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Julie Mayfield & Bob Wagner

Julie Mayfield & Bob Wagner

Sierra Club will present a program at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 on the topic of  Smart Growth in housing and transportation for Asheville and surrounding communities, with a focus on the Interstate-26 Connector, by Julie Mayfield and Bob Wagner, the Western North Carolina Alliance’s co-directors.

The program will be at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, (corner of Charlotte Street and Edwin Place).

For more information, email or call (828) 683-2176.

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Coal Ash

Coal Ash

Click HERE to listen to our French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson on WCQS (July 17) talking about the proposed settlement of the State of North Carolina and Duke Energy Coal Ash lawsuit.

If you agree that a never-ending sampling plan with no cleanup is not the solution to toxic coal ash polluting our river, then email by Aug. 14.

You can also send written comments to the N.C. DENR Division of Water Quality, attention of Lisa Palmer, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1617.

Press contact: Bob Keefe, or (202) 289-2373

NRDC poll shows vast majority approve of state safeguards and standards to protect water, air and unique quality of life.

RALEIGH – North Carolinians overwhelmingly oppose fracking, want more clean energy and think state environmental standards should be strengthened or left alone, according to a poll by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“From the mountains to the beaches, it’s clear that North Carolinians take special pride in their state, and see state environmental safeguards as protecting our heritage and ensuring that our children can enjoy this place we know and love,” said NRDC senior attorney Luis Martinez, who is based in Asheville.

Among the key findings:
*More than 75 percent of North Carolinians say current environmental standards and regulatory safeguards in the state are “about right” or “too weak.” Only 13 percent say they think state regulations are too strong.
*61 percent of North Carolinians say state environmental standards and regulatory safeguards do more good than harm for the state.
*55 percent of North Carolinians statewide oppose proposals that would open the state up to fracking – a procedure by which oil and gas companies inject massive amounts of water and chemicals into the ground to fracture rock formations and extract natural gas.

-In the Triangle, 59 percent of respondents oppose fracking
-In the Charlotte metro area, 53 percent oppose fracking
-In the Triad, 48 percent opposefracking
-In easternmost and westernmost NC, 55 percent opposefracking
*The vast majority of respondents say the state should do more to support and develop clean, renewable energy from solar, wind and other sources.
*About 56 percent of respondents oppose attempts by some lawmakers to eliminate the state’s clean energy standard, which gives utilities until 2021 to get at least 12 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources.

When asked about various sources of renewable energy:
-68 percent view solar energy very favorably
-56 percent view wind energy favorably
-50 percent favor offshore wind energy

When it comes to rating their lawmakers, 44 percent of respondents say they disapprove of the job the state legislature is doing, while 40 percent approve. Others did not express an opinion.

Gov. McCrory’s approval ratings were higher. About 47 percent of respondents said they approved of the job the governor is doing, while 33 percent disapproved. Others did not express an opinion.

The telephone poll, conducted June 25-30 by Gerstein, Bocian, Agne Strategies, has a statewide margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the worlds natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit follow @NRDC on Twitter.

Categories Riverkeeper News, Stay Informed
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Steve+EarleSteve Earle is bringing his legendary song writing and Grammy winning compilations to Asheville help save the French Broad River in an Aug. 27 show at the Orange Peel.

The concert is a highlight of the “Save the French Broad” campaign, a partnership between the Western North Carolina Alliance and its French Broad Riverkeeper, SweetWater Brewing Company and 98.1 The River to raise money and awareness to clean up and protect the French Broad River.

Tickets go on sale at noon July 11.

Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the show is at 9. (Open to ages 18 and up.) Tickets are $24 in advance and $26 the day of show.

VIP tickets are $50 and include a meet-and-greet with Steve Earle, local food, SweetWater beer and a reception in PULP at 6:30 p.m. (Ages 21 and up).

Earle is an acclaimed singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. He grew up near San Antonio, Texas, and began learning the guitar at age 11.

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others.

“I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” (2011) is Earle’s 14th studio album and shares the same name as his 2011 debut novel.

Proceeds from the concert will help the Western North Carolina Alliance and our Rverkeeper continue our work to protect and defend water quality in the French Broad River Watershed.

For more information on the concert and to buy tickets, visit

Categories Events Calendar, Riverkeeper News
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Sherry Vargson, of Granville Summit, Penn., lighting her fracking-contaminated tap water./Think Progress photo

House Bill 94 is chock full of bad legislation that would overhaul some of North Carolina’s important environmental protections.

One of the worst provisions would allow fracking companies to hide the names of the toxic chemicals they are pumping into the ground by calling them a trade secret. (You can learn more about fracking HERE.)

H94 would also:

• Allow polluters to contaminate groundwater right up to your property line and not tell you until AFTER it happens and when its TOO LATE.

• Eliminate the Mountain Resources Commission, which was established in 2008, to take care of our natural resources to enhance and sustain quality of life and ensure the long term health of our region and our people. (This commission, by the way ISNT EVEN FUNDED BY THE STATE.)

H94 may be coming up for a vote tomorrow (July 10) in the state House and we need your help to stop this bill!

Click HERE to send a message to your state representative

and Gov. Pat McCrory urging them to oppose H94.



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Progress Energy's coal-fired plant near Asheville.

Duke Energys coal-fired plant near Asheville.

Hundreds attend limited public hearing on power plant water pollution

Washington, D.C. – On April 22, after more than 30 years of delay, the EPA proposed a new rule under the federal Clean Water Act that contains a variety of options for cleaning up toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Power plants are some of the biggest sources of water pollution in the country, having already poisoned hundreds of lakes, rivers, bays, streams and aquifers. These are waters from which many nearby communities drink, swim and fish.

Today, at its Washington, D.C. headquarters, the EPA is holding the first and only public hearing on the proposed rule.

But the EPA has limited the scope and length of the public hearing, much to the disappointment of the hundreds of citizens who want to tell their stories of poisoned waters.

The following statement is from Alliance for the Great Lakes (IL), Appalachian Voices, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper (FL), Chesapeake Climate Action Network (MD), Clean Water for North Carolina (NC), Comite Dialogo Ambiental (PR), Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, French Broad Riverkeeper (NC), Greenpeace, Haw Riverkeeper (NC), Labadie Environmental Organization (MO), Little Blue Regional Action Group (PA), Milwaukee Riverkeeper (WI), National Hispanic Medical Association, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Patuxent Riverkeeper (MD), Potomac Riverkeeper (DC), Prairie Rivers Network (IL), Sierra Club, Watauga Riverkeeper (NC), Waterkeeper Alliance and Western North Carolina Alliance (NC):

“It is time for the EPA to end the power industries’ long history of destroying our lakes, rivers, and streams with toxic pollution. We are going to do all we can to ensure comprehensive rules are adopted that will require power plants to clean up all of their toxic wastewater pollution, not just some of it.

“By far the best option proposed by the EPA is for power plants to install zero liquid discharge technology and convert to safer coal ash handling systems that will eliminate discharges of the most contaminated wastewaters entirely. We hope the EPA will adopt the strongest protections for our waters from this pollution.

“The EPA has called this hearing only on part of the proposed rule, so-called ‘pretreatment’ standards for coal waste going to public water treatment facilities. The agency needs to listen more broadly. It is important that the EPA hear from the public on the rule as a whole, because so many of us are affected by toxic water pollution from power plants in our rivers, lakes and streams.”


Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance (828) 258-8737;
Lyman C. Welch, Alliance for the Great Lakes (312) 445-9739;
Sandra Diaz, Appalachian Voices (828) 262-1500;
Diana Dascalu-Joffe, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (240) 396-1984;
Katie Hicks, Clean Water for North Carolina (828) 251-1291;
Ruth Santiago, Comite Dialogo Ambiental, (787) 312-2223;
Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice (202) 745-5221;
Jennifer Duggan, Environmental Integrity Project, (802) 225-6774;
Robert Gardner, Greenpeace (540) 421-7558;
Patricia Schuba, Labadie Environmental Organization (636) 402-8460;
Elena Rios, National Hispanic Medical Association (202) 628-5895;
Mark Magaña, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (202) 230-2070;
Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper (240) 393-1547;
Traci Barkley, Prairie Rivers Network (217) 344-2371;
Eitan Bencuya, Sierra Club (202) 495-3047;
Brittany Kraft, Waterkeeper Alliance (678) 761-6584;


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Last month, President Obama unveiled plans for addressing climate change and urged all Americans to get involved and show support for these much-needed actions.

Join local leaders from 9:30-11 a.m. on Friday July 12 in Pack Square Plaza to learn more about the Presidents Climate Action Plan and lend your support with a video postcard or a letter, when the National Climate Bus Tour comes to Asheville.

Families and children are welcome. We’ll have a childrens art project on hand as well free coffee, juice and pastries for attendees.

For more information, contact Jennifer Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, at; or Kelly Martin, Sierra Club,



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bill_lea_bears2What is it that people find so fascinating about black bears? Is it their size and strength? Could it be our fear of bears? Is it the cuteness of a black bear cub or the childhood association so many of us have with the Teddy Bear?

The answer is probably “yes” to all of the above.

Shy and reclusive, black bears may be one of the most misunderstood animals in the world. For years, Bill Lea has been trying to change that fact through his photography and knowledge of bears, which he has shared via books, magazines, brochures, television, radio and frequent civic and school presentations.

At  7 p.m. on Friday, July 26, Lea will present a free discussion called Understanding the Black Bear for the B.E.A.R. Task Force at the Highlands Recreation Center.

Lea has been featured on Dateline NBC, National Public Radio, the Animal Planet channel, British Broadcasting Company (BBC) documentaries, Midwest Outdoors, and a host of local and regional television programs.

For more information about the event, call (828) 526-9227.

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MAMpromoshotEnvironmental fiction writer Mary Alice Monroe, author of the new book, The Summer Girls, is generously donating 10 percent of book sales from an upcoming reading at Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe to the Western North Carolina Alliance.

The reading will be at 7 p.m. July 6 at the store, located at 55 Haywood St.

The Summer Girls is the first in book in a trilogy of green fiction, in which dolphins are the focal point for an environmental lesson in which they face sickness and death due to polluted waters. The Summer Girls was selected as one of the top 10 best summer reads by Southern Living magazine and CBS.

Monroe is a New York Times bestselling author and has written 14 novels. She is an active conservationist who serves on the boards of the South Carolina Aquarium, The Leatherback Trust and Charleston Literacy Volunteers.

She is inspired by the WNCA’s work to protect the mountains, rivers and forests of Western North Carolina.

To learn more about Monroe, visit

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At 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday (June 25), President Obama will speak at Georgetown University on the growing threat of climate change.

He will lay out his vision of where we need to go, to do what we can to address and prepare for the serious implications of a changing climate.

Tune in at

Categories News & Announcements, Stay Informed
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