- 
Arabic
 - 
ar
Bengali
 - 
bn
German
 - 
de
English
 - 
en
French
 - 
fr
Hindi
 - 
hi
Indonesian
 - 
id
Portuguese
 - 
pt
Russian
 - 
ru
Spanish
 - 
es
Call on the DEQ and Henderson County to restore and protect the health of Clear Creek

Call on the DEQ and Henderson County to restore and protect the health of Clear Creek

Call on the DEQ and Henderson County to restore and protect the health of Clear Creek

The NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is currently accepting public comments on Draft NPDES Permit No. NC0090247 — which would violate the Clean Water Act by allowing Henderson County to construct a new wastewater treatment plant in Edneyville that could discharge up to 200,000 gallons of wastewater per day into a stream that is already listed as impaired and significantly impacted by pollution. 

Take action to protect water quality!

1. Show up in person. Attend the public hearing on Monday, February 5, and ask DEQ to deny Draft NPDES Permit No. NC0090247.

Public Hearing Details
Date: Monday, February 5, 2024, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
(Speaker registration starts at 5:30 p.m. via a sign-up sheet.)
Location: Auditorium at the North Henderson High School,
35 Fruitland Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792

2. Use our Action Form to send one letter to DEQ letting them know you oppose the draft permit and a separate letter to the Henderson County Commission urging them to clean up Clear Creek and connect Edneyville to Hendersonville’s existing sewer system.

Henderson County needs to clean up Clear Creek, not make it more polluted.

For decades, the aquatic habitat of Clear Creek has been impacted by pollution from human and livestock waste, fertilizers, and sediment. Discharge from a new Wastewater Treatment Plant would only worsen the pollution problem. Several studies have shown that effluent from wastewater treatment plants contains toxins that can adversely affect aquatic life. Therefore, additional discharge from a new wastewater treatment plant could further degrade Clear Creek.

The Clean Water Act prohibits North Carolina from issuing an NPDES permit that would authorize a new discharge into a stream that is already impaired without first preparing an analysis showing that the discharge will not further impair water quality. North Carolina also requires that the County pursue “the most environmentally sound alternative [to be] selected from the reasonably cost-effective options” [15A N.C. Admin. Code 2H.0105(c)(2)]. In the case of Edneyville, the alternative of connecting to Hendersonville’s existing sewer system and wastewater treatment plant is more environmentally sound and reasonably cost-effective — it will also prevent a new discharge into an already impaired stream.

DEQ must uphold the Clean Water Act by denying a permit that would allow the County to further pollute an already impaired waterway. Instead, Henderson County should work with the City of Hendersonville to connect Edneyville to the City’s existing sewer lines and wastewater treatment plant. Additionally, Henderson County should adopt a Comprehensive Plan that discourages sprawl and protects the rural character and water quality of Edneyville and other county communities. 

 

Thank you.

Thank You to Our 2023 Swim Guide Sponsors

Thank You to Our 2023 Swim Guide Sponsors

Thank You to Our 2023 Swim Guide Sponsors

Another Swim Guide season is in the books, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our sponsors and volunteers… 

 

Thank you to Pink Mercury and Pirani for sponsoring French Broad Riverkeeper sampling sites along the French Broad River

Thank you to Wilderness Cove Campground, The Purple Onion, The S.P.O.T., Green River Cove Tubing, Lake Adger Property Owners Association, Hendersonville Community Co-Op, Shelby Women for Progress, Rutherford Outdoor Coalition, Joy Pharr Realty, and Fabbit Customs for sponsoring Green and Broad Riverkeeper sampling sites along the Green, Broad, and First Broad rivers

Thank you to Union County and Towns County governments, as well as the City of Hiawassee, GA, for sponsoring sampling sites at their parks on Lake Chatuge and Lake Nottely. And special thanks to Swim Guide volunteers David Best, Stephanie Brundage, Stacey Cassedy, Ken Kloeblen, and John Knoblich for their weekly sampling efforts in the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee River basins

Thank you to Asheville Fly Fishing Company, Watauga River Lodge, Appalachian Veterinary Ultrasound, Mellow Mushroom of Boone, Watauga Tourism Development Authority, Boone Cocoon, Tennessee Valley Authority, Animal Hospital of Boone, Birdies CoffeeThe Speckled Trout Outfitters, Rivergirl, Zach Hobbs, Boone’s Fly Shop, Trophy Water Guide Service, and Blue Ridge Tourist Court for sponsoring Watauga Riverkeeper sampling sites along the Watauga, Elk, and New rivers!

 

Learn more about MountainTrue’s Swim Guide program here

ACTION: Stop the NCGA from Stripping Local Governments of Authority to Fight Plastic Pollution

ACTION: Stop the NCGA from Stripping Local Governments of Authority to Fight Plastic Pollution

ACTION: Stop the NCGA from Stripping Local Governments of Authority to Fight Plastic Pollution

Breaking News: A draft conference report of the state budget released to the media includes language that would prohibit counties (§ 153A-145.11) and cities (§ 160A-205.6) from passing ordinances, resolutions, or rules that would restrict, tax, or charge a fee on auxiliary containers — the definition of which includes bags, cups, bottles, and other packaging.

This language would preempt local control and undermine existing provisions of the NC Solid Waste Management Act that give counties and cities the authority to ban single-use plastic bags and other forms of packaging and the use of plastic foam (e.g., styrofoam) in foodware.

Plastic pollution is a threat to our environment and to the health of North Carolina residents. Email your legislators and let them know that our right to protect ourselves from dangerous pollutants is too important to be traded away to fossil fuel and retail industry lobbyists in backroom deals.

Language in NC Budget Would Strip Local Governments’ Ability to Pass Plastic Bag Bans and Other Waste Reduction Efforts to Protect Environment, Public Health, Landfills and Recycling Centers

Language in NC Budget Would Strip Local Governments’ Ability to Pass Plastic Bag Bans and Other Waste Reduction Efforts to Protect Environment, Public Health, Landfills and Recycling Centers

Language in NC Budget Would Strip Local Governments’ Ability to Pass Plastic Bag Bans and Other Waste Reduction Efforts to Protect Environment, Public Health, Landfills and Recycling Centers

Media Contacts: 

Karim Olaechea, Deputy Director of Strategy & Communications at MountainTrue
(828) 400-0768, karim@mountaintrue.org

Katie Craig, State Director at NCPIRG
kcraig@ncpirg.org 

Ken Brame, President of the Sierra Club’s Western North Carolina Group
(828) 423-8045,kenbrame10@gmail.com

Michelle B. Nowlin, Co-Director at Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
(919) 613-8502, nowlin@law.duke.edu 

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, September 19 — A draft conference report of the state budget released to the media includes language that would prohibit counties (§ 153A-145.11) and cities (§ 160A-205.6) from passing ordinances, resolutions, or rules that would restrict, tax, or charge a fee on auxiliary containers — the definition of which includes bags, cups, bottles, and other packaging. 

This language would preempt local control and undermine existing provisions of the NC Solid Waste Management Act that give counties and cities the authority to ban single-use plastic bags and other forms of packaging and the use of plastic foam (e.g., styrofoam) in foodware. The inclusion of the preemption in the budget comes as both Asheville and Durham are considering ordinances to reduce plastic pollution, and the towns of Woodfin and Black Mountain have passed resolutions in support of a Buncombe County-wide ordinance. In 2021, Wilmington also passed a resolution encouraging the reduction of plastic waste.

Efforts to reduce plastic waste are popular among citizens and businesses. A survey from the City of Asheville received nearly 7,000 resident responses and showed support at 80%. Among 57 businesses surveyed in the Asheville area, there was widespread support for a waste reduction ordinance banning single-use plastic bags, plastic takeout containers, and styrofoam products.

The following are statements from representatives of organizations working to reduce plastic pollution: 

Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper (a program of MountainTrue):
“Plastic pollution is a threat to our environment and the health of North Carolina residents. Our right to protect ourselves from dangerous pollutants is too important to be traded away to fossil fuel and retail industry lobbyists in backroom deals. We urge our elected officials to remove any such language and pass a clean budget.” 

Sarah Ogletree, Director of the Creation Care Alliance of WNC (a program of MountainTrue):
“This ban is about loving our neighbors—protecting the air and water we all need to survive and thrive. The General Assembly should not prevent us from living our faith by caring for God’s creation.” 

Katie Craig, State Director of the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group:
“Plastic waste threatens our health, environment, and communities. Our cities and counties often bear the impacts of our plastic waste problem, from managing recycling and landfill facilities to cleaning up litter in our parks and waterways. So, they should have a say in how their communities address the problem too. By preempting local authority to regulate single-use plastic bags, this provision threatens to undermine the ability of cities and counties in North Carolina to take meaningful steps towards sustainability, environmental protection, and the wishes of their own communities.”

Ken Brame, President of the Sierra Club’s Western North Carolina Group:
At a time when we are seeing record heat waves and flooding due to Climate Change, why would the NC General Assembly prevent local governments from reducing carbon-intensive plastic bags? Microplastics from plastic bags are being ingested and are becoming a health risk.  The General Assembly should care more about the health of its citizens than the profits of the plastic industry.”

Susannah Knox, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center:
“This is a short-sighted attempt to take control from local governments trying to serve their communities by protecting public health and cleaning up their streets and creeks. Citizens and businesses across the state have expressed overwhelming support for reducing plastic pollution, and politicians in the General Assembly should not stand in their way.”

If you or your organization, club, or business would like to voice their support for a Plastic-Free WNC, please contact karim@mountaintrue.org

 

# # # 

Take Action: Manage Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in line with our Climate Reality

Take Action: Manage Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in line with our Climate Reality

Take Action: Manage Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in line with our Climate Reality

Public Comments Due by July 20, 2023

Our national forests are public treasures and should be managed to maintain the health of our environment and best serve our communities’ current and future needs. The Forest Service is soliciting public feedback on how it should adapt current policies to protect, conserve, and manage mature and old-growth forests on public lands for climate resilience. 

Climate change will significantly impact our region, our uniquely bio-diverse ecosystems, and our watersheds. Yet, here in Western North Carolina, the Forest Service has maintained an outdated focus on exploiting our forests for commercial logging, and this year they finalized a new Forest Management Plan that could allow logging on 60% of the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests’ one million acres, including thousands of acres of old-growth forest. 

Please provide public comment to the Forest Service asking that they update their policies to prioritize the preservation of old-growth and mature forests, which provide critical functions as wildlife habitats, carbon sinks, and pristine watersheds and sources of clean drinking water.

Need help drafting public comments? Try Nick’s Comment Generator. 

MountainTrue Board Member Nick Holshouser has developed a Comment Generator Tool that uses OpenAI to generate a short, meaningful, and unique comment. By selecting from a menu of topics, you can easily generate a first draft that you can review, edit, and further personalize. Then, all you have to do is copy and paste your comment into the Regulations.gov comment portal.  

Try the Comment Generator Now. 

Public comments are due by July 20, 2023. (Note that the original June due date is still listed on the public feedback page, but the comment deadline has been extended.)

Action Alert: Protect Our Trout Streams

Action Alert: Protect Our Trout Streams

Action Alert: Protect Our Trout Streams

Support the Amendment to the Sediment Pollution Control Act of North Carolina

Take action to safeguard our mountain trout waters and preserve the delicate balance of our state’s aquatic ecosystems. The North Carolina Senate has passed an important new amendment, S613, which aims to strengthen the protection of our mountain trout waters and tighten the agricultural exemption that poses a significant threat to our state’s aquatic ecosystems. Now we need your help to get it passed through the House of Representatives. 

In 2021, a Sparta-based developer called Bottomley Farms tried to unlawfully use North Carolina’s agricultural exemption to stream buffer requirements to clearcut land in Allegheny and Surry counties. The developer removed all the trees, shrubs, and vegetation all the way down to the edge of Ramey Creek. The result was severe erosion, sediment pollution, and a total collapse of the ecosystem in the creek — once a thriving spawning ground for native brook trout. NC Wildlife Resource Commission staff were only able to save 13 individual trout out of the hundreds previously documented in that stream.

In the end, Commission staff were able to relocate the surviving trout to an adjacent watershed, and the report submitted by our Watauga Riverkeeper with the help of Southwings led to the NC Department of Environmental Quality issuing a notice of violation followed by one of the largest fines ever levied by the department.

But this tragedy underscores the need for stronger buffer protection of mountain streams and a tightening of the agricultural exemption provided by the Sediment Pollution Control Act of North Carolina. This exemption shields agricultural operations from fundamental water quality safeguards, such as leaving small vegetative buffers along streams—a requirement imposed on nearly all other land-disturbing activities.

To tighten the agricultural exemption and prevent such future calamities, the NC Senate has passed S613, which would amend the Sediment Pollution Control Act to require a 25-foot buffer along DEQ-designated trout streams for new agricultural operations. MountainTrue supports this amendment, and we believe that this is a big step in the right direction.

To get S613 across the finish line, it must pass the North Carolina House of Representatives. We need you to act today by emailing your Representatives, asking them to protect our trout streams by passing this bill.

Thank you for your support and ongoing commitment to healthy waters in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.