Legislature to vote on revised Commissions Bill next Tues.
Implications for fracking, coal ash cleanup, water for impacted families:
Email your representative and senator today!
On May 25, the Commissions Bill – a revised version of Senate Bill 71 – passed the NC House with several changes. They included an amendment that we discovered contained 3 bad restrictions that could drastically reduce the number of households near coal ash sites who would qualify for water lines or filtration systems! Now, committed to improving that amendment, bill sponsor Chuck McGrady and a “conference committee” of House and Senate members are working on changes that will be released Monday. We’ll alert you to important changes.
Even if the changes allow most well users near coal ash sites to get safe replacement water, impacted communities still have several concerns with this bill – please contact your representative and senator by email or in their home office to share these concerns!
- It could allow future downranking of coal ash sites to “low priority,” letting Duke Energy take the cheap and easy route of capping coal ash in place. Capping in place is unacceptable; communities want both a source of safe drinking water AND full cleanup of coal ash.
- The new Coal Ash Management Commission might not be any more responsive to community needs, yet could cause big delays in the process. Communities have worked too hard to get the coal ash in their areas classified so that it would be cleaned up quickly and in a way that protects all communities, and shouldn’t have to go through additional comment periods when they’ve already told the state what they want!
- Disagreements between the Governor and the NC General Assembly could tie this up in court, giving Duke Energy even more time to kick the problem of coal ash down the road.
- This bill also re-establishes the Oil and Gas Commission, which would be at least as heavily tilted towards pro-fracking members as the last one. Also, there’s a provision that tries to overturn the injunction against fracking well permitting that a lawsuit by partner Haw River Assembly got last year!
Contact your representative and senator now. Remember that on the weekend, you should email them or call their LOCAL office. Thanks for taking action!
Isaac Franklin Coleman, Jr. (1943-2016)
Clean Water for North Carolina staff and Board of Directors remember Isaac Coleman, who passed away earlier this month after a short battle with cancer, as a friend, admired fellow activist, and generous man who contributed enormously to guiding our organization during the 11 years he served on our Board of Directors.
In early 2005, we welcomed Isaac to our Board as a seasoned social justice and civil rights activist. Isaac’s interests in social and environmental justice issues began in his youth in Lexington, KY and stayed with him through his college years in Knoxville, TN and in his civil rights work in the 1960s with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi. Isaac moved to Asheville, NC in 1971 where he worked as a housing inspector for many years. It was here that Isaac became increasingly concerned with environmental issues, particularly lead contamination in city housing. He later worked part-time with UNC Asheville’s (now closed) Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which was around the time he joined CWFNC’s Board.
Isaac (second from right) at CWFNC’s spring 2015 Board retreat.
Over the years, Isaac’s feedback on our programs and operation has been invaluable, always keeping us focused on the core of our mission as an environmental justice organization — and his presence at our events and meetings always brought laughter due to his unique sense of humor!
In our time together, we’ve had the privilege to learn about his family, his incredible history of activism, and the many projects he was involved with locally in Asheville and Buncombe County – including Read to Succeed, the reading program that was so dear to his heart. Isaac was one of the founders of Read to Succeed in 2009, and believed in the power of volunteer Reading Coaches to change the course of children’s lives by giving them opportunities.
At his memorial service, Isaac’s sisters shared that their parents had told them to “do something with your life.” Isaac certainly did, even though his ended too soon and he will be greatly missed. Please join us in honoring him by supporting or volunteering with one of the many causes he championed: Read to Succeed, Clean Water for NC, and Just Economics are just a few. Or just go out and make change in your own community; it’s what Isaac would have done!
Join us for a press conference & rally
1PM, Thursday, May 19
200 Blount St., Raleigh (sidewalk across from the Governor’s Mansion)
You’re invited! Neighbors of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds and their allies will hold a press conference in Raleigh to respond to the Department of Environmental Quality’s classifications for cleaning up coal ash ponds across the state, released today. Residents will also respond to the recent news that Governor McCrory, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Duke Energy worked together to rescind hundreds of “do-not-drink” advisories and will propose a better path forward.
Oppose House Bill 1005 / Senate Bill 779
Drinking water is not a partisan issue. Call your Representative and Senator now (look them up by county here, then click their name to view contact information), to ask them to oppose “Issuance of Advisories/Drinking Water Stds” bill!
View our factsheet on the bill.
Please call or email your state representative and state senator today!
Here’s what you need to know, and share with your Representative and Senator:
- For many years, state Health officials notified well owners about contamination, natural or man-made, found in any well test at a concentration high enough that the officials knew it could have short or long term health effects. State Health and environmental staff have researched and developed dozens of health-based “screening levels” in order to advise well owners, but these are advisory only (not enforceable).
- DEQ wants this bill to stop the entire health-based notification program and depend only on federal drinking water standards. Those standards, known as MCLs, exist for only about 60 of the hundreds of contaminants that have been documented in NC waters, and are often much weaker (less protective) than heath-based screening levels for the same contaminants.
- The bill would prevent health departments from issuing any health based notifications to public water customers, too! Sometimes pollution incidents happen involving a contaminant with no federal standard at all, threatening a public water supply, but this bill could keep the public or water customers from knowing.
This bill is about protecting water polluters of many kinds: coal ash dumps, chemical manufacturers, possible frackers, fuel storage, livestock operations and more.
Call your Representative and Senator now. Ask them to oppose HB1005 / SB779, the “Issuance of Advisories/Drinking Water Stds” bill. We ALL have the right to know what’s in our water!