This is a strenuous 7 mile round-trip hike ascending 2,000 ft. to the summit of an imposing granite dome. Enjoy great views on this challenging hike, for experienced, fit hikers only. We’ll meet in the Charlotte area at 8AM and should be back around 6PM. Don’t forget that Monday is the Memorial Day holiday, so you’ll have a day to relax and recover! Limit 15. Contact Steve Copulsky at email@example.com or 704-543-7493.
Archive for the ‘Sierra Club’ Category
It was a mad rush in the NC General Assembly this week as representatives hurried to get priority bills through at least one chamber before the self-imposed Thursday crossover deadline. A bill had to be approved by at least one chamber by crossover to have a chance to become law this session. Therefore, bills that did not make crossover are understood to lack wide support and are much less likely to become law (although there are exceptions and procedural moves that can get around this).
Crossover is over – a reason to celebrate!
A measure that would freeze and repeal North Carolina’s renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS) failed to make it through crossover! Both House Bill 298 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 365, stalled this week while other bills took the main stage. We will continue to watch out for attacks on REPS to show up in other bills or the budget – but the outlook looks good that NC utilities will continue to be required to invest in renewable energy sources for the foreseeable future.
But some bad bills made it past crossover and got worse in the process …
S 515, the Jordan Lake Rules bill, sponsored by Senators Gunn (Alamance, Randolph) and Wade (Guilford) was completely revised to be much worse than previously reported. Jordan Lake is a drinking water source for over 300,000 people, but nitrogen and phosphorus pollution tends to collect in the lake and cause water quality problems including algae growth. Runoff is exacerbated by land disturbing development upstream and near the lake. The Jordan Lake rules were a 2009 legislative compromise designed to restore water quality. These rules set up a process for upstream governments, agriculture, and new development to reduce pollution flowing into the lake. S 515 would entirely repeal the Jordan Lake rules and replace them with nothing but a subcommittee of lawmakers who will study the issue. This bill would repeal the Jordan Lake rules on October 1, 2013 but the study subcommittee would not be required to report on its findings until 2014. This bill would end the state requirement for NC localities to make any effort to protect Jordan Lake and leave only federal regulations. S 515 was approved by the Senate on Wednesday and will likely move fast in the House.
S 151, the Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013, sponsored by Sen. Rabon (Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender), morphed into a bill that removes the cap on the number of terminal groins that can be built in NC and drops taxpayer protection provisions designed to ensure that local communities do not incur debt for terminal groins without a vote of the people. Terminal groins can cost as much as $10 million to build, and can cost up to $2 million per year to maintain. Existing taxpayer protection provisions were part of the 2011 compromise legislation that allowed for four pilot project terminal groins to be constructed in NC (none are yet built). S 151 also removes fiscal protections intended to ensure that neighboring properties will be compensated for damage due to groins. We expect that this bill will quickly be assigned to a House committee next week and then move to the House floor for a vote.
How you can take action:
2. And please contact your House representative to ask them to protect taxpayers from costly and unwise investment in terminal groins by opposing S 151 – the Coastal Policy Reform Act of 2013. House committees and perhaps the whole House could vote on these bills next week so it is important to contact your Representative today! Click here to tell your legislators to oppose S 151, the terminal groin bill!
And green building and energy efficiency continued to be targeted.
House Bill 628 “Protect/Promote NC Lumber” sponsored by Rep. Presnell (Haywood, Madison, Yancey) would effectively disallow the state from using the LEED green building certification program. H 628 was approved by the House and will next go to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 201 “Reinstate 2009 Energy Conservation Codes”: In 2012, the Building Code Council adopted a revised Energy Conservation Code requiring 15% more efficiency for new residences and 30% more efficiency for new commercial buildings. This bill was heard in committee this week and the Homebuilders spoke against taking back the residential energy efficiency requirements because they had negotiated a good overall deal for homebuilders when the standard was created. So, the section of the bill that would have affected residential building was removed but H 201 would take commercial energy efficiency building requirements back to 2009 – ⅓ less efficient than is now required. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Torbett (Gaston Co.) and passed the House; it will next be considered by the Senate.
Lastly, North Carolina now has a wind permitting system in place. H 484, Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities, passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McCrory today. The bill establishes a state program for the siting and operation of wind turbines and requires environmental protections as well as consultation with the military.
Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
919.833.8467 x 104
A Sunday Op-ed message from Kelly Martin.
Kelly, I hope that your Mother’s Day was as wonderful as this message!
A mom’s wish: a clean planet for our children
Being a mother of three small children isn’t easy. It’s a seemingly endless juggling act between providing my children with the love and support they need, holding down a full-time job, caring for my marriage and sneaking in a few moments for myself. At the end of the day, of course, I wouldn’t change a thing. Like most moms, I’ll do anything to protect my children, and that’s why I am motivated to fight climate change. Worrying about the climate isn’t quite as bread-and-butter as getting kids to school on time or picking up the groceries, yet I couldn’t have a bigger worry for their future.
Most mothers know children are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses from air pollution because their immune systems and organs are still developing. My children’s generation will face the threat of climate disruption that will have untold impacts on our health if we don’t take action soon.
For me, knowing that the largest source of climate pollution in Western North Carolina is right here in Asheville — Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant — brings the issue home. How many children in WNC would benefit from the cleaner air and water that would come from phasing out this plant and powering our communities with clean energy? If we multiply this by the hundreds of communities across the country that are decreasing their reliance on coal and investing instead in a clean energy, we can begin to see the ripple effects: healthier kids, healthier communities and stronger families. On Mother’s Day, reflecting on what is happening and what our future can look like brings me hope.
Thousands of North Carolina citizens — many of them mothers like me — have taken action this year to stop climate change. In courtrooms, the General Assembly, Utilities Commission public hearings and Duke Energy’s corporate offices, North Carolinians are calling for a clean-energy future that changes the course on climate change.
Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, is also a mother of three. She has the experience and knowledge to develop and implement clean-air standards, like the pending Carbon Pollution Standard for new power plants that will protect our children’s health and address the causes of climate change. She will continue the EPA’s mission to ensure our air is clean and the health of our children and families is protected. We need a strong EPA to protect our kids and a strong leader like McCarthy at the helm. and I hope Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr will vote to confirm her nomination.
This Mother’s Day I plan to spend precious time with my family. And when I return to work on Monday, I hope more moms will join me in advocating for a clean and safe future for our children.
Kelly Martin is the N.C. Beyond Coal Campaign representative for the Sierra Club.
A hodgepodge of bills moved through the NC General Assembly this week while many of the bills we’ve been closely following were put on hold. Legislators are rushing to get their priority bills approved by at least one chamber before the May 16th crossover deadline. A bill must be approved by at least one chamber to have a chance to become law this session. Therefore, the bills which have already been approved by the House or Senate are unlikely to re-emerge for consideration until after next week simply due to lack of time.
The General Assembly continues push to roll back green programs and environmental regulations:
House Bill 628 “Protect/Promote NC Lumber” sponsored by Rep. Presnell (Haywood, Madison, Yancey) would effectively disallow the state from using the LEED green building certification program. H 628 was approved by the House Wednesday in a 78-34 vote; and the House will have to take a final vote on the bill Monday before sending it to the Senate. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary program that provides third-party verification of green buildings and addresses the entire lifecycle of a building. LEED-certified buildings aim to lower operating costs, reduce waste, conserve energy and water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This bill is coming from a national movement by timber companies to promote wood products over others.
Senate Bill 32 “Periodic Review and Expiration of Rules” sponsored by Sen. Hartsell, would make entire categories of rules, including health and environmental, expire automatically in 10 year cycles unless re-adopted. Other states have tried this are having problems with important rules expiring unintentionally. This bill is on the calendar for a final vote by the Senate Monday night. The House has their own version of this bill, House Bill 74, that is less drastic, but still concerning since it adds a whole new rule-making treadmill to an already cumbersome process.
Senate Bill 10, the bill that would fire environmental commissions wholesale so that they could be replaced with new members, died in the House last week. But, this week it was resurrected as House Bill 1011. The Coastal Resources Commission and the Environmental Management Commission would be especially affected as these commissions require substantive expertise which will be lost if all members are fired at once time rather than appointed in the normal way (as terms expire).
And just because these bills didn’t move this week doesn’t mean they are dead:
Neither House Bill 298, the bill that would repeal North Carolina’s renewable energy portfolio standards (REPS), nor its Senate companion bill (Senate Bill 365) moved this week, though the issue of renewable energy in NC continued to get lots of good press.
Senate Bill 612 (sponsored by Senators Brown, Jackson and Brock), the omnibus environmental bill that would prohibit local environmental rules more strict than state or federal, sits in the House Committee on Regulatory Reform while it is negotiated behind the scenes. This bill may also allow power plants to contaminate groundwater beneath surface drinking water supplies. S 612 would authorize “disposal systems” to pollute groundwater within a compliance boundary without triggering cleanup requirements but does not set a limit for location of a compliance boundary. Several power plants dump highly toxic coal ash into ponds with compliance boundaries that extend underneath adjacent rivers and lakes, including drinking water supplies.
S515, the Jordan Lake Rules bill, sponsored by Senators Gunn (Alamance, Randolph) and Wade (Guilford) will be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday. Jordan Lake is a drinking water source for 300,000 people, but nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from upstream collect in the lake. The Jordan Lake rules, designed to restore water quality in the lake, were the subject of a 2009 legislative compromise. The rules set up a process for upstream governments, agriculture, and new development to reduce pollution flowing into the lake. S 515 would allow utility lines in the buffer; these lines can leak. And S 515 would allow piping of streams for any purpose, if the applicant gets permission from the Army Corps of Engineers. These changes could hurt efforts to protect Jordan Lake as a drinking water reservoir.
House Bill 201 “Reinstate 2009 Energy Conservation Codes”: In 2012, the Building Code Council adopted a revised Energy Conservation Code requiring 15% more efficiency for new residences and 30% more efficiency for new commercial buildings. H 201 would reverse this progress and take the Energy Conservation Code back to 2009. Energy efficiency in buildings saves homeowners and businesses money over the long-run and reduces dependence on fossil fuels. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Torbett (Gaston Co.) and is scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee Monday afternoon.
How you can take action:
Please contact your House representative and ask them to support energy efficiency by opposing House Bill 201 “Reinstate 2009 Energy Conservation Codes”. A House commmittee will vote on this measure on Monday so it is important to contact your House rep today!
Cassie Gavin, Director of Government Relations
Over 1,500 NC photo petitions to Duke Energy
Our regularly scheduled meeting for June 26 (the 4th Wednesday of the month) will be held in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Courtroom 5310, located at 832 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC beginning at 6:00 PM (pre-hearing activities at 5:00 PM).
Why you ask? That’s because the North Carolina Utilities Commission has selected Charlotte as a Public Hearing location for the proposed Duke Energy rate hike! We need you, your friends and neighbors, small business owners that you know, members of your house of worship, and others to speak out at the public hearing – No Rate Hikes for Dirty Energy!
- Duke Energy is requesting a rate hike to pay for their outdated business plan that relies on dirty energy and little NC investment in energy efficiency. In fact, they are requesting a rate schedule that would actually penalize energy efficiency and conservation measures with higher rates.
- Duke Energy’s third rate hike since 2009 would boost average residential rates by 13.9% while rates for many large corporations would drop by up to 4%
- With monopoly control over its customers, Duke is seeking a guaranteed profit of 11.25% – a return that far exceeds market levels.
- Despite their greenwashing, Duke is now the world’s second largest power corporation and greenhouse gas emitter. They are the Number 1 Dirty Energy electric utility in the U.S. and are responsible for some of the dirtiest air in the country and causing thousands of asthma attacks, heart attacks and deaths in our state. In North Carolina, we already pay the hidden cost of coal with our health and our environment. We want NC to be more energy efficient and powered by local wind & solar that will employ thousands of North Carolinians
Make plans to arrive early for the peaceful rally, press conference, free pizza, and to sign up to speak. These pre-hearing activities will start at 5:00 PM. Check back for additional information and materials.
See you and hundreds of other concerned ratepayers on June 26th at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Courtroom 5310, located at 832 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC.
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
We’re very lucky to have many voices speaking and acting to save our trees because the loss of canopy in Mecklenburg County is dramatic. Commercial and residential development, billboard carnage, and other pressures are threatening one of our important resources, our beautiful trees. Join us Wednesday, May 22, at 6:30 for “1 Tree, Two Trees, Old Trees, New Trees“. The speakers are Dave Cable, Executive Director of TreesCharlotte, and Patrick George, Chair of The Queen’s Crown.
TreesCharlotte is a public/private collaborative dedicated to planting 15,000 trees annually through volunteer efforts. The collaborative also educates Charlotte’s residents on the importance of the canopy and ways to plant and preserve trees.
The Queen’s Crown promotes the recognition of the majesty of our area tree canopy. The goal is to have people feel as if they can take pride in ownership of, and responsibility for, the Queen’s Crown.
The meeting starts off at 6:30 PM for pizza, refreshments and a chance to meet and socialize with other Sierra Club members and friends. The business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 PM. Non-members and potential new members are very welcome!
Central Piedmont Sierra Club meetings are held in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28203. Cumberland Avenue is off of the 1500 block of East Boulevard.
The program is free and open to the public and you do not have to be a member to attend. Free parking is available.
Bring a friend or two; you’ll be glad you did! See you there…
NOTE: Change in time and location for this Saturday, May 11.
This month we will hold our regularly scheduled Ribbonwalk hike and service day at the Reedy Creek Nature Center.
This month’s scheduled Ribbonwalk hike and service day falls on the same weekend as Reedy Creek’s International Migratory Bird Day celebration.
Please join us at the Reedy Creek nature center between 10:00 AM and 2:00PM. The Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group will have a table set up with more information about other club activities and invasive pieces removal.
There will be several short outings inside the preserve to learn about invasive spices and to remove some Japanese Stilt Grass. The outings will leave the Sierra Club’s table at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30; lasting about 30-45 minutes.
Who: You! Sierra Club members, potential members, and those that love to preserve and protect the environment are welcome to join us.
What: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is one my favorite preserves after Ribbonwalk. It protects 737 acres of natural, forested habitat within Reedy Creek Park. There are over ten miles of hiking trails in the nature preserve for the outdoor enthusiast, giving visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains, while enjoying scenic views of small lakes, forests, fields, streams, and wildlife. Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is also home to Reedy Creek Nature Center and the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies.
When: May 11th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the nature center. Can’t stay for the entire time? No problem.
Where: 2900 Rocky River Rd, Charlotte, NC
Drive into the park to the T intersection and turn right to the nature center
For more information contact Eamon Holmes.
We Spoke and the NC Utilities Commission Listened!
We voiced our concern about the toxic pollution being discharged and leaking from the Riverbend coal ash dumps
We voiced our concerns about Duke Energy’s failure to develop clean renewable energy in NC
We called Duke Energy out for overestimating NC demand growth to justify expensive new methane gas and nuclear plants
Scores of folks spoke to the Climate Crisis and survival of the planet – Duke must now try to defend its Dirty Energy Plan!
In historical and record setting public hearings in Charlotte and Raleigh, hundreds of citizen ratepayers gave testimony as to why the Duke Energy Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would take us in the wrong direction for clean energy and energy efficiency. We spoke and the NC Utilities Commission has taken action!
On Friday, in an unprecedented move, the Commissioners issued an order calling on Duke Energy to justify many of the aspects of the Duke 20-year business plan. Click below to download to read and share the order.
This clearly shows the power of our voice!
Thanks to all the folks that attended the hearings and to those that submitted written comments!
We Spoke and the NC Utilities Commission Listened!
Hope to see you at the Duke Energy Shareholder meeting tomorrow!
Until then, let’s send Jim Rogers a loud message that we want a new energy direction for North Carolina!
Thanks for your support!
|Tell Duke Energy to move beyond coal to clean energy
On this Thursday, May 2, Duke Energy will convene its annual meeting of shareholders. As the country’s largest utility, the choices they make affect our climate, our air, and our water — and they need to hear from you.
At their shareholder meeting, they will discuss our energy future and where they will invest in the coming year. By standing up as a customer, you can demand more clean, renewable energy and point out the risks of fossil fuels.
Duke’s shareholders will be discussing how they can continue to be profitable, and we have a powerful message for them: fossil fuels are a risky investment.
The only sustainable business plan is one that invests in a clean energy future. Duke must move faster in bringing more clean energy and retiring coal to make sure North Carolina stays competitive.
By signing our letter, your voice will be heard in the shareholder meeting. With your help we can let Duke know that the only business plan that will profit in the long term is a plan for a clean energy future.
Thanks for everything you do to protect the environment,
Beyond Coal Campaign
P.S. After you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues!
P.P.S. Can you make it to the shareholder meeting in Charlotte? We’ll be gathered outside the meeting standing up for clean energy. RSVP here if you can make it.