Speak Up Against Fracking Dangers for NC

Public Comments to the state on the draft Fracking Rules are due September 30.

New legislation  signed by Governor McCrory lifts the moratorium on fracking and will allow permits for drilling to be issued starting in 2015, with no final vote by the legislature or review of the new fracking laws that are supposed to protect North Carolina from this risky and polluting industry.  The draft fracking rules are too weak to protect people, land and our waters — and put the costs on us instead of industry.

The legislature and Governor have broken their promise. Hundreds of people spoke against fracking at the public hearings in August and September. Let’s tell the  state Mining and Energywhy these rules will not protect us from fracking dangers.  Here are the comments that HRA sent the MEC, co-signed by the other Riverkeepers in NC>

Click here for  talking points about the Draft Fracking Rules and where to send written comments by September 30.  And here’s a map you can download of the statewide impacts that fracking could bring.

 Want to learn more about how fracking could impact North Carolina’s water and people?  For current information and updates, to sign a petition  and to join with the Haw River Assembly and thousands across NC on this issue, go to the Frack Free NC alliance website    http://frackfreenc.org/


Who’s Been Hurt By Fracking and Gas Development in the US? 

 See the truth at  “List of the   Harmed” The oil and gas industry says that reports of well contamination and other impacts of drilling, fracking, wastewater, air contamination and health effects are exaggerated and undocumented. The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air continues to compile the “List of the Harmed” from news reports and contacts across the US. Now including 1,700 reports, each with the names of actual people harmed, their location, the responsible oil and gas operator, and the specific impact, the List also provides web links for further information and media stories.


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2014 Haw River Learning Celebration


Over the years many people have given their hearts, hands and spirits to the continual creation of the Haw River Learning Celebration that -to this day- has thrived for 24 beautiful years and has connected over 40,000 4th grade students to this amazing river. Students learn about their “ecological address” and experience our incredible programs that lead children ultimately to witness, observe, explore and discover. Please join us for an amazing and truly fun day or week by the Haw River and help us celebrate 25 years of CCAnimals_Guilrock2013_EC_40617CC_HRLC_2010-20101116-4274-coCynsPicsHRLC-20091002-122CynsPicsHRLC-20090924-016-codedication this fall!


 We will hold our 25th Anniversary Haw River Learning Celebration Program this fall from September 20th, 2014 to October 1oth, 2014.  Approximately 1300 fourth graders will take part in an adventure throughout the forest and along the river banks of the Haw River at each location. 100 or more volunteers will be trail and activity guides, and another 25 help with the logistics of the volunteer crew who will be camping in the woods.   This unique three-week riverside educational program for schoolchildren gets kids outside into nature and inspires them to be the next generation of conservationists. Our volunteer guides use nature as the classroom – and for many children this is their first experience ever, hiking through a forest and along a river. We ask that volunteers give a day or a week of their time. They are provided on-site training, orientation and materials to be prepared for the students. Volunteers learn the skills needed to guide the children in small groups through activities that explore the woods and river,as well as some of its unique history, all through hands-on learning experiences that weave science and art into a fun day of learning. Free time for volunteers is often spent taking kayak trips on the river, hiking in the forest and enjoying shared community time outdoors. This exceptional program has earned much acclaim since its beginning in 1990 and is thought of by many students and teachers to be the



For more info on volunteer and teacher resources, go to our LC Page . We look forward to hearing from you!

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Agreement Reached with Burlington on Steps to Prevent More Raw Sewage Spills

In response to legal pressure applied by the Haw River Assembly and Cape Fear River Watch, the City of Burlington agreed on September 2 to take specific steps to evaluate and improve its wastewater collection system.

In April, the two Riverkeeper groups, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, filed a notice of intent to sue to correct ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act. Under Tuesday’s agreement, the groups agreed to withdraw the threat of legal action. In return, the City committed to (1) clean 20% of its sewer lines over the next three years (doubling the requirement under their collection system permit) and provide annual reports of these maintenance efforts; (2) notify the conservation groups no later than 24 hours after a sewage spill exceeding 10,000 gallons (to ensure prompt public notice when such events occur); (3) evaluate both the education and enforcement aspects of its Fats, Oils, and Grease program and submit a report to the conservation groups; (4) complete, pursuant to a set schedule, priority infrastructure projects designed to limit the likelihood of sewage spills; and (5) make stipulated payments for each day that the City fails to perform obligations under the agreement.

Sewage spills from the Burlington wastewater collection system and its two wastewater treatment plants threaten water quality in the Haw River in and around Burlington and in downstream communities such as Pittsboro, North Carolina. Such spills occurred, on average, more than once a month since 2006, but the North Carolina Department of Environment (DENR) and Natural Resources failed to take responsive action. Indeed, following a 3.5 million gallon spill in January 2014, the state environmental agency encouraged Burlington to delay notification of the public for several days, in violation of a state law requiring public notice within 48 hours. When the State fails to prosecute, the Clean Water Act authorizes citizens to sue to prevent ongoing harm to the environment.

The Haw River Assembly and Cape Fear River Watch stepped in to fill the void caused by DENR’s inaction. Raw sewage spills can pose serious human health risks, degrade water quality, and harm wildlife habitat. The Haw River is part of the Cape Fear River Basin, and it feeds into Jordan Lake, which serves as the drinking water supply for 300,000 North Carolinians and is an important recreational resource for the state.

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Chatham Park Development

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Chatham Park Re-zoning


Pittsboro Matters, and local residents have filed a lawsuit challenging the Pittsboro Town Board’s June 9 re-zoning approval authorizing Chatham Park. The developers’ plans involve the largest mixed-use planned development ever proposed in North Carolina, covering 7,120 acres on the outskirts of Pittsboro,adding 55,000 new residents to a town with a current population of about 4,000. Pittsboro Matters is non-profit organization representing Pittsboro  area residents who want a greater citizen voice in the design and implementation of the proposed development.

Click here to read more and to donate  to the legal fund at Pittsboro Matters

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert Hornik Jr. of the Brough Law Firm in Chapel Hill, claims the Town Board violated the state constitution, state statutes regulating local land zoning approvals and the town’s own zoning requirements.

“We are not seeking to stop Chatham Park,” said Pittsboro Matters board member Amanda Robertson. “Instead we seek to greatly improve the process for implementation of this massive development and to enhance its quality in a manner that protects and respects the environmental resources, small town character, and quality of life of Pittsboro and its citizens. “

The Haw River Assembly has been a strong advocate for better environmental protections and water quality issues concerning Chatham Park and will continue to play a strong role as this moves forward.





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Haw River named one of "America's Most Endangered Rivers"


  ” The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to action to save rivers that are at a critical tipping point”, said Peter Raabe of American Rivers. “Pollution is choking the Haw River and without a meaningful cleanup plan that addresses the sources of pollution, the drinking water supplies for one million people will continue to be at risk.”

   The Haw River is threatened by polluted runoff– rainwater that picks up pollution as it flows over roads and parking lots – and sewage leaking from outdated and overtaxed wastewater pipes. This pollution, containing excess nitrogen and phosphorous, has caused large algal blooms in Jordan Lake, a major drinking water reservoir, which impacts the health of people and fish. The cleanup plan for the river has been delayed and weakened over the last three years.

   Now, instead of addressing the causes of the pollution, some municipalities and developers want to install 36 huge “mixers” into the Jordan Lake Reservoir in an attempt to reduce algae. American Rivers and its partners called on the North Carolina General Assembly to stop the delay and clean up the Haw River by implementing the original 2009 Jordan Lake Reservoir Nutrient Management Strategy, commonly called the ‘Jordan Lake Rules’.  Read the Haw River Assembly comments about SolarBees to the US Army Corps.

 “The clock started ticking on the state and federal mandate to clean up the pollution in the river and Jordan Lake back in 2002, when it made the federal “Impaired Waters List”, said Elaine Chiosso, the Haw Riverkeeper for Haw River Assembly. “It took seven more years to draft and pass these rules in 2009, and since then the state’s legislature has been delaying and weakening them. Clean water is essential to our lives and communities. It’s time to implement the full rules” Susanne Gomolski Haw River paddle 7_22 1

  Read more in the Haw River Factsheet” 

  To take action, send a letter to your NC legislator asking them to re-instate the Jordan Lake rules now to clean up our waters (find out the contact info at: Who Represents Me)  Use this Action Alert and sample letter



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