Carolina Land Coalition Mission Statement:
To protect western North Carolina’s natural and cultural heritage, visual beauty and local economies by collaborating with regional energy companies and communities to meet our future energy needs while minimizing construction of fossil fuel based infrastructure such as large power plants, substations and transmission lines. This includes continuing to monitor Duke Energy’s revised Western Carolinas Modernization project, and educating individuals and businesses about the need for and ways to reduce energy consumption and support concrete actions.
Carolina Land Coalition Position Statement:
Large-scale fossil-fuel infrastructure projects are not in the best interest of our communities, landowners and ratepayers because they:
- Threaten the vitality of the surrounding land and severely impact the livelihood of nearby communities;
- Endanger native plant and animal species;
- Degrade agricultural lands and forest resources;
- Harm local economies by scarring the mountain views appreciated by residents and visitors drawn to our scenic landscape and unique location;
- Lower the value of private property directly along the transmission routes and in areas where they ruin the view.;
- Endanger the heritage of our forests and the pasture lands that has been passed down through generations;
- Diminish the recreational and cultural allure of the region.
The Carolina Land Coalition recognizes that:
- The need for large-scale, fossil-fuel dependent infrastructure projects is driven by growing energy demand in Western North Carolina (WNC);
- WNC energy demand will need to decrease in order to mitigate the need for future expansion plans of power plants and transmission lines,
- Energy efficiency, demand side management and renewable energy (collectively referred to as “clean energy”) are realistic, affordable, attainable solutions to reduce WNC’s energy demand;
- WNC has massive, untapped resources for clean energy solutions, and these solutions have the potential to reduce current and future electricity demand. A study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy finds energy efficiency can meet nearly one-quarter of North Carolina’s energy demand;
- Clean energy solutions create multiple benefits, such as high-quality jobs, saving on utility bills, greater comfort and health for those who live and work in energy efficient buildings, reduced air and water pollution.
The Carolina Land Coalition calls on Duke Energy to prioritize clean energy solutions for WNC, and to collaborate with community partners like Carolina Land Coalition to ensure successes. Also, any new or upgraded electricity infrastructure such as generation facilities, transmission lines and substations should be conservatively sized with the least negative impact on communities, natural environment and viewsheds. Carolina Land Coalition is committed to promoting clean energy solutions and working to reduce WNC’s electricity demand and to protecting our land, communities and natural heritage.
The Carolina Land Coalition formed in 2015 to challenge Duke Energy’s Western Carolinas Modernization Plan that included building a super-sized gas plant, substation and transmission lines from Asheville, NC to Campobello, SC.
MountainTrue brought together community leaders from North and South Carolina who were organizing in opposition to the Modernization Plan. MountainTrue received fiscal sponsorship and the support of staff and community organizers with years of experience challenging Duke Energy’s plans and operations. In less than three months, the coalition gained 1,273 members and significant public and media attention.
In November 2015, Duke Energy announced a revised Western Carolina’s Modernization project in response to public opposition and the advocacy of the Carolina Land Coalition and other groups. Duke Energy would reduce the size of the new natural gas plant in Asheville, cancel the substation in Campobello SC, and eliminate the proposed 40-mile transmission line that would have connected the two.
In December 2015, coalition leaders expanded the mission of the Carolina Land Coalition beyond challenging Duke Energy’s Western Carolinas Modernization plan to reflect the current mission and position statement. Moving forward, the coalition will work to mitigate the need for future projects that would damage our mountain land and communities.
MountainTrue continues to play a key role in Carolina Land Coalition, giving staff and administrative support to the ongoing effort.