill. Howard had multiple meetings with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and spoke with high-ranking members of the American Natural Gas Association (ANGA). Howard specifically requested help from Energy In Depth (EID), an oil and gas front group run by the PR firm FTI Consulting and funded by the fracking industry. Howard asked Steve Everley, the spokesman for EID and an FTI Consulting operative, to help him prepare for a MEC meeting on chemical disclosure.

Bo Heath

Bowen Heath

Although George Howard met with and solicited information from multiple shale industry groups, one lobbyist was particularly influential.  Bowen Heath, who represents Halliburton, Koch Industries, and various other oil and gas interests for the lobbying firm McGuireWoods, had unparalleled access to the Commission. Emails reveal a chummy relationship between George Howard and Heath, who spent evenings together and went for beers in the afternoons.

Heath used that access to advocate for a fracking chemical disclosure system that allows generous exemptions for chemicals that companies deem “trade secrets.”

Heath provided a fracking chemical disclosure bill  to Howard that the shale industry and its political allies previously passed in Colorado. The Colorado bill was based on a model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group dedicated to passing legislation approved by ALEC’s corporate funders, including fracking companies like Chesapeake Energy. Bo Heath has longstanding ties to ALEC, and has attended ALEC annual meetings.

A New York Times investigation found that the Colorado chemical disclosure bill was the handiwork of one ALEC funder in particular, ExxonMobil.

As part of the push for the ALEC fracking bill passed in Colorado, Bo Heath arranged for Colorado ex-governor Bill Ritter to fly down to North Carolina to meet with George Howard and the MEC. The AP confirmed that Ritter’s fees and expenses were not paid by the MEC, and Bo Heath’s lobbying group refused to comment on Ritter’s funding.

Hallmarks of the ALEC fracking bill include generous exemptions from disclosure for “trade secrets,” and reliance on the FracFocus website for disclosing chemicals to the public. FracFocus’s operational costs are paid for by the oil and gas industry lobbying groups American Petroleum Institute (API) and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). FracFocus was found to be “severely lacking” as a regulatory tool by a recent Harvard study.

Heath continued to advocate for the industry/ALEC approach to chemical disclosure, and even brought in a key member of FracFocus, Mike Paque. Paque is the executive director of the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC). The GWPC has long been an ally of the oil and gas industry, receiving funding from the American Petroleum Institute and other industry affiliates. Reports produced by GWPC are the backbone of the oil and gas industry’s claims about the safety of fracking. The GWPC also runs  the FracFocus website, and advocates for its use.

Taking up his drinking buddy’s suggestion, George Howard selected Paque as an expert witness for the MEC. Paque presented the industry-funded FracFocus website in an unrecorded meeting on December 18, 2012.

The New Bill Further Limits Disclosure

In the end, even though the bill that George Howard passed through committee was shot down by Jim Womack and Halliburton, it contained most of what Bo Heath and other industry lobbyists wanted. It used the API, ANGA funded website FracFocus for disclosure of chemicals, and exempted chemicals deemed trade secrets from being disclosed to the public on that website. However, Halliburton killed the bill because it required disclosure of all chemicals to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The bill, which has passed through the MEC committee and is headed for ratification in the State House of North Carolina, included a requirement to use the FracFocus website, following the ALEC fracking model legislation passed in multiple states. And like those states, trade secrets are not disclosed to the state, or the public. The bill proposed by State Senators Rucho, Newton, and Brock, would add harsh penalties to the disclosure bill approved by the MEC.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-coleman/fracking-rules-in-north-c_b_5352907.html