The Western North Carolina (WENOCA) Group is a part of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club. Its area of interest covers the counties of North Carolina west of Buncombe county except for Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties. Those three counties are covered by our sister organization the Pisgah Group.

The group usually meets on the first Thursday of each month. The meetings start at 7:00 p.m. with half an hour of social get together, program beginning at 7:30. The meetings are held in Asheville at the Unitarian Church, 1 Edwin Place at Charlotte Street. The form of the meeting is a brief session of announcements and business followed by a presentation about an issue in which the WENOCA Group is interested. A list of the forthcoming programs can be found under WENOCA News.

The WENOCA Group is an all-volunteer group with no paid staff. It is governed by an executive committee of seven members elected by the membership. Contact information for the members of the executive committee is provided on the excom page.

Visit our Volunteer Opportunities webpage to find out how you can get involved in our local outings, educational programs and events, membership recruitment and engagement,  fundraising, and advocacy efforts. There are opportunities to volunteer for many different types of tasks, to fit all types of schedules and time commitments. We need your talents and energy to help green Western North Carolina.

After you learn about our work, please consider becoming a member of the Sierra Club.  You can join on line using our secure server. Join now to receive a Sierra Club backpack as a welcome gift!

If you are a member, you can also renew your membership online via the same secure server. If you are not sure about joining the Sierra Club, follow this link to read why you should join us.

The WENOCA Group and the National Sierra Club are the same 501 C (4) non-profit legal entity. The local WENOCA Group is empowered to speak on behalf of the entire Sierra Club on issues that fall wholly within the Group’s geographic jurisdiction. The Sierra Club engages in the full range of electoral politics allowed by law. Because the Club has registered political action committees at the federal and state level, the WENOCA Group is able to make political endorsements at every level of government within its political boundaries, from US Congress to local county commissioner and council elections.


Friday, August 17th, 2018
Written by Deborah

City of Asheville’s Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) passes resolution

The City of Asheville’s Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE), which develops and recommends policy concerning sustainability to City Council, just yesterday passed a resolution calling on the City to transition its municipal operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030. This is one more step in Asheville’s transition to a clean energy future!

SACEE is recommending that City Council adopt this resolution, but before it can be voted on by City Council, it will go to the Planning and Economic Development Committee to consider the financial implications of making this energy transition. The committee consists of Council Member and MountainTrue Co-Director Julie Mayfield and Council Members Gwen Wisler and Vijay Kapoor. We know Julie supports the resolution, so we need to reach out to the other members to ask for their support.

Today, we hope you’ll act in two ways:

  1. Contact members of SACEE to thank them for their visionary commitment to a clean energy future.
  2. Contact Council Members Wisler and Kapoor and ask them to recommend this resolution be approved by Council. As the costs of transitioning to renewable energy continue to decrease and clean energy creates economic benefits for communities all across the nation, we know it is both possible and economically beneficial to meet this goal.

Gwen Wisler email: gwenwisler@avlcouncil.com

Vijay Kapoor email: vijaykapoor@avlcouncil.com 

And here’s the message they would send to Wisler & Kapoor:

Dear Council Members,I’m writing today to urge you to recommend that Asheville City Council adopts SACEE’s resolution calling for municipal city operations to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

As tracked by the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, across the U.S. over 70 cities, more than five counties, and one state have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals. Five cities in the U.S. – Aspen CO, Burlington, VT, Greensburg, KS, Rock Port, MO, and Kodiak Island, AK – have already hit their targets. The goal proposed in SACEE’s resolution is also consistent with clean energy goals that Buncombe County has already committed to.

As the costs of transitioning to renewable energy continue to decrease and clean energy creates economic benefits for communities all across the nation, we know it is both possible and economically beneficial to meet this goal and to join our nation’s cities that are leaders in sustainability.

Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Friday August 17 at 9:30am: Youth Rally for the Forest

This Friday, August 17 at 9:30 a.m, I ❤ Pisgah is organizing a Youth Rally for the Forest at the Forest Service headquarters in Asheville. The Forest Service is completing a 25-year plan that will decide how much of the forest is cut and how much is protected. Young people will be most affected by this 25-year plan, but their voices have not been included so far.

The rally and meeting are free and open to everyone. Youth of all ages—and grownups, too—will have the opportunity to speak directly with the Forest Supervisor, and several media outlets will be there.

You and/or your child do not need to know anything about forests or forest planning; all you need is a love of being outdoors. 

We hope to protect Pisgah’s trails, waterfalls, old-growth forests, wildlife and endangered species, clean air, clean water, and scenic views. (If you are interested in learning more, visit iheartpisgah.org

We will have signs, t-shirts, and stickers available for free for all kids (and grownups). We will also have music, ice cream, songs, and fun for all.

It’s a rare opportunity to speak directly to decision-makers and make a meaningful impact on the future of our national forest. 

The rally and meeting will last about an hour and will take place at the Forest Service headquarters at 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801. 

Hope you can join the fun.

Will Harlan

I ❤ Pisgah / iheartpisgah.org


Tuesday, August 14th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Thursday Sept 6 at 7 pm, ” Protecting Our Environment –Who We Elect Matters”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Sept 6 at 7 pm, ” Protecting Our Environment –Who We Elect Matters”. Note the Thursday date.

Come hear what you can do to help elect an environmental majority to the NC State House & Buncombe Ct Commission. 

Tired of all of the attacks on our environment by the NC General Assembly? Ken Brame, NC Sierra Club Political Chair, will talk about why we need to elect good environmental state legislators, why this fall’s election will be a “wave election” that will strongly favor Democrats, and what each of us can do to take advantage of the “wave” to elect an environmental majority to the NC State House and the Buncombe County Commission. A “wave election” is one in which one political party significantly out performs expectations allowing that party to win seats that ordinarily would not be likely.

Location Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, corner of Charlotte  and Edwin.

Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2176

Free and open to the public.


Thursday, August 9th, 2018
Written by Deborah

4th Circuit Court vacated two permits for the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline

As many of you saw earlier today, we just achieved another huge win for communities and the environment when the 4th Circuit Court vacated two permits for the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This is the result of years of work in the courts and communities across Virginia by ELP, the Virginia Chapter, Beyond Dirty Fuels staff and many, many partners and grassroots groups.
The court found that the Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to set enforceable limits on the number of protected species that could be affected and held that the National Park Service had not justified allowing ACP to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out the press release here
Today’s news comes just 3 days after a similar project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), was forced to stop construction along its entire route after similar permits were vacated. These are huge wins that have the potential to significantly delay both pipelines.
Molly Diggins, State Director
NC Sierra Club
19  W. Hargett Street Suite 210
Raleigh NC 27601
Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Written by Deborah

Blue Horizons Project workshops July 31

The Blue Horizons Project requests your help in promoting two workshops coming up on July 31. Would you please send these events out to your networks? We are hoping for robust attendance! 
These free workshops are hosted by the Blue Horizons Project. Learn how your business, restaurant, or brewery can become more energy efficient. Duke Energy representatives will discuss an array of energy efficiency programs and technical assistance available for businesses in Buncombe County. 

Not only will these resources help your business save energy and money, but your participation will help transition our region to a smarter and cleaner energy future. 

Refreshments provided.

This event is on the first floor of the Buncombe County Administration building – 200 College Street.
Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Written by Deborah

Thursday Aug 2 Sierra Club meeting: “Turn Around and Take a Big Step Forward on Climate Change in WNC”

Sierra Club meeting Thursday Aug 2   7 pm “Turn Around and Take a Big Step Forward on Climate Change in WNC”  — by Dr. Dee Eggers, Prof in UNCA’s Environmental Studies

Update on climate impacts, regional resiliency & opportunities to go beyond carbon neutral.

Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Pl (corner of Charlotte & Edwin)

Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

 Free and open to the public.



Monday, July 16th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club PICNIC Saturday July 21 noon – 4 pm

On Saturday, July 21, the Sierra Club will enjoy its Annual Summer Picnic from noon to 4 pm at the Blue Ridge Parkway sheltered picnic grounds located on Bull Mt. Rd. near the VA Hospital on Riceville Rd.
Directions: Exit 7 on I-240; go east on Tunnel Rd for 2 miles; turn north on Riceville Rd; go past VA Hospital, turn left on Bull Mt. Rd. The fenced-in, sheltered picnic area is on the left about 1⁄2 mile up the road. Please bring a pot luck dish to share and your own settings. Drinks will be provided. Badminton, horseshoes, and music will add to the festivities. We hope to see you there!
Thursday, June 7th, 2018
Written by Deborah

June 27 film: Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom

A film Commissioned by Sierra Club 

June 27, Wednesday, 630 to 830 pm at the Collider in downtown Asheville, 1 Haywood St, Ste 401, Asheville, North Carolina 28801

Doors open at 6:30pm, with the film starting at 7:00pm. Free & open to the public with a suggested donation of $10/person or $20/family. Oskar Blues Brewery beer & refreshments will be provided. 

Join Sierra Club, MountainTrue & The Collider for a screening of Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom at the Collider. This film takes us across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. These stories are proof that America does not need to choose between keeping our lights on and protecting our communities. Critically, Reinventing Power underscores the notion that we don’t have to sacrifice jobs for a clean environment. Supporting a clean energy future means building a better, more prosperous future for everyone. Over the film’s 50 minutes, you’ll meet people in eight states whose lives were changed by the renewable energy industry while exploring various aspects of the clean energy industry from innovation to installation.  It will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Court Invalidates Incidental Take Statement, Halting Construction on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, Richmond, VA — Today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Incidental Take permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The permit, granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, authorizes construction efforts to take certain threatened and endangered species. The permit  is required to construct the fracked gas pipeline, and with it being vacated, the project must be halted.

The court ruled that the limits set by the US Fish and Wildlife Service are “so indeterminate that they undermine the Incidental Take Statement’s enforcement monitoring function under the Endangered Species Act.”

The case was brought by the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and Virginia Wilderness Committee and argued by Southern Environmental Law Center.

In response, Sierra Club Attorney Nathan Matthews released the following statement:

“The Sierra Club applauds the court for recognizing that the Fish and Wildlife Service, like other agencies involved in permitting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, failed to impose meaningful limits or adequately scrutinize the project. This fracked gas project has been proven to be perilous to our health, our communities, and wildlife, and now, thanks to tonight’s ruling, must be stopped.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Sunday, May 6th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Thursday June 7, 7 pm, “Energy Innovation Task Force – Pathway to Clean Energy for Western North Carolina.”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday June 7, 7 pm, “Energy Innovation Task Force– Pathway to Clean Energy for Western North Carolina.” Come learn how you can help prevent a 3rd gas power plant from being built.  (Note the change to Thursdays.)
Location Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, corner of Charlotte  and Edwin.
Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176
free & open to the public
Come hear City Councilwoman Julie Mayfield, County Commission Chair Brownie Newman, and Duke Energy District Manager Jason walls talk about the new Blue Horizons Project and how it will lead us to a cleaner energy future.  Learn how you can help.
In 2016, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy came together in a unique partnership to lead Western North Carolina to a cleaner, affordable, and smarter energy future.  A specific goal of the partnership is to delay or avoid construction of a third natural gas plant on Lake Julian that would on run on the coldest and hottest days of the year: called a peaker unit.