NCLCV also awarded its highest award, the Jane Sharp Lifetime Achievement award, named after one of our founding leaders, to long time board member and environmental activist, Chapel Hill environmental attorney, John Runkle.
John has represented communities across North Carolina in addressing local, state, and national threats—ranging from nuclear and coal plants, to landfills, hog waste to hazardous waste, wastewater discharges and land conversation—and everything in between. He’s taken a stand before the Utilities Commission, the Environmental Management Commission, the General Assembly, the Coastal Resources Commission, and other state Boards and Commissions; he’s brought cases and issues to multiple levels of the judicial system, he’s stood before local councils in counties across the state. He’s submitted comments to most every Division within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, EPA and so many others—He’s an expert on the issues and on how decisions are made. He has given a voice to people who care about their communities.
John has been an integral part of NCLCV since 1980 as staff, board member, president, and legal counsel. He has served on the Board, served as legal counsel, staffed, or helped establish numerous environmental groups across NC. In his commitment to working with environmental organizations, he has shaped the way environmental activism is done in NC.
John’s heart is in the people of our communities, and he’s a firm believer in the power those grassroots voices have—he’s a real community organizer. But he also understands that environmental decisions are ultimately made at a political level, and unfortunately influenced by money. One of John’s own measures of success is when the folks he’s been representing before county commissions and city councils run for those very offices in the next election cycle.
And he recognized, in 1999, that NCLCV had to take on the critical role of bringing the environmental voice to the political arena. So he recommended that NCLCV establish the Conservation PAC.
For these reasons, and many others, NCLCV honored John with our highest award, the Jane Sharp Lifetime Achievement Award, for his extraordinary contributions to the environmental movement, and to North Carolina.