New Year’s Day Hike – Jan 1, 2015

Start the New Year off with a hike at nearby Crowders Mt. State Park. We’ll hike the Kings Pinnacle Trail, about 4 miles roundtrip, with a few steep sections. Hike starts at 10 AM and we should be done by about 1 PM. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing a great local hike with a great view from the peak! The park is near Gastonia about 50 minutes from Charlotte. Limited to 20 hikers. Contact Steve Copulsky to sign up at scopulsky@mindspring.com or 704-543-7493.
All participants on Sierra Club outings are required 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

Dec 1 Sierra Club Webinar: Supporting EPAs Critical Smog Pollution Health Protections

Child with Inhaler

As you may have noticed EPA proposed new smog pollution protections to protect children’s health the day before Thanksgiving: http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2014/11/sierra-club-applauds-new-smog-pollution-proposal-children-and-elderly.  Please join us this evening at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT for an important webinar on the impact of what EPA has proposed and what we can all do to help get this critical proposal across the finish line.

Supporting EPAs Critical Smog Pollution Health Protections
Join us for a Webinar on December 1 at 8pm ET/ 7pm CT/ 6pm MT/ 5pm PT
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/533385639

On December 1st President Obama is expected to follow through on his 2008 campaign promise to propose a new smog standard and protect children’s health.  This decision is one of the most important opportunities to reduce pollution of his final term, rivaling the positive impact of the Clean Power Plan for our health and climate.  Join the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign for a webinar later that evening at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT to learn more about how you can help us get these critical public health protections across the finish line.

Our opposition is geared up to fight this proposed rule, including an incoming Congress that will do everything they can to derail the President’s clean energy agenda.  The National Association of Manufacturers and their allies have driven hyperbole to new levels by calling this the most expensive EPA rule in history, and they are pleading with the coal industry and the American Petroleum Institute to spend tens of millions of dollars to defeat it.  In reality, this rule will save tens of thousands of lives and let our children take a breath without worry.  It will ensure new clean energy technologies are deployed and jobs are created.  Every parent has a right to know whether or not the air is safe to breathe, and President Obama can deliver that.  But we need your help to make sure the rule is strong and final by the end of 2015.

Join us at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT on Monday, December 1st to learn more about what is in the proposed rule, and what you can do to help make sure President Obama lives up to his clean air promise.
Title:    Supporting EPAs Critical Smog Pollution Health Protections
Date:    Monday, December 1, 2014
Time:    8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

2014 Annual Report and Ballot

Thanks to our great NC Sierra Club staff for their work in preparing the 2014 Annual Report. Click below to download and read a copy.

All members with current dues paid should have received a copy of the NC Sierra Club Annual report and election ballot. This year we are encouraging everyone to vote electronically, although you can still submit a paper ballot.

2014 Annual Report and Ballot2014 Annual Report – Final

The ballot page hosts candidate information and the official ballot for the Executive Committee elections for the  NC Sierra Club.  Candidate statements are located below the ballot.

Only Sierra Club members are allowed to vote in this election and your member number is required to submit your ballot.

Member numbers are located on the address label of the NC Sierra Club Annual Report.  If you did not receive a copy of the Annual Report and need help finding your member number, please contact Janet Joye Smith at ncsierracg@gmail.com.

For any questions about this ballot or the voting process, please contact Dustin Chicurel-Bayard at dustin.chicurel-bayard@sierraclub.org.

Voting is open from November 15 – December 15, 2014.

Remember: You need your Sierra Club member number to vote!

Vote for our local Executive Committee members here: 2014 Central Piedmont Group Ballot
Vote for our NC Chapter leaders here: 2014 NC Sierra Club Steering Committee Ballot

Sierra Club Applauds Obama for Bringing Millions From the Shadows to Security

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

Michael Brune

November 21, 2014

From Shadows to Security

Last night, President Obama announced that he will use his executive authority to take the first significant steps toward fixing what has become an increasingly dysfunctional national immigration policy. As with climate and energy policy, he has not done all that is needed, but as much as he believes he can. In the face of a Congress that routinely passes on opportunities to do anything constructive, and political ideologues who cry foul before the ball is even in play, Obama is determined to do his job.

Why should the Sierra Club care about this latest announcement? For the same reasons anyone should care. Because (again, just as with climate disruption) fixing this problem is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. What kind of society forces millions of people — people who are essential to its functioning — to live in the shadows?

Policy debates tend toward abstraction and depersonalization. One side talks about “illegal aliens” and the other about “undocumented workers.” Really, though, we’re talking about people. People just like us. They are moms and dads. They’re uncles, aunts, and grandparents. They may love to dance, to hike, or to spend Sunday afternoons at a big family picnic. Their kids play with ours in the schoolyard. We sit together in the same movie theatres and at our churches, mosques, and synagogues.

One thing is different for them, though. When we look to see who is being hurt most by pollution, our nation’s immigrants are the people we usually find on the front lines. Their communities are not only among the most exploited and abused by polluters but also among the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate disruption and extreme weather. Yet they have been denied even the most basic protections that would allow them to speak up and seek justice.

That millions of families in this country should never feel truly safe is both unconscionable and un-American.

Beyond the issue of justice, though, Obama is helping to restore something that has always been essential to the character and achievement of our nation. Immigrants do not want to be a burden — they want to contribute. In the past, we were proud of that fact and those contributions. When the Sierra Club was founded 122 years ago, at least 20 of our 182 original members were immigrants — including, of course, John Muir himself. Some of them had come to the U.S. because it was a land of opportunity. Some were fleeing political upheavals. All of them, though, were proud contributors to their adopted country.

After six years of waiting in vain for Congress to act, President Obama has taken an important and necessary first step toward offering temporary relief for undocumented families. In doing so, he is enabling millions of people to make their own contributions to this country by removing the threat of deportation and family separation. The result will be an America that is more diverse, more fair, and all the stronger for it.

Thank President Obama for taking action here.

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – November 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Sierran,

With Thanksgiving coming next week, we at the NC Sierra Club would like to take a moment to express our appreciation for all of the hard work done by our volunteers. From working to elect conservation-minded candidates to celebrating our wilderness areas, Sierrans have shown time and again what people can do to preserve and protect our state’s natural heritage.

We hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays, and as always, it’s a pleasure working with and for you.

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Take Action: Protect Our Forests

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The U.S. Forest Service is currently in the process of revising the management plans for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, which determines the future of our forests for decades to come. These plans only get revised once every 15-20 years and this is a critical time to let your voice be heard!

The Forest Service is proposing a large proportion of the landscape for “timber production”, rather than a balanced plan that will provide for recreation, natural resources, sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, wilderness protection and timber harvesting.

Click here to send in your comments to the US Forest Service and let them know that we should protect our forests!

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2014 Annual Report

The NC Sierra Club’s 2014 Annual Report & Ballot has been mailed to all members! It should arrive at homes across the state this week.

Aside from updates on our work this year, the annual report includes a Message from the Chair, recognition of our financial supporters, information about electing local and state volunteers to leadership positions in the Sierra Club, and more!

But you don’t have to wait to receive your report from the Postal Service to check it out. Click here to read the 2014 Annual Report online!

 

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Electing Today’s Environmental Leaders

Every Sierran in North Carolina can vote in Chapter elections. This year, there are five candidates running for three open seats on the NC Sierra Club’s Executive Committee. Chapter elections information can be found by clicking here: https://nc2.sierraclub.org/2014Ballot

Also, every Sierra Club member in North Carolina belongs to a local group, and these local groups are holding their elections now, as well! Click here for information about electing your local Sierra Club leaders:  https://nc2.sierraclub.org/2014LocalBallots

All elections are open now and close on Dec. 15th. Don’t miss your chance to vote!  Click here to vote now!

Not a member yet?  Click here to become a bona fide Sierran today!

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Wilderness Spotlight: Croatan National Forest

The 160,000-acre Croatan National Forest lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Neuse River and contains a variety of ecosystems, which are further protected within four separate wilderness areas set aside in 1984. The forest is cherished for its pine forests, salt estuaries, bogs, and pocosins. Being suitable for hiking, camping, hunting, and trail biking make these wilderness areas great places to explore and connect with nature.

Click here to read Nancy Card’s full blog post about this national forest and the four wilderness areas within it.

 

 News Worth Sharing

Coal Ash

The newly formed Coal Ash Management Commission (CAMC) held its first meeting last week. The meeting itself mostly provided the commissioners with information about coal ash in North Carolina.

The website for the CAMC has the presentation from that all day meeting and is chock-full of useful information. Click on the link to keep an eye on CAMC and their upcoming work: http://www.camc.nc.gov/meetings.html.

Offshore Drilling

Earlier this month, state officials hosted a closed door meeting about potential offshore drilling off the Eastern Seaboard. And even though elected officials, federal agencies and state bureaucrats attended the meeting, the public was shut out. The federal government is currently evaluating whether to allow drilling off our coast in federal waters. Governor McCrory is an advocate for opening up the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling.

The NC Sierra Club was instrumental in pointing out the lack of transparency. Hopefully future meetings will allow public participation. Read our response to the closed door meeting in the Associated Press story here: http://wapo.st/1vqbbDT.

Solar

North Carolina is a national leader in solar power; however, uncertainty around several solar policies have many businesses and solar supporters worried. Dave Dewitt at WUNC produced a great story about the solar policies in our state and the challenges they face. Click the link to read and listen to his story:  http://wunc.org/post/solar-business-booming-nc-how-long.

And find out more information about our Solar Is Rising campaign at SolarIsRising.org!

Want to know the latest? Join us on Facebook or Twitter!

Join us on Facebook NC Chapter on Twitter

Sierra Club Calls for Action to Protect the Internet – Send a Message to the FCC Today!

Open Internet ensures our right to petition for a greener planet.

Tell the FCC to protect the Internet now!

Take action for net neutrality!

Take action today!

What if the company that provides your Internet could block your access to this email?

Right now, when you go online, every website is sent to your computer at the same speed, whether it is Facebook, Huffington Post or SierraRise. This concept, known as net neutrality, makes the Internet a fair and democratic system. It means the website of an oil billionaire works just as well as the blog of a grassroots environmental activist.

But this year, the FCC released a plan that would divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes, and allow Internet providers to charge for access to the fast lane. [1] This plan makes it possible for corporations to slow or block access to information, or speed up access in exchange for a fee.

The FCC’s plan threatens some of our most basic civil liberties: free speech, freedom of the press and the right to petition.

Take action now: Tell the FCC to protect the Internet and protect our rights!

Earlier this week, President Obama spoke out in favor of open access to the Internet and asked the FCC to recategorize the Internet as a utility — like water or electricity — and ensure companies can’t charge for special privileges. [2] “Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gate keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.” [3]

President Obama is right: An end to net neutrality would fundamentally change the Internet and give more power to wealth at the expense of freedom of information.

What if the company that provides your internet — like Comcast, Verizon, or Time Warner — could manipulate or even block information? What if dirty energy companies could pay more to ensure their websites are easier to access than those that promote clean energy? It could happen if the FCC doesn’t listen to President Obama!

Tell the FCC to take action immediately to protect the Internet and our right to petition for clean energy and a greener planet!

Net neutrality means you can continue speaking out to protect endangered right whales, demand Google cut ties with climate deniers and stop pesticides that kill our bees.

Earlier this year, the FCC’s website was flooded with so many comments about net neutrality that it broke their website. It looks like this got the President’s attention, but now we need to ensure the FCC is listening too!

Speak up for your Constitutional rights and your right to defend the planet: Sign the petition to tell the FCC to take action to protect the Internet!

In it together,

Molly Brooksbank
SierraRise