WENOCA News

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Written by Deborah

July 16 Activist training

CLEAN POWER PLAN FOR NORTH CAROLINA

 

Activist meet and greet, training, and team launch!

As this summer heats up, so does our campaign to support a strong and just Clean Power Plan in North Carolina. The EPA will finalize the historic Clean Power Plan rule in August, and Governor McCrory’s administration has one year to develop and submit a plan tailored specifically to NC. However, the state agency tasked with creating our Clean Power Plan under Governor McCrory’s leadership have no intention to engage with the clean energy and environmental community to create a plan that reduces carbon pollution, expands our clean energy economy, and protects public health.

The clock is ticking and the action must begin now to get Governor McCrory to commit to creating a strong and just Clean Power Plan that works best for North Carolina and one that cuts carbon emissions by advancing our clean energy economy.

At this meeting we will:  

  • Provide an overview of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, what it means for the future of clean energy in North Carolina
  • Collaborate on a plan of action to ensure that Governor McCrory knows that WNC supports the Clean Power Plan and we demand action to cut carbon emissions 
  • Launch campaign teams that support our plan of action  

What: Clean Power Plan activist meet and greet, training, and action team launch!

When: Thursday, July 16 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Sierra Club office | 34 Wall Street | Downtown Asheville [map] | 3rd Floor conference room 

Who: Anyone who wants to help secure a Clean Power Plan for North Carolina 

Pizza and refreshments will be provided

RSVP needed –>Please follow this link to let us know you’re coming!

 With your help, we can get Governor McCrory to take responsibility and address a clear threat to the well being of all North Carolinians and our natural resources. 

For more information on the Clean Power Plan visit www.cleanpowerplan.org 

Monday, June 29th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Aug 5, Wed 7 pm. Sierra Club meeting on Waterfalls & Wildflowers

There will be no July 1 Sierra Club meeting, but join us on Wed, Aug 5  at 7:00 pm for Timothy Spira’s presentation on “Exploring Waterfalls & Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachian Mountains”.  Tim’s latest book is Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes. Tim is emeritus professor of botany at Clemson University.

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

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

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Written by Deborah

July 18 – Annual Summer Picnic

On Saturday, July 18, the Sierra Club will enjoy its 6th 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 1.3 miles and turn west 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!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Written by Deborah

Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness

“Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness” is a multi-media slideshow documenting citizen efforts to designate public lands in southern Utah’s spectacular canyon country as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  This 20-minute video journey through redrock splendor invigorates and motivates viewers to participate in the movement to protect these unique lands. The program was made possible through the generous donation of photos, music and words from concerned Utahns who wish to pass this heritage onto future generations, including narration by Robert Redford. Promo Photo 1Promo Photo 2Promo Photo 3Promo Photo 4

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

POSTPONED: 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.