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

Make plans to join us this Thursday, September 4th, at the University City Regional Library (Map) for an important program – “Understanding the Climate Change Problems and Seeking Solutions“. Dr. J. Jason West of UNC Chapel Hill will speak at 6:00 PM about one of the most pressing issues moral issues of this generation. Come out and learn more so that you can do more to protect the planet.

This program will be an excellent primer for the Charlotte Citizens’ Climate Hearing on Tues, Sept 9 and to help people develop oral or written comments for the proposed EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

See you there!

Sept 4 Climate Change Program Flyer

 

Happy 70th, 50th, 40th, 30th Birthday Party

At our August monthly meeting last night we had a Happy 70th, 50th, 40th, 30th Birthday Party! What you ask is a 70th, 50th, 40th, 30th Birthday Party?

70 50 40 30

This is a special year for NC and Charlotte outdoors!

Smokey 70th

This is the 70th anniversary of the Smokey Bear Wildfire campaign – Happy 70th Birthday Smokey Bear! 

Wilderness 50

The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act – 50 Years of Wilderness

40th anniv logo_485

The 40th anniversary of Char-Meck Park & Rec – Happy 40th Birthday Mecklenburg Park and Rec!

NC Wilderness Celebration

And the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act – 30 Years of NC Wilderness

 

Here is Mary Lou Buck doing the birthday honors!

Mary Lou 70 50 40 30

And don’t forget that the celebration continues! You need to Celebrate Your Wild Side and Sign Up Today for Our Wild NC Celebration – September 26-27 at Morrow Mountain State Park. It’s going to be a wild time with folks from across the state.

Reminder – Monthly Meeting Tonight, Aug 27 at 6:30pm, “Char-Meck Sustainability Report”

Sustain Charlotte 2014 Report Card

Please join us on August 27 for a presentation of Sustain Charlotte’s just released 2014 Charlotte-Meck Sustainability Report Card. Over a year in the making, this Report Card reviews the status of nine major categories relevant to our overall sustainability, including comparisons with national trends, and with suggestions as how we can improve. Overall compared with national trends Charlotte-Meck gets a “C”. Given that the Charlotte City Council has chosen to have ” … be a global leader in sustainability …” as one of its’ focus goals, this letter grade is disappointing.

Sustain Charlotte will be represented by Meg Fencil who will conduct the presentation and discussion.

As usual, pizza will be served around 6:30pm. We will have a short business meeting at 7pm. And the formal presentation will begin around 7:15pm.

We meet at the Mahlon Adams Pavilion in Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave., Charlotte, NC. Plenty of free parking is available.

See you there for this timely presentation.

David Robinson
Chair, Central Piedmont Group Sierra Club

Celebrate Your Wild Side – Sign Up Today for Our Wild NC Celebration

Celebrate Your Wild Side – Sign up Today for Our Wild NC Celebration!  This is going to be a great weekend of hikes, special events, and good times. Watch this short video to get fired up and then Sign up Today for Our Wild NC Celebration!

Celebrate Wilderness
Hope to see you all at Morrow Mountain State Park for our biggest celebration of the year!  We have a wide variety of outings to keep you busy and engaging speakers to keep you entertained!
Nancy Card
NC Sierra Club Wilderness Celebration Committee Chair

 

Here’s some information about cabins, camping, and local accommodations. Reserve your spot by contacting Nancy Card at OurWildNC@gmail.com or 910-540-3088. Remember to Sign up Today for Our Wild NC Celebration!

Morrow Mountain Accommadations

 

RSVP for Charlotte Citizens’ Climate Hearing – Tues, Sept 9

Sept 9 Call to Action on Climate Change FlyerClick to download and share the flyer! – Charlotte Call for Action on Climate Change

Join us in Charlotte for a Citizens’ Climate Hearing on Tuesday, September 9. Click here for more info and to RSVP.

You can show your support for acting on climate by showing up at the Citizens’ Climate Hearing September 9 in Charlotte.

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 partner organizations to call on the EPA to take swift and strong action on climate for North Carolina.

Event Details

WHO: Sierra Club, other partner organizations, and you!
WHAT: Citizens’ Climate Hearing
WHEN: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Heaton Hall, Myers Park Baptist Church,1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 [Map]

Questions? Contact Emma Greenbaum at emma.greenbaum@sierraclub.org

P.S. Click here for more info and to RSVP.

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 Official!

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)