Lobbying for a Coal Ash Clean-Up Bill

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Thank for you taking action to hold Duke accountable for their massive coal ash spill into the Dan River. And now our legislators need to follow through to make sure nothing like this ever happens again in North Carolina.

We have the momentum on our side– but your legislators need to hear from their constituents. That’s where you come in.

With just 27 days until the start of the legislative session on May 14, now is the best time to meet with legislators at home in their districts. The message is clear: the North Carolina General Assembly needs to make sure Duke Energy cleans up its waste at the three dozen unlined wet coal ash pits across the state, all of which threaten local water resources.

The NC Chapter recently held two webinars to give folks the training and the tools to effectively advocate and educate your legislators on coal ash. While it’s clearly not the same, you can gain a great deal of information, insight, and tools to become a better advocate.

With 170 legislators to meet with, it’s time to get started securing support from your legislators for meaningful action when the legislature reconvenes in May!

For additional information, contact Zak Keith, zak.keith@sierraclub.org, or Cassie Gavin, cassie.gavin@sierraclub.org.

AGENDA

  • Why Become a Volunteer Lobbyist?
  • Why Legislative Action is Needed Now?
  • Background on NC Coal Ash
    • The Dan River Spill
    • Facts About Coal Ash in North Carolina
  • Lobbying 101
    • Tips, the Ask, Materials
    • Importance of Reporting
  • Update on Status of Any Coal Ash Legislation

Click below to review the PowerPoint presentation

Lobbying Coal Ash BillSierra Club NC Chapter Coal Ash Webinar

What does McCutcheon decision mean?

McCutcheson Decision

McCutcheon vs. Federal Elections Commission

Last week the Supreme Court handed down a narrow 5-4 ruling, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount an individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle. Prior to April 2, an individual donor was capped at giving $123,200 in a two year election cycle to federal candidates, political action committees (PAC), and political parties. After this very narrow Supreme Court decision, an individual can now contribute more than $3.5 million to candidates, political parties, and PACs. This means one person can give the maximum amount to every single House and Senate race, party and PAC. Super wealthy donors can give money to uncontested races, then those candidates can redirect the money to targeted races.  

The original lawsuit was brought to the Supreme Court by climate change denying, coal businessman, Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee. McCutcheon wanted to be able to have even more influence over elected officials.
Let’s be clear, the elimination of this cap does not help you or me. Only around 1200 Americans met the cap of $123,200 in recent elections. To put this into context, $123,000 is more than double the typical income of an American household. This only helps the 1% of the 1%. When creating policies, elected officials will be even more accountable to wealthy polluters, instead of every day Americans. 
 
What McCutcheon does not do
1) It does not lift the contribution cap to individual candidates. However, the Supreme Court left the door open to potentially overturn campaign contribution limits in individual races. 
2) It does not affect super PAC contributions. McCutcheon was solely about contributions directly to candidates, parties and PACs. 
 
What is the Sierra Club doing about it?
The Sierra Club, along with NAACP, Communications Workers of America and Greenpeace, created the Democracy Initiative to help address some of the greatest threats to our democracy: the undue influence of money in politics, unprecedented attacks on voting rights, and dysfunction of the U.S. Senate. The Democracy Initiative has grown to 44 endorsing organizations, including MoveOn.org, SEIU, AFSCME, National Council of La Raza, and Common Cause. Collectively, we are working to engage issue-based membership organizations to engage more deeply to restore our democracy to one of, by and for the people. 
 
To better incorporate this work into all levels of the Sierra Club we recently created the Sierra Club Democracy Program. The same corporate polluters we all fight against to defend our air and water, are the same people pumping money into the pockets of candidates and the same people supporting laws that suppress voters. We mobilized around the McCutcheon decision with Sierra Club members and staff participating in rapid response events around the country on the day the decision was handed down. With a diverse range of coalition partners we are building a movement of organized people to push back on organized money. 
 
What you can do 
1) Help spread the word. Share this image on Facebook.  
2) Along with our allies we are working to mobilize letters to the editor to local and state papers. 
    *We will provide sample LTE language and messaging in a follow up email. 
3) In the coming weeks, we are reaching out to Sierra Club chapter leaders and staff about how to
    engage more deeply in this work over the long term. 
 
More information on McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission 
1) Sierra Club Statement & Blog on McCutcheon
2) Analyses of McCutcheon decision by Demos
This is a fight we can win because organized people can beat organized money.
Thanks,
Courtney

Courtney Hight
Director, Democracy Program
Sierra Club
50 F Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

 

Take Action: Oppose Dirty Energy, Support Clean Energy

Speak out today!

Take Action: Stop a Flood of Natural Gas Exports Take Action: Stop a Flood of Natural Gas ExportsLegislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would rubberstamp exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. without any review or protections in place for the American public and our environment. This would essentially open the floodgates for natural gas exports, leading to more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) here at home and more climate-disrupting pollution.

Take Action
Tell your senators and representative to oppose legislation that would rubberstamp liquefied natural gas exports!


Take Action: Tell the Senate to Protect Clean Energy Jobs Take Action: Tell the Senate to Protect Clean Energy Jobs

Last week, the Senate Finance committee moved to extend a package of critical clean energy tax credits, including the production tax credit for wind. We need the Senate to vote on this package immediately to ensure that clean, cheap, American-made clean energy continues to grow.

Take Action
Please tell your senators to bring the EXPIRE Act to the floor and vote yes.

Don’t Miss a Fracking Good Time! – March 27

Please make plans to take part in a powerful event this March 27th at 6:30 PM! Charlotte is one of only 2 North Carolina locations chosen for the national fracked communities tour. You’ll definitely want to hear the stories and learn how we can help protect our air, water, and lands.

STFA-NC-Tour-Meme-5

Can you join us on Thursday, March 27th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte to hear how fracked communities are fighting back?

Fracking wells, industrial zones, and contaminated water. Those are the realities that people across the country are living with where fracking exists. We know that North Carolina isn’t worth the risk, and some friends are coming to town to help us fight back.

“Cautionary Tales of Fracked Communities,” a nationwide speakers tour, is coming to Charlotte to help us in our fight. It’s a chance to hear from people living in the shadow of gas rigs, and learn how they are fighting back.

Thursday March 27 at 6:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte

 

234 North Sharon Amity Road

Charlotte, NC 28211

Speakers will include:

  • Karen Feridun, a grassroots activist from Kutztown, PA who is fighting against fracking in her community. She helped convince the Pennsylvania Democratic party to add a Fracking Moratorium to their party platform.
  • Jill Wiener, small business owner turned activist from New York who has been leading the charge to keep fracking out of New York.
  • Robert Nehman, a father from Iowa whose life was turned upside down after frac sand mining came to his town

The second part of the meeting will be a training on how to meet with elected officials.

Together, we can keep fracking out of North Carolina, and ensure that the next series of cautionary tales aren’t from the Tarheel state.

See you there!

Fracking Tour Sponsors

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – March 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Before long, 55 days to be exact, the 2014 session of the legislature will convene in Raleigh.

But please don’t wait until May 14 to ask your legislator to take action to close down Duke Energy’s unlined coal ash ponds that are threatening our state’s rivers and groundwater!

Whether you’ve never met your state legislator in before, or if you’ve  known him or her all your life –  now is the time to talk coal ash. Calls, email and personal  meetings with legislators to rally support for a ban on wet coal ash ponds is urgently needed. To get involved with the Sierra Club’s Volunteer Lobby Corps, please contact chapter organizer Zak Keith (zak.keith@sierraclub.org).

But the Sierra Club isn’t only about protecting our natural resources–it’s also all about promoting and exploring them.

Much of this March newsletter is dedicated to North Carolina’s wilderness areas. There’s a contest for folks who want to visit all of the wilderness areas in North Carolina. We also have tons of outings coming up for you to join.   Four of them are coming up this Saturday!

We hope you enjoy this issue of Footnotes, and are getting geared up for an action packed year ahead of us!

With warm wishes,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Coal Ash Update

You know the basics by now.  Nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash ran into the Dan River last month. Since then, the news has been changing every day.  That’s why we have a Coal Ash Updates page on our website.

To stay current on the latest from news outlets all over the country about what’s happening right here in our back yard,  bookmark the Coal Ash Updates page, and you will always have the most recent news on the coal ash spill!

What’s in Your Lake?

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You likely remember that the state legislature froze protections for Jordan Lake last year. The Jordan Lake Rules were adopted in 2009 in an effort to clean up the lake, which is a popular recreation destination and a source of drinking water for 300,000 people. Last year, those clean-up rules were delayed for three years and, instead, the legislature directed nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds to a pilot project to lease 36 floating water mixers. Meanwhile, developers will get a three year reprieve from having to control the runoff that is plaguing the Lake.

Click here to tell the Army Corps of Engineers to protect Jordan Lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers? Yes. The Corps has the final say in whether or not the water mixers can go into the lake There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the water mixers in Jordan Lake.

Click here to read about some of the reasons that replacing the long negotiated Jordan Lake Rules with water mixers is a bad idea. And then send your thoughts on to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Calling All Politicos (For Members Only!)

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Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge and learn from the best.  Join Chapter Political Committee Chair Harry Johnson & former chair Ken Brame as they cover the basics of the Sierra Club Political Committee and get you ready for the ever exciting political season ahead. The training will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Greensboro. Registration is required (but it’s also free).

The meeting is for Sierra Club members who want to participate in this year’s elections on any level. Topics for the day include: an overview of the political landscape, introduction to the endorsement process, building a local political committee, managing a volunteer field campaign, and more!

Click here to register today to make sure you are prepared to make a difference in this year’s political campaigns in your community!

Are You Up for the Challenge? Get Ready to Explore Our Wild NC

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This time of year, Sierrans are ready for winter to be over and outdoor adventures to begin in earnest.  This year, they are in for a treat.  The Wilderness Committee has announced the Explore Our Wild NC Challenge. The only question is: are you up for it?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act and to increase awareness about our state’s 12 wilderness areas and 5 study areas, the NC Sierra Club is offering a certificate and limited edition patch to anyone who visits all of these areas.

We cannot think of a better way to experience our state than getting outdoors and exploring every one of its true wilderness areas. Click here if you want more information or have already decided that you want to register for the challenge.

Wilderness Study Areas

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Wilderness Study Areas in our state.

Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) share many of the same characteristics of designated Wilderness Areas but have not yet received full designation by the US Congress.  There are five WSAs protected by the US Forest Service in North Carolina.

In Nantahala National Forest we have Overflow Creek and Snowbird. In Pisgah National Forest, we have Harper Creek, Lost Cove and Craggy Mountain totaling 25,816 acres.  Most were set aside by the NC Wilderness Act of 1984 and have since been recommended for wilderness designation, however some have been threatened with declassification.

These areas could potentially be impacted through the comprehensive revision to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ Land Management Plan which is currently underway.  Please see these documents which were released earlier this week for more information about the revision plan: Scoping Letter from the US Department of Agriculture and An Explanation of the Need to Change the Plan.

Many Wilderness Study Areas were first identified by the Forest Service’s Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE) of 1972 and the RARE II report of 1979, which was more thorough.  Although restrictions for usage are less stringent, WSAs are intended to receive the same protection from development as Wilderness Areas until such time as Congress decides to take action.

Click here to learn more about these study areas. Maybe then you can start planning your next hiking trip!

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Featured Wilderness Outing!

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

Inner City Outings Program

barber-hike.jpgKaran Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair, leads a recent outing.

Charlotte Inner City Outings officially announced the launch of a new program to connect area youth with nature. Inner City Outings (ICO), is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that seeks to provide urban youth and adults with positive outdoor experiences. The goal of Charlotte ICO is to allow participants to discover the beauty of wild places and learn how to enjoy and protect our wild environments.

The Charlotte ICO Group will work with local agencies and community centers to lead hikes and other outings. The program is made possible by its volunteers who give generously of their time and skills to participate in training, receive first aid education, and lead outings. All ICO volunteer leaders undergo special training and screening to work with youth.

Individuals, agencies, and organizations that are interested in supporting or participating in Charlotte ICO should contact Karan Barber at Karan@e-corps.org or (704) 588-3297. The only experience required is a passion to share enthusiasm for kids, teaching, the outdoors, and having fun.

For more information see the Charlotte ICO website, http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/inner-city-outings/, and the Sierra Club ICO Website, http://content.sierraclub.org/outings/ico.

Upcoming Events

April 25 -  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!

May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com

Upcoming Outings

March 22 – 8:00 a.m. – Guided Bird Walk at Sandy Creek Park – Durham

As part of Durham’s Annual Creek Week celebration activities, the Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting a guided bird walk around Sandy Creek. The terrain is rather flat but may be a bit wet in spots–please wear closed toed shoes and bring your camera and binoculars! You will be able to share binoculars if you don’t have your own, so don’t let that keep you from coming!

Led by two wonderful bird guides, there will be two smaller groups walking around the park. The guides are Brian Bockhahn, a State Park Education Ranger, and Robert Meehan, a local expert birder. All attendees (at all Creek Week events) will get a raffle ticket to win one of two Ivy Rain Barrels, courtesy of the City of Durham.

This outing is limited to 24 participants. Click here to RSVP via our Meetup. You may also RSVP by contacting Kelly at kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com (or 919.624.2225).

March 22 – 9:00 a.m. – Cook’s Wall Loop, Hanging Rock State Park – Hanging Rock

The hike will begin on the Hanging Rock trail but leave it to ascend the ridge line to Wolf Rock, on to House Rock and Cook’s Wall, and return via Magnolia Springs trail and the lake. Major views will be enhanced along the way by the bare trees. Hike length is about 6.5 miles with a 500 feet elevation gain.

Bring water, lunch, rain gear and wear hiking footwear. For more information contact Tom Mann at  twmann@bellsouth.net or 336-760-0265 (before 9:00 p.m.).

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Backpacking Conditioning in Umstead – Raleigh

Join Sierrans for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! The group will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way folks will talk about the gear in your backpack and best practices for minimizing the load.

Meet in the Reedy Creek parking lot in back right corner by 9:45 am. Look for the orange Honda Element with LOTS of stickers on the back. The entrance is located off I-40 at exit 287. Map to parking lot: http://goo.gl/maps/VcigC

Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem. Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Green River Gamelands – Pullium Creek Trail – near Asheville

This hike is moderate with some easy level of difficulty. The trip will be approximately 6.5 miles round-trip on this there & back trail with elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10 am and return about 5:45 p.m.. It’s a beautiful trail that ends up at the Green River just below the narrows, with rapids moving through large boulders. On the way, there’s a tedious creek crossing with wiggly step-stones, so wear good footwear and consider a hiking pole. Plan to learn about the beautiful early-blooming wildflowers there as well.

NOTE: Sorry, no doggies this trip due to Pullium Creek crossing. Hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeast’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains. This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking. Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear. Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking. You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding. Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.

April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravaning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

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Did you know you can make a monthly gift to the NC Sierra Club? Find out how you can make a sustaining gift by visiting our website, or contacting the Chapter office at 919-833-8467.

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Speaking at Charlotte City Council Meetings

Attending and/or speaking at a Charlotte City Council meeting is a powerful way to take part in our democracy. Here’s some information about the meetings to help you better understand the process and prepare to speak out on environmental issues.

Charlotte City Council Weekly Meetings

How To Sign Up to Speak at a Council Meeting (from Government website)

Call the City Clerk’s Office at 704-336-2248 and request to speak by giving your name, full address, daytime telephone, and subject. This information is placed on a Speaker’s List for the Mayor to follow during the meeting. During the Council meeting, as your name is called, approach the speaker’s stand and begin. The City Clerk’s timer will ring when your time is up.  See Official Rules below.

Visit the City Clerk’s Office
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 7th Floor
600 East Fourth St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Web On line Speaker Sign-Up Form

Fax your name, address, daytime phone number and subject to 704-336-7588

Schedule
See
Council’s Meeting Schedule for exact dates.

Official Rules of Procedure for Addressing City Council:
Persons desiring to address the City Council shall call the office of the City Clerk and give their name, address and subject matter to be discussed. Any person unable to give advance notice prior to a Council meeting, shall fill out the card available for this purpose and hand it to the City Clerk (at the meeting). Persons desiring to speak on a non-agenda matter will be recognized to speak at the Citizens Forum preceding designated Council meetings. Persons desiring to speak on an agenda item will be recognized to speak when the agenda item is reached.

No person in addressing the City Council, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be allowed to speak more than three (3) minutes unless the Mayor allows an extension of time. The Mayor, as the presiding officer, may in his discretion, subject to appeal, shorten the time for speaking when an unusually large number of persons have registered to speak. Citizens may yield their time to another person or to a spokesperson for a group when addressing a scheduled agenda item. When four or more citizens wish to address the council about the same scheduled agenda item, the time allotted to that presentation will be ten (10) minutes. The Council may allow an extension of this time as they deem appropriate.

Clean It Up, Gov. McCrory

This ad from the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) began running on March 6th. Here is their intro:

“Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration are rolling back basic environmental protections in North Carolina under the guise that it’s somehow good for the state and its residents. We now see the real result of weakening environmental protections and cozying up to big polluters: Environmental disasters like the massive coal ash spill North Carolinians are struggling with today.”

Attend Our Sierra Club Political Training – March 22

Endorsed Voters Guide Logos

Dear friend,

Elections Matter.  That’s the lesson that I’ve taken from the past year or so.  And that’s why it’s important that you attend our political training in Greensboro on March 22. The training is free, but registration is highly recommended to ensure we have enough materials and space.

Thanks to a group of conservative ideologues, North Carolina has taken a drastic step back in environmental protection.  And because there aren’t enough votes to stop their agenda, our conservation leaders on both sides of the aisle can’t do much but sit on their hands.  That has to change this November, and we – the members and volunteers of the North Carolina Sierra Club – can be a big force behind that change.

We’re hosting a political training in Greensboro on March 22 in order to learn how to run a volunteer-based campaign in support of candidates for US Senate, State Senate, State House, and County Commission.  Topics will range from building a political committee and running a smooth endorsement process to organizing local fundraising and field campaigns that will have a demonstrable impact at the polls.  We’ll also be knocking on doors in Greensboro  for Rep. Pricey Harrison, one of our biggest champions in the state house who has a primary challenger this May.  We’ll end our day with good food and an informal discussion on next steps.

If you’re mad about what’s been happening in Raleigh over the past twelve months, then this training is for you.  It’s the only way we will be able to take back North Carolina and move our state in a sustainable, conservation-minded direction.  Click here to register for our political training in Greensboro on March 22.

See you in Greensboro,

Harry Johnson

NC Sierra Club Political Committee chair

Meeting Information

What:  Sierra Club Political Training

When: Saturday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where: Guilford Park Presbyterian Church

2100 Fernwood Dr

Greensboro, NC 27408

Agenda

9:30 – 10:00 Breakfast, coffee, and mingling

10:00 – 10:15 Introduction

10:15 – 10:30 Overview of Political Landscape and Chapter political priorities

10:30 – 11:15 Introduction to Sierra Club Endorsement Process/Building a relationship with your legislators

11:15 – 12:00 Building a local Political Committee

12:00-12:30 Building a local volunteer network

12:30 -1:00 – Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 – Breakout Sessions (repeated)

Fundraising and Compliance

Managing a volunteer field campaign

2:00 – 2:15 – Wrap Up

2:15 – 4:00 – Canvass in Greensboro for environmental champion Rep. Pricey Harrison!

4:00 – Until – Drinks, Dinner, and low-dollar fundraiser – venue to be announced

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – February 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

After two weeks of the news being dominated by severe winter weather and an historic coal ash spill, most of North Carolina is getting back to normal.  The snow is gone– but the coal ash is not.  For the Dan River, with heavy metals and toxics deposited along 70 miles of river bottom, it may be years before things return to the way they were. In fact, they may never.

More than any event in recent years, the coal ash spill on the Dan River highlights the cost of coal. And that cost is compounded when the Governor and the legislature don’t do their jobs.  It is our job to hold them accountable.

We have an update for you below on the Dan River spill.  But along with cleaning up the river, the question is how we can speed up the movement away from the dirty energy that produces toxic coal ash, dirty air, and poisons in our water.

For the rest of this year, we will be focused on actions we can take to put our state back on track for a future that values clean water, adequate safeguards and full enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

Onward,

Your staff at the North Carolina Sierra Club

The Dan River Spill

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As you know by now, somewhere between 30,000 and 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash spilled into the Dan River in Eden, NC on February 2.  Please send a message to Duke Energy demanding that they remove coal ash from all their lagoons in North Carolina, so that this never happens again! Click here to send your message to Duke Energy!

With so much happening around the third largest coal ash spill in the nation’s history, we thought a brief overview might be helpful:

The Dan River tragedy is the third largest coal ash spill in our nation’s history. The only way we can make sure that this never happens again is to make Duke Energy move its toxic coal ash ponds away from the banks of our state’s waterways and into lined landfills away from rivers and lakes.

Click here to ask Duke Energy to prevent future disasters by cleaning up its toxic coal ash ponds.

Moving On: Clean Energy Around the Corner

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The consequences of dirty energy to public health, our air and water, and our climate are clear.  The dirty legacy of burning coal was known before the Dan River ran gray with toxic chemicals.  But we do not have to be shackled to this dirty system.

The shift to clean energy in North Carolina is  underway, but it will take the efforts of citizens across the state to achieve a clean energy future.

An effort by coastal North Carolina residents aims to educate the public about the potential benefits that wind power could bring to the eastern part of the state.  Wind power can mean jobs, investment, and tourism  – things that the Carolina coastal region needs and deserves.

Take a moment to learn about the local effort to bring on-shore wind to the Carolina coast by visiting http://www.coastalwind.org

Our Wild North Carolina

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area.

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The Uwharrie Mountains formed over 500 million years ago and are among the oldest mountain ranges in the world. At the northernmost tip of the Uwharries, 5,160 acres was set aside as the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness by the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984.

The wilderness got its name from the Birkhead family which settled on the land in the 1800s, but long before they arrived, the area was inhabited by Native Americans.  Relics found here date back 12,000 years. During the early 1800s prospectors came in search of gold.  Mines can still be found along with the remains of homesteads and farms throughout these hills.  The highest peak in the wilderness is Cedar Rock Mountain at 950 feet.

Like most of North Carolina’s designated wilderness, the area is managed by the US Forest Service.  But for the work of Sierrans in the 1970′s and 1980′s, this area would not be protected. If you are looking for a way to enjoy this wilderness area, Henry Fansler is leading a hike through Birkhead. Doesn’t that seem like a good idea?

  • Foothills Group Outings Chair, Henry Fansler, will lead the first wilderness area hike of the year on the Birkhead Mountain Trail on Saturday, February 22.  The hike will cover around five miles and is rated easy to moderate.  If you’d like to go, contact Henry at hbjfansler@windstream.net or 336-473-0283.  Visits to all NC designated wilderness areas are limited to 10 participants. Reserve your spot today!

Our Wild North Carolina Wilderness Areas Challenge

To celebrate the anniversaries of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the NC Wilderness Act of 1984, the Wilderness Committee of the NC Sierra Club has issued a challenge that will recognize anyone who visits all 12 of our state’s wilderness areas and documents it.

The program will provide certification and an award to all participants who register and visit all of our wilderness areas within the year.  Additional details and registration information will be available shortly.  For now, be sure to snap and save a photo of yourself with the official Wilderness Area sign.

Check out the list of wilderness areas below and start planning your trips today!

Happy Hiking!

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Outings & Events

February 19 – 7:00 p.m. – Capital Group Meeting & Film Screening – Raleigh, NC

The Capital group will screen the new documentary film, “A Fierce Green Fire” which spans 50 years of grassroots and global activism. The Sundance documentary brings to light vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought – and succeeded – against enormous odds. From the Academy Award-nominated director of “Berkeley in the Sixties,” the film features Lois Gibbs, Paul Watson, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, Carl Pope, John Adams, Bob Bullard, Amory Lovins, Barbara Bramble, Jennifer Morgan and more.  Screening followed by Q&A with the Director Mark Kitchell.

Doors open 6:30 p.m., meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.. Location: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, NC (map)

February 22 – 10:30 a.m. – Hike at Rattlesnake Lodge – Asheville, NC

This hike is approximately 5.2 miles round-trip. The group will start at Ox Creek Rd and stay mostly on Mountains-to-Sea trail, then on to the Main Reservoir trail. Plan to learn about the interesting remains from the old Rattlesnake Lodge, which burned down in 1926. It’s a nice place to stop for lunch, too. Wear good footwear and bundle up. Please email or write hike leader if you’d like to bring your well-behaved dog – who must be on leash at all times. Meet at 10:30 a.m. in Asheville, back around 4:30 p.m. Contact hike leader to sign up. Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com, or call 828-713-4994.

February 23 – 1:00 p.m. – NC Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Nature Trails Discovery Hike – Chapel Hill, NC

Join Sierrans  for an easy 1 ½ mile educational hike at the NC Botanical Gardens located on Mason Farm Road just off the 15-501 bypass near the UNC campus.  Behind the Education Center is an 88-acre area known as the Piedmont Nature Trails. Opened to the public in 1966, the trails provide over two miles of hiking through a typical central North Carolina forest. The group will see a variety of flora and learn about the impact of nearby development on natural areas. Trails are well-groomed with no steep elevation changes.  Afterwards, we will visit the Educational Center and adjacent Exposition Gardens, both open until 5 p.m. (free admission).

Group size is limited to 12 participants ages 16 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Sorry, no pets. Click here for more information.

March 1 -  Behind The Scenes Tour Carolina Raptors Center – Huntersville, NC

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group as we learn about birds of prey. We will travel to the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, NC (near Charlotte) where we will observe 25 different raptor species. We will walk the Raptor Trail, watch the Live Bird demonstration, witness the Vulture Feeding, eat a picnic lunch, and learn about the Center’s efforts rehabilitating and releasing over 800 raptors each year in our special Behind-The-Scenes Tour. This Sierra Club outing is family-friendly.

Please pack your own lunch; food is not available on site. An admission ticket at the entrance is required, plus an additional $5 for the Behind-The-Scenes Tour. Admission fees are as follows: $10 adults; $8 Seniors 65 and over, military, and educators with valid ID; $6 students, including college students with a valid ID; kids 4 and under free. Contact Vance Parker, vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m. to register. 15 person limit, reservation deadline is February 22, 2014.

March 3 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Orange Chatham Group Meeting & Program on the NC Solar Revolution -  Chapel Hill, NC

Even though solar power generation in North Carolina is expanding very fast, not everyone is happy about this new world of distributed energy generation. The biggest power company in the nation, Duke Energy, is putting its considerable lobbying efforts into changing the “net metering” law which allows homeowners who generate more electricity than they use to sell it back to the utility at a guaranteed price.  Guests Michael Youth from the NC Sustainable Energy Association and Dustin Chicurel-Bayard from the  NC Sierra Club will discuss solar policies in North Carolina.  Location: Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (map)

Saturday, March 8 - 10:00 a.m. – Neusiok Trail in Croatan National Forest – Craven County

The Neusiok trail, one of the most scenic trails in eastern North Carolina and part of the developing Mountain-to-Sea trail, meanders over 20 miles in the eastern portion of the Croatan National Forest from Pine Cliff Recreation Area on the shore of the Neuse River to Oyster Point in the salt marshes of the Newport River. The group will hike about six miles of the northernmost section of the trail, which winds through pine/hardwood upland forest, cypress/palmetto swamp and ends along the sandy shoreline of the Neuse River. The trail is moderate in difficulty. Bring a lunch and drinking water. There are often muddy sections, so wear water resistant shoes and other appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Arrive in the Parking Lot of Pine Cliffs Recreation Area no later than 10:00 a.m..

The hike will begin at the trailhead on Minnesott Ferry Road and end along the beach at the Pinecliff Recreation Area. For more information or to register for the trip, contact Robert Scull at 636-5506 or at scull1453@gmail.com.

March 16 – 1:00 p.m. -  Salem Creek in History and Today – Winston-Salem, NC

The outing is an activity of Forsyth County Creek Week co-presented by Gateway Environmental Initiative GEI and Old Salem Museum & Gardens.  We’ll tour areas where the Moravians used Salem Creek to sustain their lives, and then see how the stream is faring today.  Meet at the parking lot next to the tennis courts near the Salem Avenue roundabout.  Learn more about Forsyth Creek at www.forsythcreekweek.com.

March 22 – 9:00 a.m. -  Cook’s Wall Loop, Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury, NC

The group will begin on the Hanging Rock trail but leave it to ascend the ridge line to Wolf Rock, on to House Rock and Cook’s Wall, return via Magnolia Springs trail and the lake. Major views will be enhanced along the way by the bare trees.  Hike length is about 6.5 miles with a 500 feet elevation gain. Bring water, lunch, rain gear and wear hiking footwear. For more information contact Tom Mann, twmann@bellsouth.net or 760-0265 (between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.).

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. -  Green River Gamelands – Pullium Creek Trail – Asheville, NC

This hike’s difficulty level is rated moderate to easy. The trip length is approximately  6.5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10:00 am and return about 5:45 p.m. It’s a beautiful trail that ends up at the Green River just below the narrows, with rapids moving through large boulders. On the way, there’s a tedious creek crossing with wiggly step-stones, so wear good footwear and consider a hiking pole. Plan to learn about the beautiful early-blooming wildflowers there as well. NOTE: Sorry, no doggies this trip due to Pullium Creek crossing. Contact hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or (828) 713-4994 to reserve your spot.

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. -  Backpacking Conditioning in Umstead – Raleigh, NC

Join our outings leaders for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! We will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way we’ll talk about the gear in your backpack and best practices for minimizing the load.

Meet in the Reedy Creek parking lot in back right corner by 9:45 a.m. Look for the orange Honda Element with LOTS of stickers on the back. The entrance is located off I-40 at exit 287. Map to parking lot: http://goo.gl/maps/VcigC. Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem.  And don’t miss the Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie on April 26-27.

Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at  rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.  Register for this event here: http://conditioningnccg.eventbrite.com/