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.

Attend USFS Open Houses And Speak Up for Protecting the Pisgah-Nantahala

Attend USFS Open Houses And Speak Up for Protecting the Pisgah-Nantahala

Attend USFS Open Houses And Speak Up for Protecting the Pisgah-Nantahala

The forests belong to all of us and we’re responsible for making sure they are protected for future generations.

As part of the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests management plan revision process, the U.S. Forest Service will hold six open house events across the region from late June to early August to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the forest plan revision.

If you care about Western North Carolina’s national forests, enjoy our beautiful mountain vistas and hiking trails, or playing in the many streams and swimming holes within Pisgah and Nantahala, this is your opportunity to talk directly with Forest Service staff one-on-one about how the forest will be managed for the years to come.

Each District Open House will highlight the areas within that district. District rangers and members of the Forest Plan revision team will be available to discuss the materials each of the following days and locations:

  • June 29, 6-8 p.m.: Grandfather Ranger District at Foothills Conference Center, 2128 S. Sterling St., Morganton.
  • July 11, 6-8 p.m.: Nantahala Ranger District at Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., Franklin.
  • July 13, 6-8 p.m.: Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard.
  • July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Appalachian Ranger District at Appalachian District Office, 632 Manor Road, Mars Hill.
  • July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Cheoah Ranger District at Cheoah District Office, 1070 Massey Branch Road, Robbinsville.
  • August 8, 3-6 p.m., Tusquitee Ranger District, Brasstown Community Center, 255 Settawig Rd, Brasstown

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been revising their Forest Plan, a required document that provides a general framework to guide management of the Forests. As part of the process, 30 public meetings have been held in communities throughout western North Carolina.

Over the past year, the Forest Service has been releasing pre-draft plan materials on the National Forests in North Carolina website – www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision. Additional materials are posted to the site’s Plan Revision Under Construction page as they become available.

Here are MountainTrue’s assessments based on the current pre-draft plan materials: 

  • Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in general:
    There are many special places that are in the wrong management area and lack the amount of protection they require. In particular, Daniel Ridge, Cedar Rock Mountain, Upper Santeetlah Creek, Ash Cove, Tellico Bald, Snowball Mountain, Lickstone Ridge, and dozens of smaller natural areas are not protected by the forest plan. The Bartram Trail, Benton McKay Trail, Art Loeb Trail, and Mountains-To-Sea Trail lack a management area that would preserve the special character of these long-distance hiking trails. They should be designated as special corridors, similar to the Appalachian Trail and the Trail of Tears which have such protection.We are pleased by the creation of a new Special Interest Area in Big Ivy, though it should cover all of Big Ivy, and not just a portion of it.By Ranger Districts:
  • Grandfather Ranger District: Linville Mountain should be placed in backcountry management. The Upper Creek Gorge/Sugar Knob Backcountry area should be expanded. The Upper Wilson Creek Backcountry area should be expanded.
  • Appalachian Ranger District: Snowball Mountain, Coxcombe Mountain, and Shope Creek should be included in the Craggy Mountains/Big Ivy Special Interest Area.
  • Pisgah Ranger District: Upper Courthouse Creek, Daniel Ridge, Cedar Rock Mountain, and upper Lickstone Ridge should be placed in backcountry Management to protect their remote character and the species that depend on them.
  • Nantahala Ranger District: All of Panthertown Valley and Flat Creek should be in backcountry management. Tellico Bald, Siler Bald, and Fish Hawk Mountain should be placed in backcountry management. The backcountry area around Terrapin Mountain should be expanded to 4,000 acres.  Corbin Knob, Hench Knob, and Chunky Gal Mountain should be Special Interest Areas.
  • Cheoah Ranger District: Upper Santeetlah Creek should be a Special Interest Area or backcountry area.
  • Tusquitee District: Gipp Creek should be placed in backcountry management. The Unicoi Mountain backcountry area should be expanded.

We encourage you to turn out and speak up for protecting these natural areas of our forests. We will have staff at each of these open house events and we look forward to meeting you there.


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.

Giving Billboard Companies More Power and Money is Wrong for North Carolina!

Giving Billboard Companies More Power and Money is Wrong for North Carolina!

Giving Billboard Companies More Power and Money is Wrong for North Carolina!

A bill on the move in the North Carolina General Assembly would benefit billboard companies at the expense of our environment, our local governments and taxpayers.

Click here to take action!

H581, the “Revisions to Outdoor Advertising Laws,” would give extraordinary new powers to billboard companies allowing them to relocate existing billboards anywhere they choose, even where they are not currently allowed; cut more trees to increase billboard visibility; switch traditional signs to flashing digital billboards regardless of local regulations; and charge taxpayers more money if they have to relocate a sign because of construction.

Take action today and tell your legislators today to oppose H581. Ask them to stand with our communities and oppose billboard industry special interests.

west buncombe billboard


The backbone of MountainTrue is member participation. Your membership connects you with vital information, strengthens the MountainTrue voice to policy makers, and financially supports our work.

Tell the NCGA: DEQ needs the financial resources to protect our communities!

Tell the NCGA: DEQ needs the financial resources to protect our communities!

Tell the NCGA: DEQ needs the financial resources to protect our communities!

The state budget is headed into the final stretch. Tell legislators to support the House funding for DEQ and oppose the Senate’s cuts to the agency.

Let lawmakers know TODAY that we want DEQ to have the financial resources it needs to protect our natural resources!

Under the Senate budget proposal, the Department of Environmental Quality, would lose 45 full-time positions. That would greatly limit DEQ’s ability to serve as NC’s environmental watch dog responsible for enforcing state and federal protections for our air, water, and public health. The budget further calls for a 50% decrease in staff, 14 positions total, from the seven regional DEQ offices, and the entire environmental education department (two positions).

The good news is that the House refused to go along with the Senate, and is much better on state funding for DEQ.

Send a letter and call your legislators today to tell them to support the House funding for DEQ and oppose the Senate’s cuts to the agency.


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.

MountainTrue tells McHenry: Don’t support EPA budget cuts

MountainTrue tells McHenry: Don’t support EPA budget cuts

by Joan Walker, MountainTrue Campaigns Director

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On Wednesday April 12, MountainTrue staff met with Congressman Patrick McHenry’s Regional Representative, Roger Kumpf, to talk about some of our concerns with the Trump Administration’s spending and regulatory priorities. This is the second time we’ve met with the Congressman’s office this year, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to raise our issues with Mr. McHenry and his staff.

We delivered the letter below, focusing on President Trump’s proposed 31% cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency — a reckless and extreme proposal that would endanger the health and wellbeing of communities across the country and right here in Western North Carolina. We outlined several instances where a strong and well-funded EPA protected the people of Congressman McHenry’s district and instances where he himself called on the EPA for help.

We will continue to raise the alarm with elected officials as long as our communities and environment remain under siege by this Administration. If you share any of these concerns, please call your representatives in Congress TODAY and do the same!

*************

April 12, 2017

Dear Representative Patrick McHenry,

On behalf of the 3,023 MountainTrue members and supporters who live within the U.S. 10th Congressional District of North Carolina, we want to share our deep concerns about the Trump administration’s proposed 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s FY18 budget. This proposal is reckless and extreme, and would put the health and safety of all Americans at risk.

The EPA has played a crucial role in protecting the health of your constituents. One example that you are familiar with is the clean up of the CTS Superfund site. CTS abandoned their metal-plating facility and left it to contaminate groundwater and air with toxic Trichloroethylene or TCE. You were a vocal advocate and a partner in our efforts to demand that CTS clean up the site because it endangered neighboring communities and, together, we pushed the EPA to take a strong stand and push CTS aggressively toward a clean up they did not want to undertake.

Your help with EPA was and is much appreciated, but our success depended on EPA having clear federal authority, being willing to use its enforcement power, and having the resources to do so.  President Trump’s proposed budget could cripple the EPA, and leave our communities at risk the next time we face an irresponsible or recalcitrant corporation like CTS.

Another example of an important role EPA has played here is on coal ash.  Though MountainTrue and other groups had been working for years to get the state to take action to address this significant pollution source, the state essentially ignored us and the problem until EPA stepped in with their criminal and civil enforcement efforts after the Dan River coal ash spill.  Only with EPA looking over their shoulder did North Carolina begin addressing coal ash pollution in a systematic and aggressive way that will lead to cleaner water and healthier communities across the state.

Please stand with the residents of the 10th Congressional district and reject these shortsighted cuts. Our people deserve a robust, well-staffed and functional EPA.

  • Americans expect and deserve clean air and water. Slashing EPA’s budget by almost one-third would to take America’s environmental cop off the beat – badly eroding the government’s ability to protect our communities from pollution.
  • President Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA would be the biggest in the agency’s history. They are an assault on our mainstream, bipartisan legacy of support for protecting clean air and water.
  • Virtually every major program would be affected, weakening and in some cases destroying the agency’s ability to:
    • Send money to the states to monitor air and water quality, a critical tool for identifying pollution hotspots.
    • Enforce the law against criminal polluters.
    • Clean up dangerously polluted radioactive and chemical sites that threaten water supplies and community health.
    • Clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.
    • Take action in the urgent fight against global climate change.
  • The real-world results of these cuts will be more:
    • Pollution in waterways.
    • Health problems – short term and permanent – due to contaminated drinking water wells.
    • Asthma attacks for kids from increased smog.
    • Breathing problems, hospitalizations, and preventable deaths for the elderly.
    • Infant developmental problems from increased toxic mercury pollution.
  • The proposed budget eliminates funding for Energy Star, the most successful voluntary energy efficiency program ever, which saved Americans $24 billion in 2012 alone.
  • Out of every ten dollars the federal government spends, just 2 cents go to EPA. As Republican Congressman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said, there’s “not that much in the EPA [budget] for crying out loud.”
  • EPA’s job is by no means done. Even today, up to ten million homes still get their drinking water through lead pipes – not just in Flint, Michigan but in towns and cities across the nation. Half of all Americans live in counties with unhealthy air quality.

We need to move forward, not backward, when it comes to our air, water, and communities – especially children, the elderly, and others who are most vulnerable. If you and your colleagues in Congress believe EPA has overreached its regulatory authority, then we implore you to take a measured, responsible approach to guiding the EPA through statutory changes.

If the radical cuts proposed by President Trump become real, you would cripple the agency tasked with protecting the air, water and natural resources of our region and leave our communities vulnerable to the future abuses of corporate lawbreakers like CTS.

Sincerely,

MountainTrue







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.

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Meet Laura McPherson, Mary Kate Dodge and Jack Henderson, MountainTrue’s hardworking and dedicated AmeriCorps.

 

IMG_0582

Mary Kate Dodge (L) and Laura McPherson (R)

Laura McPherson is our Forest Keeper. She combats non-native invasive plant species and restores native plant habitats by coordinating and leading volunteer work days and invasive species educational programs. Mary Kate Dodge is our Outings and Outreach Coordinator; she helps organize our educational events and helps us raise awareness about the work we do protecting Western North Carolina’s environment. Jack Henderson is our Water Quality Administrator and runs our river cleanups and water testing and monitoring programs.

Their work is critical to our mission.

Each year, AmeriCorps Project Conserve places more than three dozen dedicated members with local environmental nonprofits. Since its inception, 268 members have served 455,600 hours, increasing community understanding of conservation and the environment and creating sustainable improvements to at-risk ecosystems in our communities.

Jack Henderson (center) with a group of volunteers after a river cleanup.

Jack Henderson (center) with a group of volunteers after a river cleanup.

The federal agency that supports the AmeriCorps service program — The Corporation for National & Community Service — is at risk! It is one of 18 agencies that are recommended for elimination in the White House’s recent budget proposal.

Please take a moment to call your Congress members and let them know that AmeriCorps is making a difference in our community.

NC Senator Richard Burr (202) 224-3154
NC Senator Thom Tillis (202) 224-6342
NC Representative Mark Meadows (202) 225-6401
NC Representative Patrick McHenry (202) 225-2576
Click here to find your Senator: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm
Click here to find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/


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.