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[Charlotte Sierra Club]

[Charlotte Sierra Club]

Some 1,600 expected to speak at hearings across the country

 ASHEVILLE—On June 2, President Obama and the EPA announced the first-ever carbon pollution limits on all existing power plants. It’s the most important climate action of his presidency, because power plants are America’s single largest source of extreme-weather intensifying, public-health threatening carbon pollution.

The EPA has scheduled four public hearings across the country—in Pittsburgh, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta—to give people the opportunity to give oral testimony on the new carbon standards.

On July 29, concerned citizens from Western North Carolina will travel to Atlanta to give formal comments supporting the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution limits at the hearing in the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center.

A busload of area activists will leave Asheville at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday from Earth Fare in the Westgate Shopping Center. A press conference, rally and a march will be held in Atlanta outside the hearings. The bus will return to Asheville by midnight.

 “We need to tell the EPA that limiting carbon from power plants is the fastest way to tackle climate disruption,” said Anna Jane Joyner, campaign coordinator with Western North Carolina Alliance. “The coal-fired power plant in Asheville is the largest single contributor to climate disruption in our mountains, releasing carbon dioxide into the air every year equivalent to 500,000 cars on the road. This is not just an environmental problem, it’s a public health issue and it’s an economic issue.”

The EPA says it anticipates hearing oral comments from about 1,600 people.

Anyone interested in getting a seat on the bus from Asheville to Atlanta should go to:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/bus-to-the-epa-carbon-protections-hearing-tickets-12239930963. 

The cost is $10, plus a small processing fee.

People also can comment on the EPA’s proposal online or by email, fax or letter. EPA says it considers all comments equally, no matter how they are submitted.

The comment period on the proposed carbon pollution limits rule is open until Oct. 16.

Complete information on the various ways to comment can be found at:

http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule

 

junebug&boat

The French Broad Riverkeeper’s best friend, June Bug, keeps watch on the water.

WNCA is looking for a volunteer with graphic design experience to help create a State of the River Report for Henderson County.

You’ll work directly with French Broad Riverkeeper to distill data from current reports into a simple, attractive and easy to understand information graphic for the general public to consume.

Examples of previous reports will be provided.

If you’re interested, please contact Allie Nightingale at Allie@WNCA.org.

 

nokxlpicWNCA is pleased to announce its newest program, the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina (CCAWNC), focused on faith-inspired environmental advocacy.

CCAWNC is a network of people of faith and congregations who work to bring practical and hopeful solutions to their congregations and to broader secular communities by engaging hearts and minds through education, service and advocacy.

“We are so happy that the Creation Care Alliance has chosen to be part of WNCA,” said Julie Mayfield, co-director of Western North Carolina Alliance. “We have worked closely with them for more than two years and have effectively supported each other’s efforts. CCA brings a vital and unique voice to environmental advocacy and education, and we help inform and focus their voice to be as strategic as possible.”

CCAWNC began in April 2012 as “WNC Green Congregations,” which was supported from the start by staff and resources at WNCA.

The group identified “food and faith” and “just energy/climate change” as its primary focus areas and has, among many initiatives, hosted two “Care of Creation” Earth Day vigils; delivered a letter with 73 local clergy signatories to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good calling on the company to retire the Asheville coal plant from a moral and spiritual perspective; and hosted a “Climate and Faith Forum” last month to train and equip 100 clergy and lay leaders with the practical skills and the spiritual, scientific, and policy knowledge needed to become climate change advocates and leaders.

Creation Care Alliance is seeking supporters to invest in its work so a director can be hired to take its efforts to a new, and even more effective, level. The goal is to raise $29,500 by the end of August.

CCA has several events planned over the next year, such as hosting additional clergy gatherings and public educational events and panels, an inaugural “creation care” outing and service project, a local foods potluck with an educational component, a second Climate and Faith Forum and a third annual Care of Creation Earth Day Vigil.

Get involved with CCA at www.creationcarealliance.org or by contacting WNCA Campaign Coordinator Anna Jane Joyner at (828) 258-8737, ext. 210.

fbrpadappWestern North Carolina Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of the French Broad River Paddle Trail App, sponsored by our friends at Oskar Blues Brewery.

To download it today, text “paddle” to “77000” to view a map featuring campsites, access points, outfitters, restaurants and more.

The French Broad River Paddle Trail App will keep you up to date on French Broad events, send river reports, and help you make a reservation on the French Broad River PaddleTrail, a series of campsites and access points that link more than 140 miles of the French Broad River from Rosman, N.C., to Douglas Lake, Tenn.

We’ll celebrate the launch of the app and our partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery from 5:30-8 p.m., July 30 at the brewery’s facility in Brevard (342 Mountain Industrial Drive).

There will be live music, a food truck, Oskar Blues’ craft beer, and WNCA staff members who can share more information about the world-class French Broad River PaddleTrail, which officially opened in 2012.

Those who download the app can enter a raffle at the party to win a watershed dry bag and a waterproof Paddle Trail map.

The Oskar Blues trolley will be available from Asheville, leaving from the Aloft Hotel (51 Biltmore Ave.) at 5:30 p.m., and returning to the Aloft around 9 p.m. The trolley is free, but you must RSVP for a seat to Hartwell@WNCA.org.

The French Broad River Paddle Trail project was born out of the public’s desire to explore the entire French Broad River by boat and WNCA made that possible, as the entiretrail is composed of paddle-in-only campsites.

Learn more about the French Broad River Paddle Trail at www.wnca.org/paddle.

Learn more about Oskar Blues Brewery at http://brew.oskarblues.com/

Download the French Broad River Paddle Trail App here:

For Android phones:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avlradio.paddletrail

For iPhones:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/french-broad-paddle-trail/id893265682?mt=8

 

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For more than 30 years, the Western North Carolina Alliance has been a trusted community partner, marshaling grassroots support to keep our forests healthy, our air and water clean, and our communities vibrant. Utilizing a combination of policy advocacy, scientific research, and community collaboration, the Alliance and its chapters throughout Western North Carolina unleash the power of citizens’ voices to protect the natural heritage of our region so that people and the environment can thrive. For more information, please visit www.WNCA.org.

 

About Oskar Blues Brewery

Founded as a brewpub by Dale Katechis in 1997, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft beer-in-a-can apocalypse in 2002 using a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. In 2008, the makers of the top-selling pale ale in ColoRADo, Dale’s Pale Ale, moved into a 35,000-square-foot facility in Longmont, ColoRADo. The brewery has since experienced explosive growth—packaging 59,000 barrels of beer in 2011 and 86,750 barrels in 2012. In December of 2012, Oskar Blues opened the doors to an additional brewery in Brevard, North Carolina. Together, the breweries packaged 119,000 barrels of beer in 2013, and now distribute their trailblazing craft brews to 35 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

 

 

George Masa [wikipedia photo]

George Masa [wikipedia photo]

Join WNCA and our partners at ECO for an evening with filmmaker Paul Bonesteel and his film “The Mystery of George Masa.”

The event is a fundraiser for ECO, and will be July 28 at Blue Ridge Community College in the McIntosh Room (Blue Ridge Conference Center, 180 West Campus Drive, Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock).

Time and Cost: 

  • 6 p.m., July 28: Reception with talk by Bonesteel, catered by Purple Onion restaurant; wine, and Highland Brewing Co., beer, and reserved seating for film — $40 per person
  • 7 p.m. July 28: Film showing of “The Mystery of George Masa.” — $15 per person for film only

 Reservations must be received at the ECO office by July 23.

Your check made out to ECO with “Bonesteel Event” in the memo line, will be your reservation.

Include a note with the number in your party, indicating for the reception or film only, and your contact information.  Seating is limited. Mail checks to ECO, 611 N. Church St., Suite 101, Hendersonville, NC  28792.

Call the office at 692-0385 or email eco@eco-wnc.org  if you have questions.

“The Mystery of George Masa” is the story of Masahar Iizuka, aka George Masa, an enigmatic Japanese artist who in the 1920s contributed to the preservation of the Great Smoky Mountains and the creation of the Appalachian Trail with his photography and passion for nature. This heavily researched film was originally released in 2003 on PBS and broadcast again in 2009, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One critic said, “A mysterious and fascinating story about a passionate artist and his adopted homeland. It will resonate in you for years.”

Bonesteel was born and raised in Hendersonville.  His mother, Georgia, was widely known for her popular show “QuiltingWith Georgia Bonesteel,” which ran for several years on UNC-TV. The family owned Bonesteel Hardware in Hendersonville.  Paul has become a respected documentary filmmaker in his own right.  He produced “The Day Carl Sandburg Died,” a documentary film about Carl Sandburg, who lived and died in Flat Rock. That film has also shown on PBS. His company, Bonesteel Films, is located in downtown Asheville.

“Paul’s passion for capturing in film the Appalachian heritage of nature and history is reflected in this extraordinary documentary,” said Mary Jo Padgett, ECO’s Executive Director. “When I was first introduced to Mr. Masa through this film, I knew I had learned about an important page of local history.  What events led to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a World Heritage Site in our own backyard?  This well-done film tells us much we didn’t know.”

This event is underwritten by Holly Spring Nursery to support ECO’s projects and programs.

 

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[Charlotte Sierra Club]

[Charlotte Sierra Club]

On June 2, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a historic plan to cut carbon pollution and stop the worst effects of climate disruption. The Clean Power Plan is our nation’s first major action to cut dangerous carbon pollution from our largest polluters, 30 percent by 2030, and will help spur a clean energy economy that can drive down electricity bills and create hundreds of thousands of dependable jobs.This is the beginning of what could be the biggest climate fight in U.S. history. The proposed plan is already under attack by the fossil fuel industry, whose proponents are mobilizing like never before to send their lobbyists to Washington.

On July 29, EPA will host the first of just four national hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan in Atlanta.

Let’s show the world that the Southeast is ready for serious action to stop climate disruption!

Asheville Logistics:

Depart Asheville: 5:30 a.m. from Westgate Shopping Center

Arrive ATL:  9 a.m.

Depart ATL: 8 p.m.

Arrive Asheville: no later than 12 a.m.

Public comments will be taken at EPA from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Details here.

Press Conference At Sam Nunn Federal Building at 10 a.m.

Rally for Clean Energy Future at noon in Woodruff Park

March for Climate Justice at 1 p.m. from Woodruff Park to Sam Nunn Federal Building

If you have questions about the Asheville to Atlanta bus for the hearing, contact Emma Greenbaum. 
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ncdenrPress release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

RALEIGH – Officials with the state Mining and Energy Commission are seeking public input on proposed rules for regulating oil and gas development in North Carolina.

Written comments from the public will be accepted at three public hearings and may also be submitted at any time July 15 – Sept. 15. Hard copy written comments should be sent to:

Oil and Gas Program
DENR-Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources
1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612

Written comments may also be submitted electronically through the state Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources website at: 

http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mining-and-energy-commission/public-comment-meetings

The public hearings are scheduled for:
• 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Aug. 20 at the McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman St., Raleigh
• 5‒9 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Wicker Center, 1801 Nash St., Sanford
• 5– 9 p.m. Aug. 25 at Rockingham High School, 180 High School Rd., Reidsville

The complete text of the proposed rules and proposed revisions to existing rules are available online at: 

http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=812822fd-9e97-4359-8935-4f07e713f0b1&groupId=8198095

The public comment period ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 15.

Contacts:

Melissa Troutman, melissa@publicherald.org724-388-0464

Katie Hicks, Katie@cwfnc.org828-251-1291

Julie Mayfield, Julie@WNCA.org828-258-8737

Cross-Country Tour of Fracking Investigation to Use Zero Gasoline

Investigative News Team Screening ‘Triple Divide’ Across U.S.

PublicHerlad_Teslax800.jpg

What do fracking and the car of the future have in common? Residents of the Tar Heel State have the chance to find out at several screenings ofTriple Divide, a documentary about fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

Triple Divide is an 18-month investigation by independent journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, who also co-founded the nonprofit Public Herald based in Pennsylvania.

Triple Divide is about how water and energy connect us all,” Troutman said.  

“It’s a great time for Western North Carolina residents to learn about the impacts of fracking in other parts of the eastern U.S.,” said Katie Hicks, assistant director of Clean Water for North Carolina, a co-sponsor of the screening in Asheville. “The NC General Assembly just lifted the moratorium on permits for drillers in our state, so permitting could begin as soon as the NC rules are finalized, and hearings on those rules are coming up in August. Plus, the state has budgeted money to test parts of nine counties in Western North Carolina for shale gas potential, so there’s a chance folks in the mountains could be directly impacted.”

“Having the filmmakers here in Asheville is a great opportunity to enhance our community’s dialogue about the risks of fracking in our state,” added Anna Jane Joyner, campaign coordinator at the Western North Carolina Alliance, also a co-sponsor.

An investigation of impacts from fracking in Pennsylvania, Triple Divide has been called “a bombshell that could reverberate across the state.” It will tour across the country June thru November thanks to a grant from the Investigative News Network with support from the Knight Foundation.

The team will cover over 10,000 miles in a Tesla Motors Model S, a long-range, all-electric sedan, and use the company’s nationwide Supercharger system where the electric cars can be quickly recharged for free. The directors aim to cross the U.S. using zero gasoline and emitting zero greenhouse gas pollution.

It screens July 30 at 7 p.m. at Mad Batter in Sylva, and July 31 at  7 p.m. at the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Asheville, hosted by Clean Water for North Carolina and Western North Carolina Alliance.

According to Pribanic and Troutman, who also co-founded the investigative news nonprofit Public Herald, Triple Divide reveals how one state’s “world-class regulations” fail to protect people, communities, and the environment.

“The public isn’t seeing the full scale of impacts from fracking either because regulators are mismanaging the data or decisions are made based on politics instead of science,” Pribanic said. “The impacts we encountered in Triple Divide are systemic, but we can learn from these experiences so that the stories of those interviewed are not in vain.”

The journalists aim to bring together people on any side of the issue to discuss solutions, such as the #Fileroom project which Public Herald began to help the public track human and environmental health complaints by digitizing and mapping hard-to-get government oil and gas files.

“Pennsylvania has some of the best environmental laws in the country, but they aren’t being enforced,” Troutman said.  “And major problems like the ‘Pressure Bulb’ effect from fracking, which we cover in Triple Divide, aren’t a part of state or federal regulations at all.”

Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the documentary and added his voice to the project after seeing the film just weeks before its release.  Ruffalo’s nonprofit, Water Defense, also investigates water testing and protection measures, and he is a co-founder of The Solutions Project.

Public Herald also seeks solutions to increase its sustainability, which is why the team chose Tesla Motors for its transportation. “Imagine crossing the country without using a single drop of gasoline,” Troutman said.  “Tesla’s model may be a way to lessen the impact of fossil fuels on society and the climate.  We’ll share our review of the experience online, and those who attend screenings will get to check out the car in person.”

Triple Divide’s namesake, the triple continental divide in Pennsylvania, is one of four highly unique watersheds in North America. It’s where three major rivers begin and flow to separate ends of the continent, providing drinking water for millions of people and hundreds of communities downstream.

The filmmakers have screenings in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Montana, and Michigan with stops in between. For a detailed list of screening times and locations, visit http://tripledividefilm.org/screenings.  For video clips see TripleDivideFilm.org.  Also follow @PublicHerald and #TripleDivide.

Triple Divide – Trailer from Public Herald on Vimeo.

TRAILER, STILLS, AND REVIEWS

●       http://vimeo.com/ondemand/tripledivide/63571188

●       Reviews: http://tripledividefilm.org/about/reviews/

●       Photographs and stills from the film: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjE3Tb8F

 

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App-Store-promoWestern North Carolina Alliance recently partnered with the Waterkeeper Swim Guide to help answer a fundamentally important question about our waterways: “Are they safe to swim?”

“Waterkeeper Swim Guide” is a website and free app that displays water quality data in simple terms so people can determine the safety of using a specific swimming hole based on the assessment of E. coli levels and whether those levels are safe, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA and the state have a lot of water quality data, but it’s often outdated and buried in complicated reports, said Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper with WNCA.

“The existing water quality data is interesting, but it wasn’t very helpful to tubers, boaters, and people who love to take a swim in many of our beautiful streams and rivers,” Carson said.  “What the public really needs is a tool that would tell you where the closest swimming areas are located and which ones are safe for swimming.”

Carson and many volunteers began testing the French Broad River and several streams and tributaries in 2010.

This work has grown recently with the help of partners such as Headwaters Outfitters and Asheville Outdoor Center, which has allowed the Riverkeeper to gather data from a broader area of the watershed.

The sampling process currently includes 10 frequently used areas of the river, from the headwaters in Rosman to popular tubing sections of the river through Asheville.

The latest results from the Swim Guide indicate that cooling off with a tube down the river is usually a great idea—but after moderate to heavy rain, E. coli levels can spike, posing a health risk for those getting in the water. Sources of pollution after a rain may include runoff from animal operations, sewage overflows, and even legacy bacteria being stirred up from river sediment.

But the Waterkeeper Swim Guide will help you find your closest swimming holes and determine whether they are safe for swimming.

The guide’s information will grow as we add more volunteer partners.

Visit https://www.theswimguide.org/ to check it out, or download the app from your Apple or Android store.

[Photo: WNCA]

[Photo: WNCA]

Western North Carolina Alliance is the recipient of a $5,000 grant and five new portable recycling stations from Oskar Blues Brewery’s non-profit CAN’d Aid Foundation.

The goal of these recycling grants, according to Oskar Blues, is to empower individuals, events and communities to create sustainable recycling programs.

WNCA will partner with Asheville Greenworks and Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) to implement the grant.

CAN’d Aid has awarded $12,000 in cash and 18 reusable recycling stations have been granted to four nonprofits across the country. Funds and equipment are still available and the foundation’s goal is to award at least a dozen more applicants this summer and fall and continue the program in 2015.

Learn more at http://foundation.oskarblues.com/.