It is vital that citizens are motivated and mobilized to speak out in defense of the environment and for the conservation of our natural resources. New River Foundation believes that through advocacy we can educate the public and create passionate environmentalists. New River Foundation prides itself in balanced advocacy that helps people understand that the area's economic health is dependent upon New River's environmental health. We know that protecting the rivers is a community and collaborative effort, so we work closely with scientists, government officials, businesses, residents, and other environmental friends. New River Foundation represents the environmental community on several boards, participates in planning commissions, and also works with local government to develop rules and regulations that protect and conserve our resources.
Our advocacy work includes…
- CAFOs: Continued vigilance monitoring animal operations and working with other environmental groups to insure government is also held accountable for enforcement for lagoons and waste from these operations. This work is done by land, water and air.
- Led the fight in Raleigh to enact a moratorium on construction of animal waste lagoons for corporate intensive livestock operations.
- Waste Water Treatment Plants: Brought privately owned waste water treatment plants to the forefront and informed the public and government of the excessive abuse by Centerline Utilities. Worked with the NC Attorney General's Office, Dept of Natural Resources (DENR) and ONWASA to have ownership transferred from the Yarborough family to ONWASA.
- Pursued former Sentry/Centerline Utilities owner, Dan Furia who filed bankruptcy and left the state to avoid paying pollution fines. After an 18-month long search New River Foundation, with the help of former board member Vernon Kelley, was able to provide the polluter’s address and phone number to the NC Attorney General’s office. Mr. Phillip Reynolds made a settlement for the fines owed to North Carolina due to New River Foundation's diligence to locate Furia and demand accountability.
- Monitoring other privately owned waste water treatment plants that have a violation history.
- Landfills: Spearheading a moratorium on construction of landfills for a full year. From 2003-2006, three construction & demolition (c & d) landfills were halted from being permitted near creeks & streams in Onslow County on the New River and White Oak River. In 2006, we won the fight to stop a sand mining operation near the New River. (More than 300 volunteers were involved with these successful campaigns.)
- Mercury: Alerting the public to the mercury found in the New River by going door to door to educate citizens in the affected areas—mostly minority neighborhoods. Working with daycare centers state wide to inform parents of the mercury threat to children and pregnant women. Collaborating with other environmental organizations throughout North Carolina to inform our citizens of this health threat.
- Storm water/sedimentation: Collaborating with community partners and government for stronger storm water rules addressing the rapid population and development growth in Eastern North Carolina. Monitoring and tracking sedimentation from different sites throughout Onslow County.
- Invasive weeds: Working to educate the public about invasive weeds in the rivers.
- Waste Water Injections: (Aquifer Storage & Recovery or ASR) ONWASA recently lobbied Rep. Russell Tucker to present a House Bill to allow treated waste water to be injected back into the ground. Other states like Florida and Hawaii have had problems with this procedure. Georgia Environmental Action Network called ASR “a risky scheme that can easily contaminate vital drinking water sources..."
New River Foundation supports a study and sound research before approving such a bill. We have asked and continue to have discussion with our legislators to consider our precious drinking water and economy before approving such an irresponsible bill as HB 643.
**UPDATE** July 23, 2009. Rep. Cleveland and Rep. Grady confirmed that HB 643 will be turned into a study bill. Grady stated to us that “The bill will not allow anything to change, just a study of the issue.” Rep. Cleveland also commented to us on the issue and said that “As expected a study bill was introduced and passed in committee. It was quite specific in its requirements for the study to conform to what ONWASA wants to do. The bill looks for an interim report in 2010 and a final report in 2011.”
We want to thank all of our members and volunteers for helping us to put a stop to this dangerous bill. THANK YOU and WELL DONE!
Link to North Carolina General Assembly
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