Is the State Doing Enough to Protect Your Water? March Program Meeting

  • March 13 · 6:45 PM
  • This location is shown only to members


Please note that you do not need to RSVP to this Meetup event or be a member of the Sierra Club in order to attend this free/open meeting. Doors open at 6:30, program begins promptly at 7pm.

Is the State Doing Enough to Protect Your Water? Join the Discussion.

Over the last three years, DENR staff monitoring water quality has been cut by 25%. At the same time, the water quality section of DENR has been reorganized and merged with the Division of Water Resources. The Department has become greatly politicized with a large expansion of at-will jobs. Last year DENR issues a new mission statement that calls into question the department’s willingness to apply science to protect our water quality and also rejected two EPA grants totaling almost $600,000. The Sierra Club Headwaters groups will present experts and former DENR employees to address these questions and more.

The panel will be introduced and moderated by Dr. Kenneth Reckhow, Professor Emeritus at Duke University in the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Panelists include:

Amy Adams: Ms. Adams was employed by DENR as the Washington Regional Office Supervisor for Surface Water Protection Section. She left DENR in 2013 in response to a shift in priorities by the agency and severe cuts in water quality staff.  In Dec. 2013, she wrote an op-ed (http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/12/15/3457917/soul-crushing-takeover-of-nc-denr.html) explaining why she felt compelled to leave the agency despite her passion for the work.  She is currently the North Carolina Campaign Coordinator for the Boone-based Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit that helps give voice to people who care about our natural heritage.

George Matthis:  Mr. Matthis served 33 years in numerous technical and managerial positions with DENR before retiring in 2011.  He served as executive director for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation before co-founding the River Guardian Foundation. In response to Amy Adams’ op-ed, George wrote a letter to the editor asking, “How many more employees of her caliber will be forced to leave because they are required to compromise their morals and ethics? Who will be left to protect the environment and public health on a regulatory level?”

John Dorney: Mr. Dorney has won national awards for his innovative work in preserving wetlands, including the Environmental Law Institute National Wetlands Award and is employed by a private engineering/environmental firm in Raleigh.  He served for decades as Director of the Program Development Unit, funded by EPA grants intended to integrate updated science into regulatory programs, and retired from DENR in 2011.  When asked about recent decisions by DENR to reject EPA grants to study fracking regulation and wetlands monitoring, he said, “We were the leader in the Southeast, and really nationally. I’m afraid that’s all going to be gone.  How can you improve these programs without the benefit of science?”

Click here for directions to NCCU School of Law and Parking Area and see map of area below. Students are on spring break and we have been given permission to park in "reserved" lots. Look for Sierra Club signs!




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  • Arleigh Birchler

    I am glad that some attention is being paid to this. My fear is that all of the attention will be on the coal ash spill on the Dan River and not on the gutting of environmental law to allow developers to build on currently protected land and for polluters to get away with everything the market will bear.

    March 17

  • Mary Kay

    Facilities were outstanding, panel was certainly knowledgeable. Annoyed video and photogs took and posted/aired without prior consent. Not cool. Would have preferred someone representing more balanced views of denr & environmental protections.

    March 17

  • Pat Carstensen

    On how to write letters to the editor, the Sierra Club has done clinics and often has sets of "talking points" on specific issues. I have been at events with video/talk on specific issue, time to talk to others interested in the issue, and then opportunity to write comments or letters. We also have lobby days at the General Assembly.

    1 · March 14

  • April

    I appreciated the update about DENR and how the agencies have been interacting. I imagine DENR has been very disappointed about how things have been going and feeling helpless at times. I appreciated the point brought up about how the achievements have not been spoken about enough. That truly is important; shout our achievements to the mountains, acknowledge and praise the work done by all-especially our elected officials and the gov. agencies that protect us. Write Letters of Praise! We need to encourage, empower, praise, give good vibrations to the good stuff happening so we do not focus all our attention on the bad. Individually it's very important we all write letters to the editors, for EVERY article that comes in papers (near and far) and to MEC, etc. so they just don't see a mob of demonstrators, but very articulate, thoughtful people who won't take crap as the norm. Does the Sierra Club host regular 'clinics' in how to write LTE's and comments to commissions?

    March 14

  • George

    I thoroughly enjoyed talking with everyone and hope we will all take the thoughts and comments from this event and find ways to make the state become more accountable!

    1 · March 14

  • Dick Chady

    Excellent panel gave great insight and inspiration to people seeking to restore strong environmental protection to North Carolina.

    1 · March 13

  • Arleigh Birchler

    I thought that everything that has happened would over a year ago. This confirmed my feelings about the matter. I have had some friends who have lost their jobs at DENR.

    March 13

  • Arleigh Birchler

    Looking forward to tomorrow evening. I hope I get to meet some of the other folks in this group.

    1 · March 12

  • Arleigh Birchler

    Will our Meetup group be getting together, or do we just go on our own?

    March 9

    • Kelly Mieszkalski

      Hi Arleigh--everyone should arrange for their own transportation to NCCU. This is open to everyone--not just folks in this Meetup. We expect a good crowd!

      March 10

  • Arleigh Birchler

    May I advertise the event?

    February 22

  • Kelly Mieszkalski

    Hi everyone! We are watching the weather--we may have to reschedule this event. Please stay tuned, we will make a final decision no later than 9am on Thursday morning. THANKS! Kelly

    1 · February 11

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