* North Carolina Chapter – Footnotes Newsletter

 :North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

You’ve heard Sierrans talking about offshore wind for over a year now.  Well, the Governor’s office just heard about it from her own Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy.

That’s right; the report released by the panel found that North Carolina has the best offshore wind resources on the East coast. Further, it concluded that we should do more to bring this industry to our state.

Whether pushing for offshore wind or pushing back against hastily fracking in the state, Sierrans are stepping up this year.  If you want to step up, too, this month’s issue of Footnotes offers some good ideas of places to start.

A pleasure, as always,
Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

 
Wind Forum - convio.jpg

Offshore Wind: The People Are Ready

When will wind win?  It’s a question that Sierrans have been asking for a while.  And the public is ready!

When the Offshore Wind team hosted a forum in Morehead City, more than 200 people showed up.  The picture on the right doesn’t do the event justice.

And when the Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel released its findings, Sierrans were ready to respond.

If you want to join the offshore wind team, contact Carina at carina.barnett-loro@sierraclub.org.

And be sure to check the ‘In the News’ section of Footnotes for articles about the forum and the findings of the Scientific Advisory Panel.

Fracking Hearings Coming Up Soon!

Talk About Fracking - convio.jpg

When the NC Chapter launched TheDailyFrack.com, we did not expect so many people to notice.  But notice they did.  Maybe legislators will notice how passionate the public is about protecting our air and water when the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) holds public hearings next month.

If you want to get involved in our fracking campaign, contact Travis at travis.hargett@sierraclub.org.

People are planning to come from all across the state to give DENR feedback on their report.  Will you join them?

Here are some specifics about the two hearings that will help you plan ahead:

Sanford, NC – March 20 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – The Wicker Center, 1801 Nash Street, Sanford, NC (map)

Chapel Hill – March 27 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – East Chapel Hill High School, 500 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC (map)

Last Call to Attend the NC Sierra Club’s Political Training

The NC Sierra Club will be hosting a political training for group leaders and volunteers. This training is a great opportunity to learn how the Sierra Club can use its grassroots strength to help win targeted local, state, and federal elections.
Topics to be covered include:

NC Legislature: the good and bad guys;
Identification of key races and targets;
Recruiting and building strong political committees and action teams;
Best practices to GOTV (phone banks, direct mail, canvasing etc..); and,
How to organize a PAC fundraiser.

Saturday, February 18 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  To participate in this training, please sign-up here.

If you have questions, please call or email Travis Hargett at travis.hargett@sierraclub.org  or  919.833.8467

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. This requires a $10 fee for each participant.

Sierra Club In the News

Convio News.jpg

Sierrans are stepping up big time in 2012.  Here are some of the news stories where Sierrans have contributed to the public dialogue about our key issues.

If you are feeling inspired, consider contacting your local group to see how can stand up on issues that matter in your community.

Offshore Wind News

Sierrans responding to the findings by the Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel that North Carolina has the best offshore wind resources on the East coast.

News and Observer
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/02/09/1840756/nc-panel-touts-wind-energy-use.html

The same story ran in the Greensboro News and Record
http://www.news-record.com/content/2012/02/09/article/nc_panel_touts_wind_energy_use

Coastal News 14 - Wilmington
http://coastal.news14.com/content/top_stories/653569/energy-experts-urge-gov–perdue-to-support-offshore-wind-farm

WECT – NBC 6 - Wilmington
http://www.wect.com/story/16903905/report-nc-has-largest-offshore-wind-resource-on-east-coast

Offshore Wind Wire
http://offshorewindwire.com/2012/02/08/panel-backs-nc-wind/

Billboard News

Sierrans were quick to talk about the impact new rules that allow billboard companies to cut down public trees by our roadways.

Charlotte Observer
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/28/2965719/roadside-trees-will-be-lost-to.html

WSOC-TV
http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/law-gives-billboard-companies-power-cut-down-trees/nHRHy/

Asheville Citizen Times
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120206/OUTDOORS/302060027/Tree-cutting-bill-stirs-controversy-Asheville?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFrontpage%7Cp

Progressive Pulse
http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/01/27/chopped-trees-billboards-and-rep-laroque/

And thanks to these stories, editorial boards have been voicing their own concerns about new billboard rules:

Charlotte Observer Editorial

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/02/05/2986024/billboard-rules-bow-to-wrong-kind.html

Southern Pines Pilot Editorial

http://www.thepilot.com/news/2012/feb/08/billboard-firms-win-trees-lose/

‘The Fracking Truth’ News

When the NC Chapter launched it’s fracking campaign, the media and the public were keen to take notice.

Greensboro News and Record ran the same story that appeared in the Fayetteville Observer
http://www.news-record.com/content/2012/01/25/article/sierra_clubs_nc_chapter_launching_campaign_against_fracking

http://fayobserver.com/articles/2012/01/24/1152456

Durham Herald Sun
http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/17291915/article-Business-Briefs–Jan–26

Facing South
http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/01/anti-fracking-campaign-launched-in-north-carolina-as-pressure-grows-for-gas-drilling.html

Southern Pines Pilot
http://www.thepilot.com/news/2012/feb/01/boles-part-fracking-group-visiting-pennsylvania/

News and Observer Business Blog
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/business/sierra-club-launches-fracking-website

NC Utilities Law Blog
http://ncutilitieslaw.com/archive/2012/01/25/chad.aspx

Upcoming Events

Community Meeting on Fracking

February 16 – 7:00 p.m. – Bull City Forward, 101 W. Main St., Durham, NC 27701 (map)

Christa Wagner, a policy analyst in the Commerce Dept. will present on the economic viability of gas drilling in North Carolina. She’ll discuss the type of infrastructure needed to support the industry, where the demand for gas is, and the possible risks and benefits. Afterwards, we’ll host a social and discuss ways to get involved with the Sierra Club in Durham.

Click here to let us know that you are coming!

2012 Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference

March
 8 – 9 - Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St, Charlotte, NC (map)

This event is a first of its kind that highlights Southeastern assets for wind energy deployment within the region.  The conference is a collaborative effort involving more than 40 regional stakeholders from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Topics will include the region’s supply chain, resource, and market strengths to educate decision makers about costs, benefits, and policy options for wind energy.  Offshore and coastal onshore wind energy will be discussed a the conference with a concentration on offshore wind energy.

Click here for more information.

DENR Holds Public Meetings on Fracking

Sanford, NC – March 20 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – The Wicker Center, 1801 Nash Street, Sanford, NC (map)

Chapel Hill – March 27 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – East Chapel Hill High School, 500 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC (map)

The agency’s draft report on Fracking will be made available on DENR’s website in early March (at which time a public comment period will begin), and findings from the report will be presented at these two public meetings.  Comments will be accepted at these meetings, as well as via mail and email.

Outings

Near Asheville

Pisgah

March 2 – 5 – Creekside Loop – Pisgah

Billed as a “gentle 11 mile loop with minimal climbing and enough camping opportunities to tweak your itinerary,” this outing is surely going to enjoyed by all who attend.  The hike has a moderate skill rating and covers many trails – the Mullinax Trail, Laurel Creek Trail, Bradley Creek Trail, and the Riverside Trail.

Space is limited, so be sure to make your plans today!

Contact: Jerry Weston at takeahike@earthlink.net or at 336.856.1431 (please call before 9:00 p.m.)

For more information on Sierra Club Outings check out the Outings Calendar. 

Want to know the latest? Join us on Facebook or Twitter!

Join us on Facebook NC Chapter on Twitter

VA Line

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.

Money Flower

Donate Button

* Dumping Dioxin on Dixie and Charlotte

New article from The Institute for Southern Studies speaks frankly about dioxin emission in the South.

Please note the highlighted words, as they pertain to the Charlotte area. Based on information contained in this report, Gerdau Ameristeel is the 2nd largest emitter of air borne dioxins, the active agent in Agent Orange for which there is no known safe level. See the map below for schools, parks, and other facilies surrounding this piont source for this deadly toxin.

As environmental health advocates call on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to release a long-awaited report on the health impact of dioxins, an analysis by Facing South finds that Southern communities bear a disproportionate burden of industrial dioxin pollution.

A class of toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in the food chain, dioxins have been linked to a host of health problems including immune-system damage, hormone disruption and cancer — and at very low levels of exposure. Environmental dioxin pollution has been declining since the 1970s, but the EPA says current exposure levels “remain a concern.”

That’s why the agency has undertaken a reassessment of the chemicals’ effects on human health. The EPA has said it would release the non-cancer portion of the reassessment this month, with the cancer portion to follow “as expeditiously as possible.” The reassessment has been delayed for decades amid political pressure from industry.

EPA is expected to recommend an intake limit of 0.7 picograms of dioxin per kilogram of body weight per day, The Atlantic reports. (A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram.) The anticipated limit is lower than the 1 to 4 picogram limit set by the European Union for various foods.

Americans get most of their dioxin exposure from eating dairy products, meat, fish, poultry and eggs, which shows why blood dioxin levels are much lower in vegans, who do not eat animal products.

So how does dioxin get into the environment in the first place? Some is produced by natural events such as volcanoes and forest fires. Another source is open trash burning. But most dioxin pollution is a byproduct of industry, with plants producing chemicals, steel, cement and paper topping the list of the heaviest dioxin polluters in the United States. Wood preservation plants are another major dioxin source as some use chemicals similar to dioxins in the preserving process.

The chart below — click on image for a larger version — lists the 30 U.S. industrial facilities that released the highest levels of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds to the air and surface water in 2010, using self-reported data from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory.

Some observations:

* The South bears a disproportionate burden of dioxin pollution, with 25 of the 30 worst dioxin polluters located in Southern states. There are six major dioxin-emitting facilities in Alabama, five in Louisiana, four in Texas and three in North Carolina.

* The worst dioxin polluter in 2010 was Westlake Vinyls in Calvert City, Ky., which reported releasing over 14,000 grams — more than 31 pounds — of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds to surface waters in 2010 alone. Calvert City, located on a heavily industrialized section of the Tennessee River, has been called a “national sacrifice area” by environmental justice advocates because of its unusually heavy concentration of polluting industry.

* Michigan-based Dow Chemical owns the second and third-biggest dioxin emitters, in Texas and Louisiana respectively. And the Kansas-based conglomerate Koch Industries through its Georgia-Pacific subsidiary owns three of these top dioxin-emitting facilities — two in Alabama and another in Arkansas.

* Several other major industrial emitters of dioxins are owned by foreign corporations, including companies based in Brazil, Germany, Taiwan and Canada.

* Frack, Baby, Frack?

Check out this EnergyVox Blog about Fracking Facts:
January30

Frack, Baby, Frack?

By: Allison Fisher

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama embraced the development of unconventional natural gas. In step with the theme of the address, the president highlighted both the abundance of the domestic resource and its job creation potential.

President Obama Overstates the Benefits of Natural Gas

In response, anti-fracking groups including the National Grassroots Coalition, United for Action, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and Protecting Our Waters immediately challenged the resource supply and job statistics cited by President Obama, saying in an email to supports,

He was referring to industry-produced studies predicting 600,000 jobs as estimates from “experts”, but the real experts — the Bureau of Labor Statistics — predict less than one-fourth that numbers by 2018.

And the president, like the industry, fails to estimate how many jobs will be lost — far too many farmers, for example, have already lost their livelihoods due to extreme pollution and animal deaths caused by shale gas drilling.

The President overstated the amount of shale gas believed to be recoverable: proven reserves will provide 7 to 11 years, and unproven (speculative) reserves may provide up to 20 years, which does not add up to 100. The federal Energy Information Agency just dropped its estimate from Marcellus reserves down to 6 years from its previous estimate of 17 years.

Disagreement about the amount of natural gas that can be recovered from shale and how many jobs could be created by this industry is certainly an important discussion, but it is secondary to the discussion of whether or not extracting this resource can be done safely.

Chemical Disclosure Requirement Would Only Apply to a Small Percentage of Wells

President Obama followed his endorsement of natural gas development by stating that he will require all companies that drill on public land to disclose chemical use “because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.” This proposed disclosure requirement, which is currently making its way through the Department of Interior rulemaking process, seems intended to soothe public anxiety around the practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. However, the rule referenced here would apply only to gas drilling on public land.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, only about 11 percent of all U.S. natural gas production occurred on federal land, and the department estimates that hydraulic fracturing is used for about 90 percent of gas wells drilled on public lands.

The vast majority of fracking is done on private land, and only a handful of the 33 states where fracking occurs have adopted some kind of requirement that the chemicals used be disclosed to the public. In fact, according to a report prepared by the Wilderness Society for the Department of Energy’s subcommittee on natural gas, “only one [state] requires full public disclosure of the chemical components of hydraulic fracturing fluids: Wyoming. Three other states (Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee) provided some disclosure of chemicals, but not to the public or in sufficient detail.”

Disclosure Requirements are Not Enough

And while it is clear that we need a national standard for disclosure of fracking chemicals, this alone would not safeguard the public against the risks associated with fracking. Many questions about the safety of this practice remain unanswered. There have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near drilling sites around the country. Meanwhile, the industry is drilling new wells at an alarming pace. According to a ProPublica investigation, between 2003 and 2008, the number of new wells drilled in fracking states increased 42 percent. Aside from the rulemaking for drilling on public lands being undertaken by the Department of Interior, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are conducting studies on the safety and impacts of hydraulic fracking.

At the minimum, fracking should be halted before the conclusion of these studies. And it goes without saying, that the president should not be promoting an underregulated and unproven technology as a central component of his energy platform.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

* NC Sierra Club – January Footnotes Online

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Sierra Club Members,

As 2012 begins, members of NC Sierra Club show no sign of slowing down.  Sierrans worked tirelessly last year to support a transportation referendum, promote offshore wind, and push back against the construction of a coal powered cement kiln on the coast. This year, Sierrans are already hard at work, proposing positive clean energy solutions, elevating the dialogue about what lifting the fracking ban in NC would mean, fighting Titan Cement, and planning ways to bring pro-environmental candidates back to positions of leadership in the legislature. This is bound to be an exciting year! Please enjoy the first edition of Footnotes online for 2012!

Sincerely, Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

2012: The Issues

Solar Goes Local

Local Solar

Most of us have seen ‘Eat Local’ stickers and t-shirts around.  But what if folks tried just as hard to get local clean energy as they do to get local food? That’s just the idea behind one issue the NC Chapter will be working on this year.

Many businesses and landowners want to lease their rooftops and property to other companies that could install and maintain solar panels and sell the clean energy.

It’s a simple concept, but it’s not allowed in North Carolina.  This process, known as Third Party Sales, would allow small and large businesses to lease their property to meet their own energy needs.

If you want to help make Third Party Sales a realty in North Carolina, join the NC Sierra Club Lobby Corps. today!

 

Fracking

 Truth twitter.jpg

Fracking. You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it. So, let’s learn about what it could mean for communities in North Carolina.

To help move this dialogue along, the NC Chapter of the Sierra Club will be launching ‘The Fracking Truth’, a public awareness campaign, on January 25, 2012.

This campaign will provide resources, conversation, and news about fracking.

Sign up for your invitation to the virtual launch on January 25, and join the conversation about Fracking and North Carolina.

 

Offshore Wind

The Offshore Wind campaign generated tons of attention last year.  And rightfully so.  With North Carolina having the best offshore wind resources on the East coast, it’s no surprise that residents want investment and jobs in our communities.

Sierran Steve Benbow hit the nail on the head when he told the Morehead City Council, “It’s not a cure-all but wind can be part of the future in providing clean alternative energy.”

Steve also announced an Offshore Wind Forum in Morehead City on February 7.  So mark the date on your calendars, and getmoreinformationabouttheforumbyclickinghere.

 

Local Groups and Issues

The issues mentioned above are just a few that the NC Chapter will be working on in 2012.

But there are plenty of local issues right in your community for you to get involved in, as well.

FindoutmoreinformationaboutyourlocalGroupandwaystoworkwithyourneighborstoexplore, enjoy, andprotectourenvironment.

 

Events

offshore-wind-turbines.jpg

Offshore Wind Forum in Morehead City

February 7 – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  – Joslyn Hall at Carteret Community College, 3505 Arendell Street  Morehead City, NC (map)

This forum will bring together community, business, and academic leaders to discuss what offshore wind could mean for North Carolina.

Click here for more information about the forum.

 

2012 Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference

March
 8 – 9 – Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St, Charlotte, NC (map)

This event is a first of its kind that highlights Southeastern assets for wind energy deployment within the region.  The conference is a collaborative effort involving more than 40 regional stakeholders from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Topics will include the region’s supply chain, resource, and market strengths to educate decision makers about costs, benefits, and policy options for wind energy.  Offshore and coastal onshore wind energy will be discussed a the conference with a concentration on offshore wind energy.

Clickhereformoreinformation.

 

“To Frack or Not to Frack”

February 8 – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Central Carolina Community College, 764 West St., Pittsboro, NC (map)

Brooks Rainey Pearson, Policy Council for the Nicholas School for the Environment, will present what can be learned from other states about fracking and the regulations needed to make it safe.

For information about this presentation, contact travis.hargett@sierraclub.org.

 

2012 Political Training for Sierrans

February 18 – time and location tba

As the 2012 elections draw closer, the North Carolina Chapter’s political committee is offering a training on how to support endorsed candidates. The training will focus on how to recruit a team, organize GOTV (Get Out the Vote) activities, and how to hold a PAC fundraiser.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Travis Hargett at travis.hargett@sierraclub.org 

 

DENR Holds Public Meetings on Fracking

Sanford, NC

March 20 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – The Wicker Center, 1801 Nash Street, Sanford, NC (map)

Chapel Hill

March 27 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – East Chapel Hill High School, 500 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC (map)

The agency’s draft report on Fracking will be made available on DENR’s website in early March (at which time a public comment period will begin), and findings from the report will be presented at these two public meetings.  Comments will be accepted at these meetings, as well as via mail and email.

 

Outings

corn mill shoals.jpg

Asheville

January 28 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Corn Mill Shoals Hike – Meet at 10:00 a.m. in Asheville and return at about 4:00 p.m. DuPont Forest is a favorite location for hikers, and this loop trail is my favorite in DuPont. We will hike up and over the granite slabs of Cedar Mountain for a total of 5 miles and 700 foot elevation gain. Easy to moderate.

RSVP to hike leader Jane at janelaping@sbcglobal.net or 828-772-0379.

 

Croatan National Forest

croatan.jpg

February 3-5

Neusiok Trail – Friday will be committed to packing in and setting camp.  Saturday we will hike to and along the Neuse River to Pinecliff, and return.  Sunday we pack up and out.

Croatan National Forest is said to have more flesh-eating plants than people and is home to a large variety of mammals, birds (Red Cockaded woodpeckers, maybe), and reptiles (dormant at this time of year). Group size is limited depending on experience of participants.

Contact Jerry Weston at Jweston@gbwlaw.com most mornings, or takeahike@earthlink.net, or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 p.m. please.

 

Hyde County

February 5  – 8:00 & 10:00 a.m.

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge – Explore one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuges on the east coast with a combination of wildlife watching and hiking. The refuge has miles of roads closed to traffic but open to hikers.

Meet at the Greenville Mall just east of the JC Penney store (Charles St. side) at 8 a.m., or at the Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge/Headquarters at 10 a.m.

Call Ernie Marshall at (252) 916-5462 for information and to sign-up.

 

Washington, NC

February 11 – 8:00 & 9:00 a.m.

Goose Creek State Park Valentine’s Day Hike – Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your valentine and friends by joining us on the traditional hike in Goose Creek State Park. Meet at the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. or at the JC Penney “east side” parking lot in the Greenville Mall at 8 a.m. to carpool. Allow extra time to visit the educational displays in the Visitor Center to learn more about the flora and fauna in the park.

Call Ernie Marshall at (252) 916-5462 for information and to sign-up.

 

Hayesville, NC

fires creek.jpg

March 3-9

Fires Creek Rim & Basin – This will be a base camp/day hiking excursion in one of the most primitive, wilderness areas in the South.  Each day, we will hike a different loop in this 17,000 acre place which may eventually become a small national park.

The topography is unique in that it is like a big bowl with trails going up to the rim and a 25 mile trail around the rim circumference. Participants need to be in good shape and have backcountry gear and experience.  The hikes are all rated strenuous because of the elevation changes throughout.

Contact Chris David at chris.44david@gmail.com for more information.

 

For more information on Sierra Club Outings, check out the Outings Calendar. 

Want to know the latest? Join us on Facebook or Twitter!
Join us on Facebook NC Chapter on Twitter

 

VA Line

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.

Money Flower

Donate Button