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2011

annual report


BOARD Don Moffitt Chair Eno River Association Kris Thornburg Vice-Chair Environmental Defense Fund Julie Mayfield Treasurer Western NC Alliance

Sandra RodrĂ­guez Secretary Triangle Community Foundation Teresa Bratton Kemp Burdette Cape Fear River Watch

Yola Carlough Burt’s Bees

Donna Chavis NCGives

Rick Gaskins Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Neasha Graves UNC Environmental Resource Program

Easter Maynard Naeema Muhammad NC Environmental Justice Network

Peter Raabe American Rivers

Ulla Reeves Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Jack Spruill PenderWatch & Conservancy

Gudrun Thompson Southern Environmental Law Center *Board member organizations are listed for informational purposes only.

STAFF Brian Buzby Executive Director Dan Conrad Legislative Counsel Mindy Hiteshue Business Manager Brittany Iery Public Alert Organizer Grady McCallie Policy Director Stephanie Schweickert Affiliate Organizer Nicole Stewart Development Director Peter Walz Organizing Director


mission & Programs 2

A historically bad year 4

How we Blunted the Environmental Rollbacks 6

building a movement not a moment 7

Count it! Durham Transit Referendum success 8

2012 & Beyond 10

2011 Financials 12

2011 Organizational Affiliates 13

2011 Supporters 14

Table of Contents

1


mission & Programs

The NC Conservation Network was formed in 1998 to strengthen the NC environmental community. Our mission is to support, train, and coordinate diverse groups and directly advocate to achieve equitable and sustainable solutions for our environment. To fulfill our mission, we:

COORDINATE coalitions on the community’s top issues. We coordinate the Watershed Alliance and the legislative advocacy team, which helps the NC environmental community work together on legislative strategy. In addition, we coordinate shorter-term efforts on other issues such as promoting renewable energy, fighting efforts to gut the state’s air toxics program, reducing toxics, and advocating for funding of environmental protection in the state budget process, among others.

2


SUPPORT campaigns to protect North Carolina’s air,

STRENGTHEN environmental organizations. The NC

water, and quality of life through grassroots mobilization.

Conservation

The NC Conservation Network’s Public Alert project

including our Annual Conference for our nearly 100 affil-

recruits interested members of the public and provides

iate organizations to help sharpen their organizational

them with the information they need to make a differ-

and campaign skills. We also distribute information

ence on key environmental issues. The Public Alert

including the News Digest, Weekly Alert, and the Legis-

Network

organizes

various

trainings,

network—now more than 14,000 members strong—has

lative Update, which together cover the activities of the

supported issues ranging from greening the budget, to

media, legislature, and administration.

protecting beaches from hardened structures, to pushing for better water management policies.

3


The Freshman class of lawmakers overall has proved themselves to be one of the most ideologically conservative in nearly 20 years

ly bad

A Historical

Year

2011 was a historically bad year for North Carolina.

The major polluters and newly elected, right-wing, parti-

Our state experienced deadly tornadoes, Hurricane Irene,

san extremists were ready with their bills at the start of

and a crippling economy. In addition, our state watched

session—dozens of them. We watched in amazement,

as a tidal wave of anti-environmental legislators swept

as more continued to emerge throughout the first few

into the General Assembly after the November 2010

weeks. We jumped into the fray but made sure we put

election. For the first time in over 100 years, Republicans

most of our resources into stopping the most destructive

controlled both the North Carolina House and Senate.

rollback proposals:

And, as a result, we were busier than ever fighting devastating rollbacks of state environmental and public

REGULATORY REFORM

S781, buries North Caro-

lina regulators and business in red tape (slowing

health protections.

down environmental protections) and has potential Even in the most favorable of climates, environmen-

to bring many state protections down to the very

tal legislation often faces an uphill battle against well-

bare minimum.

funded opponents. But now, things looked grim. We had no access with legislative leaders and little hope for

TERMINAL

GROINS

S110,

threatens

our

natu-

getting anything we wanted—either passing proactive

ral beaches by allowing hardened structures on

or preventing devastating legislation. We knew this was

the coastline. These structures trap sand, caus-

going to be a long, hard fight. We were wrong—it was

ing erosion on nearby beaches. This could lead to

much worse.

a domino effect in which the state’s beaches are covered in unattractive jetties and similar structures. MASSIVE BUDGET CUTS to the Department of

FY11–13 budget cuts

Environment and Natural Resources and key environmental programs (like Clean Water Management Trust Fund). The budget also included a damaging provision that no state rule shall be stronger than federal rules. RELIANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS

Department of Environment & Natural Resources lost 22%

4

Clean Water Management Trust Fund lost 88.5%

Wildlife Resources Commission lost 25%

S709, opens our

coast to the risk of oil spills from offshore drilling, as well as bring our state closer to allowing the controversial practice of hydrofracking.

41

North Carolina businessleaders spoke up this year in favor of strong environmental protections.


Once it was clear what had to be stopped, we launched a

Given the make-up of the legislature, we decided to

sustained full court press and focused our efforts on what

focus a significant amount of our efforts on the Governor.

we do best:

As expected, the legislature passed their bills. But, thanks to our work, Governor Perdue announced her veto of two

ORGANIZE We pulled together our affiliates and al-

devastating environmental bills (S781 and S709). While

lies and created a plan for how to deal with our com-

we are thrilled about these two vetoes, we are extremely

munity’s top concerns and a communications system

disappointed that she did not also veto S110 (which allows

for how to keep each other up-to-date and engaged.

construction of terminal groins on our coast). Governor

MOBILIZE We educated and activated our 14,000 Public Alert subscribers generating tens of thousands of emails and hundreds of calls throughout the session. TRY NEW THINGS We collaborated with the business community, a better messenger for our issue given the Republican leadership and a business friendly Governor.

Perdue also heeded our earlier call to veto the destructive budget but unfortunately that veto was over-ridden by the legislature and is now law. These vetoes were a huge mark of all the work our community did. Unfortunately, the legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of S781 and it is now law. However, Republican leadership was continuously one to two votes short of overriding S709—and so it remains in limbo.

5


GROWTH IN GRASSROOTS ACTION

2010

2011

How we Blunted the Environmental Rollbacks

from News & Observer, “Advocates Set Sights on Perdue”

Of more than 1,000 phone calls about pending legislation

that have come in between June 8 and Tuesday, accord-

Given the make-up of the legislature, we decided to

ing to data the Governor’s Office provided Wednesday,

focus a significant amount of our legislative efforts on the

more than a fourth were in opposition to SB709, a bill that

Governor. In so doing, the NC conservation community

is the intense focus of environmental organizations be-

collectively generated over 8,000 emails and nearly 150

cause it encourages offshore oil and gas exploration and

phone calls to the Governor urging her to veto the afore-

inland shale gas exploration.

mentioned bad bills that landed on her desk. NC Conservation Network alone accounted for over 4,000 of those

Of the more than 32,000 email messages about legisla-

emails and nearly 100 of the phone calls.  We also

tive issues, the most for any single bill were the more than

submitted detailed fact sheets on each bill (usually

4,000 that addressed SB781, which cropped up late in

created by our policy staff, with significant help from

the session and is also opposed by environmentalists.

others); submitted two letters signed by over 40 business

It would prevent the state from enacting stricter stan-

leaders and a veto letter from the NC conservation

dards than federal regulations. Environmentalists have

community to the Governor with over 30 conservation

made a big push this week for a veto of those bills and of

groups listed; organized dozens of Governor Perdue’s

SB110, which would allow jetties to be built jutting off the

donors to call to urge vetoes; and much more. Our calls

coast to protect beachfront property. Opponents say jet-

and emails also generated some attention, including the

ties could accelerate erosion. Thirty-three environmental

News & Observer’s article, Advocates Set Sights on

organizations signed a letter to Perdue on Sunday oppos-

Perdue, printed on June 23, 2011.

ing those three bills. Twenty-nine business leaders signed a letter last week urging her to veto two of the bills.

6


Building a not movement

t n e m a mo

After the close of this harsh session, we did some recal-

We know that the environment is not a one session issue.

culating about how to best maintain our state’s current

And, NC Conservation Network keeps the long-term in

environmental protections and challenge the devastating

mind as we constantly re-evaluate our work and try new

rollbacks that anti-environmental legislators dealt this

things. Some of the most important work we do—prepar-

year. To this effect, our Legislative Counsel, Dan Conrad,

ing legal cases, educating our base, building our commu-

has been working with the Southern Environmental Law

nity’s capacity, and developing strategic and strong

Center to determine what legal actions can be taken to

campaigns—is done during the off-session. We know that

reverse, delay, or respond to some of the most damaging

the better prepared we are, the stronger our fight come

environmental legislation from the past session.

the inevitably challenging 2012 legislative session.

In addition, our organizing team got to work building a stronger movement for next year. The focus of their work is best summed up in three parts: EDUCATING OUR GRASSROOTS BASE Our Public Alert Organizer, Brittany Iery, educated the Public Alert network on the big fights we expected to wage in 2012. She reached out to activists who were interested in writing letters-to-the-editor to their local newspapers in hopes of educating swing legislators. BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF OUR COMMUNITY

In

Dan Conrad

Brittany Iery

the summer of 2011, we hired Stephanie Schweickert as our new Affiliate Organizer. In her first few months, she worked hard to bring our affiliates training and networking opportunities that will help build their organization’s membership base and overall strength. DEVELOPING CAMPAIGNS Our organizing and policy staff continue to coordinate and facilitate the work of our affiliates and allies to build stronger, larger, and more strategic campaigns on our community’s top issues (including hydrofracking).

Stephanie Schweickert

7


8


Count it! Durham Transit Referendum Success On a positive note, NC Conservation Network helped pass

the

Durham

public

transit

referendum

This work resulted in a sizable increase in voter turnout

with

among our universe. The largest increase came thanks

60% support in the November 2011 election. This referen-

to the nearly 2,000 live phone conversations generated

dum will allow a local sales tax to move forward and

through our phone bank. This group voted at an

support

public

astonishing rate of 78.8%, confirming studies that have

transportation, including the Durham part of a Triangle

investments

and

improvements

in

found personal conversations are highly effective at

transportation plan.

mobilizing voters.

We collaborated with a coalition of allies and local groups

Our work on the Durham Votes project was successful

supporting the referendum, which included a strategic

and will inform and strengthen our tactics and strategies

plan for our own involvement. Our plan, called the

in elections and advocacy work in the future—including

“Durham Votes” project, sought to educate likely voters

passing similar referendums in Orange and Wake Coun-

about the importance of voting for the referendum and

ties in 2012. If all three counties pass a referendum, then

aimed to turn out those voters who were most likely to

the Triangle will be awarded with an expanded regional

support public transportation. We did this through a vari-

transit system.

ety of tactics strategically targeted at over 6,000 individuals—including, robo-survey calls (asking the voter to Press 1 if they supported the transit referendum, 2 if opposed, 3 if not sure, and 4 if already voted), postcard mailers, and phone banks.

Durham Transit Referendum Success

78.8%

50

of our 1,955 live phone calls resulted in individuals turning out to vote

people=

62.4%

of people we contacted voted

9


2012 & Beyond The 2011 legislative session included numerous envi-

HOLDING THE LINE We will play smart defense in

ronmental rollback proposals and we anticipate more

hopes of stopping any harmful environmental or

attempts in 2012. There are plans to further cut conserva-

public health legislation brought forward, expected

tion funding, explore whether to allow the destructive

or not.

practice of hydrofracking, and give utility companies permission to bill taxpayers to build risky, costly, and

BUDGET

unnecessary new nuclear power plants.

environmental and conservation funding in the state

We will continue to work to protect

budget. Our goal in 2012 will be to continue our work to defend public health and environmental protections while

FRACKING We will continue our campaign to stop

educating voters about attacks on these important issues.

legislators from fast tracking or legalizing this

We will work on five major campaigns that will ratchet up

controversial method of drilling for natural gas.

as the year goes:

Dates to remember: 2012 Election

WAKE AND ORANGE TRANSIT REFERENDUMS We will continue get out the vote efforts in Wake and Orange Counties to advocate for transit referenda that mirror the referendum passed in Durham County this year. CIVIC ENGAGEMENT We will run a phone bank in the fall of 2012 that will produce live calls to 130,000 traditionally under-represented NC voters in the November election.

one-stop voting election day

10


In the end, we hope to make environmental and public

the environmental movement in North Carolina. NC

health protections a more critical issue for elected offi-

Conservation Network is committed to growing the

cials over the long term, making it harder to repeal good

grassroots base which is our Public Alert network of

laws and easier to promote positive steps for public

14,000 residents throughout the state. We also plan to

health and the environment.

expand the list of North Carolina-based businesses who

In addition to coordinating the work of the environmen-

recruiting and maintaining jobs and businesses.

believe that clean air and clean water are important for tal community on these issues, we will continue to build

11


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2011 Organizational Affiliates Albemarle Environmental Association

Environmental Defense Fund, NC Office

American Rivers

Environmental Educators of North Carolina

Appalachian Voices

Environmental Resource Program at UNC-Chapel Hill

Audubon North Carolina Bald Head Island Conservancy Black Family Land Trust Blue Ridge Conservancy Canary Coalition Cape Fear Citizens for a Safe Environment Cape Fear River Watch Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy Carteret County Crossroads Catawba Center for the Environment

Farmer Foodshare Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina Friends of Forsyth Friends of State Parks Friends of the Deep River Haw River Assembly Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

NC Waste Awareness Reduction Network Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation New River Foundation Northeast New Hanover Conservancy (Figure Eight Island) Pacolet Area Conservancy Pamlico-Tar River Foundation PenderWatch & Conservancy Pew Charitable Trusts Physicians for Social Responsibility, Western NC Chapter Piedmont Environmental Alliance Piedmont Land Conservancy Roanoke River Partners Rocky River Heritage Foundation Sandhills Area Land Trust Scotland County Of Tomorrow Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Land Trust for the Little Tennessee

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

LandTrust for Central North Carolina

Southern Environmental Law Center

League of Women Voters of North Carolina

SouthWings

Lumber River Conservancy

Sustainable Sandhills

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Moravian Task Force on Environmental Stewardship

Tar River Land Conservancy

Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities

Mountain Island Lake Association

The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program

MountainKeepers

The Nature Conservancy

National Committee for the New River

Toxic Free North Carolina

NC Alliance for Transportation Reform

Triangle Greenways Council

NC Coastal Federation

Triangle Land Conservancy

NC Coastal Land Trust

Umstead Coalition

NC Council of Trout Unlimited

Union of Concerned Scientists

NC Herpetological Society

WakeUP Wake County

NC Interfaith Power & Light, a program of the NC Council of Churches

Waterkeeper Alliance

Catawba Lands Conservancy

Citizen Action for Responsible Roads Citizens for a Safe Environment Clean Air Carolina Clean Water for North Carolina Community United Church of Christ Conservation Trust for North Carolina Dan River Basin Association Davidson Lands Conservancy Democracy North Carolina Dogwood Alliance Eno River Association Environment North Carolina Environmental and Conservation Organization

NC League of Conservation Voters NC Native Plant Society NC Public Interest Research Group

Western North Carolina Alliance White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance Winyah Rivers Foundation Yadkin Riverkeeper

NC Rail-Trails NC Sierra Club

13


2011 Supporters FOUNDATION SUPPORTERS Anna Louise Reynolds Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation Beattie Foundation Blumenthal Foundation

The Educational Foundation of America

Julian Price Family Foundation

Golden Corral Charitable Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation

Park Foundation The Prentice Foundation

InSight Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Kathy Adams and Bobby Doolittle

Elsa Desrochers

Jackie Jones

Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin

Cindy and Vincent DiMattia

Steven Kallan and Sue Lomenzo

Anthony and Kathleen Azzi

Ilana Dubester and Gary Phillips

Kathy Kaufman

Linda Bach

Christopher Alexander Ess

Jane Kendall and Ran Coble

Donna Baird

Robyn and Ryan Fehrman

Martin Lawrence

Taylor Barnhill

Karl B. and Debbie Leiner Fields

Michelle Lee

Karen and Joe Bearden

Mary Fishman

Terry Lincoln

David Biesack

Rick Gaskins

Helen Livingston

Russell Bishop

Ellen Gerber

Patrick Long

Kay Bond

Brian Glover

Betsy and HR Malpass

Cecil Bothwell

Betsey Granda

Brian Marschhauser

Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORTERS

Brian and Katie Bouterse

Eloise Grathwohl

Patrick and Renè Martin

Jessica and Sterling Bowen

Jeri Gray

Julie Mayfield and Jim Grode

Patricia Bowery

Kathleen Gray and Peter Higgins

Easter Maynard and John Parker

Gay Bowman

Art and Carolyn Green

Amye and Marshall McCallie

Teresa Sue Bratton

Wayne and Lynn Hale

Craig Melby

Vero Brentjens

Elizabeth Harris

Sally Migliore

Peter Bruns and Kat Rice

Mary Ann Harrison

Don Moffitt and Sidney Cruze

Kemp and Jenn Burdette

Pricey Harrison

Bonnie Monteleone

Kathryn Byer

Leigh Hart

Ken Moore and Kathy Buck

Michael Callis

Jared Hayworth

Stephanie Jo Morgan

Mark Campbell

Carole Hoffman

Mary T. and David B. Neal

Philip and Linda Carl

Kathleen Hoffmann

Katie Oates and Dan Murrey

Yola Carlough

John Hollingsworth

Richard Partridge

Austin Chandler

Elizabeth Holsten

Alice Patterson

Donna Chavis

Anne Hummel

Sam Pearsall

Damon Circosta

Marc Hunt and Catt Potts

Jesse Pritchett

Steve Cohen

Gillian and David Iery

Scot Quaranda

Helen and Robert Conrad

Michaela Iery

Peter Raabe

Brook Corwin

Julia Janaro

Matt Raker

James Crowgey

Randy Johnson

Gretchen Redden

14


ORGANIZATIONAL & BUSINESS SUPPORTERS 1Sky Audubon North Carolina Blueprint NC Burt’s Bees Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Chaco Bob and Linda Rodriguez Sandra Rodríguez Betty Sanders-Seavey Marvin and Linda Scherl Carl and Leigh Seager Tom and Kathy Shea Michael Simmons Jane and Gary Smith Judith Smith Lenwood Smith II Marie Spengler Jack and Jenny Spruill Fred and Alice Stanback Frank Stroupe Jane Stutts Brenda Summers Brad and Suzanne Tesh Ben Thomas Gudrun Thompson Karen and Karl B. Thor Diana Travis and MaryAnn Mueller Loretta Valenski Darlene and Don Wells Carola Westermann and Lee Chambliss Dale Weston Elaine Whitford Catherine Wineburg Nathalie Worthington Stefan Zauscher Alice Zawadzki EarthShare North Carolina donors …and our many other generous donors

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2011 Annual Report