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Pioneering community-owned renewable energy

Take Action! NC Conservation Network Calls for Action on Wind in NC

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 -

From Jessilyn Kemp of the North Carolina Conservation Network…

Earlier this week we sent you an email about protecting the responsible development of wind energy in North Carolina. We have a quick update and another chance for you to take quick action: http://ncconservationnetwork1.org/campaign/windmtns

Senate Bill 1068 is essentially a good bill that the environmental community supports because it would create a needed permitting process for wind projects. But some key state Senators, including yours, are at the heart of an ongoing effort to amend S1068 to ban wind power in the mountains of North Carolina.

If you haven’t had a chance to make a phone call yet, please send a quick email to your Senator asking him/her to oppose a ban on wind power in Western NC: http://ncconservationnetwork1.org/campaign/windmtns

Wind power on just five percent of our ridges could create, conservatively, 800 megawatts of capacity -enough to power over 400,000 homes. We can develop wind in Western North Carolina without damaging the region’s environment – and we must to transition NC away from dirty energy sources that threaten our health and our environment.

We need your help to tell our state decision makers that we should NOT ban responsible wind energy projects in North Carolina: http://ncconservationnetwork1.org/campaign/windmtns

Thank you,

Jessilyn Kemp
NC Conservation Network

P.S. If this bill is passed with a ban on mountain wind energy, NC risks:

  • Sending millions of energy dollars, and hundreds of jobs out of state
  • Keeping millions of dollars of local economic development dollars out of the mountains
  • Undermining local governments who have adopted permitting laws for commercial wind
  • Stripping utilities from one of the most cost-effective options for meeting the NC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

If you’d like, you can still call your Senator and ask that they don’t close the door on wind energy in North Carolina’s mountains and to support responsibly sited wind energy in the mountains of North Carolina! http://tools.advomatic.com/19/windmtns

Wow. Wind Lives to Fight Another Day

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 -

In this rapidly changing story, WNC wind escapes the senate’s ax in the eleventh hour this afternoon. It now heads back to senate Ag/Environment/Natural Resources Committee. More shortly on this unfolding plot. We’ll have a fully updated analysis and resource page asap. Stay tuned!

Going Backwards! Senators ban wind in WNC

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 -

Please read the below articles for a description of the setback realized today by North Carolinians seeking clean environmentally-sensitive wind energy development in the Old North State:


Update on NC Senate 1068 – Wind Permitting in North Carolina

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 -

Thanks to a huge grassroots effort, the ban on windpower in the NC mountains has been averted, at least for the moment. By our count, AIRE and other groups were able to mobilize hundreds of calls and emails to senators over the 4th of July weekend. The senate Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources committee discussed and passed a version of the bill that was absent the sections dealing with mountain wind, effectively rendering it a costal wind permitting bill.

That bill moves on to the senate finance committee, probably this week. We need to remain vigilant. The western coalition of groups is now formulating strategy. Stay tuned.

Media coverage we’ve seen today:

AIRE’s Steve Owen Speaks at Marsh Fork Elementary School Rally

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 -

“We think there is a way to create long-term, sustainable jobs so you can feed your families.”

Steve Owen
Executive Director, AIRE
speaking directly to the Massey Energy counter-protestors

On Tuesday, June 23, hundreds of people gathered at an anti-mountaintop removal coal mining rally at Marsh Fork Elementary School in West Virginia to protest the continuation of the destructive practice. The local and regional residents were joined by NASA climatologist James Hansen, who spoke about the contributions of mountaintop removal coal mining and coal-fired power plants to the problem of global warming.

Activist and actress Daryl Hannah, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Michael Brune and renowned novelist Diane Giardina also spoke during the rally.

According to Hansen, 24,000 people die each year from illnesses caused by coal-fired power plants.

Novelist Denise Giardina, author of the book “Storming Heaven” about the battle of Blair Mountain, said during her speech, “We had coal mining for 70 years before mountaintop removal mining, and blowing up the top of a mountain is not coal mining.”

Protestors were met at the scene by employees of Massey Energy – who according to one source had been given the day off with pay to attend the rally and counter the protest – and their wives. The miners were dressed in work clothes with orange “Massey stripes” and carrying signs that said “Tree Huggers Go Home” and “We Love Mountains That Produce Coal.” Some miners shouted obsenities and taunts at protestors.

“The coal that is burned here [in West Virginia] is mined somewhere else, and the coal that is mind here is burned somewhere else,” said Rock Creek, WVa native Judy Bonds. “This is America. This is everyone’s problem.”

Rally attendees then marched half of a mile down the main road to the Massey coal processing plant entrance, singing “Amazing Grace” and other gospel songs. They were met by the line of Massey workers and wives chanting “Massey, Massey” and shouting at the protestors. Twenty-nine individuals who had chosen to risk arrest then sat down in the middle of the road, and climatologist Hansen read a request to Massey Energy asking the company to help with the climate change problem by ending mountaintop removal coal mining.

The activists were subsequently arrested for obstructing traffic. “Stop mountaintop removal and create a clean energy future,” said actress Daryl Hannah as she was lead away in handcuffs.

Among the arrested included 94-year-old Ken Heckler, former U.S. congressman and Secretary of State for West Virginia; James Hansen; Michael Brune, and numerous West Virginia residents including Lorelei Scarboro, Dana Kuhnline and Larry Gibson.

In the end result, the rally was peaceful, violence was avoided, and the majority of Massey’s coal production on the mountaintop removal site above the school was shut down for a day.

Quotes from the day:

“The blood of Native Americans and West Virginians is in these hills. The spirit of Native Americans and West Virginians is in these hills. We need to honor the Scotch Irish, honor the Germans and English, honor the Native Americans and Africans whose people are buried in these mountains. This is a war of the spirit.” Matt Charmin, Dakota Blackfoot Sioux

“People went to jail so we wouldn’t have to work on weekends. People went to jail so women could have the right to vote…. [some of you are risking arrest today…] You have the right to remain silent, but now is the time to stand up for what you believe is right.” Steve Owen, Executive Director, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy

“Don Blankenship invited me here today, when he started blowing up mountains.” Michael Brune, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Flickr Photostream available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/appvoices/sets/72157620592562274/

AIRE’s Executive Director, Steve Owen, Discusses North Carolina Wind Energy Policy in IndyWeek.com

Saturday, April 18th, 2009 -

You can read Steve’s take on wind energy here in the “Old North State” at IndyWeek.com HERE.

A CALL TO CONSCIENCE: Peaceful Assembly to Halt the Construction of the New Coal-fired Power Plant at Duke Energy’s Cliffside Facility

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 -

Cliffside Climate Action this Monday April 20th in Charlotte, NC.

Join the Cliffside Climate Action on Monday, April 20th in Charlotte, NC for a rally to stop construction of Duke Energy’s Cliffside Coal-fired Power Plant.

On this day of action, named Call to Conscience: Cliffside Climate Action, hundreds of North Carolinians will demonstrate their moral indignation at the use of 19th Century technology that is unneeded, unlawful, and is damaging our health and the habitability of our planet.

Building Cliffside is a wasteful, $2.4 billion expenditure that would be more wisely used to create a green jobs, clean energy economy – the fastest way to help slow climate change.

It is time to insist that Duke CEO Jim Rogers, NC Governor Perdue’s administration, and NC state legislators join the growing list of elected officials across America moving to stop construction of coal-fired power plants – climate change time bombs.

We invite you to come and bear witness as responsible citizens. Father John Rausch, working with communities in Appalachia devastated by mountaintop removal mining, is right when he says, “Feet in the street can move a mind in a bind.”

Bearing witness is one option, or you may wish to learn more about engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience. If so, please join us on Sunday, April 19th for non-violent training. Almost all important social change movements in US history have been initiated through nonviolent acts of resistance.

“Coal plants are factories of death. It is no wonder that young people (and some not so young) are beginning to block new construction,”
says Dr. James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Studies Institute.

Other ways of participating include:

  • Volunteering with our organizing effort
  • Informing your friends and social network
  • Donating for legal defense
  • Sending a SHORT message to Gov. Beverly Perdue:Office of the Governor
    20301 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
    (919) 733-4240

Please let us know if you plan to attend by registering HERE.

AIRE - pioneering community-owned renewable energy
a fiscally sponsored project of Inquiring Systems Inc.
164 South Depot St. • Boone, North Carolina 28607 • info@aire-nc.org • phone: 828.268.5022
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