Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Clean Water TALLY RALLY - Be there!

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

February 18: RSVP and join us in Tallahassee to demand clean water for Floridians!

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Dear Friend,

Thousands of people just like you have signed the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration. Now it's time to take our message to Tallahassee!

Time is running out for our algae-choked springs, dying Indian River Lagoon, red tide plagued Gulf Coast, slimed St. Johns River, long-suffering Everglades, and dwindling Apalachicola River.

That's why on February 18, citizens from every corner of Florida will gather in Tallahassee at the front steps of the historic Old Capitol to make their demands for clean water. The more people who pack the rally, the stronger our message will be!

RSVP today and join us for the We Want Clean Water Rally in Tallahassee on February 18!

Here are the details: 

WHAT: We Want Clean Water Rally!

WHEN: Tuesday, February 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: On the front steps of the Old Capitol, 400 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399 [Map]
Live near Ocala, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Naples, Ft. Myers or Sarasota? We have buses departing from your city for a day-long round trip excursion to the rally! Reserve your seat -- act now, buses are filling up fast! 
RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/TallyRally

Questions: Contact Cris Costello at cris.costello@sierraclub.org

More than 100 civic, water and environmental groups will be represented in Tallahassee. We'll also be joined by a number of legislators who have already signed the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration and who are committed to working together to change the state's water policies. Only together will we be able to turn the tide from green and red to beautiful blue!

RSVP today and speak out to protect Florida's water!

Thanks for taking action to protect our waterways!

Cris Costello
Regional Organizing Representative
Sierra Club

P.S. Let's pack the rally in Tallahassee -- after you RSVP, be sure to forward this email to your friends, family, and colleagues.

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Click here to learn more about the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration Campaign and the rally.

March 11th: EPA Hearing on Oil Drilling in South Florida!

Dear Sierra Club supporters:

As many of you know, oil drilling is threatening southwest Florida!

The proposed exploratory well site is on five acres of agricultural land, located within 1,000 feet of residences, and one mile from the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The Texas-based drilling company, the Dan A. Hughes Company, has leased an additional 115,000 acres of land, with the potential for more exploratory wells, though no permit requests have been submitted.

This oil well is only the tip of the iceberg for southwest Florida. Opening up this site to drilling endangers Florida panthers, the watershed, our aquifers, and violates environmental justice of residents. It sets a precedent to open more land for drilling at a time when we should be looking toward clean, sustainable energy alternatives such as wind and solar.

Proposed site with Panther Telemetry
You have the chance to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that this is unacceptable.

WHAT: EPA Hearing on Collier Oil Drilling

WHEN: March 11th, 2014
4:00 – 6:00pm Informational meeting with the EPA
                        6:30 – 8:30pm EPA Public Hearing

WHERE: Golden Gate Community Center Auditorium, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, FL 34116

To speak at the event, or to submit comments, please contact Fred McManus, Chief, Ground Water and UIC Sections, at McManus.Fred@epa.gov.

Comments can be brought to the event or directly e-mailed to the EPA. However, those wishing to speak must register first.

We need your voice to deny this permit!

For more information, please contact Alexis Meyer at 727-490-8215, alexis.meyer@sierraclub.org

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: Duke Energy Is Failing to Lead

When Duke Energy merged with Progress Energy to form the largest utility company in the United States, our organization wondered what kind of leadership to expect from this new corporate giant. 

 
After 18 months, we are gaining insight into that question, but the trends, as shown in four areas, do not bode well. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a valued member of the Sierra Club's Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition.
 
Read Executive Director Stephen Smith's piece here: 


 


Ivan Penn of the Tampa Bay Times: Senator Legg Wants to Reform the State Public Service Commission


Florida Senator John Legg (District 17) wants to reform the Public Service Commission by limiting members to two consecutive terms and requiring them to live in one of five districts the Legislature would create. Read more here:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/state-senator-wants-term-limits-for-psc-members/2165087  

Tampa Bay Times Business Writer Ivan Penn Writes about the Solar Foundation's Report

 
The number of solar jobs in Florida grew 60 percent in 2013, raising the state's nationwide rank from 12th to seventh, according to a study released Tuesday.

Florida now employs 4,000 solar workers, an addition of 1,500 in a year, though the state has struggled to keep pace with other states in the number of solar installations. Florida ranks 18th in solar installations, down from 12th.
 
 
 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Study Finds 60% Solar Job Growth in Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CONTACT: Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, (404) 281-6398jenna.garland@sierraclub.org

New Study Finds 60% Solar Job Growth in Florida

Florida Jumps to 7th Place in National Rankings

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – A new report from The Solar Foundation (TSF), a national non-profit research organization, finds more than 4,000 Floridians are now working in the solar power industry and Florida has jumped from twelfth to seventh place overall in national rankings for solar jobs. Solar jobs grew by approximately 60% from 2012 to 2013, according to the census. These strong results show that Florida is poised to see even more new solar jobs created as new commercial and residential solar projects are installed throughout the state in the next few years. Florida has some of the strongest solar power potential in the country, yet the state’s utilities have barely begun tap into Florida’s solar and human resources.

“More than 4,000 Floridians are working to power our homes and businesses with affordable clean energy that helps clean our air and protect our communities,” said Faye Roller, education director with Solar Source Institute. “Solar jobs grew at a huge rate between 2012 and 2013, too. What other industry in Florida grew at a 60% rate? To help continue this strong job growth, state leaders and utilities should prioritize common-sense solutions such as allowing power purchase agreements in Florida and incentivizing home owners and businesses to go solar.”

But as Florida’s rank as a solar employer improves, the state’s rank as a solar power producer has fallen in recent years. The Sierra Club and the Sunshine State Clean Energy Coalition are working to push Duke Energy, now the nation’s largest utility company, to invest in solar energy and energy efficiency solutions for Florida. Duke Energy is currently investing more in solar projects and efficiency programs in other states in its service territory and has even built research facilities in Texas, where it does not sell power. The coalition is holding a state-wide day of action today, generating phone calls to Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good, asking her to invest in Florida’s solar jobs potential. The Coalition, launched in late 2013, is working to collect 10,000 petition signatures calling for more solar in Duke Energy’s service territory.

In December 2012, the Sierra Club opened its Net Zero Energy Office with three other businesses in St. Petersburg. The building features state of the art solar, geothermal and efficiency technology, and regularly produces more energy than it consumes.

“With all this solar potential, you’d think utilities like Duke Energy would be racing to build residential and commercial solar projects here in Florida,” said Julia Hathaway, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal organizer in Florida. “Instead, Duke is backtracking on key programs that helped solar get started in Florida, even canceling the program that helped the Sierra Club put solar panels on its St. Petersburg office. Duke can do better for Floridians.”

State solar employment figures were generated using thousands of data points from a combination of high-quality sources, including TSF’s highly-acclaimed National Solar Jobs Census 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database, and other sources. While the margin of error for some of the smaller solar jobs states remains wide, these numbers are believed to be the most credible and up-to-date state-level solar jobs numbers in existence. The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership with support from The George Washington University’s Solar Institute.  The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 and separate district-level Census reports for California, Arizona and Minnesota, are available at www.tsfcensus.org.

About The Solar Foundation: The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. TSF is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at http://TheSolarFoundation.org 

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Floridians' Concerns About Climate Pollution in Line with New National Poll


Floridians' Concerns About Climate Pollution in Line with New National Poll

Americans Support Limiting Carbon Pollution from Power Plants, Excited about Clean Energy

Carbon from power plants causes sea level rise on Miami Beach (photo by Jon Ullman)

MIAMI, FL - Americans overwhelmingly support implementing strong standards for carbon pollution from power plants, according to a new study announced by the Sierra Club today. The national poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters across the nation about a variety of issues, including public health, climate disruption, and energy issues. The findings demonstrated overwhelming support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal to limit power plant emissions, driven primarily by concerns for public health and pollution.
“The findings from this survey show us that Floridians feel strongly about protecting their children and communities, and are serious about taking action on dangerous carbon pollution,” said Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.
In line with the poll’s findings, Floridians across the state are concerned about sea level rise and its impact on coastal communities. Floridians face ominous prospects from sea level rise and drought as a result of climate disruption caused by unchecked carbon pollution. South Florida cities such as Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale have already experienced extensive tidal flooding and Floridians could see several feet of sea level rise by the year 2060. Many important gravity-controlled flood protection systems in South Florida will fail with as little as 6 inches of sea level rise. Several South Florida counties have joined together in an effort to plan for sea level rise and address carbon pollution.
“This further demonstrates that Floridians, including those in Miami-Dade County, take climate change and sea level rise as a threat and understand that doing nothing is not an option,” said Maggie Fernandez, president of Sustainable Miami. “This is a mandate to our current state and local leaders to take these risks seriously and act immediately.”
Key findings include:
  • By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, voters think the country should be investing more in clean energy sources and energy efficiency rather than in fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas (61% clean energy vs. 33% traditional sources). A majority of voters (51%) “strongly" prefers investing in clean energy. Support is even higher among African-American voters (77%) and Latino voters (71%).
  • A strong majority of voters (58%) favor the U.S. setting national goals to move away from coal and other fossil fuels and replace them with clean, renewable sources by the year 2030 - this includes 57% who favor moving "entirely away from coal," and 59% who favor moving entirely away from “fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.”
  • Two-in-three U.S. voters say the issue of climate disruption is a serious problem.
  • The majority of voters (56%) believe that the government already limits the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release, which the government currently does not.
  • When presented with President Obama’s climate plan and the proposed Environmental Protection Agency limits on carbon pollution from power plants, seven-in-ten Americans favor the EPA putting limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release.

In addition, Tampa Bay-area residents are concerned about the effect of pollution from Duke Energy’s Crystal River coal plant on the community.  The Crystal River coal units are Florida’s top source of mercury air pollution; mercury is a potent toxin that can affect the growth and development of babies and young children. In many states, pregnant women have been advised to limit or avoid eating fish and seafood during their pregnancies to protect their children. A growing coalition in the St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay area has called on Duke Energy to phase out the coal-burning units at Crystal River by 2016 and replace it with clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and solar power.
This poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from January 11-20, 2014. To read the executive summary or read the full poll results, visit Sc.org/climatepoll.
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Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club and its 2.1 million members and supporters work to fulfill the organization’s mission of enjoying, exploring and protecting the planet. Learn more at www.sierraclub.org.
-- Jonathan Ullman, Sierra Club South Florida/Everglades Senior Organizer, Miami