Sustainable Commute Challenge – Win $50

Do you walk, bike, or ride transit in Charlotte? Sustain Charlotte’s Transportation Choices Alliance is giving away $50 every weekday in November to the contestant whose photo attracts the most ‘Likes’ in our Sustainable Commute Challenge! Everyone in the Charlotte region is eligible to enter: www.movecharlottesmarter.org/challenge

TCA Challenge

Now you can vote early in NC, your three-step plan

early_voting_mgn

This is a critical election and every vote will make a difference!

If you agree it’s a critical time for leaders to take action on climate change and promote clean energy jobs and development here in North Carolina make a plan to vote early!

North Carolina’s early voting program lets you vote when it’s convenient for you (even on Saturday and Sunday), rather than finding time on Election Day.

Here’s your three step guide to voting in this year’s important election:

1. Vote early: We recommend you vote early—voting early means you can vote when it’s convenient for you, including on the weekend! Early voting begins on Oct. 23rd. Find out more about early voting in NC dates, times, and locations by visiting your county’s Board of Elections website.
2. Know your ballot: View a sample ballot and other information before you vote.
3. Know your rights and the rules of voting in NC: Visit NC Election Connection’s Protect My Vote page.

Due to the changes in election and voting law there has been some confusion about early voting and photo ID. North Carolinians can still vote early. And—until 2016— you generally do not have to show identification to vote. However, if you are a newly registered voter or if you have never voted at your current address, then you may be required to show ID. (You do not need a photo ID. Examples of ID that you could bring include: driver’s license, utility bill, pay-stub, bank statement).

We encourage you to reach out to your friends and family in North Carolina to make sure that they are prepared for the election as well.

For more information about Charlotte early voting sites, election rules, etc. check out http://charlottesierraclub.org/political-2/elections-2014/

Be there! Crucial Oct 27th Charlotte City Council Vote on Stormwater Controls

The agenda was published yesterday and the vote for THE Most Important Environmental Decision of the year is scheduled for  6:30 PM, October 27th at the Government Center, 600 E. Fourth Street, Charlotte NC (free evening parking in Fourth Street parking deck). Check out the agenda items below.

Plan to attend the meeting and bring a sign calling for VOTE NO on this weakening of our clean water protections.

If you really want to learn more about the details, you can read this article in Creative Loafing: http://clclt.com/charlotte/developers-vs-the-environment/Content?oid=3534215

But here’s what you need to do immediately:

Send a letter, email or call the Mayor and as many City Council members as you can and tell them to oppose the extension of the temporary policy that allows developers to pay a fee to avoid on-site pollution controls. This fee is called a “fee-in-lieu,” meaning the developer makes a payment “in-lieu” of doing what is needed to control on-site pollution. While the payment will theoretically be used by the City storm water department to help clean-up our streams, that’s a backwards way of approaching the problem and will harm our streams. On-site pollution controls are needed.

Here are some talking points that you can use:

  • Please oppose the extension of the “fee-in-lieu” to the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance.
  • Over 80% of our streams are impaired and not fit for human contact.
  • This is Charlotte’s most important ordinance for water quality.
  • PCCO provides on-site regulations that are needed and cannot be replaced by less effective mitigation. On-site controls offer the best method of controlling pollution.
  • PCCO was a compromise. A group of stakeholders met over several years to develop the ordinance. We can’t compromise on the compromise.
  • It’s unrealistic to believe that development is being stopped by the PCCO.
  • We should actually strengthen PCCO by requiring on-site filters.
  • This is an example of paid staff from the development community trying to wear down citizens who have limited time to stay informed and involved in complicated issues. Citizens lose faith in the government and the process when this occurs.
  • We should rename PCCO to “Charlotte Stream Protection Law” so that citizens can recognize its importance.
  • This is an opportunity for the City Council to show environmental leadership and accountability.

Scroll down to see the email and phone numbers for the Mayor and City Council members.

 

PCCO Agenda Oct 27 2014 A

PCCO Agenda Oct 27 2014 B

PCCO Agenda Oct 27 2014 C

PCCO Agenda Oct 27 2014 D

Here’s the contact information for the Mayor and City Council:

Mayor   Daniel (Dan) Clodfelter   E-mail:  mayor@charlottenc.gov   Phone:  704-336-2241

Mayor Pro Tem

Michael Barnes   Email: barnesforcharlotte@gmail.com Phone: 704-509-6141

Council At-Large:

David Howard   Email: info@davidhowardclt.com Phone: 704-336-4099

Claire Green Fallon   Email: cfallon@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-6105

Vi Lyles   Email: vlyles@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3431

District Representatives:

Patsy Kinsey, District 1   Email: pkinsey@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3432 or 704-376-5367

Al Austin, District 2   Email: aaustin@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3185

LaWana Mayfield, District 3   Email:     lmayfield@charlottenc.gov Phone:   704-336-3435 (office) or 704-352-7305 (cell)

Greg Phipps, District 4   Email: gaphipps@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3436

John Autry, District 5   Email: jautry@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-2777

Kenny Smith, District 6   Email: krsmith@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3433

Ed Driggs, District 7   Email:ed@eddriggs.com Phone: 704-432-7077

 

This is critically important. If we lose this battle, we’ll lose the opportunity to clean-up our polluted streams.

Box Creek Wilderness Update – October 23

Here’s an update about the plan to run a powerline through the Box Creek Wilderness in Rutherford and McDowell counties. Thanks to the great folks involved in this fight. If you would like to join in and support this fight, or if you have any questions, email Elly Wells.

Box Creek Wilderness News

Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors  Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors  Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors

Thank You!

We’ve had a great start to the fall with a booth at the Rutherford Hilltop Festival on October 4, and the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion on October 11. We met lots of new friends and had more than 240 people sign our petition to save Box Creek between the two events.

Our total number of Save Box Creek petition signatures is now at 1,802! Whether you signed the petition online or at a festival booth, we appreciate your support and ongoing interest in the future of Box Creek Wilderness.

New Policy for Speaking at REMC Annual Meeting

Several of you have asked us about speaking (on topics ranging from the Box Creek Wilderness issue to alternate energy to capital credit payments) at this Saturday’s October 25, 2014 REMC Annual Member Meeting; some of you have then contacted REMC directly to inquire about speaking.

Last year at the 2013 meeting, two people asked to speak at the meeting and permission was granted and they spoke; time limit was three minutes.

Based on information supporters have shared with us, REMC has apparently changed its policy for the 2014 Annual Member Meeting in the following ways:

  • REMC requires that you send them a written request to speak at the meeting two weeks in advance (Saturday Oct. 11 for this year’s Oct. 25 meeting);
  • REMC requests that the written request to speak outline your proposed remarks so that the General Manager may obtain information related to your remarks before the meeting;
  • Remarks should be limited to topics of general interest to REMC or its members that relate to the business of REMC;
  • REMC’s General Manager has the discretion to approve or decline your submitted remarks;
  • If REMC’s General Manager allows you to speak in his discretion, you will be allowed no more than three minutes to speak; and
  • If more than 10 members request to speak, REMC will limit the number of speakers.
  • REMC has not published this new policy on its website yet, so details would need to be confirmed by REMC.

November 8: Autumn Hike in Box Creek

 

Box Creek Wilderness HikersWe’re excited to announce another oppportunity to hike in Box Creek Wilderness. Saturday, November 8, 2014 — hikers will meet at 9:45AM on Box Creek Road to begin the hike at 10:00AM sharp. The hike will be about three miles round-trip, with a stop at the top of Rockey Face Mountain.

If you are interested in attending this hike, please email us with the number of people in your party and their names. Hike spaces are limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to sign up to attend. More detailed directions and information will be provided to those who sign up for the hike.

About the Hike
Box Creek Wilderness Hikers at Rockey FaceOur hike will be led by conservation biologist Kevin Caldwell of Mountains-to-Sea Ecological. It will go through the heart of Box Creek Wilderness, allowing participants to look at rare forest types including alluvial forests, dry basic oak-hickory forests and piedmont basic glades. Topics such as rare species, unusual plants, watersheds, geology, rocks, natural communities, and restoration ecology will be discussed. The hike will take a rest break top of Rockey Face, with broad sweeping views. No dogs please.

Difficulty
The hike is strenuous and may involve some hiking off-trail.

If you would like to join this hike, or if you have any questions, email Elly Wells, Box Creek Wilderness Communications or call (828) 258-3387.]

Legal Updates

Box Creek Wilderness Case

Last month, September 2014, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part the October 2013 case dismissal decision by the Rutherford County Superior Court with respect to the condemnation of the portion of Box Creek Wilderness in McDowell County. The Court of Appeals concluded that the condemnation of the Box Creek Wilderness property located in McDowell County could not go forward in the Box Creek Wilderness case, but that the Rutherford County portion could go forward.

On October 8, 2014, attorneys representing Box Creek Wilderness landowner Tim Sweeney filed a petition with the Court of Appeals to reconsider that decision based on legal errors, arguing that the condemnation of all of Box Creek Wilderness, including that portion in Rutherford County, should be dismissed. As of today October 15, 2014, the Court of Appeals has not ruled on the petition. In addition, the second lawsuit REMC filed to condemn additional property of Tim’s in the Copperleaf Tract, is still pending in Superior Court.

Tim’s offer to donate property he owns for an alternate right of way for the transmission line, which would keep the new line from bisecting this Natural Heritage Area in McDowell and Rutherford, still stands.

Rights of Members to Information for Non-profit Corporations in NC

In a separate case regarding the disclosure of information to members of non-profit corporations in North Carolina like REMC — In August 2014, the Rutherford County Superior Court ruled that Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation is governed by the North Carolina Non-profit Act, which includes laws that protect members of non-profit corporations and provides all members of such corporations access to information about the corporation including board meeting minutes, financial reports, the member list, and other information typically afforded to members of a non-profit corporation.

The court recognized that this information is needed by members in order for them to meaningfully participate in member activities, such as annual member meetings and the nomination of directors.  REMC has appealed that decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Tell the EPA: Nuclear Power is NOT part of the Climate Solution

We need your voice! The EPA has extended the public comment period on the Clean Power Plan proposed carbon rule through December 1, 2014. The Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign strongly supports EPA’s move toward reducing CO2 emissions, but their inclusion of nuclear reactors as a reliable source of electricity is a mistake. Tell EPA to remove all support for nuclear power from its Carbon Rule and instead, strongly promote a speedy transition from fossil fuels and nuclear to renewables and energy efficiency.

Sierra Club Nuclear Free logo

Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign

COMMENTS ON THE EPA CARBON RULE

TELL EPA: NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT PART OF THE CLIMATE SOLUTION!

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed rule for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing electrical generation units. This is an important and historic step toward addressing climate change. But EPA’s support of nuclear power and underplaying of the importance of renewables and efficiency is of serious concern.

☢ The EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule supports building new nuclear reactors (power plants) and maintaining existing reactors as an alternative to burning fossil fuels.

☢ The rule encourages states to prevent even the most uncompetitive nuclear reactors from closing.

☢ The rule underestimates the advantages of renewable energy and energy efficiency as the best alternatives for reducing carbon emissions. The rule should acknowledge that renewables and efficiency can produce the power we need without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power AND they can remove more carbon per dollar spent in a shorter time. Numerous studies have shown that this transition needs only the political will to make it happen.

☢ New nuclear reactors cost billions of dollars and take many years to bring on line. Renewable energy, and especially energy efficiency, are much cheaper and their development is already underway.

☢ EPA incorrectly claims that nuclear power is reliable. This ignores the many times nuclear reactors had to shut for years due to warm water temperatures, flooding, and extreme weather events, all of which will worsen as the climate warms.

☢ Nuclear power is far from carbon-free. Fossil fuels are used for uranium mining, milling, processing, conversion, enrichment, transportation and construction of reactors. Huge amounts of energy will be needed to isolate nuclear waste for millennia—a task which science has so far not been able to address. Large amounts of water are also used to operate and cool the reactors.

☢ EPA seriously minimizes the problem of radioactive waste. In fact, they erroneously contend that radioactive waste avoids the problem of waste from coal-fired generation! Waste from coal is a serious problem but radioactive waste is extremely dangerous and remains so for millions of years. EPA also ignores the routine radioactive releases at all reactors and the several U.S. close calls to nuclear meltdowns. The Sierra Club maintains that the first step toward dealing with nuclear waste and radioactive pollution is to stop generating it.

☢ The proposed rule improperly calls for reductions in CO2 from 2005 levels. The problem is that CO2 levels in 2005 were the highest ever. In fact, current levels of CO2 are 15% less than in 2005. The proposed rule should at least use current levels, or more appropriately, 1990 levels.

☢ The nuclear industry is looking to gain carbon credits—we say these carbon credits are undeserved, but in any case the industry is asking for carbon credits for nuclear power. These very credits will allow the industry to burn more coal. How does EPA propose that we obtain our national energy supply if we cut carbon but do not strongly emphasize moving as quickly as possible to sustainable, renewable replacement sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and efficiency?

☢ Currently EPA has out an Advanced Notice for comments on Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations. Unless the current Radiation Protection Standards are strengthened, EPA will continue to have lower standards for protection from radioactivity than the standards they have for protection from other pollutants. EPA’s “acceptable” cancer risk range is 1 in a million to 1 in 10,000 for other pollutants. Their allowable limit for radioactive exposure is 25 millirems per year. If a person’s lifespan is 70 years, the risk becomes 1cancer per 500 persons for radioactivity. It is worrisome that EPA does not mention strengthening its standards in its Advanced Notice for Comments, leaving the public to wonder if they are planning to lower their standards even further. So on the one hand, EPA is encouraging economic subsidies to nuclear power, while on the other hand EPA might change standards to allow more radioactive pollution from the nuclear fuel chain.

EPA has extended the public comment period on the Clean Power Plan proposed carbon rule through December 1, 2014. The Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign strongly supports EPA’s move toward reducing CO2 emissions, but their inclusion of nuclear reactors as a reliable source of electricity is a mistake. Tell EPA to remove all support for nuclear power from its Carbon Rule and instead, strongly promote a speedy transition from fossil fuels and nuclear to renewables and energy efficiency.

Comments can be made online at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602-0001. Reference Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602. There is reference in this link that comments are due by October 16. However, the deadline has been extended through Dec. 1, which the top of the right-hand column confirms. Alternatively, fax to 202-566-9744 or mail to EPA Docket Center, Mailcode 28221T, Attn: Docket OAR–2013-0602, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Crucial Charlotte City Council vote on stormwater controls – Oct 27

303d map 2012

To Sierra Club members and the Charlotte Environmental Community:

Are you satisfied that over 80% of the streams in Charlotte are unfit for human contact?

We certainly hope not. And we need you to take a few minutes to do something about it. On Monday night, 10/27/14, the Charlotte City Council will vote on a measure that stands to weaken the ordinance that protects our streams. It’s called the “Post-Construction Controls Ordinance” (PCCO), but it really should be called the “Charlotte Stream Protection Law.” It requires that builders use on-site controls to reduce the storm water runoff that pollutes our streams. The development community wants weaken this law by extending to developers a “get out of jail free card” called the fee-in-lieu.

If you really want to learn more about the details, you can read this article in Creative Loafing:

http://clclt.com/charlotte/developers-vs-the-environment/Content?oid=3534215

But here’s what you need to do immediately:

Send a letter, email or call the Mayor and as many City Council members as you can and tell them to oppose the extension of the temporary policy that allows developers to pay a fee to avoid on-site pollution controls. This fee is called a “fee-in-lieu,” meaning the developer makes a payment “in-lieu” of doing what is needed to control on-site pollution. While the payment will theoretically be used by the City storm water department to help clean-up our streams, that’s a backwards way of approaching the problem and will harm our streams. On-site pollution controls are needed.

Here are some talking points that you can use:

  • Please oppose the extension of the “fee-in-lieu” to the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance.
  • Over 80% of our streams are impaired and not fit for human contact.
  • This is Charlotte’s most important ordinance for water quality.
  • PCCO provides on-site regulations that are needed and cannot be replaced by less effective mitigation. On-site controls offer the best method of controlling pollution.
  • PCCO was a compromise. A group of stakeholders met over several years to develop the ordinance. We can’t compromise on the compromise.
  • It’s unrealistic to believe that development is being stopped by the PCCO.
  • We should actually strengthen PCCO by requiring on-site filters.
  • This is an example of paid staff from the development community trying to wear down citizens who have limited time to stay informed and involved in complicated issues. Citizens lose faith in the government and the process when this occurs.
  • We should rename PCCO to “Charlotte Stream Protection Law” so that citizens can recognize its importance.
  • This is an opportunity for the City Council to show environmental leadership and accountability.

Here’s the contact information for the Mayor and City Council:

Mayor

Daniel (Dan) Clodfelter

E-mail:  mayor@charlottenc.gov

Phone:  704-336-2241

Mayor Pro Tem

Michael Barnes

Email: barnesforcharlotte@gmail.com Phone: 704-509-6141

Council At-Large:

David Howard

Email: info@davidhowardclt.com Phone: 704-336-4099

Claire Green Fallon

Email: cfallon@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-6105

Vi Lyles

Email: vlyles@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3431

District Representatives:

Patsy Kinsey, District 1

Email: pkinsey@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3432 or 704-376-5367

Al Austin, District 2

Email: aaustin@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3185

LaWana Mayfield, District 3

Email:     lmayfield@charlottenc.gov Phone:   704-336-3435 (office) or 704-352-7305 (cell)

Greg Phipps, District 4

Email: gaphipps@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3436

John Autry, District 5

Email: jautry@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-2777

Kenny Smith, District 6

Email: krsmith@charlottenc.gov Phone: 704-336-3433

Ed Driggs, District 7

Email:ed@eddriggs.com Phone: 704-432-7077

This is critically important. If we lose this battle, we’ll lose the opportunity to clean-up our polluted streams. And one more thing. We need to know that you’ve taken action. Please copy David Robinson, Charlotte Sierra Club Group Chair, on your emails or let him know that you’ve made calls or sent letters. David’s email address is: takahula@gmail.com .

Take Action: Protect America’s Water and Children from Chemical Facilities

Saturday was the anniversary of the Clean Water Act. How about taking some action today!

Take Action: EPA must protect children from chemical facilities

Take Action: EPA Must Protect Children from Chemical Facilities

The statistics are staggering: One in three children in the United States attends a school within the danger zone of a hazardous chemical facility. Half of these kids (more than 10 million students) attend schools in the danger zone of more than one facility. After a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas, last year, President Obama announced an executive order (#13650) instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to work with other government agencies to find ways to strengthen protections and prevent future disasters.

Take Action
The public comment period is closing soon, so send a note today and tell EPA Administrator McCarthy you support swift action and strong prevention requirements!

 

Take Action: Protect America's water

Take Action: Protect America’s Water

Forty years ago, two-thirds of America’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters were unsafe for fishing and swimming. Because of the Clean Water Act, that number has since been cut in half. However, one-third of our nation’s waters are still in trouble. The Obama administration has proposed a new protection to clarify which wetlands and streams in the U.S. are covered under the Clean Water Act. This proposal will finally restore protections, as originally intended, to almost all of the nation’s fresh waters — ensuring safe drinking water for 117 million Americans.

Take Action
The deadline for comments has been extended until November 14! Send a message to the EPA in support of its proposal to protect America’s streams and wetlands from dangerous pollution!