Urgent Action Alert – Please ask your House representative to vote to not concur on S 734

Hello Friends,

It may be the last day of the NC legislative short session and, as is tradition, a lengthy “regulatory reform” bill was passed by the Senate – S 734. The bill has a few good provisions but many bad provisions that are giveaways to regulated industry and bad news for the environment.  Please contact your House representative and ask them to vote to “not concur” on this bill (S 734) because of the negative environmental impacts.

Contact info for House members is here:

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=House

To determine who represents you go here:

http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx

More info:

Renting out state parks to private interests:  Speed limit waiver in state parks and forests.  Allows any person to petition DENR to waive the standard 25 mph speed limit in a state park or forest for a special event.  This is the only obstacle to the Division of State Parks, for the first time, issuing a permit for exclusive use of the main attraction of a state park for private purposes (and specifically, for car races to the summit).  This measure was sought by political backers of Gov McCrory.

Weaken protection for wetlands:  Nearly eliminates protection for isolated wetlands in Eastern NC by raising the acreage threshold for when a permit must be sought to an acreage higher than the size of most isolated wetlands in eastern NC (1 acre). The threshold for eastern NC is currently 1/3 acre. Also reduces mitigation required for impacts to isolated wetlands statewide. Overall this provision is a negative for water quality – isolated wetlands are important for flood control, groundwater recharge and habitat.

There are several provisions that would negatively impact water quality at the coast, one that would make challenges to CAMA permits less effective by eliminating a stay on development when a legitimate claim is filed and another that would create a new exemption from coastal stormwater rules, essentially creating a windfall for certain properties but having a negative overall effect on water quality.

Thank you,

Cassie


Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
Sierra Club – NC Chapter
cassie.gavin@sierraclub.org

 

Test your science smarts. Get a free sticker.

Oh, the things people say…

True or False:

There’s “no global warming in North America.”

That's not science  Yes, that's science!

Okay, maybe that’s an easy one—that was Fox News inaccurately reporting the very real impacts we’re already seeing from global warming.

But it’s not far off from the ridiculous things people say about science. It’s up to us to tell science fact from science fiction. Can you spot it? Choose your answer to get started.

take the quiz, get a sticker

“Wind is such an unreliable source of electricity that coal plants are required to operate around the clock as backup for wind power.” —fossil-fuel funded front group ALEC

“Every major review of the scientific literature exonerates sugar as the cause of any disease, including obesity.” —The Sugar Association

More and more these days special interests go out of their way to spread misinformation and undermine science—and the truth isn’t always easy to see.

That’s why we want to make sure you can spot the difference between science fact and science fiction! Take our Got Science or Not Science quiz today and get a free “Got Science?” sticker.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club have teamed up to fight back against those who mislead the public about climate change and other vital issues. We want to expose disinformation and corporate “counterfeit science” and help scientists to do real cutting-edge research free from political interference.

So…do you think you can spot the fake? We’ve gathered quotes about climate change, deforestation, even dragons! It’s up to you to determine whether each quote has got science or if it’s not science. Click here to take the quiz.

And once you’ve demystified the misinformation, feel free to show off your smarts to your friends and let them know how they can get a free “Got Science?” sticker too.

It’s really that simple: Take the quiz. Get the sticker. Tell your friends. Stand up for Science. Done.

It’s up to us to defend science and ensure that decisions about our health, safety, and environment are based on sound science—not corporate hype and disinformation.

Sincerely,
Your friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Sierra Club!

Your ride to NYC is coming soon!

 

RSVP now

We’re working to secure a Charlotte bus to New York City!

Until details are confirmed, sign up to show your interest AND help spread the word. Details and more information to follow!

 

Sign up now to reserve your seat — find a bus or train to the climate march!

Friends,

In just six weeks, you’re going to be part of history.

Thank you for signing up to join the People’s Climate March here in New York City — the biggest climate march in history. We’re taking to the streets right before world leaders gather in New York for an historic UN summit, and we can make sure that President Obama gets the message: Lead the world in addressing climate change.

Planning your trip to NYC for the march just got a whole lot easier. Thanks to volunteers from all around the country, there are already dozens of buses and trains planned to take folks to and from the march. Now that you’ve signed up for the march, you can find a bus or train nearby and buy a ticket or reserve a seat.

Check out the list of buses and trains, then sign up to make sure you have a seat!

There’s no doubt this will be huge, and it’s getting bigger by the day. As we get closer to September 21st, more and more buses and trains will be added as people around the country step up to coordinate travel from their hometowns.

I’ll keep you in the loop with more details about the march soon, but for now, circle September 21st on your calendar — and find your ride!

Thank you for all you do,

Dan Sherrell
Sierra Club Organizer

Citizen’s Climate Hearing in Charlotte September 9th – Put it on your calendar!

EPA Carbon 40%

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is a historic measure calling for strong carbon pollution reductions to combat the worst effects of climate disruption. Now in the public comment period, the EPA needs to hear from concerned citizens that want strong protections from carbon pollution. This is a critical moment for North Carolinians to make sure our voice is heard. Citizens from across NC will gather at Myers Park Baptist Church to give oral testimony, which will be recorded and submitted as official comments to the EPA. Join Sierra Club and our partners to call on the EPA to take swift and strong action on climate for North Carolina.

Citizen’s Climate Hearing

Myers Park Baptist Church

Heaton Hall 

1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207

6:00-8:00 p.m.

First ever Charlotte 2014 Sustainability Report released

Perhaps this will push the City of Charlotte to FINALLY develop a Sustainability Plan! As the saying goes, If It Isn’t Written Down, It Doesn’t Exist – “A strategy you can’t write down is unlikely to be well-enough conceived or communicated to actually work.”

And special thanks to the Sustain Charlotte team for this great work!

Sustain Charlotte 2014 Report Card2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card

Announcement from Sustain Charlotte:

After more than a year of research, writing, and design, we’re proud to announce the public release of the 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card: Scoring Our Economic, Environmental, and Social Health. The inaugural quantitative report card marks the first ever independently researched and written report that assesses the current health of the community using 57 metrics spanning nine issues.

Shannon Binns, Founder and Director of Sustain Charlotte was joined by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham, Charlotte City Council Member John Autry, and Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio, all of whom spoke at the press conference held in Marshall Park on Tuesday morning. Charlotte City Council Members David Howard, Vi Lyles and Greg Phipps were also in attendance.

Using a robust methodology and years of data from a variety of sources, the authors have generated a report card for each issue and provided 94 recommendations for how Charlotte-Mecklenburg can accelerate progress. The nine issues assessed include: Air Quality, Energy Use, Equity + Empowerment, Food, Jobs + Income, Land Use, Transportation, Waste, and Water Use.

The report card is available for free public download at www.sustaincharlotte.org/ReportCard2014.

“We’ve taken an objective, quantitative approach to assessing our progress on the issues that affect the quality of life for today’s residents as well as those who come after us,” said Binns. “We hope our leaders as well as all residents who call Mecklenburg home will take our recommendations to heart, and make the choices we must make to ensure a vibrant future.”

And here’s a good summary of some key points from Ana McKenzie of Creative Loafing –   15 takeaways from Sustain Charlotte’s Sustainability Report Card.

Sept 4 – “Understanding the Climate Change Problem and Seeking Solutions”

Make plans to attend this timely and informative program!

Join the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room and the Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group  as we welcome Dr. Jason West of UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. West will be presenting a lecture entitled, “Understanding the Climate Change Problem and Seeking Solutions” at the University City Regional Library, 301 East W.T. Harris Blvd, Charlotte, NC on Thursday, September 4th, from 6:00 until 8:30 PM.

Climate Change Solutions

 

Charlotte Powers Up With Solarize Charlotte!

Solarize Charlotte Single

Solar power for the masses reaches Charlotte

By Bruce Henderson
Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014

MORE INFORMATION: Solarize Charlotte

A three-month campaign to broaden the appeal of rooftop solar systems has declared success in its aim of making them cheaper and simpler for Charlotte-area homeowners.

Solarize Charlotte launched in the hometown of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, in April. The volunteer-run program offered discounts on installations and connected homeowners to tax savings and low-interest loans.

“One of the issues we all recognized was that even as solar dropped in price, people saw barriers,” said project assistant Michael Zytkow. “So the goal is to help with everything involved.”

About 600 people expressed interest in the program, of which 186 solicited proposals for systems. Twenty-four homeowners signed installation contracts, six made verbal agreements and 10 contracts are pending. Another 89 projects are still in the consultation stages.

North Carolina ranks fourth-largest in the nation for its solar capacity, says the Solar Energy Industries Association, but that’s mostly because of commercial-scale installations.

Duke Energy says about 1,700 North Carolina customers, most of them affluent, own rooftop solar systems. Solarize Charlotte’s focus included lower-income and non-white homeowners.

Initiative moved east

“My philosophy is that solar should be for everyone,” said Zytkow, whose full-time job is as a Greenpeace field organizer. “My background of activism is in meeting people where they are.”

Solarize Charlotte was an outgrowth of an initiative born in Portland, Ore., five years ago and adopted by dozens of communities under Energy Department-funded guidelines.

A coalition of more than 20 nonprofit advocacy groups and churches brought it to North Carolina. Similar programs have launched in Asheville, Carrboro and Durham.

The Charlotte campaign worked with a solar company, the RED Group, that offered bulk discounts on installations. State and federal tax credits pare the cost, and the program led homeowners to low-interest loans.

Cut cost of systems

All told, organizers say, those incentives could take up to 75 percent off the retail price of a solar system. Typical Solarize systems, including tax credits, cost about $4,500 to $8,000.

Solar panel prices have dropped sharply in recent years, and the arrays are now thinner and more aesthetically pleasing. The expiration of North Carolina’s 35 percent tax credit at the end of 2015 has also stimulated interest.

Still, “it takes a lot of consumer education to get people to the point where they’re ready to go solar,” said Cynthia Redwine, a partner in RED Group, a 2-year-old company formed by former Peace Corps volunteers.

Some potential customers, for instance, believe that net metering – in which utilities give homeowners with solar systems credit for the energy they generate – means they have to live off the grid, she said.

Starting in late April, Solarize volunteers went door-to-door, bought radio ads, staffed festival booths and made presentations to homeowners associations, clubs and churches.

Savings biggest factor

The campaigners pitched the environmental and economic aspects of solar power, but found most people responded to rising electricity rates.

“At the end of the day, that’s what resonates with people – their power bills,” Zytkow said. “One of the first things you hear out there is the idea of these (utility) monopolies. They’re captive customers, and they don’t have any options. A lot of it is rallying around the concept of choice.”

Charlotte homeowner Terry Taylor-Allen, a communications consultant on energy, environment and sustainability, heard about Solarize at a conference and quickly signed up.

Taylor-Allen and her husband, Mark Allen, had considered solar for years but hesitated at trying to sort through its technological aspects and financial viability.

“The very nice thing about Solarize Charlotte is that they sort of anticipate those wrap-around needs and solved those problems,” she said. “From that perspective, it’s a really, really good program. It facilitates a lot of decision- making.”

Their rooftop panels started generating electricity July 14.

Time for the fracking industry to come clean

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Tell EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose the chemicals used in fracking.

Send your letter.

Send your letter

Dear Friends,

Some recipes are worth sharing, especially when the natural gas industry’s secret fracking chemical cocktail jeopardizes the health of communities across the country.

The EPA has the chance to hold the oil and gas industry accountable by doing two big things — requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking and requiring studies into how these chemicals impact public health. Since the oil and gas industry is fighting any effort to regulate fracking, it is critical that the EPA hears loud and clear that we have a right to know what chemicals are pumped into fracked wells.

Send your letter today. Tell the EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose all chemicals used in the fracking process.

Knowing which chemicals are poisoning our air and water is a crucial step to reining in this dangerous industry. Complete disclosure gives activists like you, medical professionals and researchers the power to understand the full scope of health impacts from fracking and potentially trace the pollution back to the polluter.

Tell EPA to hold the oil and gas industry accountable and put the interests of our communities and public health first. With your help, we can send 20,000 letters by Monday. 

Thanks for all that you do,

Deb Nardone
Director, Dirty Fuels Initiative
Sierra Club

Webinar: Understanding American Values on Climate

Looks like a very good webinar. Make plans to participate. Click here to sign-up.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is pleased to announce that Southeast Coastal Climate Network’s (SECCN) webinar series will continue with a presentation about Americans’ values on climate change. These webinars are your opportunity to learn about climate and energy issues that SECCN engages in everyday.

Join us for this webinar as we talk with Bob Perkowitz, Founder and President of ecoAmerica, to discuss ecoAmerica’s latest research, American Climate Values 2014. This research details how Americans think, feel and react to climate and environmental issues, and uses a sophisticated, psychographic-based, research methodology to draw insights on how to effectively engage Americans on climate solutions.

Understanding American Values on Climate: Practical Applications for Public Engagement on Climate Solutions
Friday, August 15, 2014 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Click here to sign-up

Tell the EPA to Stop Our Forests from Going Up in Smoke

Thanks to Adam Macon, Campaign Director, Our Forests Aren’t Fuel, at the Dogwood Alliance for providing this action alert.

Hi friends,

Right now, utilities in the U.S. are lining up to burn trees for electricity, releasing dangerous carbon pollution into the air and devastating hundreds of thousands of acres of Southern forests.

The science is clear: when power plants chop down our forests and burn them for electricity, it’s even dirtier than burning coal.

Protect our forests. Tell the EPA to stop our forests from going up in smoke.


Protect our forests from going up in smoke.

Burning our forests for fuel contributes heavily to climate change, and it also destroys one of our best tools to fight it: the trees that help absorb carbon emissions.

The EPA promised to analyze the climate impacts of burning trees and other organic matter for energy three years ago, and it took a lawsuit by us and our allies to force them to follow through.

We knew our science was right. The EPA’s own panel of science experts agreed and has told the agency to account for carbon pollution from utilities that burn trees.

But we’re still waiting on these rules. Tell the EPA to follow the science and protect our forests.

With the new rules from the EPA on carbon emissions, we’re getting closer to curbing carbon pollution. But we can’t let false solutions to climate change like fracking and biomass get a free pass, ignoring how dirty and unsustainable it is to burn our trees.

For our forests and communities,

Adam Macon