NC Demonstrators Rally For ‘Independence’ From Fossil Fuels

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Above Photo: Activists demand that the COP20 government delegates approve measures to foment investment in renewable energies and eliminate their huge subsidies for fossil fuels. Credit: Joshua Wiese/IPS

A protest against Duke Energy brought dozens of demonstrators to Lake Julian on Tuesday.

They called for independence from fossil fuels on Independence Day—promoting renewable energy, like wind and solar.

“For a long time people have talked about the need for a clean energy revolution in our country. The good news is, in a lot of ways, it’s already underway,” Buncombe County Commissioner Brownie Newman, who spoke at the event, said.

Newman helped fire up more than a hundred people at Lake Julian Park.

“At our last county commission meeting, with the encouragement of some of the people that are here today, I along with county commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Ellen Frost, and Al Whitesides proposed to establish a 100 percent clean and renewable goal for Buncombe County,” Newman said.

Pro-environmental group Community Roots hosted the event and eventually led the crowd to the water.

Tyler Garrison, a board member with Community Roots, then led the paddle towards the Duke Energy plant.

“We hope number one we’ll accomplish, which we already have accomplished, a greater sense of solidarity in the community [which we’re] all pushing for [and] what we all want to see,” Garrison said, “[to] stop the oppression of the fossil fuel empire that’s currently got their hands around our necks.”

An end to fossil fuel use was a cause some protesters were willing to get arrested for by attempting to go onto Duke Energy property to continue the demonstration.

“It will hopefully inspire a few more people to take some action and do something about this before it’s too late,” Garrison said.

Law enforcement officers prevented protesters from making it onto Duke Energy’s property, according to Garrison.

Buncombe County sheriff’s deputies say no protesters were arrested in the Lake Julian demonstration.

News 13 also reached out to Duke Energy about the protest, and a spokesperson replied with this statement:

“Duke Energy is committed to cleaner energy sources for the region and for all customers. The new natural gas plant under construction in Asheville will significantly lower emissions, allow the company to retire the coal plant currently in operation and help ensure continued reliability for a growing region and for our state.”

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