Past Meetup

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

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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 (http://law.nccu.edu/about/directions/) 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!