Take Action: Tell Duke Energy to Stop Polluting the Broad River with Coal Ash!

Take Action: Tell Duke Energy to Stop Polluting the Broad River with Coal Ash!

Take Action: Tell Duke Energy to Stop Polluting the Broad River with Coal Ash!

Oct. 20, 2017

We’re building a movement to hold Duke Energy accountable for their coal ash pollution. Last Saturday, Oct. 14, community members joined the Broad River Alliance and three other MountainTrue Riverkeepers for a paddle protest in front of Duke’s power plant in Cliffside, NC. Sign our petition below to keep the heat on and show Duke that North Carolina’s citizens will not tolerate their toxic pollution of our waterways.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Turnout for 30th Annual Big Sweep Nearly Quadruples, Volunteers Clean Up 50 miles in WNC

Turnout for 30th Annual Big Sweep Nearly Quadruples, Volunteers Clean Up 50 miles in WNC

Turnout for 30th Annual Big Sweep Nearly Quadruples, Cleans 50 miles in WNC

Collaboration with Community Partners and Expanded Riverkeeper Programs Made this our Biggest Big Sweep Yet

Sept. 26 2017

 

Community members and students turned out to carry 24 bags of trash out of the Guy Ford section of the Watauga River. In total, Big Sweep participants removed 7,810 pounds of trash from Western North Carolina’s waterways.

 

On September 9, more than 253 people from all walks of life turned out to remove more than 7,810 pounds of trash — 3.9 tons! — from Western North Carolina’s waterways as part of our 30th annual NC Big Sweep. Through a series of river and roadside cleanups in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, and Watauga counties, Mountaintrue joined key partners Asheville Greenworks, the Waterkeeper Alliance and AmeriCorps Project Conserve to clean 50 miles of rivers and streams.

Gray Jernigan, MountainTrue’s Green Riverkeeper and Southern Regional Director, confirmed that the Big Sweep’s attendance this year “almost quadrupled” compared to last year. Why was the event such a success? “Thanks to the partnership and coordination with other great local organizations and businesses,” Gray says. “We’ve also recently expanded our Riverkeeper programs to include the Green and Broad Rivers, which builds our geographic reach and volunteer engagement in those areas.”

As a 30th annual event, Big Sweep falls into a long-standing tradition of volunteers in North Carolina cleaning up waterways in their communities. The event could not have happened without Asheville Greenworks, a key leader in the Big Sweep effort, or our Big Sweep sponsors, which included Asheville Outdoor Center, Griffin Waste Services, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Henderson County and French Broad Outfitters.

Fifteen members of the Hendersonville Rotary Club showed up in full force for the event, and were joined by State Senator Chuck Edwards in cleaning up Mud Creek.
“As a volunteer team leader, I find it to be really satisfying work,” said Don Huneycutt, the Big Sweep Team Captain for the Hendersonville Rotary Club. “ It takes a team and some hard work , but when you’re done, you can see that you made a real difference.”

 

A volunteer with the Hendersonville Rotary Club removes a tire from Mud Creek. 

 

Our waterways attract quite the collection of bizarre trash. State Senator Chuck Edwards finds a toy ambulance in Mud Creek. 

 

The Hendersonville Rotary Club with collected trash from Mud Creek. State Senator Chuck Edwards (front row, second from right) joined the group, wearing a MountainTrue hat.

 

The Broad River Alliance named the event their “Sarah Sweep” for the second year in a row in memory of Sarah Spencer, an active volunteer who was 26-years-old when she was killed in a car accident in 2016. The event served Sarah’s memory proud, as 22 volunteers turned out to remove 1400 pounds of trash – including 32 tires! – along five miles of the First Broad River.

The French Broad Riverkeeper’s team was based out of Westfeldt River Park, and mainly received volunteers from Asheville Greenworks and AmeriCorps Project Conserve on the French Broad in Transylvania County. (add numbers from cleanup) When the work was done, the volunteers enjoyed an after party at Westfeldt River Park sponsored by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

And in the High Country, a team of 20 volunteers cleaned up the Guy Ford section of the Watauga River, which was recently donated to Watauga County by the Blue Ridge Conservancy for recreation. “Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who made the 30th Annual Big Sweep a success,” said Andy Hill, Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue’s High Country Regional Director. “[And] major appreciation to Edgar Peck and the Blue Ridge Conservancy for making Guy Ford Access another place for people to enjoy the Watauga River.” The cleanup crews, consisting mainly of community members and students, filled 24 bags of trash, including a tent, a mattress and a rusty trash can.

Volunteers in all of our regions noticed an abundance of a few particular pieces of trash: plastic bottles and tires. Plastic bottles remain a huge threat to our waterways, and the Big Sweep was a reminder to volunteers and community partners that litter on our streets often ends up in our streams and rivers as stormwater runoff. By tackling the problem at the source, efforts to reduce littering and careless garbage disposal can greatly reduce the burdens on our waterways each year.

Big Sweep participants also collected at least 115 tires this year, and some groups even had designated Tire Teams to remove them. Tires often end up in waterways because they are seen as too difficult or expensive to dispose of properly. Dumped in streams, they become environmental hazards. The best way to recycle tires is through your local county recycling program. Henderson and Transylvania counties will dispose of five tires for free per household, per year; Buncombe County accepts 10. For other items that are difficult to recycle, from packing peanuts, to printer cartridges, to dog crates, take note of Asheville Greenworks’ Hard-2-Recycle events here.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, community partners, and sponsors that made the Big Sweep happen this year. By helping us fund our Green, Broad, French Broad and Watauga Riverkeeper programs, you’re helping to remove thousands of pounds of trash from our waterways every year. We hope you’ll join us in your gloves and rain boots next year to make the next Big Sweep an even bigger success.

 

AmeriCorps Project Conserve Members clean up the French Broad River in kayaks. 


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Harvey’s Toxic Wake

Harvey’s Toxic Wake

 

Harvey’s Toxic Wake

Hurricane Harvey had another dangerous effect: flooded superfund sites. French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson reports back from Houston.

September 15, 2017

 

French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson and Bayou City Waterkeeper Bruce Bodson (pictured) survey water quality on the Green Bayou in Houston, TX shortly after Hurricane Harvey. Houston is home to many toxic and industrial sites, and the hurricane caused widespread chemical and wastewater leaks.

 

This tiny jon boat is no match for the waves crashing over its bow. As Tonya and I ponder how much sewage might be in the water, which is now dripping from our faces and clothes, Bruce Bodson, the Bayou City Waterkeeper, says, “I don’t think the sewage should be your main worry — I think dioxins are more common here.”

Bruce and I, alongside Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus, are a last-minute crew assembled by the Waterkeeper Alliance to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We’re in Houston to assess the hurricane’s impact on the many oil, gas, chemical and industrial sites in the region — after receiving over 50 inches of rain in many areas, there is real concern about stormwater runoff, overflowing wastewater plants, and spills and leaks from the massive oil and gas facilities near Houston’s waterways.

The dichotomy of the storm is quickly evident. Our downtown accommodations show no sign of Harvey’s impacts, but as I walk a few blocks to assess the Buffalo Bayou, I see workers hosing off the side of a building. They show me a spot on the wall about 35 feet above the water, where the floodwaters reached during the storm. We witness neighborhoods completely devastated by the flooding, while homeowners elsewhere are planting flowers and mowing their lawns like nothing ever happened. Bruce explains that this storm was “more of a rain event than a wind event, and it was like a lot of floods: you’re either in it or you’re not.”

 

The Buffalo Bayou overflows in downtown Houston following Hurricane Harvey. Many areas in Houston received over 50 inches of rain during the storm. 

 

Being “in it” not only meant that your home had flooded and belongings had been destroyed. Too often, it meant the floodwaters brought a toxic stew into your neighborhood and your house.

On one of our monitoring trips, we examined the area’s many superfund sites. Houston has a long history of heavy industry and pollution, and therefore is home to some of the most toxic sites in the country. One of those sites is the French LTD. It sits close to the San Jacinto River, directly next to a low-income mobile home community that was completely devastated by the floodwaters. Trailers there are overturned and cars are underwater. There is no indication that anyone has been here to inspect the toxic water pollution caused by the storm.

 

This mobile home community next to French Ltd., a superfund site, was devastated by flooding and toxic leaks during Hurricane Harvey. 

 

The pollution is ironically obvious, as it sits directly in front of a fence with a sign warning that the area beyond it is a hazardous site. A black, oily ditch flows directly into the neighboring community. As I walk through to inspect the damage, some of the residents are piling their flood-soaked belongings on top of giant debris piles. Just down the road from there, a crew in hazardous waste removal suits are using weed eaters to remove the oily grass and hanging a long plastic covering over the fence. I wonder what they’re trying to hide. I hold my phone over the fence to take pictures, which reveal trees and bushes coated in a thick oily sheen at least five feet high. I wonder: Has anyone warned the neighboring residents of the toxic threat the floodwaters pose to their health?

 

Left: The “No Trespassing” sign in front of French Ltd., a superfund site, warns of toxic waste beyond it. Right: The Waterkeepers discovered a fence outside of Deep Down Inc., an industrial site that saw a large amount of oil wash out of its waste pits during Hurricane Harvey.

Being a Waterkeeper means being a watchdog for your waterway. That can mean monitoring facilities from the air, checking their discharge permits, and getting drenched in sewage in order to make sure industries supported by oil and gas aren’t polluting the area’s waterways. That job is made much more difficult in Houston, because Homeland Security prevents access by water to most of these superfund and industrial sites.

Bruce and I paddle down Green’s Bayou in sea kayaks in an attempt to lay eyes on the impact of the storm from the river. As we ease our way down the Bayou towards the heart of the oil and gas facilities, Bruce says it won’t be long before we get stopped. And we do get stopped — not by the police, but by giant barges tied together to block access to the downstream facilities. We take in toxic smell after toxic smell, some so strong that I get a headache. Bruce calls out the names of these toxic substances as if we are out birdwatching. The smell becomes overpowering as we paddle by Arkema, the same company whose toxic chemicals exploded in another area of Houston. “We probably should have brought our respirators,” Bruce says casually. “This smell could kill you if it were a bit stronger.”

Bruce’s calm response to potentially being killed by toxic chemicals while kayaking comes from a career spent around the oil and gas industry. A career that has seen a lifetime’s worth of oil and gas pollution, lakes of chemicals sunken into the ground, and chemical explosions.

The risk of dying from a toxic chemical exposure is not something I am accustomed to when I go paddling. But in Houston — ground zero for the oil and gas industry — it is a way of life. It’s illegal for these chemicals to leave the property, Bruce says, but there isn’t much incentive to stand up to the multi-billion dollar oil and gas giants like ExxonMobil and BP.

When our boat patrol is finished, we drive through a residential neighborhood bordering the ExxonMobil refinery. Many of these people live and breathe the toxic byproducts of our country’s fossil fuel addiction every day. The scenes we pass of kids riding bikes and playing on swing sets would be totally normal, if it weren’t for the backdrop of methane flares and toxic air emissions just over their heads.

“During Harvey, the released toxins were so intense that a ‘shelter in place warning’ was issued for this neighborhood in Baytown,” Bruce explains. “They even advised against using air conditioners, to prevent toxic chemicals from being drawn into homes.” I fully believe this, because my skin has started to burn from the water that splashed all over us during the boat patrol.

“This looks like the future scene from the Terminator movies, where the robots have destroyed the Earth,” I tell Bruce, only half-kidding.

For a moment, I think that maybe this area should remain a sacrifice zone, so the rest of the country can burn oil and gas. But when I look back at the blue herons taking off from the discharge of oil refineries, and see kids riding bikes under the shadows of methane flares, I remember that this fight to protect the waterways is worth fighting, and that it is exactly what Waterkeepers do best.

Waterkeepers take on David versus Goliath fights every day. This is a fight for the future — not only for the future of the people and waterways around Houston, but for the future of our planet. The oil and gas industries are strangling our ability to develop a clean energy future. A future where people can relax in their yards without fear of toxic pollution, paddle and swim in their waterways, and use renewable energy that doesn’t contribute to climate change. This is a battle worth fighting, and a battle the Bayou City Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance intend to win.

 

Wastewater from a Houston wastewater treatment plant flows into the Green Bayou. Waterkeepers monitored and documented the pollution to fight for a clean water future. 


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Sampling Shows Groundwater Pollution to the Broad River

Sampling Shows Groundwater Pollution to the Broad River

 

Sampling Shows Groundwater Pollution to the Broad River

 

 

For Immediate Release:

September 14, 2017

Mooresboro, N.C. — Recent sampling by the Broad Riverkeeper and MountainTrue confirms that Duke Energy is continuing to pollute groundwater and surface water with toxic heavy metals at its coal-fired power plant near Cliffside, N.C.. The team used a sampling method to tap into shallow groundwater near the edge of the Broad River at three locations: upstream and across the river from the Duke Energy plant (used as a “background” location for sampling purposes), next to an inactive coal ash pit and next to the active coal ash pit.

The results of an independent laboratory analysis of the samples show significant increases in the levels of toxic heavy metals when compared to the cross-river background samples, including chromium levels more than 40 times higher than background and lead levels 30 times higher than background.

Broad Riverkeeper David Caldwell explains, “despite the significant threat of coal ash to the Broad River and the surrounding community, Duke Energy still refuses to clean up their coal ash mess. Duke has ample capacity in the onsite, lined landfill to store this ash, but refuses to spend the money to protect our community by digging up the ash and moving it.”

To bring attention to Duke Energy’s choice to put its profits over the health of waterways, MountainTrue and the Broad Riverkeeper will be gathering community members at the Cliffside Power Plant (James E. Roger’s Energy Complex) on October 14 in protest. The protesters will paddle a section of the Broad River with a banner reading, “Protect Our Water, Move Your Ash!”

To join the protest, click here:

http://bit.ly/PaddleProtest

To sign MountainTrue’s petition for a full cleanup, click here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/383/917/194/

The sampling shows an overall trend of significant increases in heavy metal concentration when compared to background samples. Results show:  

  • Chromium 25 times higher than background and two times higher than the groundwater standard at the inactive basin.  Chromium  42 times higher than background and three times higher than the groundwater standard at the active basin.
  • Lead 20 times higher than background at inactive basin and 30 times higher than background at active basin (exceeding GW standard).
  • Boron was not present in background, but was found in samples taken near the inactive and active ash basins.  
  • Calcium seven times higher than background at active basin.
  • Aluminum 37 times higher than background at active basin.
  • Arsenic twice as high as background at active basin.
  • Vanadium 38 times higher than background at the active basin.

Media Contacts:

Karim Olaechea
Communications Director, MountainTrue
E: karim@mountiantrue.org; C: 415.535.9004

David Caldwell
Coordinator, Broad River Alliance – A Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate
E: broadriveralliance@gmail.com C: 704.300.5069

About MountainTrue

MountainTrue fosters and empowers communities throughout the region and engages in policy and project advocacy, outreach and education, and on-the-ground projects. To achieve our goals, MountainTrue focuses on a core set of issues across 23 counties of Western North Carolina: sensible land use, restoring public forests, protecting water quality and promoting clean energy – all of which have a high impact on the environmental health and long-term prosperity of our residents. MountainTrue is the home of the French Broad Riverkeeper, the Green Riverkeeper, the Watauga Riverkeeper and the Broad River Alliance, a Waterkeeper Affiliate working to promote fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters in the Broad River Basin. For more information: mountaintrue.org

 

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

New Riverkeeper Report: Dead in the Water

New Riverkeeper Report: Dead in the Water

New Riverkeeper Report: Dead in the Water

The North Carolina Riverkeepers have released a new report: Dead in the Water: Environmental Enforcement in North Carolina. This the first comprehensive report that details the work of Riverkeepers across North Carolina.

Dead in the waterOur state has a proud history of environmental protection. However, 2016 was a year of vast devastation and increased pollution, from storms, the burgeoning hog and chicken industries, coal ash and other chemicals and abuses. Contributing to the problem were environmental officials who turned a blind eye to the problems and were slow to respond to issues. Combine this with State government that attempted to roll back protections and you have a state where Riverkeepers had to work harder than ever to protect our waters.

Read all about their work by clicking here.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

2016 MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced

2016 MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced

MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced

From left to right: Jack Dalton of Hot Springs Mountain Club, which was named Partner of the Year; Jane Laping, one of our Volunteers of the Year; Brownie Newman, Elected Official of the Year; Neill Yelverton, Leesa Sluder, Peter Krull, Kerry Keihn and Catherine Campbell of Krull & Company–named Green Business of the Year; Doreen Blue, our other Volunteer of the Year; and Will Harlan, recipient of The Esther Cunningham Award. Download high resolution image.

Asheville, NC — MountainTrue announced the winners of the MountainTrue Awards, which were at the organization’s Fall Gathering held at New Belgium Brewing Company in Asheville on October 26. Award honorees are recognized for their hard work and dedication to protecting our forests, mountains, rivers and streams, and to promoting clean energy and sustainability. The 2016 MountainTrue Award winners are:

The Esther Cunningham Award | Honoree: Will Harlan of Barnardsville
MountainTrue presents this award in the name of Esther Cunningham, a Macon County resident whose concern for the environment prompted her to found the Western North Carolina Alliance (now part of MountainTrue). The award is presented to a MountainTrue member who has demonstrated outstanding community service in conserving our natural resources.

Will Harlan is an award-winning writer and editor-in-chief of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine and an elite, long distance runner uses his talents to bring attention to environmental issues. Each year, Will travels to the Copper Canyon of Mexico to work alongside the indigenous Tarahumara farmers to establish seed banks, goat herds and clean water projects. Here in WNC, he’s been a committed advocate for the conservation of public lands and wild places. Will has long advocated for the protection of the Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest, and was instrumental in getting a pro-Wilderness resolution adopted by unanimous vote by the Buncombe County Commissioners asking Congress to designate expanded wilderness for the Big Ivy and Craggy Mountain areas. Will also played an active role in promoting the win-win MOU put forth by a coalition of wilderness advocates, conservationist and recreation groups that supports more trails and more public access, and also protects more backcountry and more wild places.

Green Business Award | Honoree: Krull & Company – Socially Responsible Financial Services
MountainTrue presents the Green Business Award to a local Western North Carolina business that has exhibited leadership in implementing green practices, getting other businesses to make their operations more sustainable or engaging in environmental advocacy.

Krull & Company is a certified B Corporation supporting the environment through the investments they make for their clients. From alternative energy to energy efficiency, water, natural and organic food and products and technology, Krull and Company focuses on positive, next economy companies, and exclude fossil fuels and other environmental offenders from their client portfolios. Krull & Company ensures their clients money is invested in a way that honors environmental values, and use the power of shareholder advocacy to drive corporate change from the inside.  

Volunteers of the Year Award | Jane Laping of Asheville and Doreen Blue of Hendersonville
MountainTrue presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to an individual(s) who has demonstrated consistent commitment by volunteering time at events, on program work, or through other MountainTrue activities. This year, we gave out two awards to some very deserving recipients.

Doreen Blue moved to Hendersonville from Rhode Island in 2005 and immediately got involved with ECO, one of the three organizations that merged to form MountainTrue. She started by joining our hikes, then took the training for the SMIE program to do macroinvertebrate biomonitoring in local streams. She now helps coordinate that program as part of our Clean Water Team. Doreen also takes monthly water quality samples for our VWIN program to help on zero in sources of water pollution. She has worked on Henderson County Big Sweep and Earth Day celebrations, been a member of the Recycling Team for the last 5 years, and organizes MountainTrue’s annual community-wide Christmas tree recycling program in Hendersonville. Doreen is a master seamstress, and has made the costumes for our mascots, the Bag Monster and Mr. Can, to promote MountainTrue’s recycling programs in local parades and for educational events.

Jane Laping is one of the founders and a current steering team member of the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina, and as such she empowers faith communities to be advocates for the environment. Jane leads hikes, travels to Raleigh to talk with policy makers, writes grants, testifies at public hearings and plants gardens. She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church where she has helped lead conversations about the Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment, Fossil Fuel Divestment and solar powered electric car chargers for the church parking lot.  

Partner of the Year Award | Hot Springs Mountain Club
MountainTrue presents the Partner of the Year Award to an organization that has been a staunch partner with MountainTrue on key campaigns and programs throughout the past year.

Hot Springs Mountain Club have done a lot for the community over the years, including creating the Betty Place Loop and starting the Bluff Mountain Music Festival. Last year, the club created the new 3.5 mile Bluff Mountain Loop trail. This past year the Hot Springs Mountain Club and MountainTrue partnered on a two-day Bluff Mountain Bio-Blitz to document the incredible diversity of flora and fauna on Bluff. Over 50 people, including 7 college professors participated. It was a great time and over 400 species were identified – including a lichen that had never been seen south of Canada. The Hot Springs Mountain club acted as guides, hosts, and facilitators for the event. Because of the efforts of these local citizens, there is hope that Bluff will be treated as a special place in the new Forest Plan for Pisgah National Forest. Accepting on behalf of the club was Jack Dalton.

WNC Elected Official of the Year | Brownie Newman
MountainTrue presents this award to a city, county, state or federal elected official for either a specific conservation action of singular importance or for a strong and consistent commitment to conservation over time.

Brownie Newman has a distinguished career as an elected official in Asheville and Buncombe County and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the environment. He currently serves on the Buncombe County Commission where he led the county to adopt and begin implementation of a carbon reduction plan, led efforts to protect hemlock trees on county-owned land from the HWA, and now represents the County as co-chair of the Energy Innovation Task Force, which is aimed at reducing electricity usage in Asheville and Buncombe County

Prior to his service on the County Commission, Brownie Newman served two terms on Asheville City Council where he led a number of environmental and sustainability initiatives, including the adoption by the City of a carbon reduction/sustainability plan that continues to drive improvements every year.

About MountainTrue:
MountainTrue is Western North Carolina’s premier advocate for environmental stewardship. We are committed to keeping our mountain region a beautiful place to live, work and play. Our members protect our forests, clean up our rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for all residents of WNC.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.