Charlotte Bike Talk! – Oct 9

We invite you to join us next Thursday, October 9, for Charlotte Bike Talk!  
At this free public event you’ll have a chance to participate in an exciting discussion with local and national experts regarding how to make our community more bike-friendly!



Hear from an expert panel of speakers:

Bike Talks Panel
DATE: Thursday, October 9

5:30 – 7:30 pm

Stage Door Theatre @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
101 N College St
Charlotte, NC 28202
United States

2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

At our August meeting we had a great presentation about the Sustain Charlotte 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card – “What would your parents say if you brought home this report card?”

Our September meeting on Wednesday the 24th will feature Heidi Pruess, Environmental Policy Administrator for Mecklenburg County’s Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, as she provides an Update on the Mecklenburg County Livability Plan (Click link for meeting information).

If you haven’t had a chance to review the 2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report, I highly recommend that you do so before the meeting. You can also click the link – Listen – to hear a discussion of the report from a WFAE Charlotte Talks show.

See you on the 24th for our monthly meeting!


WFAE Charlotte Talks: “Mecklenburg County Environmental Report Card” (from March 25, 2014)

Every two years Mecklenburg County does an environmental assessment and delivers an environmental report card of sorts. The report card for the last two years has just been released and we’ll meet with two officials to see how our region fared in Air, Land, Water and Waste use and efficiency. In most aspects the county has fared well but the recession did have an impact in some areas. We’ll find out which ones, what aspects of our environment passed with flying colors and what has room for improvement. We check the county’s environmental grade.

Heidi Pruess
– Community Plan and Sustainability Officer for Mecklenburg County
Jeff Michael – Director, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

The State of the Environment Report (SOER) has been used as an informative tool for understanding the current environmental state of our region while identifying strategies and recommendations to maintain and enhance our quality of life by ensuring clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy land on which to live and recreate.

This 2014 SOER expands on the traditional identification of priority environmental indicators in Mecklenburg County by providing a trend analysis for each environmental indicator during recent history. Each SOER chapter button below provides a list of recommended actions for addressing these priority environmental indicators as well as informative and fun videos.

Visit Air Quality's Chapter Page Visit Land's Chapter Page
Visit Water's Chapter Page Visit Waste's Chapter Page

Environmental Indicators
Environmental Indicators can be found through the chapter buttons above or via the table below. This website will be updated as either the indicator trend changes or as new information becomes available.

Environmental Indicators Key

 Air indicator
Overall Air Quality
Particulate Matter
NOx, SO2, CO, Lead
 Land indicator
Climate Change and Wildlife
Nature Preserves
Facility Planning
 Waste indicator
Commercial Waste
Yard Waste
Residential Waste
Household Hazardous Waste 
 Water indicator
Public Involvement 

If you are interested in exploring trends back to 1987, you are encouraged to read the 2008 SOER. If you are interested in learning more about how Mecklenburg County’s State of the Environment reflects on our region, you are encouraged to read the 2010 SOER or the 2012 SOER.

Mecklenburg County is fortunate to have County staff with both the technical expertise and practical knowledge to produce the information contained in this 2014 edition of the State of the Environment Report. Please join me in thanking them for their determination and skill in producing this exceptional report!

Additional information at



Rein in the fracking industry

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Dear Friends,

Tell EPA to protect our communities and special places from oil and gas drilling.Take action

Take action!

Good news! EPA is considering how to regulate the oil and gas industry.

From beginning to end, fracking only fuels climate disaster. As EPA decides how to regulate this out-of-control industry, let’s remind them we have one chance to get it right and protect our communities and public lands from dirty and dangerous fracking.

Send your letter today, and tell EPA to protect our communities and special places from oil and gas drilling.

Right now, EPA is using outdated information and drastically underestimates how much methane escapes during the drilling process. Pound for pound, methane’s impact on global warming is 86 times greater than carbon dioxide. 1 Will you tell EPA to go back and use the most up-to-date information as they consider how to rein in the oil and gas industry?

The natural gas industry has their eye on a profitable prize — exporting liquefied natural gas to other countries. We already know how fracking pollutes our air and water, how close these drilling rigs are to the places we love, and have seen the extreme weather events fueled by climate-changing gases like methane.

Send your message to EPA. Tell them to take stand against climate change and put the health of our communities before the profits of the oil and gas industry.

Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,

Deb Nardone
Director, Dirty Fuels Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Six letter are even better than one! Please share this with five of your friends and family.

Share this action on Facebook Share this action on Twitter

1. “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change”, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

* New Report Highlights Low-Cost Solutions for HWY 74

Re-post from the Clean Air Carolina eNewsletter:


New Report Highlights Low-Cost Solutions for HWY 74

A new report released last week by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) entitled “A Closer Look at US 74: Challenges and Opportunities” highlights possible upgrades to U.S. Highway 74 in Union County that would improve traffic flow and cost much less than the proposed $800 million Monroe Bypass project. The report, produced by engineering firm O’Connell & Lawrence, Inc., examines a suite of low cost, low impact solutions that would benefit local drivers such as the expansion of turn-lanes, improved coordination of stop lights and the implementation of new “superstreets,” which eliminate left turns and significantly reduce traffic delays while also improving people’s safety.

In 2011, Clean Air Carolina, NC Wildlife Federation and the Yadkin Riverkeeper joined a lawsuit filed by SELC to stop the 20-mile Monroe Connector/Bypass toll road. We believe paving over hundreds of acres of woods and fields to build a 20-mile toll road to the tune of almost $1 billion of taxpayer money is not the answer when there are less expensive and less destructive options available. To read the full report, click here.

* Take Action: Tier 3 Car Mileage / 100 Days of Action

Let your voice be hear! Thanks so much!

Clean Cars=Clean AirTake Action: Clean Cars = Clean Air! Move Forward with Clean Fuel Standards

Right now President Obama has the ability to set “Tier 3” clean-fuel and vehicle standards. These standards would lower the sulfur content of gasoline, thereby reducing air pollution, saving lives, and creating jobs. Big Oil wants to stop these clean fuel standards, but we can’t wait for clean air.

Take Action

Tell President Obama to move forward with Tier 3 clean fuel standards.

100 Days of ActionGet Involved: 100 Days of Action

This week the Sierra Club launched “100 Days of Action on Climate,” a series of local and national actions focused on bringing climate disruption to the forefront of the national conversation and pressing President Obama to be a leader in the climate fight.

During this period, allies and activists from around the country will host events ranging from inauguration-watch parties in New Mexico, to a national climate rally on Presidents Day weekend in Washington, D.C., to town hall meetings across the nation. It’s all part of highlighting the broad support from Americans for fighting the climate crisis.

Join Us!

* Transportation choices needed in Charlotte

Check out this 1945 map of Charlotte transportation. So much has changed! We now have a lot of new roads and some alternative transportation options, but not many. As Shannon Binns, Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte, points out we have an urgent need for new options. Take a read about why this is so important…

Transportation choices needed in Charlotte

By Shannon Binns
Special to the Observer
Posted: Friday, Nov. 02, 2012

Our region is on the cusp of becoming one of America’s great metropolitan areas. Residents and visitors alike can feel it in the air. Our region pulses with vibrancy, energy, and a “can do” spirit that has put us on the map as a terrific place to call home, and to do business. With our population on the rise, now is the time to ensure that our continued growth will actually grow our economy in a way that doesn’t compromise our quality of life.

We face some real challenges on that front. Similar to other metro areas that have largely grown up in the midst of a car-centric lifestyle – such as Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta – Charlotte’s population expansion has spread development across the landscape with little regard for distances, replacing forests and farmland with not just buildings and homes, but also miles upon miles of roads between them.

Traveling those roads has become more time-consuming and costly, with traffic congestion already troublesome for many of us. One out of three workers in our region now spends more than 30 minutes getting to work each day, and the average number of miles we drive has nearly doubled, from less than 11 miles per day in 1982 to over 20 today. Unless we act quickly, our commuting hassles could turn into a congestion crisis.

All that driving leads to more air pollution, too, making Charlotte the 18th smoggiest city in the nation, according to the American Lung Association. This makes it an increasingly unhealthy place to live, especially for senior citizens, children, and people with heart and lung conditions like emphysema, bronchitis and asthma.

More driving also means more fueling, which leads to greater dependence on oil. A newly released analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals that Mecklenburg County has the fourth highest oil consumption per person in the nation. With rising gas prices, and few good alternatives to driving, we have little choice but to spend more of our income at the pump.

Traffic congestion, smog, and our high oil consumption are big problems we need to fix. Fortunately, we have the ability to reverse these growing threats to the vibrancy and health of our region. The solution? More transportation choices – so we aren’t so dependent on cars for getting to the places we want to go. The people who live here prefer investments in transit over roads by a margin of 2 to 1, according to a survey of Mecklenburg residents released last month also by NRDC. Over 70 percent also said they felt they had no choice but to drive and wish they had other options.

Yet having more choices requires investments that diversify our transportation system, not just increases the number of roads.

Now here’s the great news. Expanding our choices by investing in transit is also better for putting people to work: a 2010 study by Smart Growth America found that money invested in public transit produces jobs far more efficiently than money spent on roads – nearly double the job-months. For every $1 billion invested in public transit more than 16,400 job-months were realized, while $1 billion in roads spending resulted in slightly less than 8,000 job-months.

There is more great news: we already have a transit plan for the metro area. If we fund it, the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan will consist of 25 miles of commuter rail, 21 miles of light rail, 16 miles of streetcar, 14 miles of bus rapid transit and an expanded network of buses and other transit services. That plan just needs to be put into action – the sooner, the better. The recent announcement that the federal government will pay half of the costs to extend the Blue Line to UNCC is terrific, but how we’ll fund the rest of the 2030 plan has yet to be decided. This is worrisome.

Given the long list of benefits (better health, reduced travel times, lower costs), and the fact that the people who live here not only want more choices, but have also expressed a clear preference for investing in transit, the time to invest in our transit system, and ensure we carry out the robust plan we have created, is now.

On behalf of everyone living in our region today, as well as our children and grandchildren – whose lives will be directly affected by our decisions today – Sustain Charlotte thanks our elected leaders for their decision to extend the Blue Line. Join us in encouraging them to continue making these investments in our future.

Shannon Binns is founder and director of Sustain Charlotte. To learn more and add your voice, visit