3/14/2016: Pro-conservation candidates

Vote like the future of your planet depends on it—because it does. This week in CIB.

Campaign Watch: Vote Environment Tuesday

Tomorrow—Tuesday, March 15—is your last chance to be heard in the selection of standard bearers for our clean air and water, green land, and healthy communities in this year’s general elections. Don’t miss it!

And when your friends and family go to the polls, please help them to remember that NCLCV and our national partners at the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund (LCVAF) have important recommendations on our strongest pro-environment candidates for this fall.

NCLCV last week announced its 2016 primary endorsements, including its big statewide endorsement for governor and three state legislative primary endorsements.

NCLCV’s Conservation PAC endorses Roy Cooper for Governor. First as a legislator and for the past 15 years as our state’s Attorney General, Roy Cooper has been a special champion for clean air and water, and the public health of all North Carolinians.

“In the race for the next Governor of North Carolina, Attorney General Cooper is the candidate who will work tirelessly to protect our quality of life and invest in a clean, renewable energy future,” said Dan Crawford, NCLCV’s director of governmental relations. “After four years of Pat McCrory putting polluters over people, North Carolina’s working families are ready for a change. Roy Cooper is the person to provide that change.”

Cooper’s best known work is his transformative successful litigation under federal clean air rules to force the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to take action to clean up interstate air pollution from its coal-fired power plants, and to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce its own interstate clean air responsibilities. For the full endorsement news release, see here.

NCLCV’s PAC also endorses three incumbent state legislators for re-election in their party primaries:

  • Rep. Rosa Gill (House 33)
  • Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (House 24), and
  • Sen. Angela Bryant (Senate 4).

For the full text of the endorsing news release, here.

League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund endorsements: NCLCV’s national partner group, LCV Action Fund, has made three endorsements of direct interest to North Carolina voters.

First, LCV Action Fund endorses Hillary Clinton for President. LCVAF cites the strong environmental record of Clinton as a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and candidate for President. It points to her support for climate and clean energy bills reducing carbon and other pollutants from power plants, repealing ‘Big Oil tax handouts’, and investing in solar energy; environmental justice initiatives; and attention to climate change as Secretary of State. Find a fuller discussion of the endorsement here.

Second, LCVAF endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senator from North Carolina, for the seat now held by Richard Burr. LCVAF calls Ross “a longtime champion for North Carolina’s environment, working to grow the clean energy economy and to protect public health.” The full news release announcing Ross’ endorsement can be found here.

Finally, LCVAF last week announced its endorsement of Congresswoman Alma Adams for re-election to the US Congress from NC’s 12th District. LCVAF points to Rep. Adams’ 97% positive score on the National Environmental Scorecard for 2015, her first full year in office, as well as to her work as a member of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus. NCLCV Executive Director Carrie Clark cited Adams’ long familiarity with the environmental needs of her constituents, and said that “North Carolinians can trust that she will continue to fight to protect our land and water.” See the full endorsement news release here.

Don’t forget that the new voter photo ID requirements are in effect for this primary election, for the first time. You can find details on these requirements and related questions here.

Coast Watch: Titan Pulls the Plug

Several North Carolina coastal advocacy groups celebrated last week on receiving news that the Titan America corporation was pulling the plug on a highly controversial proposed cement factory near the Cape Fear estuary.

The Titan announcement appears to mark the effective end of an eight-year battle in the courts, state legislature, and regulatory agencies to block the plant’s construction.

Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), told reporters that “The citizens of New Hanover and Pender counties can breathe easier with the threat of Titan’s toxic air pollution now gone.” SELC has represented the N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Fear River Watch, PenderWatch & Conservancy, and the Sierra Club in legal challenges to the proposed plant.

See more reaction to the news here.

Administrative Watch: No Community Should Be Low-Priority

Citizens continue to call for faster cleanup of more Duke Energy coal ash pits during the second round of public hearings held last week on the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) coal ash cleanup plans.

Opportunities for the public to speak out on this problem are ongoing. This week’s hearings include two tonight, Monday, March 14, and one more this Wednesday, March 16:

Monday March 14:

Spindale (Rutherford County): Isothermal Community College Auditorium, 286 ICC Loop Rd., Spindale 28160.

Shelby (Cleveland County): Boiling Springs Town Hall, 114 E. College Ave., Shelby 28152.

Wednesday, March 16:

Roxboro (Person County): Person County Government Building, 304 S. Morgan St., Roxboro 27573.

Each of the hearings begins at 6pm. Concerned members of the public are encouraged to attend. Those who wish to speak should show up early in order to sign up. Find more information here.

Comments can emphasize that all of Duke’s unlined, leaking coal ash sites across North Carolina are high risk and should be cleaned up by moving the toxic coal ash to dry, lined storage away from rivers and groundwater. The communities and people of our state deserve to have clean water, protected from the threat of toxic coal ash pollution.

None of the sites are in fact “low-risk” and they cannot safely be capped and left in place to continuing seeping into our water supplies. More than 200 seeps from Duke’s coal ash pits collectively send about three million gallons a day into our waters. It is past time for DEQ to order swift cleanup of these continuing pollution sources.

For those who can’t get to a hearing site in person but would still like to make your voice heard, here’s one quick and easy option to comment via links set up by NCLCV: Buck Steam Station; Allen Steam Station; and Lee Power Station.

Education & Resources: Breathe Easier

In less than a month, North Carolina citizens working for cleaner air will have a prime opportunity to gather for discussions of how recent legal changes will affect pollution control, what the latest research is saying about air quality and human health, and how these factors will impact our economy.

The opportunity is Clean Air Carolina’s NC BREATHE Conference on April 8 in Charlotte. Scientists, economists, and citizen advocates will share and confer on the latest information and its implications. For details and to register (free),see here.

Other sponsors are Environmental Health Scholars Fund, Fred and Alice Stanback, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, and UNC Charlotte.

That’s our report for this week.