New Video: Why Does Duke Energy Hate Solar Power in North Carolina?

NC WARN has launched a statewide campaign to expose Duke Energy’s efforts to destroy North Carolina’s growing solar power industry at the rooftop and large-scale levels. To learn more about their campaign, got to Why Does Duke Energy Hate Solar?

Get everyone you know to send a short email to NC Utilities Commission Chair Ed Finley ( about the upcoming solar hearing in Raleigh. This particular hearing is about large-scale solar but has implications for rooftop systems as well. Tell Commissioner Chair Ed Finley why large-scale solar is valuable for North Carolina. Please reference docket E-100 Sub 140 in the subject line.

Help fix the NC coal ash crisis

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear friends,

As the 2014 session of the NC General Assembly heads into its final days, one major environmental bill remains in the balance —  one that will succeed, or fall short, of addressing the coal ash crisis in our state.

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As the House takes up S. 729, “Coal Ash Management Act of 2014″, there is critically important issue remains to be addressed in the coal ash bill. We need you take action today.

The February coal ash spill into the Dan River was the third largest in our nation’s history. The spill highlighted the dangerous practice of  storing 103 million tons of toxic coal ash in unlined pits next to our state’s waterways– and to end that practice requires the legislature’s attention, action and leadership.

The Senate has acted.  S 729 “Coal Ash Management Act of 2014″, was approved unanimously last week.  It goes a long way towards addressing the pollution entering our waterways and groundwater from Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds in the state.

But it has one serious shortcoming.

The Senate’s bill does not adequately ensure that all coal ash ponds, including those categorized as “low risk”, will permanently isolate coal ash from water to prevent further water pollution. Coal ash contains toxic heavy metals that are water soluble and at every coal ash site in NC these chemicals are leaking into groundwater supplies.  A proposed solution called “capping in place”, which leaves the coal ash in the ground with a landfill liner on top, can still lead to polluting ground and surface water.

The NC House will take up the coal ash bill at any time now.

Please contact your House Representative today.  Ask that clear criteria be established that would make sure that alternative closure methods selected for all 33 sites would only be allowed if Duke Energy could stop the water pollution from coal ash.

Click here to contact your representative today!

Thanks for standing up for clean water,

Zak Keith
Lead Organizer for the NC Sierra Club

P.S. – This bill could move quickly, please send your message today!  We need your state House Representative to know that without permanent separation of coal ash and ground water, covering coal ash pits is not a solution.

Today at the legislature, Wednesday June 25, 2014, Coal Ash bill passes Senate

Protect Enviro DemocracyDear Friends,

The Senate cast a final vote today in support of S 729, the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014.  Some good amendments passed, including two by Senate Rules Chair Tom Apodaca, who repeatedly credited Sierra Club for our input.  A particularly important amendment was offered by Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) to limit the impact of a concession gained in the legislature last session by Duke Energy that amended the statute regulating sources of water pollution by extending the compliance boundary for groundwater quality standards all the way out to a facility’s property line, abandoning the previous 500-foot limit. Automatically placing a compliance boundary at a property line removes any obligation for polluters to address groundwater contamination until after it has contaminated neighboring property and could allow a polluter to buy up neighboring properties to expand the area in which they could legally pollute. Sen. Stein’s amendment removes the assumption that a compliance boundary is at the property boundary; a step in the right direction.

But our work is by no means over yet. Next the bill goes to the House. Of particular concern is that the House make changes to better protect communities near coal ash sites designated “low risk” that are not appropriate for capping in place because of the proximity of coal ash to the water table.  Please contact your House representative and ask them to ensure that the coal ash bill protects groundwater by requiring that ash be separate from the water table.

We will be back in touch with more on what you can do as this legislation heads into the final stretch, but for now, please know that your voices have been heard.

Thank you, Cassie

Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
Sierra Club – NC Chapter

Special Report: Duke Energy Coal Ash Controversy

Thanks to WCNC and Stuart Watson for these two great investigations into the Duke Energy Coal ash controversy. The latest installment aired this past Sunday. Be sure to watch and learn. Then share your outrage with your local NC elected officials.

Duke Coal Ash Report WCNC June 2014


Part 2 – FlashPOINT: A deeper look into the coal ash controversy

June 22, 2014. In this week’s special edition of FlashPOINT, NBC Charlotte I-Team Investigator, Stuart Watson, takes a deeper look into the coal ash controversy.

Part 1 – WCNC NBC Charlotte Coal Ash FlashPoint Special

Mar 2, 2014. NBC Charlotte’s Stuart Watson takes you deep into the Duke Energy Coal Ash spill in this 30-minute FlashPOINT special.

Today at the Legislature: Tues June 24th

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Dear Friends,

The Senate voted unanimously today in support of S 729, the Senate’s coal ash bill. The measure will be back on the floor for a third and final vote by the Senate tomorrow and then the bill will go to the House for consideration next week.

A number of amendments were offered on the floor.  Two modest but good amendments passed (one to encourage reuse of coal ash and one to require longer monitoring of coal ash structural fill sites). A third positive amendment offered by Senator Josh Stein (D – Wake) was withdrawn for further reworking but may be back on the floor tomorrow. And Senator Mike Woodard (D – Durham, Caswell, Person) offered an amendment to require Duke to pay for the full cost of all coal ash cleanup at all sites; his amendment was blocked by a procedural move and thus failed.

The real focus of the debate today, though, was on amendments offered by a number of senators seeking to have the coal ash sites in or near their districts added to the bill as priorities for full and clean closure.  Currently, of the 14 sites, only Asheville, Dan River, Sutton (Wilmington) and Riverbend (Charlotte) are listed by name in the bill as priorities for full and clean closure (excavation of ash and removal to lined storage).

All of the proposed amendments to add sites to the high priority list failed along party lines, but may drive further changes in the bill by focusing public attention on the sites not identified as priorities.

Please thank these Senators for offering amendments to have the coal ash sites in or near their districts named in the legislation as priority sites for clean-up and for their powerful words on the Senate floor:

Sen. Valerie Foushee (D- Orange, Chatham): Cape Fear (Moncure)
Sen. Gene McLaurin (D-Anson, Richmond, Rowan): Buck
Sen. Gene Jackson (D-Mecklenburg): Marshall
Sen. Terry Van Dyne (D-Buncombe): Cliffside

The coal ash bill may see more amendments tomorrow in the Senate during third reading, then the House will have its chance to debate the bill in committees.  The bill is slated to go to House Environment and then House Public Utilities Committees before it reaches the House floor – the bill could be finalized next week.


Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
Sierra Club – NC Chapter

Urge Speaker Tillis to Make Duke Energy Pay for Coal Ash Cleanup

NC WARN Coal Ash AdNC WARN Coal Ash Ad

Here’s an ad and announcement from NC WARN. Thanks to their work on this important issue!

NC WARN is using this full-page ad in print and online to generate support for NC House Speaker Thom Tillis to force Duke Energy shareholders to pay for cleanup of all the coal ash dumps.

A bill moving through the senate would allow Duke to charge electricity customers billions of dollars for its statewide coal ash fiasco – while requiring minimal cleanup.

As disgusting as the situation was just a few days ago, we’ve stolen back some momentum. The senate still hasn’t passed the bill. 

Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer have now joined the call that Duke must pay to clean up all sites.

TAKE ACTION: Duke Shareholders must Pay to Clean up All Coal Ash Dumps!

Contact Speaker Tillis with a short email or phone call:, 919-733-3451 (or click here to use our email tool and sample language).


Put Solar On It today!


Rooftop solar energy has so many benefits and now it’s affordable and easy to have installed with Solarize Charlotte! If you live in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, or Cabarrus Counties you can get a free solar audit and find out if your home is ready for solar! Call the Solarize Charlotte preferred solar installer, the  Renewable Energy Design Group, l3c, at (336) 671-1068 today or sign up on line.

Spread the word. It’s time to Put Solar On It!



EPA Public Hearing on Carbon Pollution – July 29th, ATL

Sign up today to attend this important EPA hearing! For additional details or questions, contact Zak Keith,  Lead Organizer
North Carolina Sierra Club, at or (321) 356-6603.

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Public Hearings: Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

EPA will hold public hearings for the Clean Power Plan proposed rule. The hearings will provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views or arguments concerning the proposed action.

Registration is only required for individuals who wish to present oral testimony; registration is not required to attend and listen to testimony at the public hearings.

July 29, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia

9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (EST)
Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
Main Tower Bridge Conference Area, Conference Room B
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Information and directions to EPA’s Atlanta office
Register for the hearing

If you would like to preregister to speak at the hearing, please complete the form or contact Ms. Pamela Garrett by email:; or by telephone: (919) 541-7966. You may also register in person on the day of the hearing, and will be accommodated as time allows.