We have a lot to be thankful for – and we’re especially thankful that you’re one of millions of Americans who won’t buy what TransCanada is selling.
But some folks still don’t get it and are eating up the lies:
We know that Canadian tar sands oil isn’t for us. It’s dangerous, harmful and could be a disaster for our health and our environment.
Source: Re-post from NextGen Climate Action
The Road Ahead (and Some Bumps Along the Way)
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Between the devastation in the Philippines, deadly floods in Sardinia and Vietnam, and the COP 19 UN climate change summit in Poland, the last ten days or so have delivered more than the usual collection of global stories on climate and energy issues. But a lot was going on here at home, too, and those stories speak both to why we need a 100 percent clean energy future and the road that will get us there.
Even if they weren’t a threat to our climate, fossil fuels would still be dangerous enough to make getting rid of them a good idea. A week ago today, a small town in Texas had to be evacuated after a construction crew accidentally drilled into a 10-inch liquefied petroleum gas pipeline owned primarily by Chevron. Thankfully, no one was killed by the resulting massive explosion. The incident was a reminder that both fossil fuels and the pipelines used to transport them are by definition “accidents waiting to happen.”
It was also sobering last week when CBS News reported that the tar sands pipeline TransCanada is building from Oklahoma to Texas appears to be rife with defects like bad welds. This is the same pipeline that President Obama was talking about in March of last year when he boasted he had directed his administration to “cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority.” Priority or not, the 125 faulty sections of pipeline that TransCanada is being forced to replace are ample evidence that the company is too irresponsible to be allowed to complete the entire Keystone XL pipeline, which would cross the U.S. from north to south carrying toxic tar sands crude that is more likely to spill, more toxic in the air and water, and nearly impossible to clean up.
Fossil fuels are inherently dangerous, but it’s especially frustrating when that danger is amplified because of bad decisions by people who should know better. Last week we had an especially egregious example of that when the EPA caved in to the state of Kentucky’s request to weaken clean water standards for selenium pollution from mountaintop-removal coal mines. The standard Kentucky wanted — and which the EPA approved — is even weaker than a similar one that George W. Bush’s EPA proposed but ultimately withdrew after strong objections from government scientists. This was new EPA administrator Gina McCarthy’s first ruling on coal, and she failed miserably.
Don’t worry, last week also brought some very good news. The Tennessee Valley Authority will retire coal-burning generating stations at three locations in Alabama and Kentucky, which brings the total number of announced coal-plant retirements to 154. And in Colorado, the final tally of ballots in the town of Broomfield made it official (pending one last recount) that all four fracking-moratorium measures in that state passed.
Of course, the essential complement to taking dirty fuels out of the equation is adding more clean fuels in their place. Last week, Pennsylvania, one of the states most ravaged by fossil fuel drilling in recent years, saw major progress on that front, too, with the introduction of a bill in the state legislature that would almost double the renewable portion of its energy generation (going from 8 to 15 percent) by 2023. If the bill passes, Pennsylvania will close much of the gap between itself and neighboring states like Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, which have all adopted renewable energy goals of 20 percent or more in the next decade or so.
In all, 30 states now have renewable electricity standards requiring utilities to generate a percentage of their power from clean sources. Someday, perhaps the entire nation will. A bill introduced by Senator Ed Markey would establish such a standard by requiring utilities to obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and biomass by 2025. That would put the U.S. in the company of 118 other nations that have already adopted national clean energy targets.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we won’t replace fossil fuels with clean energy based on the events of a single week, either. But the important thing to remember is that, once they happen, clean energy victories are irreversible. No one will tear down wind farms because they are nostalgic for fracking in our watersheds. And nobody will pull down their solar panels because they miss having mercury in their tuna or asthma inhalers for their kids. Because once we leave fossil fuels behind, we are never going back.
|Google has joined ALEC — right alongside Exxon and Philip Morris.
Demand Google stop funding climate deniers — let’s raise 50,000 voices by ALEC’s conference!
In February, a Utah slaughterhouse was caught painfully pushing a cow with a forklift. But when the police showed up, they weren’t there to shut things down — they were there to press charges against the citizen filming the cruelty, even though she never left public land. 
Many would call Amy Meyer a hero, but Utah called her a criminal. This is due to a new crop of state bills that ban the filming of industrial animal abuse without permission — and even place whistleblowers on a “terrorism registry.” 
Shockingly, Google is funding this madness.
Google recently joined ALEC, a shadowy organization that works with state lawmakers to ram through legislation for corporations like Exxon and Philip Morris. [3, 4] Google — a major investor in clean energy — should know better than to fund bills that would also require climate denial education in public schools and oppose fracking disclosure.
Thanks to public pressure, 50 corporations have already quit ALEC — now it’s Google’s turn.
For this to work, Google needs to hear from as many of us as possible. After you take action, will you help grow this movement and share the alert with your friends, family, and coworkers? Many of them no doubt use Google products every day, and will surely be as disappointed in the tech giant as you are.
Sign the petition today, and we’ll deliver it to Google during ALEC’s giant December conference, which features speakers like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan. 50,000 names will put Google on the spot!
Funded almost exclusively by major corporations like Koch Industries, ALEC — or the American Legislative Exchange Council — writes “model bills” for right-wing lawmakers to introduce as “grassroots” legislation. From Utah’s “ag-gag” bill to “Stand Your Ground” laws and attacks on our voting rights, about 200 of these corporate scams pass every year.
One of ALEC’s efforts pretends to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. But in reality, the Exxon-backed bill is pure deception, creating new loopholes that would make it even easier to hide the most toxic fracking chemicals. 
This agenda is so extreme that, thanks to grassroots pressure, many big-name corporations have already quit ALEC — including McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Wal-Mart.  Even Big Oil’s own ConocoPhillips has had enough — but not Google.
Google’s supposed to be one of the good guys. It’s up to us to remind them of their old “Don’t be evil” motto, and bring the same public pressure that led all those other corporations to see the light.
Today’s petition is just the beginning. SierraRise is teaming up with organizations like Forecast the Facts and the Center for Media and Democracy. We’ll use people pressure and digital organizing — much of it with Google’s own tools — to demand the tech giant do the right thing and leave ALEC behind.
It all starts with this show of force — sign your name today.
In it together,
SierraRise Senior Campaigner
P.S. Five signatures are even more powerful than one — after you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends, family, and colleagues!
The following is a re-post of a very good summary of the Charlotte Solar Panel by Brian Johnson. Stay tuned for more information about making Charlotte greener with solar energy!
North Carolina is already a hotbed of solar energy. Now its largest city is poised to join the trend.
Over 150 Charlotte residents and 18 social justice, faith-based and environmental organizations gathered at Myers Park Baptist Church on Saturday to call for greater access to solar energy. The event included a panel of experts, a tour of the solar installation at the church, and a “honk-and-wave” rally outside the church at a busy intersection.
At the panel, experts from a wide range of backgrounds explained how solar stands to improve public health and lower bills in Charlotte, allowing residents to take charge of their own power supply.
Panelist and former Republican state representative Shawn LeMond likened the surge in solar to the rise of cell phones over landlines, and noted the irony that more current NC politicians aren’t pro-solar.
“It’s a crying shame that, with Republicans in the Assembly and a Republican governor, we aren’t allowing the free market to work, “he said. LeMond is now COO of Sustainable Energy Community Development Company.
Panelist and Reverend Michael McClain of Creation Justice Ministries described solar as liberating struggling residents from the dominance of big utilities, such as local power company Duke Energy.
“Duke Energy has been asking Charlotte’s low-income and working-class communities to pay bills for dirty energy that is skyrocketing each year, and we think solar power is the solution,” Rev. McClain said.
North Carolina hosts the 5th-most solar capacity of any state in the nation—and over the past year, average prices of residential and commercial solar installations in the state have decreased 15%. At the same time, North Carolina’s monopoly electric utility, Duke Energy, has raised electric rates in three out of the past four years.
Solar energy also provides a boost to North Carolina’s local economy by creating jobs that can’t be outsourced. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 121 solar companies currently operate in the state, and employ 1,400 people.
The other two panelists at Saturday’s event, Katie Bray of Solarize Asheville with the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, and Jeff Deal of the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE), described how their organizations are helping people in North Carolina acquire their own solar panels.
Solarize Asheville has nearly completed its effort to bring hundreds of affordable solar panels to Asheville, NC residents, by allowing customers to collectively purchase solar panels and receive financing support from a bank to spread out the payments. AIRE organizes local citizens to invest in installations on churches and town buildings. Once the investment has paid off, the investors donate or sell cheaply the installations to the building owners.
Panel attendees had plenty of questions and comments. One resident invited the panelists to consult on and advocate for solar in her community (they accepted). Another resident asked how citizens could best manage opposition from Duke Energy, which fears that distributed solar could break apart its hundred-year-old monopoly.
After touring the host church’s own solar facility, residents took their demands for solar to the sidewalk for a “honk-and-wave” rally. Raising signs and repeating Charlotte-themed chants like “We’ve got banks, we know money, solar makes sense and we want plenty!” the rally attendees earned dozens of honks from drivers-by, and attracted the attention of two local TV channels.
When all was said and done, residents left with pro-solar yard signs, and high hopes that their homes and buildings would finally take part in the solar revolution.
If you missed our event, check out the video coverage here.
See more photos of the event at Solar Panel (November 16, 2013).
Thank you to all of the non-profit co-sponsors of the Cleaner is Cheaper: Solar Panel event:
A Phillip Randolph Institute, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, Center for Community Change, Charlotte Environmental Action, Clean Air Carolina, Myers Park Baptist Church Earth Keepers, Environment North Carolina, Greenpeace USA, League of Conservation Voters – Charlotte, League of Women Voters – Charlotte, NAACP Charlotte, NC Conservation Network, NC Interfaith Power and Light, Shift the Climate, Sierra Club – Piedmont Chapter, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sustain Charlotte, and US Green Building Council North Carolina.
Dear Sierra Club members and supporters,
The holidays are rapidly approaching, and despite some of the dismal news coming out of Raleigh these days, there is good reason for Sierrans to be thankful. First and foremost, in the face of losing ground on hard-won policies, our members and supporters have continued to stand up and call for reason at state-level meetings and public hearings.
The events highlighted below may have passed, but you still have the ability to provide input to our state environmental agency on our need for strong water protections and the need to ensure proper closure of toxic coal ash ponds. Aside from being thankful for all the Sierrans who are stepping up, you have the opportunity to join them. Read about the issues below and be sure to check out the long list of fun outings at the end of the newsletter!
Your staff at the NC Sierra Club
This past Tuesday, in the middle of a workday, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) held a long overdue review of the state’s water quality standards, as required by EPA.
The room was packed and the speakers were well-informed, articulate and prepared. Speakers had come from as far away as Cherokee to express concern about big gaps in North Carolina’s water quality standards.
Among the excellent presentations, several were given by Sierra Club leaders. Many thanks to Ed Beck (Chair, Cape Fear Group), Harvey Richmond (Capital Group Executive Committee), and Olga Grick (co-chair, Orange Chatham Group) for attending and speaking today on behalf of the club. Many thanks also to Marghi Sowerwine (Medoc Group), who traveled from Rocky Mount and spoke as a physician about her concerns. And thanks to Marvin Woll, Capital Group member, who linked today’s proceedings to concerns about the proposed Titan plant in Wilmington.
If you are not sure what to say, don’t worry. We can help. The important thing is that you share your thoughts about what we can do to protect our water.
13,833. That’s the number of emails Sierrans and supporters sent to decision makers on our key issues so far this year. It’s also just one of the facts found in the NC Sierra Club’s 2013 Annual Report.
The report is hitting mailboxes now. And every member should get one, but if you are not a dues paying member, don’t worry. You can click here to become a member.
This year’s report covers the Chapter’s conservation campaigns, offers facts and figures about the year’s work, hosts elections information and much more. So please take a moment to review the great work of our volunteers over the past year.
And if you are already thinking ahead to next year, a great resolution to make is get involved in the local environmental issues in your area. If you don’t know where to start, contacting Janet Joye Smith, our NC Sierra Club Membership Chair is a good idea. Contact Janet at email@example.com.
Oh, and if you forgot to click on the link to become a member of the NC Sierra Club, don’t worry. It’s right here. Go on and click it to be a part of the solution for moving North Carolina forward!
Arkansas had some earthquakes. That was confusing for folks living there. It would be like Salisbury or Asheville or Chapel Hill having earthquakes. It doesn’t happen. At least not often.
The quakes stopped when the state stopped allowing the underground injection of fracking wastewater. It could be a coincidence, but researchers from the University of Memphis and the Arkansas Geological Survey scientists see the connection more as likely than coincidence.
That may not be a surprise to many of us.
But what did come as a surprise was to see an announcement that a delegation of North Carolina lawmakers are currently on a ‘fact finding’ trip to Arkansas to learn more about that state’s experience with fracking. Seeing all of the problems that Arkansas has had, visitors might be better off looking for warning signs.
Further, when asked by the Raleigh News & Observer as to why the delegation was not meeting with environmental groups during the trip, one legislator said the purpose of the trip is to “learn how the system works,” saying “we have enough environmental groups here.”
Click here to make an e-card explaining why legislators making this trip should meet with critics of fracking, not just boosters. Share it on our Facebook page and we will do our best to make sure the legislators get the message!
The more than 50 people who took a boat trip on the Cape Fear River earlier this month got a firsthand look at the problems caused by storing coal ash in large unlined lagoons (otherwise known as holes in the ground).
The trip was organized by the Cape Fear Group and Outings Chair, Nancy Card. Folks onboard learned about the Cape Fear River, coal ash pollution and the proposed Titan cement plant. Local Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette gave an overview of the ecology of the river and how coal waste impacts local groundwater and Lake Sutton, a popular fishing site. Sierra Club staffers talked about ongoing changes at DENR and the need for strong water quality rules to require Duke to clean up its pollution.
But the main story is something that we already knew: from coal mining, to burning coal, to disposing of coal ash waste left behind, coal is dirty business. Coal ash pollution is known to contain high levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, selenium, and boron. The public health hazards and environmental threats to nearby communities from unsafe coal ash dumping have been known for many years, including an increased risk of cancer, neurological disorders, asthma, and other illnesses.
North Carolina is emerging as a leader in promoting clean energy and phasing out dirty fuels like coal. A big part of this movement is cleaning up the dirty waste responsibly.
Thursday, November 21, 2013 – 12:00 p.m. – Durham: Lunchtime Power Walk at Duke University’s East Campus
Join like-minded folks for a fast-paced 1.6 mile lap around the Duke East Campus running/walking trail. A leader will take you through the first lap, starting at Noon-sharp. Each lap can be done in about 25 minutes. Meet at the Duke East Campus entrance across from the Whole Foods parking lot at Broad & Perry. Convenient street parking should be available. Contact Jae for more information at SeeingTrees@gmail.com. All participants on Sierra Club outings will need to read/sign a standard liability waiver. You can find a copy of the liability waiver here: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/
Sunday, November 24, 2013 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.- Chapel Hill (Orange County near Duke Forest): Johnston Mill Nature Preserve Exploration!
Come out and explore the roughly 3-½ miles of trails at the 296-acre Johnston Mill Nature Preserve along New Hope Creek. Moderate—paced hike, lots of spots to stop, sit and look. We’ll cover about 3 miles (give or take a little) while making a loop through the area. The property was once home to the Johnston family (a Scots Presbyterian family) who lived, farmed and operated a gristmill on this land they called Green Hill Plantation. The family lived on the land for 200 years starting in the first half of the 18th century. We’ll be on a visual scavenger hunt, looking for remnants of the old mill and family dwellings. Bring your binoculars—we’ll also be keeping an eye out for a recently spotted rare Northern saw-whet owl and other critters! Limit 15 participants, no pets. Leader: Kelly Mieszkalski. Sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SierraClubJohnstonMill
For more information about the preserve: http://www.triangleland.org/what-we-do/nature-preserves/johnston-mill-nature-preserve
Friday-Sunday, November 29-December 1, 2013 – New River State Park (Cliffview Campground)
Bike ‘n Hike camp trip. Rated easy to moderate for the 31 mile distance on a rails-to-trails path/bike on Saturday. Not scouted. Here is a link to info http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/new.shtml. A bike helmet is required by Sierra Club to participate. Group size is limited.
Cliffview is located on the edge of Galax, VA. About 1′ 45″ from Greensboro.
More details upon inquiry. Contact Jerry Weston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 p.m. please.
Sunday, December 8, 2013 – 10:30 a.m. – Hanging Rock State Park
Join us for a lively jaunt through the Sauratown Mountains, the only mountain range contained in a single county. This strenuous hike will include a walk to the top of Hanging Rock with beautiful fall vistas. This 8.5 mile hike will include elevation gains and rocky uneven terrain. We’ll hike up to the top of Hanging Rock and enjoy the vista. Estimated hiking time is 3 hours, total time w/stops for views and snacks should be about 4 hrs. Adults only, no pets or children. Must be fit and able to hike a pretty good clip for several hours. Participation limited to 8. For more information and to register, contact Kim Ashley (email@example.com) and Michael Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 – 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Second Wednesday Winter Hike Series – Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail
Join us for a 3-mile fast-paced nature hike on the second Wednesday of each month through February. Locations vary, but will be on wooded trails somewhere between Hillsborough, UNC and Duke campuses. The December hike will be at the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail in Hillsborough. Limited to 12 participants. Sorry, no pets. To register and receive more information, contact Jae at SeeingTrees@gmail.com. All participants on Sierra Club outings will need to read/sign a standard liability waiver. You can find a copy of the liability waiver at: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/
Saturday, December 21, 2013 – Hanging Rock State Park Day Hike
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and join us for a hike. We will hike portions of the Lake, Chestnut Oak, Magnolia and Wolf Rock Trails. Come see why Hanging Rock State Park was the Park of the Year for 2012. These trails will give you an idea of how important our state parks are in preserving North Carolina’s natural heritage as well as preserving a place of peace and solitude. The hike is 5 miles and is rated moderate. Contact Henry Fansler at (336) 473-0283 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. - New Year’s Day Yadkin River Day Hike
This moderately difficult 5-mile hike will take place in the Yadkin River section of Pilot Mountain State Park. Sleep late as we’ll meet at 1:00 for an afternoon hike. Bring water, snacks and rain gear. For more information, contact Joel Wooten before 9:00 p.m. at 336-679-8672 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know you can make a monthly gift to the NC Sierra Club? Find out how you can make a sustaining gift by visiting our website, or contacting the Chapter office at 919-833-8467.
Yummy! I love my sister’s Dirt Pudding! Since she’s in the hospital this week (get well soon Janet!), I’ll be making a batch of Dirt Pudding for those that join us November 20 at 6:30 PM for our monthly Central Piedmont Sierra Club meeting. And yes, we’ll also have free pizza.
Due to the Holidays, our November monthly meeting will be held on Nov 20th (no meeting on Nov 27). Note: Our December meeting will be held on Dec 18 due to the Holidays. There will be no meeting on Dec 25.
Dirt! The Movie is an insightful and timely film that tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet.
Inspired by William Bryant Logans acclaimed book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Dirt! The Movie takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we come from and will later return to.
Dirt! The Movie will make you want to get dirty.
Our meeting starts off at 6:30 PM with pizza, refreshments and a chance to meet and socialize with other Sierra Club members and friends. The business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 PM. Non-members and potential new members are very welcome!
Central Piedmont Sierra Club meetings are held in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28203. Cumberland Avenue is off of the 1500 block of East Boulevard.
The program is free and open to the public and you do not have to be a member to attend. Free parking is available.
Bring a friend or two; you’ll be glad you did! See you there…
There has been a flurry of pro nuclear activity in Charlotte recently to try to get the dying nuclear industry off of life support. Why? Follow the money.
Why is it dying? Here are three reports that describe the state of the industry:
Nuclear renaissance was just a fairy tale
The promise of cheap, low-carbon power – with 31 new reactors in the US – was based on rhetoric and obedience. Anyone who doubts that should read the new status report on the industry
Nuclear’s swan SONGS
Stick a fork in U.S. nuclear power. With four plants closing this year and more to come, the dream of electricity “too cheap to meter” is dead.
Nuclear Power’s Renaissance in Reverse
The IAEA’s optimistic rhetoric cannot obscure fundamental arithmetic: skyrocketing maintenance expenses and, in many cases, post-Fukushima upgrade costs, together with the impossibility of building competitive new capacity without massive government subsidies, are devastating the nuclear industry. As the economist Mark Cooper has put it, nuclear power is actually undergoing a “renaissance in reverse.”
Here are some recent articles about nuclear energy beginning with a great Op-Ed from Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.
Nov. 16, 2013
From Louis Zeller, executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, in response to Christine Todd Whitman’s piece, “Emissions will not reduce themselves. We need a plan” (Nov. 13 For the Record):
Nuclear power is not a solution to the energy questions facing the Carolinas. Indeed, the expansion of nuclear power would make the problems worse. Nuclear power fails on many counts.
The promise of jobs and prosperity makes nuclear sound appealing. But at $7 billion per reactor, the taxpayer foots a large share of the nuclear bill: a recent nuclear power plant license required a promise of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to sooth the fears of private investors. Also, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has the government cover nuclear cost overruns caused by regulatory delays up to $2 billion. Similarly, the Act established a production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for new nuclear power plants, another billion-dollar allocation. Economic uncertainty picks the pockets of residential customers too. In 2007 the N.C. General Assembly allowed utilities to have customers pay for new power plants up front, before the first watt is generated. This is not prosperity, it is corporate welfare.
Dirty and unsafe
Nuclear plants require enormous amounts of water. A single plant may consume more than the largest cities in a given state combined. And fully two-thirds of the heat produced to make steam to run the turbines is flushed down the drain as hot water, unusable. Meanwhile, high river water temperatures and falling reservoir levels are creating unsafe conditions for nuclear power plants because they have no off switch; they must have water to avoid overheating. During the 2007 drought, low water levels at Lake Norman caused the utility to struggle to keep McGuire’s cooling water intakes filled.
Nuclear is unsafe. Reactors at the Catawba nuclear power plant do not comply with NRC fire protection regulations adopted in 1980, a persistent failure which poses an increased risk of accident in 2013. And 35 nuclear plants are at risk from dam failure, including McGuire.
Nuclear pollutes. Accidental releases of radioactive contaminants are common to virtually all nuclear power reactors. Over 400 leaks have occurred, some releasing millions of gallons of polluted water. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does little to prevent these violations; during the last four years no fines have been issued despite the two dozen leaks which occurred. Routine releases of radioactive gases from pressurized water reactors, such as those at Catawba and McGuire, are the result of nuclear operations’ standard cleaning process. The negative human health impacts are measurable, legal and permitted by the NRC.
Federal emergency planning for nuclear power plants is inadequate. The radioactive contaminants from the nuclear accident at Fukushima affected air, water, soil and agricultural products over a wide area. Radiation spreads in unpredictable ways, yet emergency planning in the U.S. extends only 10 miles. If a severe accident occurred at the McGuire or Catawba nuclear plant, where would 200,000 Charlotteans within that radius go? What if the accident occurred during rush hour?
Nuclear is not the solution to air pollution or global warming, simply because it is so expensive and carries insupportable risks. We can do better.
Christine Todd Whitman Visits Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (Video)
Gov. Whitman on Pandora’s Promise
CASEnergy Coalition Co-Chair Governor Whitman gave her thoughts on “Pandora’s Promise,” the recently released documentary which takes a thoughtful look at the role of nuclear energy and its ability to take on some of the climate change and environmental challenges that Americans face today. The movie tells the story of five environmental experts who made the conversion from anti-nuclear attitudes to strong support. They explain their new understanding of nuclear power and its ability to safely provide clean, reliable power to meet growing global demand. Click on the image to watch the interview.
Mitsubishi cutting Charlotte nuclear engineering staff in half
Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems will lay off 48 people from its Charlotte Engineering Center by the end of the year, cutting the staff by roughly half.
The layoffs come as Mitsubishi has decided to slow its efforts to get Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification of its US-APWR reactor. That led the power company Luminant to announce plans last week to suspend its effort to license two 1,700 megawatt Mitsubishi reactors at the Commanche nuclear plant in Texas.
In April, Dominion announced it was abandoning plans to build a Mitsubishi unit at its North Anna Nuclear Station.
What’s the impact on Charlotte as Babcock & Wilcox seeks mPower investor?
In a major strategy shift, The Babcock & Wilcox Co. wants a majority buyer for its Generation mPower small nuclear reactor venture and plans to close a deal within a year.
It is a change the company describes as months in the making. And it offers enormous opportunity — and risk — to Charlotte’s energy hub.
Chief Executive Jim Ferland acknowledged the surprising course change in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.
The mPower project involves a small 180-megawatt nuclear reactor that can be built in a factory and shipped to a site. It can be installed more quickly and at a lower cost than current reactors that range more than 1,000 megawatts in size. The first units are supposed to be installed at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Clinch River Nuclear Plant.
B&W owns 90% of the joint venture, with partner Bechtel Corp holding the 10% balance. Ferland said B&W wants to shrink to a 15% to 20% stake.
Heath Shuler calling signals for Duke Energy’s D.C. lobbyists
Heath Shuler, Duke Energy Corp.’s top legislative affairs executive, sees little hope for significant action from Congress this year, but he says a tax-reform deal is possible in 2014 that could affect Duke and its customers.
Would Duke want to see an extension of legislation that has offered subsidies for new nuclear construction as it considers the Lee plant in South Carolina?
I just haven’t seen the legislatures looking at subsidizing nuclear at the present time.
I think it is very difficult to say we are looking for this type of subsidy. And I just don’t think that when you look at the big picture, with the deficit and debt, I don’t think that’s something that Congress can pull off.
The Climate Reality Check Coalition exists to help strengthen community organizing on climate. This week, the group’s conference call will focus on a topic near and dear to our hearts: the corporate death spiral facing utilities who fail to respond to the “disruptive challenge” of the solar revolution. We would like to invite you to join the call.
When: Thursday, November 21
Time: 3 pm Eastern
Please RSVP here:
Then call this number at the time of the call: 209-647-1600,
and enter Code 615986 when prompted.
Why Coal, Gas and Nuke Utilities are Fighting Solar
A critical new front in the fight to slow climate change is the one shaping up between the present coal-, nuclear- and gas-based monopoly utilities and solar energy. Early this year the utilities’ think tank, the Edison Electric Institute, issued a major report on the “disruptive challenges” posed by the onslaught of low-priced solar. Others have described the threat as a potential “death spiral” for those utilities that fail to adapt. The utilities are fighting back in Arizona, Colorado and elsewhere.
In this call Nancy LaPlaca will describe how those fights are playing out and the economic, legislative and regulatory realities behind them. We will also discuss the larger implications of these fights for the climate movement.
If you have any questions please contact Rose Braz, Center for Biological Diversity, email@example.com. Thank you.
More on our presenter:
Nancy LaPlaca, J.D., is an energy consultant and activist with considerable expertise in electric and gas utility issues including rate design, renewable energy standards, energy efficiency and externalities. Nancy spent 2 years fighting “clean” coal and carbon capture and sequestration, and helped to stop “clean” coal plants in Arizona and Colorado, and 3 years at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission arguing for more clean energy. She served as Policy Advisor to elected Commissioner Paul Newman in Arizona for 3 years, and delighted in asking the utilities many questions.
Climate Reality Check Coalition has a Facebook group! Click here to join the group.
As published in the New York Times on Monday, 11/11/13, South East Florida is worried about the coming effects of climate change on the densely populated and built up area around and north of Miami. The Times article describes the ominous and expensive effects of sea level rise on local homes and infrastructure. The area has over $156 billion worth of property – much of which could be seriously damaged by rising sea waters. Local politicians are, and have been, meeting to discuss adaptation strategies. The state politicians in Tallahassee appear to not have the issue on their radar screen. As Jimmy Morales, Miami Beach city manager, said in the article “Human ingenuity is incredible, but do we have the political will? Holland set aside $1 billion a year for flood mitigation, and we have a lot more coastline than they do.”
See the original article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/us/south-florida-faces-ominous-prospects-from-rising-waters.html?ref=science
Charlotte is in a very different situation. Looking out the widow, one does not see glaciers melting, or fields of grain drying up, or ocean waters lapping at the base of the Bank of America stadium. So climate change is mostly not on the radar screen here in our city. But we are not immune to its effects – to which we contribute mightily through our high level of carbon emissions. We can expect more extreme storms, higher summer temperatures, and significant effects of such on our lifestyle which is highly interconnected with the rest of the US and the world.
Ask your local politicians to support all measures to reduce carbon emissions. And figure out how to do your part too.