Congratulations to our newly trained Outings Leaders!

Over 30 individuals from NC and SC gathered in Sesquicentennial State Park outside Columbia, SC for a weekend of training, camping, and good times. The training included Sierra Club OLT101 (Basic Outdoor Leadership Training), Sierra Club OLT201 (Advanced Outdoor Leadership Training), Watercraft (Canoe/Kayak) Safety, and CPR/First Aid training. 

Special thanks to Art Seel, South Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, for the great job in organizing and leading the training programs. Thanks also to the numerous trainers and volunteers that provided great instruction, some fine food, and a beautiful experience.

Congratulations to these Central Piedmont members that completed their Outings Leader Training!

Linda Alley – OLT201
Dori Bowman – OLT101 and OLT201
Bill Gupton – OLT201
Hollis Parks – OLT201
David Robinson – OLT201
David Underwood – OLT201

For more information about Sierra Club Outings and becoming an Outings Leader see http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/

OL 101_201 May 2014

Vote Today – Every Vote is Critical

There are several key races where the primary will decide the election. If you have already voted that’s great. If not, please vote today! AND, remind your friends and neighbors how important this is.

The Mecklenburg commissioners at-large, District 2 and the N.C. Supreme Court races are two especially important races.

Below are links to the Charlotte Observer endorsements for the May 6th primary.

Vote Counts

OBSERVER ENDORSEMENTS

Sierra Club Launches Massive NC Ad Buy to Push Duke Energy to Clean Up Coal Ash Legacy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Contact:
Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, (404) 281-6398, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org
Kelly Martin, Sierra Club, (828) 423-7845, kelly.martin@sierraclub.org
Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance, (336) 469-3042, annajane@wnca.org

Sierra Club Launches Massive Ad Buy, Pushes Hard on Duke Energy to Clean Up Toxic Coal Ash Legacy in Advance of Shareholder Meeting

**View the TV Spots HERE and HERE**

CHARLOTTE, NC – As Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good prepares for her first shareholder meeting, the Sierra Club and partner groups in North Carolina are launching a multi-city ad buy to keep the pressure on the company to clean up its toxic coal ash legacy. The ads, featuring video footage of the Dan River coal ash spill, will air in Charlotte and in Asheville before, during and following the shareholder meeting on May 1. The campaign to retire Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant will be featured in this week’s episode of SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously documentary series on climate change, drawing national attention to the utility. In addition, during Thursday’s meeting, two pastors will deliver a letter signed by seventy-two clergy in Western North Carolina calling on Duke Energy to move beyond coal.

“Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash legacy threatens North Carolinians right to clean water,” said Kelly Martin, senior campaign representative with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in North Carolina. “Our ads will run on primetime television, bringing the message to households across North Carolina that Duke Energy needs to show real leadership and take action now to clean up its toxic coal ash. This means retiring the Asheville coal plant, removing coal ash ponds from the unlined pits beside our waterways and making real investments in homegrown clean energy solutions.”

After the Dan River spill, Duke Energy announced a plan to address ongoing coal ash pollution at each of its 14 storage sites in North Carolina. The coal ash impoundments at the Asheville plant have been under scrutiny after environmental and clean water advocates filed suit under the Clean Water Act against Duke Energy. Now, Duke Energy has announced for the first time it will consider retiring the Asheville coal-fired power plant as part of its plan to address the high-hazard coal ash ponds.

“We launched the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign two years ago because Duke Energy’s coal plant is the single-largest source of carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. This pollution threatens our communities with climate disruption, and this is a moral issue. This plant does not match the values our families and our city hold dear,” said Anna Jane Joyner, campaign coordinator with Western North Carolina Alliance who will be featured in an upcoming episode of Years of Living Dangerously, a SHOWTIME documentary series. “People of faith are speaking to Duke Energy, saying as our state’s largest utility, we expect real leadership to address these serious problems.”

The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign and Joyner are featured in episode 4 of Years of Living Dangerously, called “Preacher’s Daughter,” scheduled to air on Sunday, May 4, just days after Duke Energy’s annual shareholder meeting. The episode also features Joyner’s father, Rick Joyner, senior pastor at MorningStar Fellowship Church in Charlotte. In addition to her work with the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign, Joyner coordinates the Western North Carolina Green Congregations group which led the effort to secure more than sixty pastors to sign on to the letter to Duke Energy officials.

“When an international documentary series features your utility and your local coal plant, you know you’ve hit a nerve,” added Joyner. “As CEO, Lynn Good has a real opportunity to set a new path for the state and nation’s largest utility company. People of faith and people who want to exercise their right to clean air and clean water are speaking up. It’s time for Duke Energy executives to listen.”

To see the ads, click here and here. To read the letter from clergy to Duke officials, click here. The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign story is featured in SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously documentary series at http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/story/preachers-daughter/. To learn more and take action, visit www.ashevillebeyondcoal.org. Waterkeeper Alliance provided video footage of the coal ash spill featured in the video, www.waterkeeper.org.

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What is the real cost to flip that light switch?

Here’s the message that Duke Energy WANTS you to hear and believe:

You do it multiple times every day — flip a switch. You don’t stop to wonder what is connected to that switch or how it works. You’re thinking about the important things in life like next week’s family reunion, your son’s next basketball game, your first day on the job or the upcoming proposal. You don’t think about what will happen when you flip that switch — because we do.

Now here’s the message that Duke Energy DOESN’T WANT you to hear or believe:

In remission now, Danielle Bailey-Lash has questions.

“I’ve lived in Walnut Cove, in the Stokes County area, near Pine Hall Road, for 20 — 20-something years, at least — never expecting to become sick at age 35 and given an expiration date of three to four months,” she said in a video released Tuesday by Appalachian Voices, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Boone.

The 3-minute video – titled “At What Cost?” – features five people who now live or used to live in Stokes County, near one of the largest coal-fired power plants in Duke Energy’s fleet – the Belews Creek Steam Station, built about 40 years ago. No direct, scientific connection between the power plant and the health concerns of the residents is offered in the video. But the message is clear: Some people, regardless of proof, wonder whether they are getting sick because of the power plant.

Bailey-Lash, the video shows, was found to have late-stage brain cancer in 2010.

“Even though I’ve put that behind me, I’m starting to make a connection. Something is not right,” she said.

The Belews power plant has a massive, unlined ash pond filled with the waste of spent coal.

These ponds typically host potential contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium and selenium. Health risks posed by these elements include cancer and neurological damage. Conservation groups have warned for years that these unlined pits contaminate groundwater – a risk, they say, that should raise red flags in Stokes, where many households use well water.

For more than two years, Duke Energy has been under legal pressure from environmental groups, including Appalachian Voices, to deal with documented cases of illegal pollution. The utility has violated federal or state clean-water laws at all 14 of its sites, including the Belews Creek power plant, according to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A Wake County Superior Court judge has ruled that state law says Duke Energy must immediately eliminate sources of contamination. Duke is appealing the ruling.

Separately, Duke Energy is the subject of a federal criminal investigation related to the Dan River coal ash spill that happened in February.

Read the full article by Bertrand M. Gutierrez of the Winston-Salem Journal at Environmental group releases video, urges Duke to clean up.

Feed the Body; Nourish the Soul – Pizza Gathering and Candlelight Vigil, April 30th

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Feed the Body; Nourish the Soul

Pizza Gathering and Candlelight Vigil

It’s been almost three months since a broken pipe sent tens of thousands of gallons of coal ash and contaminated water into the Dan River, and little has changed. At dozens of other sites, including at the Asheville plant and the Allen plant near Charlotte, Duke sits on a toxic time bomb of coal ash waste.

Politicians and powerbrokers fiddle while more coal burns, and Duke executives scheme to get the public to pay to clean up the coal ash waste across the state. They seem to think we’d forget about the damage that toxic coal ash is doing to our water. On the eve of Duke’s annual shareholder meeting, we will gather to show that we have not forgotten.

Join Sierra Club, other partners, and members of multiple faith groups as we hold a candlelight vigil outside Duke’s headquarters in Charlotte on the evening of April 30. But first we’ll gather outside Fuel Pizza on The Green at 6:30 and serve pizza slices and beverages from 6:45 until 7:15. Please RSVP so that we can plan for our pizza and beverage needs.

Duke Shareholder Meeting Map

At 7:15 we’ll move over to the Duke Headquarters to start the candlelight vigil at 7:30. See below for the location of the gathering and vigil.

Light the path forward: Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash and climate change
Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC

Please let me know if you will be attending (and anyone accompanying you) so that we can prepare for our pizza and beverage order. Please RSVP.

Thanks so much and see you there!

 

April 30th – Join us for a vigil for Duke’s coal ash spill

Friends,

Light the path forward: come to a candlelight vigil remembering the impacts of Duke’s toxic coal ash April 30

RSVP for the candlelight vigil
RSVP

It’s been almost three months since a broken pipe sent tens of thousands of gallons of coal ash and contaminated water into the Dan River, and little has changed. At dozens of other sites, including at the Asheville plant and the Allen plant near Charlotte, Duke sits on a toxic timebomb of coal ash waste.

Politicians and powerbrokers fiddle while more coal burns, and Duke executives scheme to get the public to pay to clean up the coal ash waste across the state. They seem to think we’d forget about the damage that toxic coal ash is doing to our water. On the eve of Duke’s annual shareholder meeting, we will gather to show that we have not forgotten.

Join Sierra Club and members of multiple faith groups as we hold a candlelight vigil outside Duke’s headquarters in Charlotte on the evening of April 30.

Event Details 

WHO: Sierra Club, faith leaders from numerous denominations, North Carolinians from across the state and you!
WHAT: Light the Path Forward: a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of Duke’s coal ash
WHEN: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Duke headquarters, 550 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC [Map]

RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/DukeRally

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

Parking is available on the street, in a parking deck across the street called The Green, and at the Duke Tower itself. Coming from Asheville and want help with transportation? Send Emma Greenbaum an email and let us know.

Thanks for everything you do to protect our environment,

Emma Greenbaum
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Can you be there May 1 for the shareholders’ meeting at Duke Energy Corporate Office, 526 S Church St. Charlotte from 9am to 12pm? RSVP here: www.facebook.com/events/672290476221413/

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A Dark and Dirty Iceberg

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The Dan River coal ash spill, while the third largest in U.S. history, represents just the tip of a dark and dirty iceberg.

National media coverage from the L.A. Times to the Washington Post to the Rachel Maddow Show has pointed out the all too cozy relationship between Duke Energy, NC DENR, and Governor Pat McCrory. A Federal investigation into possible criminal charges and continued reports of illegal discharges from coal ash dumps has been a reminder that Duke Energy has its priorities wrong. And now a major shareholder revolt from some of the largest investors is calling for a separate investigation into the spill and even a vote against the re-election of four directors because they “have failed to fulfill their obligations of risk oversight as members of a committee overseeing health, safety, and environmental compliance at the company”.

The Dan River coal ash spill has reminded us that Duke has too many outdated, dirty coal plants threatening our air, water and public health. It has brought to greater public light the fact that decades of illegal coal ash pollution has taken a toll on all of us and our rivers, lakes and streams. It has brought together diverse groups of citizens pointing out that low-income communities have paid too high a price for Duke Energy’s coal ash waste, paying with contaminated drinking water and pollution.

For shareholders, customers and North Carolina residents, the next steps are clear. Duke must clean up toxic coal ash everywhere. Without real action, Duke’s legacy in NC will be covered in coal ash. Duke must set a clear plan to phase out more of its coal-fired power plants across the state, starting with the Asheville plant. Duke must support, not crush solar power – that means recognizing the value of solar and supporting small solar businesses in NC.
Customers should not be forced to foot the bill for Duke Energy’s coal ash problem. The company and its shareholders should have to pay the cost for decades of illegal pollution. All North Carolinians deserve real action from Duke Energy that doesn’t move the problem from one place to another. The best way to deal with coal ash long term is to phase out coal in North Carolina and lead the South with clean energy solutions.

It’s time to remind Duke Energy and the company’s shareholders that the nation’s largest utility company has failed us. It’s time to let our local and state elected officials, NC DENR, and the NC Utilities Commission know that we want to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

That’s why we need your voice and presence to be heard. Between now and the start of the 2014 Legislative Short Session, May14, we need in-district meetings with state elected officials calling for strong coal ash regulations. On April 30th we need you and clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. And we need your signs and voices to be heard at the May 1st Duke Shareholder meeting rally and press conference where hundreds of concerned citizens from across the Duke service area will gather.

North Carolina needs an energy company we can be proud of and shareholders need a company they can be proud of. Right now, Duke Energy fails on both counts. Join us as we work to move beyond coal in North Carolina and shift boldly to solar power, wind energy and the full suite of clean energy solutions that create jobs while protecting our people, our health and our environment.

Make plans to join us and invite your friends, neighbors, and clergy.

Light the path forward: Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash
Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Facebook Event: Light the path forward
Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference
Thursday, May 1st
8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference
Former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting)
Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting – April 30 Candlelight Vigil, May 1 Rally

 

This Earth Day, go solar and save!

NC First in Solar Barn

This Earth Day, celebrate solar!

Join Solarize Charlotte!

Join Solarize Charlotte and get a free solar analysis for your home. 

44 years ago, millions of people across the US stood up to corporate polluters and apathetic leaders by organizing their communities to protect the environment — the first-ever Earth Day.

Today Earth Day continues to remind us that the solutions to environmental problems aren’t always in the hands of lawmakers. Environmental solutions can be in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our own homes.

That’s why we are so excited to tell you about Solarize Charlotte — a new grassroots program that will bring clean, renewable solar energy to homes in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, and Gaston Counties.

Right now Solarize Charlotte is offering a free solar analysis to residents in the Charlotte area interested in installing solar panels on their homes.

Sign up for a free solar analysis with Solarize Charlotte now to learn how to power your home with the sun! Celebrate this Earth Day by bringing solar energy to your home.

Switching to solar power is a big, bold move. And Solarize Charlotte was started by a coalition of over 20 organizations — including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club — to make it as simple and affordable as possible.

The program connects homeowners with a lower-cost local North Carolina solar installer — simplifying the financing and installation process. It also uses group discounts and tax incentives to make rooftop solar even more affordable for anyone who wants to reduce their electricity bill and carbon footprint at the same time.

Solarize programs have already boosted solar energy usage and cut electricity bills in other North Carolina cities, including Durham, Asheville, and Carrboro. Now it’s time for Charlotte to shine.

Take a step towards a clean energy future in your own home by signing up for Solarize Charlotte today and receive a free solar analysis!

Earth Day reminds us that we still have plenty to do to protect our planet — including switching from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy sources.

And Solarize Charlotte is a big step in the right direction. Solar is good for everyone. So let’s get going and solarize!

Happy Earth Day,

Monica Embrey, Greenpeace Charlotte Field Organizer

Bill Gupton, Sierra Club Field Organizer

David Robinson, Group Chair, Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group

PS. Aren’t able to join Solarize right now, but still want to help Charlotte go solar? Spread the word by liking Solarize Charlotte on Facebook and forwarding this email to family and friends!

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting – April 30 Candlelight Vigil, May 1 Rally

Following the Dan River coal ash spill, citizens rallied to deliver thousands of petition signatures to Duke Energy calling for them to clean up their coal ash. Watch the short video to see scenes from that day.

Now we need your voice and your presence to send the Duke Energy leadership and major shareholders an even stronger and louder message. Organizations and individuals from across the Duke Energy Carolinas service area will gather for two powerful displays of our call for change. Please RSVP to let us know if you are attending the events and/or would like to help with outreach and turn out.

Light the Path Forward: Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash

Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC

Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Rally and Press Conference

Thursday, May 1st
8:30 AM arrive and set up for 9:00 AM rally and press conference
Former Duke Energy headquarters, 526 South Church St, Charlotte, NC (location of shareholder meeting)

Download and share the 2014 Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Flyer!

2014 Duke Shareholder Meeting Flyer2014 Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting Flyer

Please RSVP to let us know if you are attending the events and/or would like to help with outreach and turn out.

 

 

 

Clergy, Lay Leaders, and People of Faith – A Call to “Light the Path Forward”

Light the path forward:

Candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash

Two Candles

Wednesday, April 30th, the eve of the Duke Energy annual shareholder meeting
7:30 to 8:30 PM
New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St, Charlotte, NC
Map

Facebook: Light the Path Forward

RSVP

Faith traditions around the world have a rich heritage of preserving and protecting the environment and speaking out on environmental justice issues (see below). That’s why we need clergy, lay leaders, and people of faith to join us and send Duke Energy, their Board of Directors, and major shareholders a message calling for a new path forward. This is an opportunity to speak out and show our solidarity on three key issues:

Climate Disruption – The recent IPCC report “Climate Change 2014 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and the NBC news “Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?” illustrate how communities are suffering the impact of climate disruption. Changing the business practices of Duke Energy, the largest investor owned utility in the world, will send a strong message that we have a moral obligation to act on climate change.

Coal Ash Clean Up – Clergy and lay leaders have a responsibility as stewards of our environment to speak out to preserve and protect our air, water, lands and the health of our communities. Duke Energy must take immediate action to stop their coal ash pollution, remove the coal ash from our drinking water supplies, store the dry coal ash in properly designed and monitored lined containments that do not place extra burdens on low income and communities of color.

Cost of Coal Ash Clean Up – Duke CEO Lynn Good has gone on record as saying that rate payers will be charged for coal ash clean up in North Carolina. Duke Energy has profited for years from avoiding dealing with safe, long term storage of coal ash. We need the faith community to speak out about the potential impact on seniors, those on fixed income, the un/underemployed, and businesses and schools in our communities.

Make plans to join us and to help announce this gathering. Please RSVP to Bill Gupton or for questions and more information.

Faith, the Environment, and Environmental Justice

Catholic Church

“The vocation of being a “protector,” however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live”

~ Pope Francis, [ Homily of Pope Francis, 19 March 2013.]

Islam

Allah, in His Wisdom, appointed humans, the creatures that He has conferred with the faculty of reason and with free will, to be His vice regents on earth. And while Allah has invited people to partake of the fruits of the earth for their rightful nourishment and enjoyment, He has also directed them not to waste that which Allah has provided for him—for He loveth not wasters.

~ Hyder Ihsan Mahasneh, biologist and Islamic scholar, [Faiths and Ecology: Islamic Faith Statement]

Judaism

‘Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live’ (Deuteronomy 30:20). Humankind has solemn obligation to improve the world for future generations. Minimizing climate change requires us to learn how to live within the ecological limits of the earth so that we will not compromise the ecological or economic security of those who come after us.”,

~ Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, [Confronting the Challenge of Climate Change, 06/1998]

Buddhism

The scientific consensus is overwhelming: human activity is triggering environmental breakdown on a planetary scale… Collectively, we are violating the first precept—“do not harm living beings”—on the largest possible scale. And we cannot foresee the biological consequences for human life when so many species that invisibly contribute to our own well-being vanish from the planet…

~ The Dalai Lama, [The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change]

Unitarian Universalist Association

“As Unitarian Universalists, we are called by our seventh Principle to affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

~ 2006 Statement of Conscience, [Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, 2006]

Other Christian Traditions

Southern Baptist Conference

[A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change]

Evangelical Christianity

[Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action]

Episcopal Church

[Unnumbered Resolution: The Episcopal Church commits to Climate Justice for all God’s People and all God’s Creation, July 2012]

National Association of Evangelicals

[Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment (pdf), 2011]

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

[Carbon Neutral Resolution, 2008]

Christian Reformed Church

[Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony in 2008]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[Environment Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice, 08/28/1993]

United Church of Christ

[A Resolution on Climate Change,2007]

United Methodist Church

[ Issues: Climate Justice]

Source: FCNL: http://fcnl.org/issues/energy/faith_statements_climate/