Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Volunteers Needed

Friends and neighbors,

The New River Foundation will begin work on two new programs in the near future. We have signed on to assist the Waterkeeper Alliance with monitoring waste from hog operations in the White Oak River Basin and we are also a part of the Muddy Water Watch project. We are currently seeking volunteers to work with these projects.

Volunteers for the hog monitoring project will work with our Riverkeeper to monitor 10 hog operations in the area. Volunteers will work in teams to collect water samples from creeks, streams and other waterways near hog farms in the White Oak River Basin. Training will be provided for those who wish to volunteer. Volunteers will learn proper methods for collecting samples and filling out field data sheets. Volunteers taking water samples and conducting field reports need to be available to accomplish specific monitoring tasks at least twice a month. A typical monitoring visit would not take more than an hour or two including travel time.

We are in desperate need of pilots to work with trained volunteers to photograph designated farm operations.

The Muddy Water Watch project is a state-wide initiative involving all seven North Carolina Riverkeepers. Our goal is to reduce stormwater runoff from construction sites and to improve compliance with the North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973. Through the use of training, investigation, and study, this project will highlight the most effective means to stem the tide of silt-laden runoff from construction sites that is polluting our sources of drinking water, degrading North Carolina’s waterways, and harming aquatic life. We will provide training workshops and materials for volunteers to teach them how to identify problem areas and how to effectively report them.

To learn more about Muddy Water Watch read the article in the Sediments Newsletter or go to http://www.muddywaterwatch.org/.

We are seeking 40-45 volunteers to assist with these projects. If you are interested please contact us by calling (910) 937-0877 or emailing memberservices@newriverfound.org. You can also volunteer online at our website. Please contact your friends and neighbors and invite them to help us all do some good for our community.

Jim Simpson
Board Chair
New River Foundation
Board of Directors

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The New River Foundation recently signed on to help fight the construction of a coal fired power plant in Western North Carolina. The plant as proposed would deposit unacceptable amounts of mercury into the environment. Below are two news releases concerning this endeavor:

Federal court ruling will send Cliffside air permit back to the drawing board for more stringent mercury controls

Washington, D.C,. – A federal court ruling today will require the N.C. Division of Air Quality to re-evaluate Duke Energy’s plans to control mercury at the utility’s recently permitted Cliffside unit. The D.C Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it removed oil- and coal-fired power plants from the list of hazardous air pollution sources that are subject to the Act’s most stringent air pollution controls. As a result, air permits for new coal plants such as Cliffside must be based on a case-by-case analysis of the maximum available control technology for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality (DAQ) issued a final air permit for the new Cliffside unit just last week, on January 28 that allows the new Cliffside unit to emit 133 pounds of mercury each year. In January, SELC notified DAQ of the anticipated federal decision and urged the Division to consider these expected mercury regulations when developing its final permit.

However, DAQ’s permit does not require a case-specific analysis of maximum available control technology (MACT) for mercury, and the permit does not require Duke to install mercury-specific pollution control equipment. The D.C. Circuit’s ruling means that DAQ must rescind the final Cliffside air permit, go back to the drawing board to conduct a case-specific MACT analysis, and issue a revised draft permit for public comment before finalizing a new permit.

Because mercury is classified as “hazardous,” the Clean Air Act requires EPA to identify its sources and develop the most stringent standards to control emissions from those sources. The court ruled today that EPA acted illegally when it took power plants off the list of hazardous pollution sources when issuing its Clean Air Mercury Rule.

Released in May 2005, the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule exempted power plants from the most stringent Clean Air Act requirements to control mercury and instead instituted a flawed “cap and trade” scheme, which allows facilities to trade mercury pollution credits with other less-polluting power plants. As a result of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling today, EPA and the states must now develop tougher regulations to control mercury and other toxic pollutants from new and existing power plants, the leading source of mercury pollution in the country. Today’s ruling could result in a 95 percent or greater reduction of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants

Mercury emitted from power plants deposits in water bodies, where it is converted to its most toxic form, methylmercury. Methylmercury exposure from eating contaminated fish is linked to permanent damage to the central nervous system.

Developing fetuses, breast-fed infants and children exposed to methylmercury are at risk for lowered intelligence and learning disabilities. Adults exposed to even low amounts of methylmercury also may be at higher risk for altered sensation, impaired hearing and vision, and motor disturbances. EPA estimates that as many as than 600,000 children are born each year with unhealthy levels of methylmercury in their bodies. Despite this figure, EPA adopted the flawed mercury rule ignoring the counsel of its own Children’s Health Public Advisory Committee and thousands of health professionals nationwide.

D.C. Circuit Court Declares EPA’s Mercury Rule Illegal
Waterkeeper Wins Mercury Battle

Irvington, New York (February 8, 2008) – In a complete victory for public and environmental health, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today invalidated a pair of EPA rules that would have allowed coal-fired power plants to overwhelm waterways, fish and communities with harmful levels of mercury for decades to come. The Court found EPA’s 2005 rules removing power plants from the Clean Air Act’s list of toxic sources and creating an anemic “cap and trade” regulatory scheme to be in violation of the Act.

Waterkeeper Alliance, as part of a coalition of a number of public health and environmental groups, fourteen states and dozens of Native American tribes, launched its challenge of EPA’s mercury rules over two years ago. Today, the Court, in striking down EPA’s actions, found that the Bush Administration’s explanation for delisting power plants “deploys the logic of the Queen of Hearts, substituting EPA’s desires for the plain text of (the Clean Air Act.)”

Power plants, the largest source of manmade mercury in the country, spew 48 tons of the dangerous neurotoxin into the air each year, while a single gram – 1/70th of a teaspoon – of mercury per year is enough to contaminate a 25-acre lake to the point that fish are unsafe to eat. EPA estimates that as many as 600,000 babies may be born in the United States annually with irreversible brain damage because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish. Mercury risks also include delayed developmental milestones, reduced neurological test scores, and cardiovascular disease. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of America’s lakes and nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of our rivers were subject to advisories for mercury contamination in 2003.

Despite the devastating impact these emissions are having on the environmental and human health of the nation and clear mandates under the Clean Air Act, EPA has steadfastly refused to regulate power plant mercury pollution, instead coming up with a non-control plan that allowed the energy giants to continue emitting significant amounts of mercury. “These rules represented what was perhaps the biggest sellout to industry in the history of EPA,” said Waterkeeper Alliance Legal Director and attorney on the case, Scott Edwards. “It’s a real tragedy that we’ve had to spend two years getting this industry-scripted scheme struck down while energy companies continue to poison our children with mercury.”

With EPA’s delisting action declared illegal, the Agency is now obligated to develop “Maximum Achievable Control Technologies” standards for power plant mercury emissions. Several U.S. Department of Energy studies conducted over the past few years have demonstrated that upwards of 90 percent of power plant mercury emissions can be eliminated using affordable and available reduction technologies.

“This is a very positive ruling, but we should not forget that no matter how much this industry reduces mercury emissions, coal will never be clean,” added Waterkeeper Alliance President Steve Fleischli. “From mining to burning to toxic ash, ‘clean coal' is a sham, a dangerous diversion at a time when we must move our national energy strategy to sustainable, renewable energy sources.”

See the opinion at: http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200802/05-1097a.pdf

Office 910-937-0877
New RIVERKEEPER® 910-526-3933

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friends and neighbors,

The New River Foundation and our RIVERKEEPER, Brian Wheat, are requesting your support in our latest campaign. Brian has written a petition to Congress. You and your friends can access the petition and sign it from the link below. Please take the time to complete this simple online petition to add your voice to ours in asking Congress to take up this very important legislation. Don't forget to tell your friends and family about this important legislation and encourage them to sign on.

The petition reads:

To: U.S. Congress
I would like to add my voice in favor of HR 2452, the Raw Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act, which amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to direct owners or operators of publicly owned treatment works to: (1) institute an alert system for sewer overflows; (2) notify the public of such overflows in areas where human health is potentially affected not later than 24 hours; (3) immediately notify public health authorities and other affected entities; and (4) provide specified reports to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the state.

Thank you for your continued support.

New River Foundation Board of Directors

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday's clean up in support of North Carolina Fall Big Sweep was a huge success. The river gave up almost 1300 pounds of garbage today thanks to all of your hard work. Findings included the usual suspects such as plastic drink bottles, styrofoam cups, and tires as well as the more exotic shopping carts, refrigerator doors, plastic barrels and sheets of plywood with shingles still attached.

Students from several area schools including White Oak, Camp Lejeune, Southwest, New Bridge Middle, North Side, Coastal Carolina Community College and others joined in to make the day a success. Marines from Supply School at Camp Johnson also pitched in to lend a hand.

The New River Foundation was very happy to have Sturgeon City as a partner in this event. We look forward to future joint ventures between our organizations.

All of you who participated did an outstanding job and deserve the gratitude of those who enjoy the benefits of your labor. Moms and Dads thank you for all you did to make sure your sons and daughters were able to participate in this great event.

We are especially grateful to some local businesses that really helped make this day a success. Food was provided by A Slice of New York at 137 Marine Blvd and New York Pizzeria at 2040 Wilmington Highway. Thanks to Bob Beck and the Marina Cafe for allowing us to launch from your site and supporting our facility requirements on such short notice. You are always there to support our efforts on the river.

To all of you in the community who provided support for this effort the Foundation is grateful. Without the support of the community, efforts like this are impossible. To find opportunities to volunteer in the future, please visit our website and view our calendar of upcoming events. Volunteers are always needed and welcome!

Things you can do to support us:
View our pictures.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The New River Foundation invites you to join us for a day of work on the New River

We are joining Keep Onslow Beautiful for
Fall Big Sweep

When: 9:00am Saturday, October 13
Where: Phillips Park on Chaney Creek
Launch Location changed to Marina Cafe due to unannounced construction project at Phillips Park

Our goal is to maintain fish passage and a free flowing river for all to enjoy. Volunteers work in fringe areas to remove trash that harms the ecology of the river. Work includes paddling or hiking along the New River or one of its tributaries to remove trash and other debris. New River Foundation will provide kayaks/canoes, paddling gear, gloves, tools, and drinking water. Please be prepared to get wet and dirty and bring any additional gear as you see fit... SAT hours are available to eligible students (bring your forms).

Please RSVP by October 10,2007 to:

Call the NRF Office at 910-937-0877
or call Jim Simpson at 910-526-6651

Don't forget to visit our website to learn more about us.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007 New River Foundation
Oyster Roast

Who: You and a few hundred of your closest friends

When: Saturday, September 29th at 5pm

Where: Equine Country, 1259 McAllister Rd. Jacksonville

How: Contact a board member to purchase a ticket. Our office number is (910)937-0877. Or click below to email the board. Tickets are $20 each now or $25 at the door if space is still available.

Tickets include unlimited Oysters, chowder, fish, fixin's and cold beverages including beer on tap.

There will be raffles for unique and creative prizes also. All proceeds will be used to support the New River Foundation and our Riverkeeper in protecting the New River.

Dress casual, we will be eating lots of oysters. Jeans are welcome here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The New River Foundation will be joining Onslow County and the City of Jacksonville to celebrate National Night Out at the Riverwalk Park in downtown Jacksonville on 7 August, 2007.

Please join us to support our local law enforcement and our deployed troops. Stop by our booth and show your support. Contact a member of our board for more information about the event or how you can help sustain the New River


National Night Out 2007
The 2007 National Night Out will be held in Jacksonville on August 7th from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM. The event is a cooperative effort between the Jacksonville Police Department, Marine Corps Community Services Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Community Services New River and Onslow County. Together we strive to enhance the cooperative relationship with citizens through Community Watch/Crime Prevention methods.

National Night Out has been a great success in past years and we would like to invite everyone to come out for this event.

The event, held nationally, brings communities nationwide together to celebrate these efforts. This year’s event looks to be as popular as those of previous years and will feature activities for the children as well as educational displays for the adults. Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening is Miss North Carolina USA 2007 Erin O'Kelley. We will also have live music provided by Mardi Gras with Sammy O'Banion and a gala fireworks display to cap off the evening.

Date: August 7th, 2007
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Riverwalk Park
Entertainment: Mardi Gras with Sammy O'Banion

Fun and entertainment for all, children's play area, bicycle give away, great food, over 190 vendors with displays or informational booths, fireworks show at around 9:15 pm. This is a free event except for food. It is an alcohol free event for the entire family.

For more information on the event, click here to go to the JPD 2007 National Night Out website.