WENOCA News

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Duke will retire Asheville coal-fired power plant

Duke will retire the Asheville coal-fired power plant and replace it with a new natural gas-fired generator as well as a solar farm. You can read the Citizen-Times article and the Sierra Club statement in response by clicking on the following links:

Citizen-Times article

Sierra Club statement 

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Solar tax credit extended to Jan 1, 2017 (with caveats)

Governor McCrory has extended the 35% state tax credit for existing solar projects that are at least 80 percent complete by January 1, 2017. This credit was set to expire on Dec 31, 2015, but Senate Bill 372 has pushed the expiration deadline back for small projects that are already underway by the end of this year. McCrory said that he will end incentives for the solar industry after that.

 This means you have five months left to sign a solar contract if you want to get 35% of the cost back from NC, as well as 30% back from the federal government. 

In order to use the extension, a $5,000 fee must be paid and the extension must be filed on or before October 1st of this year. In effect this makes the tax credit extension inconsequential for residential systems. Instead, the extension protects large developers like Duke Energy who are building at the utility scale. Read the full article here: http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/04/30/nc-gov-mccrory-extend-tax-credits-renewable-energy.html
 


Contact Katie Bray
, Director, 
Clean Energy for Us katie@cleanenergyfor.us if you have questions about your solar proposal or need help making an informed decision.



Thursday, May 14th, 2015
Written by Deborah

June 4 — Activist Training and Strategy session

The NC Sierra Club is working to make sure that our state develops a Plan that increases our use of clean energy and energy efficiency to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules for reducing climate-disrupting emissions under the Clean Air Act.  We need your help to get the cleanest and most just Clean Power Plan possible from the McCrory Administration.  We are holding a training session here in Asheville on Thursday, June 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Sierra Club Office at 45 Wall Street, Suite 709, and food will be provided.  Please plan to attend to find out how you can help.  Contact Britten Cleveland atbritten.cleveland@sierraclub.org or 941-979-2948 to sign up or for more information.    

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
Written by Deborah

June 3 Meeting: The EPA’s Clean Power Plan and North Carolina

Sierra Club, Mountain True and Green Drinks are presenting a program on EPA’s Clean Power Plan mandate for North Carolina to reduce its carbon pollution from power plants by 39% from 2012 levels and what we can do to make it happen.

Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Place (Charlotte St & Edwin Pl in Asheville)

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2015  at 7:00 pm

Sunday, May 10th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Drew Jones of Climate Interactive presentation on climate change

Global senario for addressing climate change – youtube video

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Written by Deborah

NEWS ON BEYOND COAL CAMPAIGN

New ad airing in CLT and AVL: click here

Previous ad airing only in AVL: click here

Duke shareholders meeting message box: click here

Petition delivery message box: click here

UPDATE ON DUKE’S PLANS FOR COAL ASH IN ASHEVILLE

From: Walls, Jason A [mailto:Jason.Walls@duke-energy.com]

Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 6:05 PM

To: Walls, Jason A

Subject: Coal Ash Update – Asheville Plant

Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s CEO sent a letter to North Carolina’s Governor, Pat McCrory that outlines Duke Energy’s coal ash management strategy across North Carolina, including the Asheville Plant. The letter is attached.

Since 1964, the Asheville Plant has provided reliable electricity for this growing region, while providing more than 100 jobs and $2.8 million annually in local taxes.

It’s our obligation alone to keep the lights on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we have a state-mandated responsibility to provide reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost and using proven technology. Low cost and high reliability are foremost with our customers.

Over the last decade, the company has invested more than $300 million in environmental upgrades at the Asheville Plant and it was the first in NC to have advanced flue-gas desulfurization, or scrubbers. As a result, the Asheville Plant is well positioned for expected federal environmental regulations.

In the letter, we outline two paths forward for the Asheville Plant. The company will convert the Asheville Plant to handle fly ash dry – moving away from storing wet fly ash in onsite ponds. Alternatively, we could retire the Asheville Plant. Dry ash conversion work, if selected, will be completed within 30-36 months of receiving permits.

We can’t retire a plant without a practical, proven way to replace the electricity that residents and businesses depend on. Today, that doesn’t exist, but it is an option being considered.

We will continue to partner with the Asheville Regional Airport to beneficially reuse ash as a fill material to expand the airport’s taxiway. Once complete in 2015, four million tons of ash will be moved offsite and placed into a state-of-the-art lined and encapsulated area at the airport. All of the ash being currently generated at the station is being collected, dried and hauled to the airport for the taxiway expansion project. We continue to look for ash reuse opportunities where such uses remain permissible under the upcoming coal ash regulations. This includes exploring the possibility of extending the current beneficial fill project at the airport to use ash from the 1964 pond.

We take our responsibility to customers, communities and the environment seriously. This approach supports the continued protection of the French Broad River, while delivering on our commitment of reliable electricity, around the clock, for homes and businesses.

Please feel free to call me with any questions.

Jason A. Walls

Manager, Local Government and Community Relations – Asheville Region

Duke Energy Progress

w: 828.258.5019 | c: 828.409.4686

jason.walls@duke-energy.com

SIERRA CLUB KELLY MARTIN’S REPLY TO DUKE LETTER:

March 13, 2014

Duke Energy Offers Plan to Remove Dangerous Coal Ash Pits, Considers Retiring Asheville Coal Plant

CHARLOTTE, NC – In response to Governor Pat McCrory’s request, Duke Energy has shared its plan to address ongoing dangerous and illegal pollution at all of its coal ash storage sites in North Carolina.

Senior Campaign Representative Kelly Martin issued the following statement in response:

“On behalf of the Sierra Club’s thousands of North Carolina members and supporters, I want to recognize Duke Energy’s leadership for taking responsibility for the tragic Dan River coal ash spill. CEO Lynn Good has made it clear that she and the company realize that wet storage of toxic coal ash waste is dangerous, threatening our clean water and treasured lakes, rivers and streams. Converting risky wet storage at all coal ash waste sites is a strong first step toward cleaning up Duke Energy’s toxic legacy in North Carolina.

On behalf of thousands of Asheville and Buncombe County residents, I applaud Duke Energy for publicly considering a plan to phase out the coal-burning units at its Asheville plant. Over the last two years, a grassroots movement of faith leaders, business leaders and elected officials has sprung up to show that burning coal in our backyard does not match our community’s values. If Duke Energy meets the demands of the community and phases out its coal plant, the Asheville plant will be the 163rd plant in the nation to be retired since 2010. Moving Asheville beyond coal is a critical step for Duke Energy as it takes responsibility for its errors and sets a new path forward.

Finally, while Duke Energy’s plan is a good first step, it is incomplete and does not fully rise to the challenge presented. Without more information, North Carolinians cannot be sure that their right to clean, safe drinking water will be protected. Without a clear commitment, hard-working families cannot be sure that one of the nation’s most prosperous companies won’t pass the buck. As the Sierra Club and our partners in North Carolina have demonstrated, environmental advocates are key voices for holding polluters and regulators accountable. We are only beginning to show the strength of our voices for North Carolina’s people and environment.”

CONTACT:

Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, (404) 281-6398, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org

Kelly Martin, Sierra Club, (828) 423-7845, kelly.martin@sierraclub.org

 

“Bus 101: Asheville Redefines Transit.” 

Date: Sept. 5, Wednesday, 7 pm
Location: Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin)

Sierra Club will present a program on multi-modal transportation and implementation of the first phase of Asheville’s Transit Master Plan, entitled “Bus 101: Asheville Redefines Transit.”  Speakers will be Dave Erb, Vice-Chair of the Asheville Transit Commission; and Yuri Koslen, Transit Poject Coodinator for the city of Asheville.

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

 

Alert: Stop Clearcutting around state billboards
Please email Governor Perdue at governor.office@nc.gov and write a Letter to the Editor of Asheville Citizens-Times (address below) and Mountain Xpress: letters@mountainX.com

Dear Gov. Perdue,
Last June the State Legislature passed SB 183 allowing for clearcutting around state billboards. On Jan. 19, 2012 the Rules Review Commission passed temporary rules allowing for this to happen.
Please challenge these rules and decline to enforce the rules of issuing permits for the clearcutting– for two reasons:
1) Please ask the Attorney General to offer an opinion on the constitutionality of the rules with respect to giving away public assets. It is estimated that the trees to be cut are valued at $12 million.
2) Inadequate public input. The rules will have a disproportionate impact on western NC, allowing football field areas of trees to be cut. Citizens in the west requested a hearing by the Rules Review Commission, but it was denied. I am writing as a member of the Sierra Club of Western North Carolina centered in Asheville.

Address: Letters to Editor, Asheville Citizens-Times, PO Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802, 828-236-8973

Please read the following news articles:

NC Policy Watch

News Observer

 

Victory for Buncombe County Lighting Ordinance!
On Jan. 17 Buncombe County Commissions overwhelmingly passed powerful lighting standards for the county by a vote of 4-1. WENOCA Sierra Club and Bernie Arghiere of the Astronomy Club were instrumental in the passage of the ordinance which helps prevent unshielded lighting, wasted energy, unsafe glare causing night blindness, and light trespass onto neighbors.

The hearing room was packed with supporters and speakers in favor of the ordinances. Congratulations to all who emailed the commissioners and who spoke! Together we can protect our environment.

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Written by Deborah

May 6 meeting: Climate Change Interactive Simulation

Sierra Club, Green Drinks, and Mountain True (formerly WNC Alliance) will present Drew Jones of Climate Interactive leading a hands-on interactive session where participants will work together to create a global scenario for addressing climate change, which has been used by the US State Dept, the UN, and the Chinese government
 
Drew will also share his reflections on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, which are leading up to a summit meeting of 196 countries in Paris this December 2015.
Date: Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00 pm
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Pl. (Charlotte & Edwin in Asheville)
Contact:  judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176
Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Written by Deborah

Help Limit Sulfur Dioxide Air Pollution in WNC — April 29 hearing

The Western regional air quality agency is holding a public hearing on its draft air permit for Duke Energy’s Asheville Coal Plant on April 29, at 6 pm at Erwin High School, 60 Lees Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 (828-232-4251).  We need you to send comments and to attend this important hearing. In spite of new evidence that demonstrates that Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant has been emitting harmful sulfur dioxide pollution at levels considered unsafe by the EPA for the past several years, the Air Quality Agency has released a draft permit that would allow Duke to release sulfur dioxide air pollution that is nearly 80 times higher than the EPA’s public health standard. 

Please join us to tell the air regulators to stop this dangerous air pollution from Duke Energy’s Asheville Coal Plant!  For more information and to sign up to attend the hearing, visit http://bit.ly/1BSn3Mw 

Write comments to:  Britt Lovin, Director of the Air Quality Board, 49 Mount Carmel Rd., Asheville, NC 28806

Email comments to:  Britt Lovin c/o Betsy Brown, betsy.brown@buncombecounty.org

Phone: Betsy Brown,  Air Quality Board, 828-250-6787; 828-250-6777

Subject: Asheville steam electric plant Title V permit / Sulfur Dioxide Air Pollution                            Comments accepted until April 30.

Talking Points

Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant has been emitting harmful sulfur dioxide pollution at levels considered unsafe by the EPA for the past several years. This pollution is dangerous, especially to children, the elderly, or those with existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma. The plant’s pollution has exceeded minimum public health standards approximately one out of every three to four days since 2010. An analysis of operations at the plant points to the two causes of this increased pollution: Duke apparently has been running its pollution protection technology less and, at the same time, has switched to cheaper, higher-sulfur coal. The likely reason for these changes is to reduce the cost of running this plant, which is one of Duke’s most expensive to operate.  Duke’s consumers paid for air pollution controls at the Asheville coal plant and we deserve the air quality and public health benefits of running those pollution controls to their fullest extent.

 Please include in your comments : “I ask the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency Board members to revise the SO2 emission limit included in the Asheville coal plant’s new air permit to reflect national health-based standards: 61.7 lb/hr for each coal-burning unit, equating to a plantwide average SO2 emission limit of 0.029 lb/MMBtu. “

 

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Written by Deborah

April 1 meeting: NC Legislative Environmental Update & what you can do

The Sierra Club, Green Drinks, and Mountain True (formerly WNC Alliance) will present a ” North Carolina Legislative Environmental Update: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” with our  NC state Sierra Club lobbyist in Raleigh, and Julie Mayfield, co-director of Mountain True.  Solar energy, fracking, coal ash, water quality, offshore wind, and offshore drilling will be discussed.  Learn what you can do to help.   April 1, 7:00 pm at Asheville’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Pl, (Charlotte & Edwin).  Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net;  828-683-2176

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Public Input Greenway meeting Monday, March 23 at 4:00pm

Buncombe County will host a drop-in public meeting at the NC Arboretum regarding possible addition of a greenway. To join, go to Buncombe County Facebook page.