“Put Pittsboro First!” Rally, 6 p.m. • Before PBOC Meeting Chatham County Historic Courthouse, June 9

Reposted from Pittsboromatters.org

Address: US 64 and US 15-501, Pittsboro Pittsboro, NC 27312

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sent comments to the Town of Pittsboro on May 22, 2014 expressing concerns about the need for protection of Chatham Park waters and lands that are habitats to endangered and threatened species. These comments on the revised PDD Master Plan are the third time that USFWS has weighed in on Chatham Park urging the Town of Pittsboro “to uphold their obligations under the Endangered Species Act”.

“The Service’s previous comments to the Town have encouraged the Chatham Park Investors to work with the Town staff to address issues of secondary and cumulative impacts, and we have offered assistance to the Town as considerations are made for protecting fish and wildlife resources in its jurisdiction. Our review of the revised PDD Master Plan Site Elements indicates that these measures have not been incorporated, and thus have not been adequately addressed. The Service is concerned that without detailed natural resource-focused planning and wildlife-friendly zoning, the secondary and cumulative impacts associated with increased development in this area (particularly Residential Areas l.I, 1.2, 1.3, and 1 .5 indicated on the Land Use Plan map) could result in significant degradation of aquatic habitats or extirpation of listed species. Again, we urge Chatham Park Investors to work with Town planning staff to address issues of secondary and cumulative impacts, especially since the Town has previously committed to protective measures in the watersheds draining to the Haw River.”

Specific concerns raised:

  • Concerns about how the magnitude of a project like Chatham Park will impact streams that drain directly to occupied habitat for the federally endangered Cape Fear shiner. “Because the Cape Fear shiner is present in low numbers and the range of surviving populations are restricted, this fish species is vulnerable to threats to its habitat such as land use changes,… the entire length of the Haw River flowing through Chatham County, ending at Jordan Lake) as necessary habitat for the recovery of the species”.
  • Several federal at-risk species (yellow lampmussel, brook floater and Septima’s clubtail dragonfly are also present in the project area. Federal goals for the conservation of trust resources depend explicitly on the sustained integrity of the Haw River ecosystem.
  • Many areas along the Haw River are recognized for their rarity, ecological function in the landscape, and unique natural resources that they support. The importance of the habitats these areas provide for fish and wildlife makes protection from habitat degradation essential.
  • On October 2, 2013, USFWS proposed the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis, or NLEB) for listing as endangered under the ESA. USFW Service has evidence that NLEB are found in Chatham County, near the project site.
  • USFWS points out that when the Town of Pittsboro got approval for its wastewater discharge (NPDES) permit on the Haw River “ committed to adopt several protective measures that were detailed in NCWRC’s Guidance Memorandum to Address and Mitigate Secondary and Cumulative Impacts to Aquatic and Terrestrial Wildlife Resources”. These measure specifically indicate that protective measures will be implemented , “including 200ft buffers on perennial streams and 100ft buffers on intermittent streams draining to the Haw River, 300ft buffers along the Haw River, and for new developments draining to the Haw River (i.e. Tract 1 in the EIS, which equates to areas 40,60, and 63 in the Chatham Park Investors Assemblage Map) exceeding 6%imperviousness, the Town requires the developer to include stormwater controls designed to replicate and maintain the hydrographic condition at the site prior to the change in landscape.”

To read the full letter from USFWS to the Town of Pittsboro go to: USFWS to PBO BoC_comments on revised Chatham Park PDD Master Plan

North Carolina governor signs law paving way for fracking

RALEIGH N.C. Wed Jun 4, 2014 1:28pm EDT

Republican Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina makes remarks during a ''Growth and Jobs in America'' discussion at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, February 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Republican Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina makes remarks during a ”Growth and Jobs in America” discussion at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, February 23, 2014.

(Reuters) – North Carolina’s governor signed a law on Wednesday that will lift a longtime state ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, allowing shale gas exploration to begin as early as next year.

The Republican-led state legislature moved quickly last week to fast-track permits for fracking, in which rock formations are cracked and infused with chemical-laced water to extract natural gas. Continue reading

Event with the Botanical Hiker: Plant Identification on the Mountains-To-Sea Trail

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)




Adventures in Hiking, Wild Foods, Herbal Medicine, and Gratitude

Monday, June 9th  at 7:00pm

Discussion with Heather Houskeeper, author of A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Internationalist Bookstore 405 W. Franklin St. Chapel Hill, NC

Internationalist Books has  the book in stock now! Come check it out, and join us for this informative conversation! The book is a backpacker’s practical guide to identifying and harvesting edible and medicinal plants found along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, complete with recipes to transform them into delicious backcountry meals and snacks.

For more info: http://www.thebotanicalhiker.blogspot.com/

There will also be an event on Tuesday: Continue reading

North Carolina GOP Pushes Unprecedented Bill to Jail Anyone Who Discloses Fracking Chemicals

by Molly Redden / Mother Jones

Chris Carlson/AP

As hydraulic fracturing ramps up around the country, so do concerns about its health impacts. These concerns have led 20 states to require the disclosure of industrial chemicals used in the fracking process.

North Carolina isn’t on that list of states yet—and it may be hurtling in the opposite direction.

On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison. Continue reading

Duke Energy begins work to remove large coal ash deposit in Danville

sludge from river bottom
Enlarge Photo
Dan River Basin Association

Coal ash sludge scooped from the Dan River near the Duke Energy spill in Eden.

Digital Content Editor- Triad Business Journal

Duke Energy Corp. has begun to remove a 2,500-ton coal ash deposit in Danville, Va., with high-tech machinery, the News & Record and Fox 8 report.

The machine agitates the river bottom and vacuums up the water and sediment. The coal ash is then filtered out and sent to a lined landfill in Person County, while clean water is returned to the river.

The deposit, a result of the Feb. 2 spill that dumped between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of ash into the Dan River, is near the Schoolfield Dam and close to where Danville draws its drinking water.

It is the largest deposit found outside of where the spill occurred at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden. Nineteen tons were cleared there.

No coal ash containments have been found to date in drinking water downstream from the spill, including in Danville.

While work at the dam is likely to last through June, the News & Record writes that prospects look grim for recovering most of the ash that spilled. The two other known deposits — both in North Carolina — are a combined 60 tons. Officials say monitoring for deposits will continue for years.

Continue reading

Womack: “That’s just the way things are done.”

by Alexandra Viera, Piedmont Earth First!

As an Earth First!er, I never thought I’d agree with anything that Mining and Energy Chairman Jim Womack had to say…until now.  When interviewed by the Associated Press last week about why the Mining and Energy Commission held private talks with energy lobbyists regarding keeping fracking chemicals secret, he replied with “that’s just the way things are done.”

Eight Earth First!ers lock to the doors of NC DENR in 2012 after they release a report downplaying fracking risks and appointing former oil industry reps to the MEC. “We’ve learned that the legislature and regulators will not protect the water we drink and air we breathe. It’s time for the public to take other types of action to stop hydrofracking.”

I have to admit, Jim has a point.  Here in the land of the pines, there are special sessions where “representatives” try to fast track dangerous forms of extraction such as offshore oil drilling.  Regulators take tax-payer funded trips to PA and  into Texas for fracking industry sponsored tours.  NC Legislators travel to take votes on a corporate loyalty oath to ALEC DENR makes deals with Duke Energy to prevent them from being sued by environmental groups to clean up their toxic coal ash pits.  And, the mining and energy commissioners, appointed to create regulation for a dangerous and toxic industry that has shown itself immune to the idea of regulation itself, meet in secret with oil and gas lobbyists.  That’s just the way things are done down here, and that’s exactly the reason Earth First! exists, and that’s the reason we support direct action.  That’s why last summer hundreds of people blocked a fracking chemical shipment leaving Morganton, NC.


Protesters, using 30- foot tripods, block two driveways preventing fracking chemical tankers from leaving Momentive Specialty Chemicals in Morganton, North Carolina.

Let’s be clear, people like Jim Womack and corrupt boards like the MEC are the reason we would rather be arrested at a protest than pretend like we are part of this rigged process.  At least we are not foolish enough to believe that we are part of a system that is already fixed.   The only hope we have to stop fracking, offshore drilling, and coal disasters is if more people wake up and instead of choosing to” change the system from the inside”, or appeal to their  their representatives, they decide to join those who are constantly disenfranchised, put their comfort on the line, and actually fight the system itself.


protesters stand atop tanker truck in Morganton, NC

Ecuador rejects vote on Amazon oil drilling in Yasuni park

Action Alert: Call the EPA Now & Demand They Reopen natural gas investigations in Dimock & Pavillion

May 8th National Call in day to the EPA

Parker County TX, Dimock PA, and Pavillion WY are the towns bearing the brunt of the assault of the oil and gas industry on our communities. All three of them had their water destroyed after fracking occurred in their city limits, and all three had the EPA come in and give them glimmer of hope but then left them out to dry. But they are are fighting back. Can you help them? Please call 888-661-3342 and tell Administrator McCarthy to reopen the investigations.


There has been a national push to force the EPA Administrator McCarthy to reopen the investigations in these communities and we are gaining some traction. Today, May 8th, we are asking folks from around the country to stand with these three communities and demand that Administrator McCarthy do just that. Please call 888-661-3342 and tell Administrator McCarthy to reopen the investigations.


Now- we know it’s kinda awkward to make these calls, but we have a quick and easy script for you:


Hi, My name is _____, and I’m calling to ask EPA Administrator McCarthy to reopen the investigations in Parker County TX, Dimock PA, and Pavillion WY.


I’m saddened that the EPA has chosen to abandon these communities, and not protect them from the Oil and Gas industry. Your own scientists have said that their water was possibly contaminated from Fracking, yet you continue to do nothing.


Please reopen the investigations! These communities need your support!


Feel free to call once, or twice, even three times. Let’s keep those phones ringing off the hook!


In Struggle

Our own scientist have said that their water was possibly contaminated from Fracking, yet you continue to do nothing.


Please reopen the investigations! These communities need your support!



Continue reading

Australia: 7,000 Anti-gas Protesters Are Waiting for a Clash with Police on Land Slated for Exploratory Drilling

 Protester ‘Simmo’ waits for police to arrive. Picture: Jason O'Brien Source: News Corp Australia

An army of up to 7000 anti-gas protesters is preparing for a clash with police on New South Wales’ north coast.

by Geoff Chambers / The Daily Telegraph

The mood of the Bentley Blockade protest camp, situated on private property next to a farm set for exploratory drilling for conventional gas, turned defensive yesterday, as Lock The Gate officials looked at alternative options after Richmond Valley Council evicted them from their campsite.

Simmo, a barefoot protester with a walkie talkie positioned on one of several illegal lookouts erected on public property outside the camp, asked The Daily Telegraph to erase photos of him without a mask.

Asked why he was hiding behind a mask, Simmo said it was part of a long game and he would take it off when police arrived to remove the protesters.

More than 300 campers remained on the Bentley Rd property yesterday, which from today will be considered illegal by council after campers were accused of breaching council regulations by using detergent and bathing in the creek, lighting fires, using gas for cooking, holding pop-up concerts and setting up mini-camps on other properties.


 Musician Luke Vassella from Lismore plays tunes at a morning dawn service. Picture: Jason O'Brien Source: News Corp Australia

The camp was set up last month by Lock The Gate and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers on land owned by farmer David Scarrabelotti with his permission.

The neighbouring property is the farm owned by ­father and son Robert and Peter Graham, who gave Metgasco permission to begin exploratory drilling for conventional gas.

 Anti coal seam gas protesters at Bentley on the eve of possible eviction from their camp site. Picture: Jason O'Brien Source: News Corp Australia

The anti-CSG groups and Mr Scarrabelotti lodged a ­development application with the council to replace a temporary two-month approval for a 200-person “primitive camp” with a new application for 600 people.

The application was opposed by police and RMS and rejected by council general manager John Walker on Wednesday, setting up a showdown between protesters, council and police.

Lock The Gate organiser Ian Gaillard, who set up the camp, expected “7000 people here when the police show up” if council failed to ­re-negotiate the development application.

 Anti CSG protesters at Bentley on the eve of possible eviction from their camp site. Picture: Jason O'Brien Source: News Corp Australia

The protest groups were expected to lodge a revised DA late yesterday.

Richmond Valley Council mayor Ernie Bennett said council had a neutral view on CSG and its main concern was the safety of protesters and public on the 100km/h Bentley Rd.

Victory! Construction halted at Taiwan nuclear plant after protests