2015 Clean Air Accomplishments

Dec 31, 2015


VICTORY! GARDEN PARKWAY: After a three-year court battle brought by Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Clean Air Carolina and Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, a federal court dealt the final blow to the controversial Garden Parkway, a proposed toll road west of Charlotte that would increase air pollution and degrade water quality in the Catawba River Basin.

Garden Parkway toll project suffers another setback

Monroe Bypass Hearing 01 06 15

MONROE BYPASS: This summer, Southern Environmental Law Center filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Clean Air Carolina and partners after a district court judge failed to properly scrutinize the NC Department of Transportation’s review of the $838 million Monroe Bypass. Earlier this year, Clean Air Carolina organized more than 130 people to attend a public hearing in Monroe on the proposed 20-mile Monroe Bypass. Union County residents also visited the state legislature to urge that targeted low-cost solutions be explored in place of the Bypass. A court decision on this case is expected in May 2016.

NC, Union County and other officials hear bypass comments

Law center appeals Monroe Bypass ruling

VICTORY! FINE PARTICLES: In collaboration with our partners, Clean Air Carolina celebrated the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to reject North Carolina’s proposal to weaken federal standards for fine particle pollution.

US appeals court rejects NC challenge of air pollution rule


VICTORY! OZONE STANDARD: Our Medical Advocates for Healthy Air team presented a letter to the EPA signed by over a hundred medical and public health professionals urging the agency to adopt new standards for ground-level ozone pollution that result in the maximum positive impact on public health. Even though the new standard of 70ppb released in October falls short of the 60ppb recommended by the EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Board, strengthening the standard is a step in the right direction and a win for public health.

EPA Ozone Standard Better, but Not Low Enough

CPP Group Shot 12 2015

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Clean Air Carolina and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (MAHA) joined a coalition of environmental, faith, and social justice groups around the state to urge Governor McCrory to draft a strong Clean Power Plan for North Carolina. Demonstrations were organized in Charlotte and Raleigh, and staff and MAHA members gave testimony during public hearings hosted by the state. A letter signed by more than 150 NC medical and health professionals urging the full implementation of the Clean Power Plan outlined by the EPA will be sent to the McCrory Administration in January.

Opponents rally against McCrory’s Clean Power Plan – WFAE 90.7FM


VICTORIES! Thanks to action by Clean Air Carolina members, this year we’ve once again staved off several NC legislative attacks on air quality and other important environmental protections. Our concerted efforts stopped an attack on our state’s Renewable Energy & Efficiency Portfolio Standard and averted threats to eliminate most of North Carolina’s air quality monitors.

State rules on fracking developed by the Mining and Energy Commission were submitted to the legislature in January and the moratorium on fracking permits was lifted. Hundreds of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air members participated in our sign-on letter, legislative activity, and public hearings in an effort to establish specific air quality rules in the fracking permitting process.


NC PHA laura and keener 2015

Our Medical Advocates for Healthy Air initiative expanded advocacy training to include health departments in Chatham and Durham Counties as well as Appalachian State this year. Expanded its medical voice on issues such as the Clean Power Plan, a variety of air quality rules including the small emitter rule, and provided testimony across the state on the health impacts of policy change. MAHA membership has also expanded its presence in the press with over ten media hits on negative health impacts of pollution for North Carolina.

When doctors become advocates – NC Health News


JAMN: Clean Air Carolina participated in the first national Justice Action Mobilization Network (JAMN) Town Hall meeting Exploring Solutions for Climate Justice, Green Jobs, and Ending Poverty in Charlotte on October 3, 2015. Environmental and social justice partners gathered to share and discuss ways the Charlotte community can become actively engaged in working for and addressing climate justice.

AQ workshop newsletter photo

CHARLOTTE AIR QUALITY ADVOCACY WORKSHOP: Clean Air Carolina and partners hosted Dr. Cheryl Walker-McGill, president of the American Health Strategy & Quality Institute and a MAHA member, who spoke to more than 50 Westside Charlotte residents about the importance of air quality monitoring in preventing cardiac and respiratory ailments linked to air pollution. Plans are now underway to engage residents in air quality monitoring to determine their personal exposure level to fine particles and work with them to advocate for reducing sources.


2ND ANNUAL CLEAN AIR/CLEAN WATER FEST: As part of our ongoing clean air – clean water collaboration, Clean Air Carolina, Catawba Riverkeeper and CPCC’s Center for Sustainability hosted the 2nd Annual Clean Air Clean Water Fest in February. The free event in which more than hundred people attended offered a screening of four short films related to air and water quality followed by a panel discussion.


INAUGURAL NC BREATHE CONFERENCE: With our partners, Clean Air Carolina sponsored the first-ever NC Breathe Conference in Raleigh which brought together over 100 of our state’s top scientists, medical professionals, air quality researchers, policy experts and advocates to consider how to use the latest science and the overwhelming economic evidence to advance clean air public policy in North Carolina.

Labored breathing as NC lawmakers seek to relax air pollution rules

2015 AIRKEEPER AWARDS: Four North Carolinians working to improve air quality were recognized at a special Airkeeper Awards reception on the eve of the NC BREATHE conference in Raleigh. Clean Air Carolina’s annual tradition of recognizing individuals and organizations for their leadership highlighted the contributions of Bill Ross, Jr., JD, Rep. Verla Insko, Lisa Johnson, RRT, RCP, BAS, AE-C, and Jason West, PhD. Ken Cook, President of Environmental Working Group, make brief remarks at the reception.


6TH ANNUAL 5K RUN & WALK FOR CLEAN AIR: Over 250 friends and family came out to celebrate Earth Day and Clean Air Carolina’s largest fundraiser of the year with a walk or run along the Historic South End’s “Rail Trail” in Charlotte. Thanks to all who participated, over $10,000 was raised to benefit our clean air advocacy and education programs.