Monday, August 29, 2016

Hundreds gather at Summit to take Big Stand against Big Sugar

More than 250 people attended Big Sugar Summit 2 in West Palm Beach
Photo by Leonard Durham Bryant, Jr.
More than 250 people crowded into a packed ballroom last week to hear experts and activists deliver the uncoated truth about the sugar industry at the Big Sugar Summit 2 in West Palm Beach. In the day-long conference, 36 speakers in eight breakout session, ranging from the politics of Big Sugar to the economics of the Everglades Agricultural Area, gave insight into one of the most influential and polluting industries in America.

New voices and perspectives shared at this year’s summit sent an undeniable message to Big Sugar, and all those in attendance, that the grassroots movement against Big Sugar’s corruption has broadened and strengthened.


Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jackalone kicked off the Summit with a talk called “Winners and Losers (for now)” It focused on industry’s owners, its global ambitions, and its influence on Federal and State policy. He contrasted the billionaire winners with the financially-struggling communities around Lake Okeechobee, ravaged coastal cities and a dying Everglades.
Charles Kropke or Tropic Moon Holdings.
Photo by Leonard Durham Bryant, Jr.

Documentary maker and tour operator Charles Kropke of Tropic Moon Holdings, then gave a presentation on the natural history of the Everglades ecosystem and Florida Bay. He compared the old “river of grass” to its current state and how development, lack of fresh water flowing south, and Big Sugar’s industrial farming practices in the EAA threaten the future of the vital Everglades ecosystem.

Captain Mike Connor of Bullsugar.org laid out the devastating economic toll the blue-green algae blooms have had on the fishing and tourism industries on the coasts in the past few years culminating in guacamole-thick algae making international headlines this summer. He described how the once world class fisheries of the St. Lucie Estuary and Florida Bay have been depleted by massive fish kills and a near ecological collapse because of the ongoing water quality crisis. He said business owners like himself, who have relied on the waterways for their livelihoods, are now being forced to either move or shut down while Big Sugar continues to profit and block long term solutions to the continuous discharges.

South Bay activist Kina Phillips
Photo by Wolfram Alderson
The audience experienced the most emotional speech of the day when South Bay community activist and Stop Sugar Field Burning team member Kina Phillips spoke about the negative effects sugar cane burning has on the health and quality of life for citizens within the Glades communities in Western Palm Beach County. She pointed out the injustice of how current burning restrictions only prevent burning when the wind blows from the west towards eastern Palm Beach County, but no protection at all is in place when winds blow smoke and ash upon the Glades communities in the western part. Kina said her community will no longer remain silent to such injustice.  She described how the campaign aims to pressure the Big Sugar to become a better neighbor to the residents of the Glades communities by adopting green-harvesting, a smoke-free harvest method that would protect Glades community residents and bring new economic opportunity to the region. Her speech ended to the backdrop of thunderous applause as she encouraged attendees to “have a voice and a choice” and sign the newly released Western Palm Beach County Stop Sugar Field Burning Petition.

Miccosukee Tribe Water Quality Director Gene Duncan said the tribe used its sovereign authority to become the first region in the Country to set water quality standards for phosphorous, long before similar standards were adopted by Florida. He said action is needed to reduce nutrients throughout the Everglades watershed.

Mary Barley, left, says voters should reject
those in the pocket of Big Sugar.
Photo by Leonard Durham Bryant, Jr.
Mary Barley, chairwoman of the Everglades Trust, touted the success of the Now or Neverglades declaration which has urged politicians to act in favor of Floridians and not Big Sugar interests. She lauded Senator Negron’s recent EAA land purchase proposal as a positive example of grassroots efforts fueling bipartisan political will. She urged the public to vote for clean water supporters, regardless of party affiliation.

Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club’s National Environmental Justice Program, expressed how touched she was by her tour of the Glades communities the previous day. She explained how shocked she was to find out sugar cane burning took place right up to the fences of elementary schools and people’s backyards in South Bay. She tied in similarities of the Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign to her environmental justice work done elsewhere in the nation with poor minority communities such as in New Orleans. She emphasized the importance of incorporating just transition work into environmental campaigns to ensure economic support for displaced workers coincides with campaign goals. Just transition, as Leslie described, is about solidarity and ensuring no single community bears all the burdens or reaps all the benefits.

Clean water activist Betty Osceola
Photo by Leonard Durham Bryant, Jr.
The audience also fanned out to break out panels, which included Sugar Field Burning, the St. Lucie Estuary, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, Everglades National Park/Florida Bay, Political Influence on the State/Local Level, the Federal Sugar Program, the Economic Future of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), and Health Impacts. The panels provided a great educational opportunity where each attendee was able to attend two different panels, listen to experts give brief presentations, and participate in detailed discussions regarding the panel specific topics.

There was also an "open-mic" session and a "taking it home" session, in which audience members received information and resources to spread the word and build the coalition.

Sierra Club's Frank Jackalone closed the Summit by reflecting upon how much stronger the movement against Big Sugar has grown since last year’s Big Sugar Summit. With the launching of new teams, new petitions, and the inclusion of new perspectives into the movement, the summit ended in an atmosphere of optimism for the future where everyone left knowing the movement is growing stronger and all present had taken a big stand against Big Sugar.

To join our sugar campaign, send an email to cris.costello@sierraclub.org with your phone number, address and area of interest.

-- Patrick Ferguson, Organizing Representative, Sierra Club

Watch: Trying to find a solution to algae problem, WPTV NBC Channel 5, West Palm Beach


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Gulf Restoration Network file Federal Lawsuit to Block Construction of Massive Fracked Gas Sabal Trail Pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, August 17, 2016


 Groups file Federal Lawsuit to Block Construction of Massive Fracked Gas Pipeline in Alabama, Georgia and Florida
Pipeline Project Threatens Drinking Water for 10 Million People

ATLANTA, GA – Today, Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), Flint Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its issuance of three Clean Water Act permits that would allow construction of the 515-mile Florida Southeast Market Pipelines Project, including the Sabal Trail pipeline. This project would transport fracked gas across 699 waterbodies, lakes, rivers, and streams and harm 1,958 wetland systems in three states: Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 


In addition, the project would include five compressor stations contributing significant amounts of air pollution. That station would rest in the midst of a predominantly African-American neighborhood, which includes two large subdivisions, a mobile home park, schools, recreational facilities, and a church. Despite widespread local opposition to the project, state and federal agencies are continuing to proceed.

If built, the fracked gas pipeline would extend throughout Florida and southern Georgia over an area that provides drinking water to approximately 10 million people. Pipeline construction alone poses a threat to local water resources as the process threatens to release hazardous materials and drilling mud into the aquifer, polluting the drinking water, and resulting in rapid transmission of drilling mud over great distances.

GRN, Flint Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club alleges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to provide proper notice and public participation. The lawsuit further charges that the planned pipeline fails to avoid, minimize or mitigate the adverse environmental impacts. Proponents contend Sabal Trail will supply gas for future gas plants proposed in Florida, including the Duke Energy Citrus Combined-Cycle Plant and the Florida Power & Light Martin Energy Center. Yet groups question the purpose and need for this pipeline for gas plants and other potential uses.  More fracked gas infrastructure is unnecessary in light of alternative sources of clean, low cost, low risk energy like wind and solar.

“Communities in Florida and Georgia have clearly stated that they do not want this dangerous fracked-gas pipeline polluting their water or their neighborhoods. We have collected 25,000 signatures in opposition to the pipeline, but the Army Corps is just not listening,” said Johanna DeGraffenreid with Gulf Restoration Network. “The public has continually been left out of the decision making process for this project and that is unacceptable. Our water and communities are too important to risk for an unnecessary pipeline.”

As stated by Steve Caley, Legal Director at GreenLaw, “the Floridan Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the southeastern United States, has a close connection to the water bodies and wetlands that will be negatively impacted or destroyed by the Southeast Market Pipelines Project.  Given the threats this Project poses to this critical water supply, the Corps’ failure to follow clearly established law by transparently evaluating and disclosing for public review and comment how those negative effects will be mitigated is particularly egregious.”

“The Corps robbed the public of their right to comment by not making the mitigation plan available for review during the public comment period,” said Jim Hecker, Environmental Enforcement Director at Public Justice, which is representing the groups.  “The Corps assumed that mitigation can offset all of the project’s impacts, but that key assumption was never scrutinized during the permit review process.”

“Essentially what happened is the Corps stated FERC addressed mitigation while FERC stated the Corps would do it. As a result, neither agency analyzed the issue and the public had no chance to review and comment on it,” said Eric Huber, managing attorney for the Sierra Club. “To make matters worse, the Corps was aware of several less damaging routes but did not choose them, causing unnecessary destruction to wetlands through the heart of southern Georgia and Florida.”

“Florida does not need more fracked gas infrastructure or gas plants,” said Frank Jackalone, Director of Sierra Club Florida. “The state already has the worst gas over-reliance problem in the country. It's time to solve that problem by capturing the tremendous economic and environmental benefits of clean energy including energy efficiency, solar, wind, and battery storage.”

GRN, Flint Riverkeeper and Sierra Club are represented by Jim Hecker at Public Justice in Washington, DC and Steve Caley at Greenlaw in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact
Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club,  jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org
Raleigh Hoke, Gulf Restoration Network, raleigh@healthygulf.org
Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club, merrillee.malwitz-jipson@sierraclub.org

###


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Sierra Club | 2101 Webster St., Suite 1300 Oakland, CA 94612
www.sierraclub.org/pressroom | sierra.news@sierraclub.org

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Just released! Full agenda for Big Sugar Summit 2 on Aug. 20, 2016 in West Palm Beach. Register now!

Here's the FULL AGENDA for Big Sugar Summit 2 
in West Palm Beach on Sat., Aug. 20, 2016.


Register by clicking HERE. Hurry, seating is limited!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Praise for Senator Negron's Plan to Buy the Land and Send the Water South

  






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Florida Senator Joe Negron
Today, Florida Senate President-designate Joe Negron announced a plan to restore the Everglades by buying 60,000 acres of sugar land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to store water and send it south using Amendment 1 money to finance the state’s contribution.

Statement by Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jackalone:

We applaud Senator Negron’s bold leadership to truly find a solution to the algae crisis and help restore America’s Everglades. Senator Negron’s plan proposes a significant amount of land for the water storage and treatment needed to protect our communities and to restore the natural flow of the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee south to Florida Bay while replenishing our aquifers.

This proposed purchase will leave most of the farm land in the Everglades Agricultural Area intact while adding thousands of well-paying construction jobs. It will keep Lake Okeechobee from spilling over during the rainy season and protect the lives of those who live next to the Herbert Hoover Dike. At the same time, it will provide an additional 120 billion gallons of water storage that will protect our coasts from massive marine die-offs and the unprecedented threats to human health from nutrient-loaded Lake Okeechobee discharges.

Sierra Club will review all aspects of Senator Negron's proposal as details materialize, but this appears to be a major breakthrough. 

Circled in RED:  Senator Negron 
proposed  two areas south of Lake 
Okeechobee to store excess  water
before moving it to the Everglades.
We urge Governor Scott and the Legislature to adopt Senator Negron’s plan to end this crisis and to immediately join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as sponsors of the planning process for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee. Following Senator Negron's lead, Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature can restore the Everglades, end the algae crisis along our coasts, and build a stronger economy in the Glades communities. 

###

Monday, July 25, 2016

WARNING! Toxic Waters Ahead. Florida’s proposed rule would pose grave risk to human health and environment.

Sierra Club calls upon the Environmental Regulatory Commission (ERC) to protect Floridians from toxic chemicals


Tomorrow, 7/26/16, the ERC will hear the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)'s proposal and the comments of many citizens trekking to Tallahassee to protect our waters from toxic pollution. Meeting starts at 9 a.m. Watch live here 


TAKE ACTION: Email commissioners, attend the rally and hearing. Details at bottom of page.

The following letter was sent today from the Florida Chapter by our Big Bend Group leader Anne Harvey Holbrook to the Standards Development Section at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Sierra Club Florida acknowledges that it is past time for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop surface water quality criteria for the toxic contaminants that are the subject of this rulemaking.  However, with this proposed rule, DEP is codifying an open door for water pollution that poses grave risks to human health and the environment.

DEP has been reprehensible in its attempts to push through this rule on an accelerated schedule this summer while much of the state is looking the other way, focused on algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee discharges, and while environmental watchdogs’ resources are tied up with that issue.  Moreover, DEP is seeking approval from the Environmental Regulatory Commission (ERC) at a time when two seats (including the seat to be filled by someone from the environmental community) on the seven member panel are vacant.  At a minimum, we request that DEP delay this rulemaking until Fall as originally scheduled, and hold additional hearings in more locations throughout the state. Otherwise, this rulemaking will be simply the latest effort to trample citizens’ concerns and push through regulations that favor industry at the expense of Floridians’ health and environment.

Substantively, the proposed rule is insufficiently protective of human health and the designated uses of the Florida’s waters.  The Department acknowledges that consumption of fish among Floridians is substantially higher than the national average used by EPA in deriving its recommendations.  Given this fact, it is therefore puzzling that DEP would propose any standards less stringent than the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recommendations.  As apparent justification, the final baseline risk analysis states that the EPA’s toxicity values for regulatory risk assessment are “inherently conservative,” and therefore risk is overestimated.  This assumption of EPA’s conservatism is unwarranted, and DEP should independently justify any instances where its standards are less protective than EPA’s, especially given that the EPA’s risk calculations assume lower seafood consumption and toxin susceptibility than DEP estimates of the average Floridian’s exposure.

Moreover, the Department’s Final Baseline Risk Analysis states that a probabilistic risk assessment was used to derive the criteria, in order to consider risk factors as distributions.  The use of this method has resulted in standards that are less protective than those recommended by EPA.  It is particularly mystifying why and how the Department determined that a 1-in-10,000 risk of cancer is acceptable for subsistence fishermen.  Additionally, the baseline risk analysis states that separate risk analyses were not developed for children.  Children spend more time swimming, are more likely to accidentally ingest water while swimming and be exposed through other pathways, and have a lifetime for bioaccumulating contaminants to build up in their tissues and cause potential health problems.  Sierra Club urges DEP to instead develop its criteria using a precautionary principle approach, using the most vulnerable groups of Floridians – including children and subsistence fishermen - as the target for protections.

From a human health perspective, especially for the direct consumption of Class I waters as drinking waters, it is unclear why DEP would set any of its standards to be less protective than that of EPA’s recommended human health criteria.  At the very least, DEP’s standards should be at least as stringent as those recommended by EPA.  In particular, Sierra Club echoes the concerns of other citizens and organizations that arsenic should be stringently regulated to protect both human health and the environment.  Currently allowable arsenic levels are several orders of magnitude higher than the EPA recommends.  Likewise, although the Department has revised its Benzene standards from the draft rule, the level set in the final rule is still dangerously high, and concerns that DEP is holding the door open for fracking and acid stimulation for fossil fuel extraction seem warranted.

With regard to Class II and Class III waters, for shellfish propagation and harvesting and waters for the propagation and maintenance of and wildlife, respectively, standards must be set not only to protect human health from exposure to contaminants through fish and shellfish consumption, but the criteria must also be sufficient to protect the designated use of the waterbodies.  In other words, criteria must reflect safe levels of exposure for aquatic organisms.  Indeed, nowhere does the rule justify setting standards that are protective of only human health.  DEP’s public workshops PowerPoint indicates that criteria protective of aquatic life would require higher standards for at least 7 pollutants.

Sierra Club Florida is concerned that standards are generally insufficiently protective of aquatic life, as required by Chapter 373, Florida Statutes.  For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Library of Medicine Center for Biotechnology open chemistry database and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health database state that several of the chemicals whose criteria have been revised to be less protective are proposed at levels detrimental to aquatic life.  For example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as acenapthene and anthracene, are so toxic that there is no safe level at which they should be discharged into the environment, according to the NIH and CDC. Indeed, anthracene bioaccumulates not only in fish, but also in the waxy leaves of plants. Therefore the presence of anthracene in irrigation water poses a risk both to human health and the environment. Several of DEP’s proposed standards are far in excess of those proposed for EPA’s aquatic life criteria. These criteria should be revised to be consistent with criteria recommended by EPA, or revised to be more protective than EPA’s recommendations, considering the Florida economy’s reliance on tourism and ecosystem-based recreation.

The proposed rule also fails to consider cumulative impacts as required by 373.016(2), Florida Statutes.   The Department did not evaluate the possible combined effects of multiple contaminants on both human health and the aquatic environment. By considering each chemical in isolation, the Department neglects to consider the additive or greater than additive risks of contaminants and chemical interactions.  The uncertainty posed by possible interactions and additive effects should at the very least necessitate a cautionary and conservative approach to risk assessment for individual toxics.  Additionally, the proposed rulemaking does not consider the effects of prolonged environmental exposure and accumulation of these chemicals.  According to the NIH and CDC, some of the regulated pollutants exhibit a tendency to sink into sediments, where they can accumulate in muck and may become re-suspended during severe weather or upwelling events, entering the environment and the food chain in concentrated doses. DEP fails to consider these characteristics and the potential long-term harm these chemicals pose to human health and the environment.

Lastly, the proposed rule makes no attempt to regulate an additional 25 toxic chemicals for which EPA has offered proposed criteria.  Even if this rulemaking were protective for the contaminants it does regulate, it would only be doing half the job.

Sierra Club urges the Department to reconsider its proposed criteria, and to issue a final rule that includes standards that are at least as protective as those recommended by EPA, both for human health and for aquatic organisms.  FDEP must, at a minimum, delay this rulemaking until it holds additional hearings throughout the state and responds to citizen concerns about industry capture.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help in developing these standards, or if you have any questions with regard to these comments.

Regards,

for Sierra Club Florida Chapter

Anne Harvey Holbrook, JD, MS
Vice Chair, Big Bend Group, Sierra Club
Conservation.BigBend@Florida.SierraClub.org

------------------------------------------------------------------

YOU TOO CAN COMMENT.  Write to:

Environmental Regulatory Commissioners


Joe Joyce jcj@ifas.ufl.edu
Adam R. Gelber aagelber@bellsouth.net
Sarah S. Walton waltonss@gmail.com
Craig D. Varn cvarn@mansonbolves.com
  
Eric Shaw, DEP Environmental Manager, Eric.Shaw@dep.state.fl.us

Watch the hearing LIVESTREAM here.

DEP ERC HEARING TOMORROW: July 26.   
Please plan to attend RALLY on sidewalk, as early as possible!
PRESS CONFERENCE is at 8:30 am- on sidewalk.
DEP HEARING BEGINS promptly at 9:00 am.  Please sign in to speak.
LOCATION:  Marjory Stoneman Douglas Bldg., 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., (just off I-10).  NEED  HUGE TURNOUT!! 
YOUR presence is needed at this most important DEP- ERC Hearing!  Come tell DEP's Environmental Regulatory Commission (ERC) we will NOT stand idly by-- while DEP is proposing to increase the levels of toxic chemicals in FL waters!!
Never have Florida waters been in such a MESS!  As toxic algae clogs FL waters, harming human health and our endangered environment and chemical discharges are already at high levels, DEP is, once again (as in 2013, when fracking hearings first began) proposing increasing levels of toxic chemicals!!   MONEY speaks, but we must speak louder!!  
DEP's convoluted Monte Carlo "probabalistic" method they use to determine "safe"discharge levels for toxic chemicals differs from EPA's method and those used by other states. FL Clean Water Network calls DEP's Monte Carlo Method" a "Cancer Lottery for Florida", as it allows higher levels of toxic chemicals to be discharged into FL waters.  It is gambling with our lives and with Florida's endangered environment. This method favors industry demands over human health and Florida's environment!
DEP's 2013 proposals to increase chemical limits in FL waters was unacceptable then, AND it is still unacceptable --especially when the seven member ERC Board is missing two key members which the Governor says he will not replace until after this ERC Hearing -- meaning this critical VOTE only requires THREE vote to pass!  
Should a vote to decide such a critical issue be decided by such a diminished ERC Board? Many of you have received a list of ERC members from Linda Young. 
So, tomorrow, when DEP, once again, seeks ERC approval to increase the levels of major fracking chemicals like Benzene, which causes leukemia, and many other dangerous industrial pollutants,  please remind ERC that Florida's increasing population, agriculture, important tourist industries and human health demands that DEP develop SAFER, not more polluting, water standards to safeguard our dwindling supply of clean water which serves twenty million Floridians.  Remind DEP  that 75% of Floridians voted for FL waters to be restored! 
Water is our most valuable resource.  Our Florida Constitution guarantees all Floridians the Right to Clean Water. Every FL official takes an oath to uphold Florida's Constitution. Those oaths MUST honored --NOT ignored! Never has YOUR voice been more important.  Your presence will matter! So, please join us tomorrow!
Hope to see you bright and early! 
Gale Dickert , Water & Wetlads Chair,Madison Garden Club, Member FFGC
---------------------------------------------------------------

Further reading:

Miami Herald: Regulators want to allow more toxic chemicals in Florida’s water,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sierra Club’s Statement to Governor Scott on the Florida Algae Crisis


Sierra Club’s Statement to Governor Scott on the Florida Algae Crisis 

- Presented by Diana Umpierre, Sierra Club Everglades Coordinator, to the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board on July 14, 2016

For six years, the Scott Administration has failed to acquire Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) land, despite repeated ecological collapses in our estuaries from Lake Okeechobee pollution and the insufficient flows of freshwater going to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Our coastal communities along the Indian River Lagoon and the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast continue to face complete devastation. The water is guacamole thick. The air is rancid. Even those who wear industrial respirators are overcome.

You must stop releasing Lake Okeechobee water east to the Indian River Lagoon, southeast to the Lake Worth Lagoon, or west to Fort Myers and the Gulf of Mexico. You must take emergency action to move that water south. And you must start planning now for storage, treatment, and conveyance in the EAA for the purpose of Everglades Restoration, and do so in a way that does not negatively impact the residents of the EAA represented here today. Sierra Club joins the communities around Lake Okeechobee in demanding immediate federal and state action to expedite needed repair and strengthen the Herbert Hoover Dike.

The world has taken notice. The national and international press has descended. The state’s
tourism brand is tainted. Fish and manatees are dying. Beaches are closed. As the algae
spreads, home values are plummeting. It’s a taking, depriving residents of the value of their
property. It’s hard to find someone who wants to buy a home surrounded by foul-smelling,
green algae.

Governor Rick Scott is squarely to blame. The South Florida Water Management District’s near
daily press releases mirror the talking points of the sugar industry. Governor Scott’s 2013
hunting trip to Big Sugar’s King Ranch in Texas is indicative of just how inseparable they have
become. If he had pursued the US Sugar land purchase years ago, we could be sending this
water south today. But now he protects them by shifting blame to the coasts. He says septic
tanks are the cause, but this is a red-herring. The proof is the algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee,
now seen from space, so large it has a footprint the size of Orlando and Tampa combined. It’s
time to send the water south.

We need a plan to store, clean and convey the water south in the sugar lands. This has to begin
now. The money is there to acquire the land. The voters voted for it. The sugar industry must
share some adversity in this time of emergency. Why is it okay to flood the estuaries, but not the
land planted in sugar? Why aren’t the sugar growers offering to help? Why don’t you make
them? There is too much pain going around. It’s devastating people’s health and their property.
It’s killing fish and manatees. It’s hurting Florida. It’s time to send water south for the sake of
us all.

###


Monday, July 11, 2016

Tuesday Night: Speak Up for BP Oil Disaster $$ for PSTA's New Oil-Free Electric Buses!

What more appropriate way to use BP oil disaster funds than to help move the County beyond its dependence on oil with its 1st electric buses? COME AND LEAVE ANY TIME Tuesday evening, July 12, between 6:00 & 9:00 pm as you drop by and have your say! 

WHAT:    Pinellas County Commission Public Input Session on Proposals for Use of its BP Economic Settlement Funds

WHERE: Pinellas County Commission Assembly Room, 5th floor, 315 Court St., downtown Clearwater

WHEN:    Tues., July 12, 6:00 - 9:00 PM - Come ANY TIME to speak.

WHY:       Support PSTA's request for funds for its 1st Electric Bus Charging Station
On route charging station in service
In Tallahassee with their electric
buses for past 4 years. 


Tuesday night the Pinellas County Commission will listen to all Pinellas resident speaking bewtween 6 & 9 pm in support of proposals for how to spend the County's $7 million in BP oil disaster fundsLet's pack the room Tuesday night to show support for Comm. Ken Welch's idea to give PSTA just 9% of its BP oil disaster money to allow it to buy an electric bus charging station for downtown St. Pete

If the County does provide these BP funds, PSTA will buy its 1st 2 (or more) electric buses to use in downtown St. Pete, a number that could soon grow to 9 zero emission electric buses, all using the same charging station. 

Great idea! Why isn't this a slam dunk, you ask? Surprise: numerous proposals to spend far more than the $7 million the County has available have been submitted. While we're sure they're all good things to do, we doubt any idea is as directly related to the reason the County has the funds - the impact of the BP gulf oil disaster - as is helping PSTA begin oil-free, emission-free transit next year. After all, if we use less oil, the pressure to drill for oil lessens - the rule of supply and demand. 

Besides, people are excited about these new clean, quiet buses, both the people who'll ride them and those who won't hear or smell them as they go by their homes, restaurants, etc. 

Speakers will get up to the usual 3 minutes, or may give their time to another person who'd like to speak longer.  All we need to make Zero Emission Electric Transit a reality in Pinellas is YOU - TOMORROW NIGHT! 
Sierra Club will have these great 3" X 3" stickers
for everyone to wear
 tomorrow night
.



For more info, contact Phil Compton! See you there! 

Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative
Sierra Club National Beyond Oil / Florida Healthy Air Campaign 
1990 Central Avenue    St. Petersburg, FL 33712
office: 727-824-8813, ext. 303      cell: 813-841-3601

Find out how you can help make our air healthier to breathe @ https://www.facebook.com/floridahealthyair and www.sierraclub.org/evguide