Charlotte Environment Committee Coal Ash Review – Apr 9, 2:00 PM

If you attend this committee meeting you get a 2-for-one bonus! Come hear about a new Charlotte Solid Waste study AND the City Coal Ash Due Diligence Review . Be sure to speak to your City Council member before or after the meeting and let them know that we need to develop a model, gold standard coal ash storage at the Charlotte Airport.

Char Enviro Comm Agenda 04_09_14


Don’t Miss “Years of Living Dangerously” – Starting April 13

Don’t Miss “Years of Living Dangerously” – Starting April 13

“YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY is global warming like you’ve never seen it before.  Coming to SHOWTIME in April, this multi-part television event tells the biggest story of our time: climate change and the impact it’s having on people right now in the US and all over the world.  Over the course of eight episodes, we’ll report on the crippling effects of climate change-related weather events and the ways individuals, communities, companies and governments are struggling to find solutions to the biggest threat our world has ever faced.  An all-star cast of correspondents goes into the field—to Texas, Kansas, California, Colorado, New York, Maine, Montana, Washington, the Carolinas, Florida, the Middle East, Africa, the Andes, the North Pole, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the South Pacific—to meet the people and see the places affected by climate change.” (via

Celebrities including Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, America Ferrera, and more are acting as correspondents to share these climate stories and solutions from around the world.

Watch for Ian Somerhalder (Lost, Vampire Diaries) interviewing Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal director, and Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance activist. Parts of the episode are set right here in Asheville, NC, including Duke Energy’s Lake Julian coal plant. In 2013, City of Asheville unanimously passed a clean energy resolution. In 2014, community members are asking Duke Energy NC to stop living dangerously and move beyond coal to a clean energy future.

Years Mary Anne


Help Us Hold Duke Energy Accountable

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Since millions of gallons of toxic coal ash and contaminated water spilled from an unlined Duke Energy waste pit into the Dan River in February, there’s been a lot of talk, but little action.

Coal Ash Convio.jpg

This image is of the coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s plant on the Dan River.  Photo credit: Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability.

Duke Accountable Click.png

Last week, Gov. McCrory sent a letter to Duke Energy asking the company to provide options and costs for removing their toxic coal ash from unlined pits near our waterways.  He gave them the deadline of March 15 to respond.

That doesn’t mean the state will take action. But you can help change that.

It is long overdue for Duke Energy to clean up its act. That’s why we are raising $37,000 by March 15th to hold Duke Energy accountable. That’s $1,000 for every coal ash pit in North Carolina.

That’s right.  There are 37 of these unlined coal ash pits, most of them near waterways.  And with your help, we can pressure them to move these toxic coal ash pits away from our waterways and into high and dry lined landfills.

It’s easy for politicians to call for solutions in a time of emergency.  But real leadership is shown when those calls to action turn into enforceable laws with deadlines for clean up.

By acting now, you can mobilize public support across the state to call upon legislators to hold Duke Energy accountable.  Your support will rally our 50,000 members and supporters– a presence in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties–who are well positioned to take on this challenge. Please join us today in this cause!

And with more than four decades of experience in advocating for the environment before the North Carolina General Assembly and Executive branch, we are well-prepared to take this on.

Click here to help make sure that Duke Energy cleans up its toxic coal ash pits!

For people who live and play on the Dan River, things may never be the same.  But you can help make a difference for other communities across the state.


Molly Diggins
State Director of the NC Sierra Club
P.S. – Every dollar you give stays right here in North Carolina. Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $37,000 to help our work to hold the Governor and legislators accountable and urge them to find cleanup solutions for the 37 toxic coal ash pits that threaten our waterways.

New Poll: North Carolinians Want Coal Ash Safeguards Now

March 25, 2014

Mary Anne Hitt
Director, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

The controversy continues almost two months after a Duke Energy spill of toxic coal ash into the Dan River. First, the Waterkeeper Alliance discovered Duke Energy dumping some 61 million gallons of coal ash wastewater into yet another waterway – the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy has been cited eight times since the Feb. 2 Dan River spill!

Now, state regulators have withdrawn the sweetheart coal ash violation settlements offered in previous years and instead have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to further investigate coal ash violations.

Today the Sierra Club released a poll showing that these inexcusable and shocking continued water violations are taking their toll on North Carolinians. Some highlights from the poll:

  • A stunning 90 percent of North Carolina voters want Duke to clean up all coal ash sites in the state, including the Dan River spill, and 88 percent feel coal ash should be stored away from water in specially lined landfills.
  • A large majority of North Carolina voters – 75 percent – are aware of the Dan River coal ash spill and there is broad concern about it within the state’s electorate.

There is strong bipartisan support for regulating coal ash as a hazardous substance, to the tune of 83 percent of North Carolina voters, including super majorities of Democrats (91 percent), Independents (85 percent), and Republicans (75 percent).

  • North Carolinians, particularly those who have heard the most about the spill, place the blame for it squarely on Duke Energy.
  • North Carolinians strongly favor more regulation and enforcement when it comes to coal ash, and overwhelmingly believe that without this another spill will occur.
  • 70 percent of voters would support a candidate who favors strong regulations and enforcement to protect the water, air, and health of North Carolinians and to prevent future incidents like the recent coal ash spill, including 55 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Democrats.

These results are strikingly similar to the poll we recently conducted in West Virginia. Taken together, the two polls demonstrate a clear finding that turns conventional wisdom on its head – people in states where the coal industry is still powerful want protections against coal pollution, and they want to support independent leaders who will stand up for clean air and water safeguards.

This story is not going away, in part because residents of the affected states continue to suffer from these spills. In Charleston, residents are still not drinking their water and new test results revealed just today that the coal chemical MCHM is still leaking into the Elk River and showing up in household drinking water.

In North Carolina, officials say it will take at least two years to clean up the Dan River spill, while more coal ash problems are being revealed all the time. In Virginia, which also received some of the Dan River pollution, residents are angry and worried about their health, safety, and economy, and Governor McAuliffe has called on Duke to cover the costs of the cleanup.

The EPA has the tools it needs to prevent another Dan River spill from happening. As Politico reported this week, the EPA is coming under increased scrutiny for failing to finalize long-overdue coal water protections. No more delay – just ask the people of North Carolina. TAKE ACTION: It’s time to protect our water from coal pollution.

Here are some related articles:

The Hill:


Charlotte Observer:

Greensboro News-Record:

Charlotte Business Journal:

Charlotte City Council to Consider Airport Coal Ash Disposal – Mar 24, 4:00 PM

Today, March 24th, the Charlotte City Council will meet at 4:00 PM in Room 267 of the Government Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East Fourth St., Charlotte, NC 28202 to consider the plan for the Riverbend coal ash disposal. Below is information about the meeting as well as some background information.

Riverbend Coal Ash City Council Meeting 03-24-14

The City will only be voting on whether to move forward with gathering information and studying this possibility.

Background Information

Records show Duke, Charlotte came close to airport coal ash plan in 2013
By Ely Portillo
March 18, 2014

But through a public records request Tuesday, the Observer received documents showing that the plan had progressed to the point of having a draft contract ready, a draft statement announcing the project and plans for an Oct. 28 presentation to City Council.
On Friday, the city said in a press release that it was “invited to review” Duke’s proposal last week. But documents show city staff had already honed their message for the public and elected officials last year, as the proposal moved toward fruition.
Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble signed a confidentiality agreement Aug. 9, promising not to disclose the proposal.
“The City of Charlotte is evaluating how each partner takes measures to ensure that coal combustion products are not hazardous and are safe,” the draft statement read. One city staffer circled that phrase and noted, “I’ve said above it is safe, so why (are) we evaluating?”
Read more here:

Coal Ash Could Help Airport, But Waste Ponds Have More Pollutants
By Ben Brasford
March 14, 2014

For the past seven years, Duke has been providing coal ash for landfill to the Asheville Regional Airport for no cost. A similar deal in Charlotte would be right up the alley of an airport that prides itself on the lowest-cost of its size in the nation. That is, Phocas says, if it is safe.
“We still need to take a look at—even if we are fully encapsulating it—what are the risks to the residents, to the water quality, too,” he says.

Read more here:

Details scant on plan to put coal ash at Charlotte Douglas

By Ely Portillo
March 14, 2014

Environmental advocates said Duke’s proposal could be a better solution for the ash than where it sits now, next to the lake that provides drinking water for Charlotte.
But they still see potential problems, such as the airport’s proximity to the Catawba River, streams that drain to Lake Wylie and groundwater sources for residents, and the sheer number of unanswered questions about the plan.
“A lot depends on the execution,” said Rick Gaskins, executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. His group will also present to City Council.
“Is it perfect? Is it what I’d like to see and do in the future? Maybe not, but it is important to get this ash off the drinking water of 830,000 people.”
See also – Read the letter from Duke Energy to Charlotte officials and Duke Energy proposes storing coal ash at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Read more here:

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – March 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Before long, 55 days to be exact, the 2014 session of the legislature will convene in Raleigh.

But please don’t wait until May 14 to ask your legislator to take action to close down Duke Energy’s unlined coal ash ponds that are threatening our state’s rivers and groundwater!

Whether you’ve never met your state legislator in before, or if you’ve  known him or her all your life –  now is the time to talk coal ash. Calls, email and personal  meetings with legislators to rally support for a ban on wet coal ash ponds is urgently needed. To get involved with the Sierra Club’s Volunteer Lobby Corps, please contact chapter organizer Zak Keith (

But the Sierra Club isn’t only about protecting our natural resources–it’s also all about promoting and exploring them.

Much of this March newsletter is dedicated to North Carolina’s wilderness areas. There’s a contest for folks who want to visit all of the wilderness areas in North Carolina. We also have tons of outings coming up for you to join.   Four of them are coming up this Saturday!

We hope you enjoy this issue of Footnotes, and are getting geared up for an action packed year ahead of us!

With warm wishes,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Coal Ash Update

You know the basics by now.  Nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash ran into the Dan River last month. Since then, the news has been changing every day.  That’s why we have a Coal Ash Updates page on our website.

To stay current on the latest from news outlets all over the country about what’s happening right here in our back yard,  bookmark the Coal Ash Updates page, and you will always have the most recent news on the coal ash spill!

What’s in Your Lake?

Jordan Lake - Background - convio123.jpgjlaa action button123.png

You likely remember that the state legislature froze protections for Jordan Lake last year. The Jordan Lake Rules were adopted in 2009 in an effort to clean up the lake, which is a popular recreation destination and a source of drinking water for 300,000 people. Last year, those clean-up rules were delayed for three years and, instead, the legislature directed nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds to a pilot project to lease 36 floating water mixers. Meanwhile, developers will get a three year reprieve from having to control the runoff that is plaguing the Lake.

Click here to tell the Army Corps of Engineers to protect Jordan Lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers? Yes. The Corps has the final say in whether or not the water mixers can go into the lake There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the water mixers in Jordan Lake.

Click here to read about some of the reasons that replacing the long negotiated Jordan Lake Rules with water mixers is a bad idea. And then send your thoughts on to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Calling All Politicos (For Members Only!)


Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge and learn from the best.  Join Chapter Political Committee Chair Harry Johnson & former chair Ken Brame as they cover the basics of the Sierra Club Political Committee and get you ready for the ever exciting political season ahead. The training will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Greensboro. Registration is required (but it’s also free).

The meeting is for Sierra Club members who want to participate in this year’s elections on any level. Topics for the day include: an overview of the political landscape, introduction to the endorsement process, building a local political committee, managing a volunteer field campaign, and more!

Click here to register today to make sure you are prepared to make a difference in this year’s political campaigns in your community!

Are You Up for the Challenge? Get Ready to Explore Our Wild NC

Wilderness Explorer Patch.jpg

This time of year, Sierrans are ready for winter to be over and outdoor adventures to begin in earnest.  This year, they are in for a treat.  The Wilderness Committee has announced the Explore Our Wild NC Challenge. The only question is: are you up for it?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act and to increase awareness about our state’s 12 wilderness areas and 5 study areas, the NC Sierra Club is offering a certificate and limited edition patch to anyone who visits all of these areas.

We cannot think of a better way to experience our state than getting outdoors and exploring every one of its true wilderness areas. Click here if you want more information or have already decided that you want to register for the challenge.

Wilderness Study Areas

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 Wilderness Study Areas in our state.

Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) share many of the same characteristics of designated Wilderness Areas but have not yet received full designation by the US Congress.  There are five WSAs protected by the US Forest Service in North Carolina.

In Nantahala National Forest we have Overflow Creek and Snowbird. In Pisgah National Forest, we have Harper Creek, Lost Cove and Craggy Mountain totaling 25,816 acres.  Most were set aside by the NC Wilderness Act of 1984 and have since been recommended for wilderness designation, however some have been threatened with declassification.

These areas could potentially be impacted through the comprehensive revision to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ Land Management Plan which is currently underway.  Please see these documents which were released earlier this week for more information about the revision plan: Scoping Letter from the US Department of Agriculture and An Explanation of the Need to Change the Plan.

Many Wilderness Study Areas were first identified by the Forest Service’s Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE) of 1972 and the RARE II report of 1979, which was more thorough.  Although restrictions for usage are less stringent, WSAs are intended to receive the same protection from development as Wilderness Areas until such time as Congress decides to take action.

Click here to learn more about these study areas. Maybe then you can start planning your next hiking trip!

Wilderness Study Areas.jpg

Featured Wilderness Outing!

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

Inner City Outings Program

barber-hike.jpgKaran Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair, leads a recent outing.

Charlotte Inner City Outings officially announced the launch of a new program to connect area youth with nature. Inner City Outings (ICO), is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that seeks to provide urban youth and adults with positive outdoor experiences. The goal of Charlotte ICO is to allow participants to discover the beauty of wild places and learn how to enjoy and protect our wild environments.

The Charlotte ICO Group will work with local agencies and community centers to lead hikes and other outings. The program is made possible by its volunteers who give generously of their time and skills to participate in training, receive first aid education, and lead outings. All ICO volunteer leaders undergo special training and screening to work with youth.

Individuals, agencies, and organizations that are interested in supporting or participating in Charlotte ICO should contact Karan Barber at or (704) 588-3297. The only experience required is a passion to share enthusiasm for kids, teaching, the outdoors, and having fun.

For more information see the Charlotte ICO website,, and the Sierra Club ICO Website,

Upcoming Events

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

Upcoming Outings

March 22 – 8:00 a.m. – Guided Bird Walk at Sandy Creek Park – Durham

As part of Durham’s Annual Creek Week celebration activities, the Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting a guided bird walk around Sandy Creek. The terrain is rather flat but may be a bit wet in spots–please wear closed toed shoes and bring your camera and binoculars! You will be able to share binoculars if you don’t have your own, so don’t let that keep you from coming!

Led by two wonderful bird guides, there will be two smaller groups walking around the park. The guides are Brian Bockhahn, a State Park Education Ranger, and Robert Meehan, a local expert birder. All attendees (at all Creek Week events) will get a raffle ticket to win one of two Ivy Rain Barrels, courtesy of the City of Durham.

This outing is limited to 24 participants. Click here to RSVP via our Meetup. You may also RSVP by contacting Kelly at (or 919.624.2225).

March 22 – 9:00 a.m. – Cook’s Wall Loop, Hanging Rock State Park – Hanging Rock

The hike will begin on the Hanging Rock trail but leave it to ascend the ridge line to Wolf Rock, on to House Rock and Cook’s Wall, and return via Magnolia Springs trail and the lake. Major views will be enhanced along the way by the bare trees. Hike length is about 6.5 miles with a 500 feet elevation gain.

Bring water, lunch, rain gear and wear hiking footwear. For more information contact Tom Mann at or 336-760-0265 (before 9:00 p.m.).

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Backpacking Conditioning in Umstead – Raleigh

Join Sierrans for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! The group will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way folks will talk about the gear in your backpack and best practices for minimizing the load.

Meet in the Reedy Creek parking lot in back right corner by 9:45 am. Look for the orange Honda Element with LOTS of stickers on the back. The entrance is located off I-40 at exit 287. Map to parking lot:

Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem. Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at or 919-971-3788 for more information.

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Green River Gamelands – Pullium Creek Trail – near Asheville

This hike is moderate with some easy level of difficulty. The trip will be approximately 6.5 miles round-trip on this there & back trail with elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10 am and return about 5:45 p.m.. It’s a beautiful trail that ends up at the Green River just below the narrows, with rapids moving through large boulders. On the way, there’s a tedious creek crossing with wiggly step-stones, so wear good footwear and consider a hiking pole. Plan to learn about the beautiful early-blooming wildflowers there as well.

NOTE: Sorry, no doggies this trip due to Pullium Creek crossing. Hike leader Lisa McWherter at or 828-713-4994.

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

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:

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 or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

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 Southeast’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:

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 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 caravaning 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 or 919-971-3788 for more information.

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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.

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New Sierra Club Ad Campaign Pressures EPA for Strong Water Protections from Coal Ash

Check out the great new ad campaign running in D.C. and some North Carolina markets! The bucket image is from the Dan River Coal Ash Disaster and there are 4 versions.

Thirsty Ad 1

Sierra Club’s New Ad Campaign Pressures EPA on Coal Ash

Monday, March 17, 2014

For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2014

Sean Sarah, Sierra Club 330 338-3740

New Sierra Club Ad Campaign in D.C. Metro Pressures EPA for Strong Water Protections from Coal Ash

*View the Ads*

Washington, DC – Today, Sierra Club launched a new advertising campaign entitled “Thirsty?” that urges the Environmental Protection Agency to put strong coal ash water pollution protections in place this year. This new campaign, which contains physical advertisements on metro trains in the Washington DC Metro system’s Orange Line coupled with an online buy in DC and North Carolina, comes as a response to the multiple coal-related pollution incidents to occur in the last three months.

“Americans deserve water we can drink, not water that makes us sick,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “The West Virginia water crisis, the Duke Energy coal ash spill and the TVA coal ash disaster of 2008 all underscore the inadequacy of current state and federal safeguards. Now is the time to act swiftly in order to protect our health and waterways from coal’s toxic legacy.”

Coal-fired power plants are one of America’s biggest water polluters, dumping more toxins into rivers and streams than any other industry in the United States. Every year, the nation’s coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution — and much of that material is stored in unlined ponds and uncovered piles, leaking heavy metals like mercury, lead and arsenic into local waterways.

The campaign comes at the same time as Sierra Club reveals that a year’s worth of time lapse photography from a hidden camera along the Ohio River captured images proving that dangerous coal ash wastewater from a plant owned by Kentucky based utility company Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) is pouring unabated into the Ohio River. This photographic evidence, along with Google Earth satellite images from 1993 to the present, support the Sierra Club’s notice to sue LG&E for violating the federal Clean Water Act.

“After years of delay,” Hitt continued, “including significant opposition from companies like Duke Energy and LG&E, responsible for the two most recent coal ash spills, EPA is now under a court order to finish the coal ash safeguards this year. We urge the EPA to move quickly to issue strong, enforceable protections that end all dangerous wet storage of coal ash, permanently removing the threat of coal ash spills. We can’t afford another Dan River disaster.”

“The EPA must finalize robust protections under the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,” Hitt concluded. “This includes safeguards for coal water pollution, coal ash and hazardous chemical sites, in order to deal with the dangerous pollution from the life cycle of coal. American water security is at risk, and the tragedies of the last three months show that we need comprehensive clean water protections that ensure our drinking water is safe and our rivers and streams are no longer the dumping ground for industry pollution.”


Clean Up Dirty Energy – Support Clean Energy

Today is an excellent day to take some action!

Grassroots Activism: North Carolinians Rally for Coal Water Pollution Protections Grassroots Activism: North Carolinians Rally for Coal Water Pollution Protections

Late last month, security guards at Duke Energy’s Charlotte headquarters blocked Beyond Coal director Mary Anne Hitt from delivering 9,000 petitions signed by Duke customers calling on the company to clean up its toxic coal ash, in the wake of a spill that decimated 70 miles of the Dan River. It was the culmination of a dramatic rally that shone a glaring spotlight on one company’s reckless pollution practices, and the urgent need for the Environmental Protection Agency to finally close coal water pollution loopholes, without delay.

Coal ash is a waste product from power plants, and we can’t afford to see more spills of this toxic byproduct that pollutes our waterways.

Read more about the rally in Mary Anne’s column.

Take Action: Tell your Representative: Support Clean Energy!

The wind industry supports more than 80,700 American-made jobs around the country and is paving the way toward 100 percent clean energy for America. With the right policies in place, the wind industry could support 500,000 jobs by 2030.

Congressmen Steve King and Dave Loebsack have written a bipartisan letter calling on Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit for clean, wind energy.

Take Action
Ask your representative to sign this job-creating, bipartisan letter.

Hazards of Mountain Island Lake Coal Ash and NC Coal Ash 101

Want to know more about the hazards of the Mountain Island Lake coal ash ponds and Coal ash in North Carolina? Thanks to Sarah Behnke of We Love Mountain Island Lake and Rick Gaskins of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation for these two excellent presentations. They are a quick review of what you need to know.

Hazards of Mountain Island Lake Coal Ash

MIL Town HallMIL Coal Ash Key Facts

Coal Ash 101

Coal Ash 101 R Gaskins to NC ERC Feb 17 2014Coal Ash 101 R Gaskins to NC ERC Feb 2014

Will You Send a Happy St. Patrick’s Day Message to Our Elected Officials?

St-Patrick's Day

Unfortunately, there is nothing green about Coal Ash!

Monday is St. Patrick’s Day. What can you do to make sure we don’t have another disaster here in the Catawba River and rivers around North Carolina?


Wish them a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and tell them we will settle for nothing less than Duke Energy’s removal of the coal ash to dry, lined storage areas away from our waterways!

For additional information click on our Coal Ash Legislation Fact Sheet

District Rep Party Phone Number Email
92 Charles Jeter Rep 919-733-5654
101 Beverly Earle Dem 919-715-2530
102 Becky Carney Dem 919-733-5827
88 Rob Bryan Rep 919-733-5607
104 Ruth Samuelson Rep 919-715-3009
99 Rodney Moore Dem 919-733-5606
100 Tricia Cotham Dem 919-715-0706
106 Carla Cunningham Dem 919-733-5807
107 Kelly Alexander Dem 919-733-5778
105 Jacqueline Schaffer Rep 919-733-5886
103 William Brawley Rep 919-733-5800