What will our Water System Master Plan look like moving forward? What goals and strategies are needed for 2016 to preserve and protect our Charlotte environment? Why not attend the CharlotteEnvironment Committee meeting on Monday, March 16 at 12:00 p.m. in Room 280 and find out so that you can speak out?
Thanks to our great NC Sierra Club staff for their work in preparing the 2014 Annual Report. Click below to download and read a copy.
All members with current dues paid should have received a copy of the NC Sierra Club Annual report and election ballot. This year we are encouraging everyone to vote electronically, although you can still submit a paper ballot.
The ballot page hosts candidate information and the official ballot for the Executive Committee elections for the NC Sierra Club. Candidate statements are located below the ballot.
Only Sierra Club members are allowed to vote in this election and your member number is required to submit your ballot.
Member numbers are located on the address label of the NC Sierra Club Annual Report. If you did not receive a copy of the Annual Report and need help finding your member number, please contact Janet Joye Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any questions about this ballot or the voting process, please contact Dustin Chicurel-Bayard at email@example.com.
Voting is open from November 15 – December 15, 2014.
Remember: You need your Sierra Club member number to vote!
Open Internet ensures our right to petition for a greener planet.
What if the company that provides your Internet could block your access to this email?
Right now, when you go online, every website is sent to your computer at the same speed, whether it is Facebook, Huffington Post or SierraRise. This concept, known as net neutrality, makes the Internet a fair and democratic system. It means the website of an oil billionaire works just as well as the blog of a grassroots environmental activist.
But this year, the FCC released a plan that would divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes, and allow Internet providers to charge for access to the fast lane.  This plan makes it possible for corporations to slow or block access to information, or speed up access in exchange for a fee.
The FCC’s plan threatens some of our most basic civil liberties: free speech, freedom of the press and the right to petition.
Earlier this week, President Obama spoke out in favor of open access to the Internet and asked the FCC to recategorize the Internet as a utility — like water or electricity — and ensure companies can’t charge for special privileges.  “Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gate keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.” 
President Obama is right: An end to net neutrality would fundamentally change the Internet and give more power to wealth at the expense of freedom of information.
What if the company that provides your internet — like Comcast, Verizon, or Time Warner — could manipulate or even block information? What if dirty energy companies could pay more to ensure their websites are easier to access than those that promote clean energy? It could happen if the FCC doesn’t listen to President Obama!
Net neutrality means you can continue speaking out to protect endangered right whales, demand Google cut ties with climate deniers and stop pesticides that kill our bees.
Earlier this year, the FCC’s website was flooded with so many comments about net neutrality that it broke their website. It looks like this got the President’s attention, but now we need to ensure the FCC is listening too!
In it together,
Some good news from the election. If we want the next election to be different, we need to End Corporate Personhood and Demand Real Democracy!
The National Campaign to End Corporate Personhood and Demand Real Democracy!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2014
Move to Amend Wins Big at the Ballot: Americans Ready to Amend the Constitution
In Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Florida, citizens voted overwhelmingly yesterday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and declare that only human beings – not corporations – are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.
Residents in dozens of cities had the opportunity to vote on measures calling for an end to the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech, and in every single town the vote was supportive. Often by an overwhelming margin.
In WI where all eyes were on Republican Scott Walker’s victory, twelve communities voted in support of an amendment. Walker and Burke voters alike support amending the Constitution, as not a single measure garnered less that 70% support.
“Money in politics affects our lives everyday,” said Donna Richards, a Move to Amend volunteer of of Fond du Lac, WI. “We pay too much for healthcare. Our taxes go towards corporate welfare and wars, instead of education and protecting our environment. Our energy policy is dictated by Big Oil, and we can’t even pass reasonable gun background checks because the gun manufacturers have bought half of Congress. This isn’t what democracy looks like.”
Tuesday’s vote brings the total number of Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment to 54. In total, 2.4 million people (41% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 16 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as almost 600 towns, villages, cities and other organizations.
In Mentor and Chagrin Falls, Ohio the votes were respectively 66% and 70% support. In Alachua County, Florida, voters supported Move to Amend’s campaign by 72%. The final vote count is still being tallied in the 18 legislative districts that voted last night, but the results were the same as in other states.
“Nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “It is time for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The leadership of both parties need to realize that their voters are clamoring for this amendment, and we are only going to get louder.”
Move to Amend is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and over 370,000 people. The organization also boasts over 150 local affiliates across the country.
# # #
This is big, William! Despite anything else that happened last night, Americans are ready to Move to Amend. It is critical you share our MOTION TO AMEND with everyone you know and ask them to sign up to be part of the campaign.
Please forward this email and ask your friends to sign the Motion to Amend: http://movetoamend.org/motion.
Great post-election message from the Sierra Club.
“It’s no secret what’s going on here: The same people who are poisoning our air and our water are also poisoning our democracy.”
~ Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
Nov 7, 2014
That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…
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Yes, the election hurt. We feared it would be bad — and it was worse. By now we’ve all heard the Wednesday-morning quarterback analyses of how and why the Democratic Party gave up control of the Senate and lost a bunch of other races around the country. For the Sierra Club, it’s especially painful to know that in far too many places we have lost long-standing, hard-working champions for clean energy, for the climate, and for the environment. And believe me, it’s not going to be easy to see climate-denier James Inhofe chairing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Big Oil booster Lisa Murkowski picking up the gavel at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Not to mention Kentucky coal senator Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader — that’s a dirty-fuel dream team right there.
I could go on. But the fact is that losing elections is part of having a democracy. I may not be happy about it when good candidates lose, but I can accept it and move on. There’s one troubling aspect of this election, though, that none of us should accept: an attack of democracy itself.
Without question, a rash of discriminatory voter-suppression laws in 21 states kept millions of Americans from voting in this election. Did these new voting and registration laws affect the outcome of this election? It’s definitely possible. The New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Social Justice has already made a strong case that in at least four states (Virginia, Kansas, Florida, and North Carolina) enough votes were suppressed to make a difference in specific close races.
It’s no secret what’s going on here: The same people who are poisoning our air and our water are also poisoning our democracy. This erosion of voting rights affects all of the work that we care about: clean energy, conservation legislation, climate legislation. The Sierra Club, along with a coalition of environmental groups, workers’ groups, and civil rights organizations, and others, will redouble our efforts to stop this assault on our democracy.
Even without voter suppression, though, this would have been a disappointing election for people who care about clean energy and the environment. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any bright spots. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we dust ourselves off and prepare for what will be a challenging couple of years.
First, this election marked a huge turning point for climate change as an issue. Two successful senate candidates, Gary Peters in Michigan and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, leaned in hard on clean energy and climate. Perhaps even more telling, we’re starting to see Republican candidates back away from outright climate denial — at least rhetorically. That’s why Colorado’s Cory Gardner ran an ad claiming — falsely — that he supports wind energy.
Poll after poll has shown that the public wants clean air, clean water, and climate action. They want an end to tax breaks for oil companies and they want more investments in clean energy now. It’s extremely unlikely they’ll get progress from Congress on those issues during the next two years — instead they will almost certainly see them attacked. You can bet that will be a big issue in 2016.
Second, although the oil and gas industries saw plenty of their candidates succeed, they were by no means invincible. In Nebraska, eight-term congressman Lee Terry, an ardent climate denier and proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, was defeated. In cities and counties in Ohio, California, and (for the first time ever) Texas, activists succeeded in getting fracking bans passed — despite being massively outspent. And in the refinery town of Richmond, CA, Chevron failed miserably in its attempt to defeat a slate of pro-environment and clean energy candidates, even after it spent at least $3 million (that’s $72 per registered voter) on negative ads.
Third, the most important clean energy and climate champion of all is still in office. President Obama has made fighting climate change a priority, especially during the past two years, and there’s no reason to doubt that he will stay that course. He has significant authority to speed up the transition to clean energy and to establish an even stronger climate and environmental legacy. He’s also got plenty of ink left in his veto pen.
Another thing to remember: We’ve been here before, more times than we care to remember, and the political outlook was as bleak or bleaker than it is today. If we look back at what happened, though, progress didn’t stop — in fact, we came out stronger. The most successful activist campaign in Sierra Club history — Move Beyond Coal — began and flourished under Bush/Cheney. When Ronald Reagan put James “mine more, drill more, cut more” Watt in charge of the Interior Department, it inspired a generation of activists who are fighting for wilderness, wildlife protection, and clean energy to this day. Sure, we’re probably going to be playing more defense during the next couple of years. But guess what? We are really good at playing defense. After all, we have something that’s actually worth defending.
Our job now is to sharpen our insights, strengthen our programs, and find new and even more-effective ways to make the clean energy future a reality. As we do that, we’ll see a new wave of voters becoming engaged in the political process who know that protecting nature and replacing dirty fuels with clean energy not only makes air and water cleaner and helps to stabilize our climate but also saves money and creates jobs at the same time. That will be a winning ticket all the way.
Yes, time to fight harder!
Pollution Has Consequences
Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign
November 6, 2014
Elections have consequences—that’s a common political trope we hear after every election, and it’s true. It’s also true that pollution has consequences, and those hit Americans right where they live, from kids with asthma, to rivers fouled with coal pollution, to the farmer in the grip of an unending drought made worse by climate change.
As the new report by the world’s leading scientists makes clear, the effect of climate pollution released over the next two years will be far more lasting and irrevocable than anything that happens in the 114th Congress. So now is not the time for despair—it’s time for us to double down and do the most effective, strategic work of our lives.
While Americans showed their anger and frustration at the voting booth and sent new leadership to Congress this week, they did not vote for dirty air, dirty water or dirty energy. However, unless we do our work very well, that is just what they will get. In the next two years we will need to defend the progress that has been made to address climate change, shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy, and safeguard public health from dangerous air and water pollution.
Federally, climate deniers are poised to take the reins in several key U.S. Senate committees, and they clearly intend to take aim at a whole host of air, water and climate safeguards, especially the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.
Meanwhile, in statehouses across the nation, polluters are teeing up a wave of anti-environmental measures, including making it harder for homeowners to go solar, rolling back state clean energy standards and blocking states from reducing their carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan.
At the same time, when it comes to our progress moving the U.S. beyond coal, we’re not going backwards. No new coal plants are being built in the U.S. right now, our existing coal plants aren’t getting any younger, and clean energy is being installed at such skyrocketing rates that wind and solar are as cheap as fossil fuels in a growing number of states around the country.
Pollution will still have consequences. Decisions about energy will continue to be made at the local and state level, by utility commissions and state regulators who are usually far less partisan and polarized than their federal counterparts—and those are venues where every one of us can and should get engaged.
Poll after poll has shown that the public wants clean air, clean water and action to tackle the climate crisis. We want more investments in clean energy now. Local concerns about public health, air pollution, and clean water will still be the most powerful arguments in the room. And regular people, fighting for their families and their communities, will still be the most powerful force shaping America’s energy future.
I’ll leave you with a couple of pieces of advice that seem very fitting this week, from two strong Appalachian women who I count among my heroes. When Judy Bonds, a leader and legend in the fight to end mountaintop removal, was in failing health, she told her friends and supporters that the best way to honor her legacy was simple: “Fight harder.” And to paraphrase legendary labor organizer Mother Jones, “Don’t whine—organize!”
Come on down and listen to BOCC and our NC House and Senate delegation discuss our 2015 Legislative Agenda.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
Today’s Date: November 7, 2014
Staff Contact Person: Janice S. Paige, Clerk to the Board
Contact Phone Number: 980-314-2912
Commission/Committee Name: Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners
Date: Monday, November 10, 2014
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC Room 267
PURPOSE OF MEETING: The Board will meet with the Mecklenburg County State Legislative Delegation to present Mecklenburg County’s 2015 Legislative Agenda and to discuss other matters of mutual interests and to take action as may be deemed appropriate.
X Special Meeting
This Meeting is rescheduled for