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March 16, 2012

MINUTES OF WNCPSR MEETING, MARCH 16, 2012, NOON AT THE GILMANS' HOME


Present: Don Richardson, Steve Gilman, Terry Clark, Beth Gilman, Bob Howarth, Phil Bisesi
Chairman Clark opened the meeting at 12:30 PM.

Treasurer's report: Absent John Joyner called in a balance of $1151.31.
Minutes of the February meeting were approved with the correction of one transcription typo. See website.

OLD BUSINESS:


Bob Howarth reported on the possible affiliation of Mountain Protectors with the WNC Alliance.  There have been several meeetings including Mary Olson and others.  The question of Mt. Protectors giving up soverignity was raised.  Bob says Mt. Protectors is very loosely organized, has no list of assignments to do.  Phil noted that WNCA has a lawyer as leader (Julie Mayfield) with no permanent staff at present. Bob did finish and submit (to the six person cognizant committee) the third and final draft of the Mt. Protectors Letter intended to be sent to their master emailing list (after approval by the committee) to assess members interest in and/or willingness to affiliate with WNCA.  The committee has not moved on this matter suggesting that this may be a dead effort.   It was mentioned that SAFE led by Laura Sorenson and supported by others previously active with Mt. Protectors has formed and is pursuing several of the works that Mt. Protectors has been doing. Bob plans to let sleeping dog lie.

Terry discussed the pending grant application to National for $1500 to fund activities. This would allow hiring a person to help organize functions. We would have to file reports to National for anything completed.

The SAFE (Safe Alternatives for Future Energy) rally to comemmorate the first anniversary of Fukushima was held at Pritchard Park on Saturday, March 10, 2-4 PM, with 100+ in attendance and speakers including Ray Hearne, Mary Olson, Anne Craig and Laura Sorenson, after which Laura led a march around downtown.

NEW BUSINESS:


Steve Gilman has requested assistance with expenses for his twice-a-year national board meetings in D.C., up to a mamximum contribution of $225 by WNCPSR. After discussion and motion this was passed unanimously. Don suggested the Kalorama B & B several blocks from the national office as a cheaper accommodation but a subsequent internet search seems to indicate it is no longer in operation; there is another Kalorama farther uptown on/near Conn. Ave. with a short MARTA ride to the national office.

Terry brought up goals for 2012. The previously discussed program by Ali Thiebert of PNHP on a single payer health plan is still a possiblitiy, and pending. Terry will follow up on this.

Don continues to try to set up regular meetings with the local offices of our Rep. Heath Shuler, and Senators Hagan and Burr.

Chad Eaton in Shuler's office has agreed to a joint meeting with Freddie Harrill in Sen. Hagan's office for either March 20 or March 28, time and date TBA. Four of us have indicated availability. Heath Shuler is resigning his seat to become a lobbyist (not to spend more time with his family).

Phil stated that Ed Saco of VFP is an excellent speaker on nuclear weapons, another possibility for future consideration.

Don will contact The Nation magazine to see if Jeremy Scahill of Blackwater fame might be available for late summer; Peggy Guy will be contacted to see if Jody Evans or Medea Benjamin of Code Pink--both great speakers and friends of Peggy--might be available.

Bob said that the Natural Resources Commission of N.C. is working on the nuts and bolts of fracking legislation and Bob will follow up on this.

Stan's power point on fracking has been requested by National.

Terry announced a coal ash program by the NC Alliance at Lake Julian for Appalachian Voices. Terry will be a speaker. Date is March 22 from 5-7 PM, with a picnic format. Location is off Long Shoals Road just east of Highway 26, go to picnic area. Terry will try to inform doctors living in the vicinity. The lobbying day for 3-22-12 in D.C. has been postponed.

The proposal from Barbara Gottlieb of National for a part-time organizer in N.C. was discussed. At issue is the Progress coal plant at Lake Julian, a major polluter which needs to be held accountable for contamination of soils, air and the nearby French Broad River. More controls are needed with the goal of improving rather than closing the facility. National would provide training of someone for this. Barbara needs our answer by next Wednesday. ? email vote. Note: send email to Don and he can send it out to our total WNCPSR list.

Terry met with Southern Environmental Law Center Attorneys D.J. Gerkin and Laura LaFleur on March 6, 2012, re air pollution from Blue Ridge Paper Co. More at next meeting.

Helen Caldicott will be in Asheville for a presentation on April 11, 2012. Mary will introduce her. Plans for site and time are feverish. Green Drinks at Posana is one proposal. Helen will speak in Erwin, TN, the following day.

Don has presented the Move To Amend proposal vs. Corporate Personhood to the Brevard City Council and awaits their decision, as of 3/19. (Asheville CC passed Lew's proposal unanimously).

Ellen Thomas has recorded our speakers at the Lee Hearing in Gaffney and they can be seen online, contact Ellen or Laura for site.  Don will forward to you if you request it at gaia@comporium.net. Just scroll down to names of speakers.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:07 PM. Next meeting has been moved up to second Friday in April, the 13 (FRIDAY THE 13TH!) at     Gilmans' home to accommodate Steve's board meeting.

Don Richardson, Secretary-At-Gunpoint

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