Historic Thousands on Jones St. (“HKonJ”) 2015
Saturday, February 14, Raleigh
Meet at 9AM across from Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on South St.
March begins at 10 AM, Rally will be near the State Capital on Fayetteville St.
Forward together – not one step back! Clean Water for North Carolina, a long-time HKonJ partner, will join in the 9th annual HKonJ mass rally this February.
Clean Water for NC asks you to join with the NAACP of NC, more than a hundred “HKonJ” partner groups, and tens of thousands of other folks from across the state on Saturday, Feb. 14. We’re calling for Environmental Justice, Economic Justice, Voting Rights, Health Justice and more!
Dress warmly, bring friends, and, if you can, carry signs that tie our environmental passions to the wider social justice and democracy that we seek (we’ll come with extra signs and announce a meeting place soon).
If you are a Clean Water for NC volunteer and can bring at least two folks with you to the march from 50 or more miles away from Raleigh, we can reimburse you at our volunteer mileage rate. We can also help with cost of vans, so please contact us at 828-251-1291 or 919-401-9600. More information will be posted on this site soon, or visit http://www.hkonj.com.
Six former officials of Freedom Industries, the chemical company behind the massive chemical spill into the Charleston, WV water supply, have been charged with multiple criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. In January, 300,000 people’s water was dangerously contaminated with a toxic industrial chemical because of a leak from Freedom Industry’s containment system.
The former officials are being held accountable for their negligence, and one man faces up to 68 years in prison, thanks to a persistent news media and the strong actions of regional federal Justice Officials. In a press release, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “compliance with environmental safety standards is an obligation, not a choice.” Justice is being brought to this clear case of wrong doing, as it ought to be.
That the Clean Water Act is being enforced should be commonplace, but unfortunately it is breaking news. And in North Carolina, in light of Duke Energy’s Dan River Coal Ash Spill and ongoing water pollution from its coal ash dumps, we are still waiting for the justice system to have its day.
Falls Lake during the 2007-2008 drought.
By Jenn Weaver, Water & Energy Justice Organizer
Climate change is here, and many communities are now grappling with how to be more resilient to the challenges these environmental changes will bring. The concept of “Climate Justice”, like Environmental Justice, maintains that vulnerable communities – communities of color, poor communities, rural communities – are going to suffer the effects of climate change most quickly and deeply unless real effort goes into preventing or mitigating those unequal effects. What are the climate change impacts on water likely to be? Drought, sea level rise, storm water flooding, extreme heat or cold, salt contamination of drinking water, high prices for water, food and energy– all of these are possible, or even likely, outcomes of climate change that North Carolina is going to face or, in some cases, already is facing.
Princeville, NC was mostly underwater when Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999.
Clean Water for NC is taking a look at how North Carolina communities will be affected, and the steps that need to be taken to ensure water justice in the face of climate change in our state. To understand the job that faces local governments and the communities they are sworn to protect, we will harken back to hurricane Floyd in 1999 and to the drought of 2007 to reflect on how vulnerable communities were harmed, and lessons learned from those events. We will also explore the challenges local governments face in making the necessary adjustments to policies and operations. For example, all North Carolinians must have access to clean and affordable drinking water, so local governments will need to charge enough for water service to keep up with infrastructure requirements – not just for expansions, but for replacing and repairing broken or leaky pipes that waste this increasingly precious resource. What kind of pricing system will encourage conservation, keep up with infrastructure needs, and remain affordable for those low income residents? When large numbers of wells are contaminated by storm flooding, will state and local governments be prepared to provide safe replacement water supply?
We will examine these questions and more – be on the lookout for our report on climate impacts on water justice in North Carolina in the coming weeks!
In 2012, the USGS, Duke and NC DENR collaborated on a study of baseline groundwater quality in the areas of Lee and Chatham County where fracking would be most likely to occur. The tests included a wide range of metals and other inorganic substances, as well as specific forms (isotopes) of radium and strontium. The highest levels of methane found were more than 20 times lower than the potentially hazardous level of 10 milligrams per liter, too low a concentration to determine whether it was from a shallow “biogenic” source or had moved upwards from a shale formation.
Results for nitrate, boron, iron, manganese, sulfate, chloride, total dissolved solids, and pH exceeded federal and state drinking water standards in a few samples. Iron and manganese concentrations, considered an “aesthetic” problem rather than a direct health threat by regulators, exceeded the secondary drinking water standard in about 35 percent of the samples. This was a one-time study to help in preparation for well protection and monitoring if fracking should come to these counties. The full study is available here.
CWFNC Urges Residents to Test Their Wells!
Only a tiny fraction of North Carolina’s well users have tested their wells for anything other than “fecal coliform” bacteria, though there may be natural contaminants such as arsenic present in many areas of our state, or other toxic products from human activity.. Arsenic is one of the many inorganic contaminants that are included in the standard tests that are now done on a newly installed well as part of licensing it with your county’s well program, usually in your County Health Department. These tests and other specialized tests for gasoline compounds (BTEX), volatile organic compounds, pesticides and more are available through your County well program, too. We strongly urge well users to test for any contaminants they suspect might have leached into the groundwater near their wells—and do it soon! The list of County well programs and tests from our July report is linked here. Note that many counties will have to raise their fees for well tests after the State Lab’s budget was slashed this year!