Customers get organized to tell the NC Utilities Commission “No way!”
Aqua North Carolina, the NC’s largest investor-owned water and sewer utility, requested a 19.5% rate increase from the NC Utilities Commission this year. Aqua NC serves 90,000+ customers and is a subsidiary of Aqua America, a profitable corporation with an aggressive growth strategy. In the past decade, the company has been quietly buying up small rural and suburban water and wastewater systems (see our page on Water Justice for more info). In November and December, customers will speak out about the proposed rates and their water/sewer service at public hearings held in Newton, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. (Article: “Pitchfork Time,” Durham Independent Weekly).
Water systems owned and operated by Aqua North Carolina (CWFNC, 2013, based on data from NC Public Water Supply Section, Environmental Protection Agency, and NY Times / Environmental Working Group)
Both Aqua NC and the second-largest investor-owned utility, Utilities Inc., have applied this year to begin raising customer rates automatically by up to 5% per year with no public hearings (Article: Aqua NC wants to raise water rates without public hearings, Raleigh News & Observer). If the NC Utilities Commission approves Aqua’s use of this mechanism, the company’s investments in its infrastructure will become even less transparent, adding to customer frustration when rates skyrocket and service concerns remain. (Video: Aqua NC request raises questions, WNCN).
If you are an Aqua customer, the 2013 hearings are your chance to tell the Commission loud and clear to deny the request and leave opportunities for public input in place! Click here for the list of hearings, and stay tuned for updates!
Photo: The home of a minority family in Kenansville, North Carolina, situated next to a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO. Dust, odors, and manure from CAFOs can reach nearby residents’ homes, including their laundry. © 2013 Donn Young Photography
General Hog Waste Permit – Hearings
November 12, 2013, 7:00pm (registration at 6:30pm)
Iredell County Center, 444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC
November 14, 2013, 7:00pm (registration at 6:30pm)
James Sprunt Community College – Monk Auditorium, 133 James Sprunt Drive, Kenansville, NC
NC is home to thousands of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) – we’re number two in the nation for hog production! Many operations are located in largely African-American eastern NC communities where rates of poverty and unemployment are high, and folks are subjected to severe pollution issues from hog farms. This year, the general NC permit for how the farms handle animal waste is expiring, so you have a chance to speak up and demand strong standards to protect the environment and the health of NC communities!
Draft swine waste management general permit (PDF) ~ DENR fact sheet on renewal of animal waste permits (PDF)
Written comments due by 5:00 pm on December 6, 2013, and can be sent to NC Division of Water Resources, Animal Feeding Operations Unit, 1636 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1636.
Gasland II draws an energetic audience at the Carolina Theater of Durham! Photo by Lee Ziesche
Almost 500 folks came to Durham’s Carolina Theatre on Mon. Oct 7 to see Gasland 2 and participate in a lively Q & A with Director Josh Fox. The documentary explores in powerful detail the impacts of fracking and gas development on communities in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming, and the heartbreaking abandonment of investigations and enforcement actions by the US EPA, leaving communities stunned and unprotected.
After the film, Fox answered dozens of questions on topics ranging from oil and gas control of state and federal politics to forced pooling, including strategies for NC.
Thanks to the dozens of volunteers and our wonderful co-hosts, Working Films’ Reel Power. There’ll soon be a copy of Gasland 2 in NC to use for community showings — please let CWFNC or Reel Power know if you’d like to host a screening in the next few months!
We are postponing the public meeting on water privatization and fracking until January or February 2014. CWFNC members are welcome to join us for informal presentations by staff and interns Sunday afternoon, October 20 in Durham! If you do plan on coming, please RSVP and request directions from Hope Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.