Why Join the People’s Climate March and What to Bring/Not Bring

Reserve your seat on the Charlotte Bus to NYC People’s Climate March today! Can’t decide if you should make the trip? Watch and listen to Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on why you need to be there!

Already decided to attend? Great! Reserve your seat on the Charlotte Bus to NYC People’s Climate March  and then check out what to bring and what not to bring…

What to Bring to the March

Most importantly, bring everyone you know! Help make this the largest call for climate justice imaginable!

Bring things that help communicate the message:
– Make your own signs and banners and t-shirts and flags – be creative
– Carry signs or banners that let people know where you are from – what organization, what city or state, what country
– Remember: only cardboard tubing or string can be used to carry signs, banners, flags, etc.
– Music that does not need amplification is encouraged

Items to bring that will make your day more comfortable:
– Bring some light food and drinks…it will be a long day
– Wear comfortable shoes
– Check the weather predictions a day or two before you come and dress appropriately
– If it’s going to be a sunny day, bring sun-screen

What NOT to Bring to the March

- Do not bring any amplified sound systems.
– Do not bring signs, banners or flags that are carried on wooden sticks or metal rods, only cardboard tubing or string is allowed.
– Do not weigh yourself down with unnecessary clothing or other items that you will have to carry all day long…travel lightly.

 

NC Coal Ash Bill – Speak Your Mind to Your NC Elected Offical!

Call or send an email to your NC elected officials and let them know what you think of the bill. Do it today! (See contact information below)

Coal Ash Bill

Joint Press Statement on N.C. Coal Ash Bill S729 – S729 Fails to Protect People from Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Pollution

S729 Fails to Protect People from Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Pollution

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.— The coal ash bill issued by a conference committee of the N.C. General Assembly today fails to require cleanup of 10 coal ash sites across North Carolina by allowing Duke Energy to leave its polluting coal ash in unlined, leaking pits at 10 of 14 sites. The bill leaves at risk people in nearby and downstream communities throughout North Carolina and other states. The bill seeks to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.

Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina. Many sites across the country where coal ash has been covered up or “capped” in place continue to experience high levels of toxic pollution. Covering up coal ash and calling sites “closed” does not stop or clean up pollution.

All communities deserve to have water supplies protected from the toxic threat of coal ash by moving coal ash to dry, lined storage away from our waterways.

All of Duke Energy’s coal ash disposal sites pollute groundwater, and existing law in North Carolina requires “immediate action to eliminate the source of contamination” at these sites. Politicians inserted language into Senate Bill 729 that guts existing law and undermines citizens groups’ ongoing efforts to ensure real cleanup of these polluting sites under existing law.

As Duke Energy sought previously through its proposed sweetheart settlement deal with the state, the bill gives Duke Energy amnesty for its leaking coal ash dams. Rather than requiring Duke to fix its leaking dams, S 729 would let the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shield Duke by authorizing uncontrolled discharges of contaminated wastewater into our rivers and lakes. Granting this responsibility to an agency with a history of putting the interests of Duke Energy over the public is a prescription for failure.

The legislature should require Duke Energy to clean up its leaking coal ash dams, and not allow DENR to paper over Duke Energy’s pollution.

Any bill written to weaken North Carolina’s protections against coal ash pollution is alarming given the recent disaster at Duke Energy’s Dan River facility and frequent promises from our elected representatives that this bill would protect citizens of North Carolina.

The Southern Environmental Law Center represents the following citizens groups in various court cases to clean up Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution across North Carolina: Appalachian Voices, Cape Fear Riverwatch, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Dan River Basin Association, Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, Roanoke River Basin Association, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Waterkeeper Alliance, Winyah Rivers Foundation, and Yadkin Riverkeeper.

 

SACE Response – NC Lawmakers Come Up Short on Coal Ash

Unfortunately, the bill they passed actually undermines current groundwater protection laws, fails to clean up 10 of North Carolina’s dangerous and polluting coal ash impoundments and lets Duke off the hook for the harm their dumpsites are causing communities and waterways statewide. As a News & Observer recent Editorial aptly stated, Senate Bill 729 “proposes to solve the coal ash problem by declaring it not a problem. Or, at least not an urgent problem.”

At the very least, lawmakers could have codified a judge’s ruling earlier this year (a result of citizen suits enforcing the Clean Water Act) that clarified the requirement in current law that Duke immediately remove all sources of groundwater pollution (i.e., every single one of their coal ash dumpsites, all of which have been polluting groundwater for years). Instead, the new bill will leave much of the state’s coal ash right where it is, either dewatered or capped in place next to waterways where it can pollute in perpetuity–a plan that lawmakers are touting as comprehensive clean up.

 

Good editorial – NC Coal ash bill offers a weak remedy

But this something is not much better than nothing. Essentially, Senate Bill 729 proposes to solve the coal ash problem by declaring it not a problem. Or, at least not an urgent problem. Only four of Duke Energy’s 14 coal ash sites are designated for cleanup by 2019. What to do with the rest would depend on risk assessments by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and approval by a commission whose members would be appointed by the legislature and the governor.

Addressing the problem with a commission delays action. It also assures that the “solution” will be the product of lobbying and the legislature’s prevailing desire to side with business interests over the interests, and in this case the health, of state residents. We need look no further than the state’s Mining and Safety Commission’s pro-fracking approach to safety issues to know how this even more politicized coal ash commission would work.

The bill makes it obvious just how broken, to borrow the governor’s term, environmental regulation is in North Carolina. It requires that the Department of Environment and Natural resources to have its coal ash decisions approved by a commission. The House’s lead negotiator on the measure, Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, said the state’s environmental regulators can’t regulate coal ash directly because, “There’s ongoing criminal investigations right now.” A federal grand jury is investigating DENR’s actions related to coal ash.

Good response – Environmentalists slam new coal ash bill

Environmantalists noted that Duke already had said it planned to get rid of the ash at the four plants.

“The bill doesn’t explicitly require Duke to do anything it hasn’t already voluntarily committed to do or will soon be required by the federal government,” said D.J. Gerken, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“A far cry from the historic bill lawmakers have touted, this plan chooses just four communities out of 14 across the state to receive cleanup,” said Amy Adams, North Carolina campaign coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “The others, our lawmakers have decided, will have to wait for a commission of political appointees to decide their fate.”

“This bill is a big gift to a multi-billion-dollar utility giant,” said Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper for the Asheville-based environmental group Western North Carolina Alliance. “Instead of strengthening and furthering protections from coal ash, this bill attempts to weaken cleanup requirements already in place.”

 

Another good response – Method used for closing coal ash ponds linked to problems

The legislation that cleared the General Assembly on Wednesday allows Duke Energy to close some of its coal ash pits using a method – known as cap-in-place – that has been linked with groundwater contamination at the company’s Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County, according to documents obtained by the Journal.

Conservation groups prefer that Duke excavate the coal ash at all 14 sites and put it in lined landfills. While Duke says that cap-in-place would be safe, conservationists say that pollutants in the coal ash left in capped ponds would eventually seep into groundwater and contaminate it – as has been documented by the Pine Hall landfill.

“This (legislation) leaves ongoing contamination in place – and that is a major policy shift for North Carolina,” said D.J. Gerken, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The legislation would also allow Duke to circumvent a Wake County Superior Court judge’s ruling that state law requires the immediate removal of sources of contamination, conservationists say.

 

Call or send an email to your NC elected officials and let them know what you think of the bill. Do it today!

Mecklenburg County Legislative Delegation

Kelly M. Alexander, Jr: Kelly.Alexander@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5778
William Brawley: Bill.Brawley@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5800
Rob Bryan: Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5607
Becky Carney: Becky.Carney@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5827
Tricia Ann Cotham: Tricia.Cotham@ncleg.net; (919) 715-0706
Carla D. Cunningham: Carla.Cunningham@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5807
Beverly M. Earle: Beverly.Earle@ncleg.net; (919) 715-2530
Charles Jeter: Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5654
Rodney W. Moore: Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5606
Ruth Samuelson: Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net; (919) 715-3009
Jacqueline Michelle Shaffer: Jacqueline.Shaffer@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5886
Thom Tillis: Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net; (919) 733-3451
Jeff Jackson, Jeff.Jackson@ncleg.net; (704) 942-0118
Joel D. M. Ford: Joel.Ford@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5955
Malcolm Graham: Malcolm.Graham@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5650
Bob Rucho: Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net; (919) 733-5655
Jeff Tarte: Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net; (919) 715-3050

Mecklenburg County Representation (Website and district number)

House Members

Kelly M. Alexander, Jr. (District 107)
William Brawley (District 103)
Rob Bryan (District 88)
Becky Carney (District 102)
Tricia Ann Cotham (District 100)
Carla D. Cunningham (District 106)
Beverly M. Earle (District 101)
Charles Jeter (District 92)
Rodney W. Moore (District 99)
Ruth Samuelson (District 104)
Jacqueline Michelle Schaffer (District 105)
Thom Tillis (District 98)

Senate Members

Daniel G. Clodfelter (District 37) (RESIGNED 04/08/2014)
Joel D. M. Ford (District 38)
Malcolm Graham (District 40)
Jeff Jackson (District 37) (APPOINTED 05/06/2014)
Bob Rucho (District 39)
Jeff Tarte (District 41)

Protect Blair Mountain from MTR mining

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Don’t let Big Coal destroy America’s history! Protect Blair Mountain from mountaintop-removal mining.

Take action!

Take action! 

Friends,

How would you pay tribute to a place that changed the course of the labor movement forever — protect the West Virginia mountain where coal miners fought for their right to unionize or allow Big Coal to blow the top off Blair Mountain in exchange for a simple plaque?

Ninety-three years ago, miners protested their unreasonable work conditions — dangerous mines, long hours and low pay. For five days, they battled coal company-hired soldiers along the Blair Mountain ridgeline in Logan County, West Virginia, in a fight that captured the nation’s attention. Although they did not win the battle, these miners helped usher in the golden age of union organizing in the United States.1 The Blair Mountain Battlefield deserves to be protected as a national historic site dedicated to the memory of those fearless miners. It should serve as a reminder to all Americans that organizing for safe working conditions and fair wages is a fundamental human right.

Send your letter today. Tell the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that allowing Blair Mountain to be mined would be tantamount to allowing the destruction of Yorktown or Gettysburg.

Of course, Big Coal is opposed to any efforts to protect Blair Mountain and has proposed a plan that would allow them to use mountaintop-removal mining to destroy the battlefield. Right now, there are three coal mining permits that encompass parts of the battlefield, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the opportunity to limit mining and protect the historic site.

Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that a plaque won’t do. Blair Mountain is an important part of our history and deserves to be off limits to mountaintop-removal mining.

Thanks for all that you do,

Mary Anne Hitt
Beyond Coal Campaign Director

P.S. Six letters are even better than one. Please share this email with five of your friends and family.

Share this action on Facebook Share this action on Twitter

Source
1. Preservation Alliance of West Virginia

Sierra Club-wide call on the EPA Clean Power Plan – Sept 10

Sierra Club Aim Higher

Greetings Sierra Club staff and volunteers! We are writing to invite you to a Sierra Club-wide call on the EPA Clean Power Plan, and to provide you with a couple of new resources to support your advocacy in the weeks ahead.
 
First, mark your calendars for a call Wednesday, Sept. 10. Join us at either 2:00pm or 8:00pm ET, whichever works best for your schedule, at the following number: 866-501-6174, code 107-397-1913. We’ll update you on the latest developments around the Clean Power Plan, share the work of some chapters and volunteers from around the country, and have policy experts on the line to answer your questions.
 
Second, below you’ll find three resources to support your advocacy on the Clean Power Plan:
  • One page fact sheet: An overview of the Clean Power Plan and the historic opportunity it creates for us to build a clean energy roadmap in all 50 states.
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ): Answers some of the questions that have been rolling in from staff and volunteers around the nation.
  • Strengthening document: An overview of our latest thinking on areas where the rule needs to be strengthened.
 
We’ll share an agenda for the call as the date gets closer – in the meantime, mark your calendars and keep sending along your needs and questions around the Clean Power Plan. And thanks for all your great work!
 
Mary Anne Hitt
Director, Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club
 
 
 

NC Sierra Club Legislative Report August 2, 2014

Protect Enviro Democracy

Dear Friends,

This was a rollercoaster of a week in the General Assembly as is often the case the last week of session.  The catch is, lawmakers plan to return in just a few weeks and again in November before really adjourning the 2013 “short” session. Although the House and Senate came to agreement on a budget, some major decisions are left on the table, including a coal ash bill and a Medicaid bill.

Update on the coal ash bill:

You may recall that the Senate voted to not concur on the coal ash bill (S729) after it was revised and passed by the House. Therefore, the following conferees were appointed to negotiate a final bill:

From the Senate: Senators Berger (R – Guilford, Rockingham), Wade (R – Guilford) and Apodaca (R – Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania)

From the House: Representatives McGrady (R – Henderson), Samuelson (R – Mecklenburg), Hager (R – Burke, Rutherford) and Glazier (D – Cumberland).

These conferees worked to negotiate the details of a final bill, but were unable to reach agreement. The Senate conferees plus Rep. Hager, a former Duke Energy employee, agreed on a Senate revision of the bill – the details of which are unknown. Separately, three House conferees came to agreement on a House revision of the bill. The House revision includes language to disallow capping in place if coal ash is proven to be in contact with the water table – to protect against groundwater contamination.  Coal ash is contaminating groundwater around all 33 coal ash ponds and, in some cases, nearby drinking water wells. One of the primary objectives of any coal ash legislation should be to put a stop to this. It appears that the Senate would not agree to the House water quality proposal, amongst others – and that is what resulted in an impasse.  Thursday night the Senate threatened to pass the House bill without any changes from the conference committee – but that would have meant not getting the changes championed by Senator Apodaca – including revision of the variance procedure and changing the placement of the new Coal Ash Management Commission away from DENR.  It appears that the Senate and House will continue to negotiate the coal ash bill; the adjournment resolution listed it as a bill that will be taken up in November session – but the resolution could be amended to allow for it to be considered in August.

Opportunity for Action:

Please thank Representatives McGrady, Samuelson and Glazier for pressing for stronger groundwater protections in the coal ash bill. And urge them to continue to strive for this in any coal ash legislation that is passed.

Legislation Passed in the Final(ish) Week of Session:

The budget – H 744

The Senate’s budget proposal had a number of concerning things in it related to fracking. For example – the Senate wished to allocate public funds for exploratory wells and for advertising North Carolina for fracking. The fracking funds were thankfully removed by the House and stayed out of the final budget.  And, although the Clean Water Management Trust Fund didn’t get the hoped-for amount of conservation funding, there was a new allocation to the Fund for $500,000 to go towards local projects to reduce stormwater pollution into some of the state’s most polluted lakes. Representative Tom Murry (R- Wake) and Senator Tamara Barringer (R- Wake) played key roles in creating this new funding stream that could help reduce pollution flowing into Jordan Lake, Falls Lake and other drinking water reservoirs that have nutrient overload problems. This is the kind of forward-looking measure that the legislature should look to instead of delaying clean up rules and leasing water mixers for Jordan Lake that cannot physically prevent pollution. The House had proposed $10 million for land conservation but the final budget instead includes only earmarks up to $3 million in for one particular park acquisition which is somewhat disappointing.  Please thank Representative Murry and Senator Barringer for their efforts to put some funding towards pollution prevention in a difficult  budget year.

A bill to replace riparian buffer rules with new industry-approved rules:

S 883 “Disapprove/Amend Buffer Rules” strikes a list of environmental rules created to protect water quality that were only recently adopted in favor of different rules that were developed by an industry stakeholder group. The existing buffer rules resulted from a lengthy stakeholder negotiation process in which environmental groups were involved while the proposed rules were created by a separate stakeholder group that did not include environmental groups. Overall this bill seems to be based on a flawed process and to benefit mitigation bankers at the expense of water quality. Governor McCrory immediately signed this bill into law.

A bill that will create a new exemption to public records law to shield agricultural operations:

H 366, the Farm Act, which passed today, contains a provision creating a new unnecessary exemption to state public records law. The bill says that complaints about agricultural operations will be kept secret unless and until DENR decides that there was a violation. This means that citizen complaints that alert DENR to environmental problems will not be able to be discovered by a public records request unless it turns out that the complaint led to a violation. Making unwarranted or frivolous complaints is already a crime – so there is no need to create special carve outs from public records laws which are meant to improve government transparency.

And Legislation that we wish was dead but may return in August or November:

A bill that would limit the ability of local governments to fund public transportation

H 1224 “Local Sales Tax for Education/Econ Dev Changes” stalled this week in the House. It would cap the total sales tax a county may levy at a rate that presents problems for Triangle communities that have plans to create a regional transit system. H 1224 passed the Senate but then rather than pass it, the House referred the bill to the House Rules Committee for further consideration (or perhaps to die).

Three regulatory reform bills that contain a variety of bad environmental provisions:

H 761, S 734 “ and S 38 are all so-called “regulatory reform” bills that contain a variety of changes and updates to laws, some innocuous and some provisions that when added up look like a polluter’s wishlist. Some of the sections Sierra Club opposed include: requiring removal of air quality monitors, making citizen environmental suits on air quality more difficult, reducing permitting requirements for building in coastal wetlands, and reducing protections for isolated wetlands. Nearly all of the undesirable environmental provisions were added into these bills by the Senate, but yet the Senate did not vote on them.  The adjournment resolution passed by the House identifies certain bills that may be addressed on August 14th – and these regulatory reform bills are on the list. We are hopeful that these bills do not go forward – or if they do – we hope that the worst environmental provisions do not stay in.

Thank you for taking action,

Best,

Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations

Sierra Club – NC Chapter

cassie.gavin@sierraclub.org

Join us for the People’s Climate March Sept 21 in New York City

Peoples Climate March Sierra Club

The People’s Climate March

Let’s Make History!

Join us for the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21. The People’s Climate March–held just days before the United Nations Climate Summit–is an unparalleled opportunity to let our world leaders know how urgently the public is calling for solutions to climate disruption, and how we need to move quickly from dirty fuels to clean energy. Besides, it just might be the biggest public outpouring of support for climate solutions this planet has ever seen.

The People’s Climate March is going to be a big deal. RSVP now, and keep checking back for details on special trains and buses that might be leaving from your area.

There are over 325 local, national, and international organizations participating in the People’s Climate March. See a list of our partners.

WHAT: The People’s Climate March
WHO: Sierra Club, tens of thousands of passionate and dedicated allies, and you!
WHERE: NYC!
WHEN: Sunday, September 21st

The People’s Climate March is going to be a really big deal. RSVP now!

Check out why Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune is calling for action.

Join the virtual rally to #ActOnClimate

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Dear friends,
Join the virtual rally to support limits on carbon pollution!

Join the Thunderclap!

Take action

In just a few clicks you can help make historic limits on carbon pollution a reality.

President Obama promised that his administration would take action to confront the climate crisis — and now the EPA has finally proposed the first-ever safeguards against carbon pollution from our nation’s aging power plants.

From July 29-31, the EPA will be holding public hearings on these historic limits. Hundreds of activists will testify and rally outside hearings in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Even if you can’t be there in person, you can help put pressure on the EPA by donating a tweet or Facebook status update in advance, all timed to hit at once as the hearings begin Tuesday morning. 

This will help make #EPA and #ActOnClimate important trending topics on social media, creating a buzz for people to take action. It also puts pressure on EPA to listen to grassroots activists, not lobbyists paid by the big polluters.

Join the “Thunderclap” to support limits on carbon pollution, showing EPA that Americans demand they #ActOnClimate.

You may be asking yourself, what’s a “Thunderclap”?

Here’s how it works: we provide you with a message of support for EPA to #ActOnClimate (which you can personalize), and using an online service called Thunderclap, you can have the message automatically posted to your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr accounts at the exact same moment as hundreds of others across the country.

Donate a Tweet, Facebook status, or Tumblr post now.

This is a big deal, and the big polluters know it. 

This is the beginning of what could be the biggest climate fight in history. Fossil fuel billionaires are mobilizing like never before. They’re already sending their lobbyists to Washington and spreading their fear-mongering talking points on Fox News. While their money talks, they can’t match our people power.

By joining this virtual rally of thousands of people taking action online, you will fight back. You will also spread the message directly to your friends, family, and followers– the people you have the most social media influence over. No talking head or slick ad campaign will be as influential as you.

Spread the message and ask your friends and followers to submit a written comment into EPA supporting their Clean Power Plan.

Thank you for all you do,

Andy Wilson

Online Organizer
Beyond Coal Campaign

P.S. Six messages are more powerful than one! After you take action, forward this message to five of your friends and family and make sure you spread the word about the Thunderclap on social media.