Thursday, February 21, 2019

Tallahassee Commits to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy, Zero Emission Electric Transportation

Florida’s capital city joins movement across Sunshine State for all-renewable energy. 

Wednesday evening, February 20, 2019, the City of Tallahassee established a goal to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy across the community by 2050, further demonstrating the Sunshine State’s leadership in moving toward renewable energy, like solar. Coverage of this milestone event was quite substantial, with stories published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Florida PhoenixWFSU (picked up in Jacksonville by WJCT), WXTL, WCTV, and national publications Solar Industry, North American Windpower, Windpower Engineering and Development and Innovators Magazine

The Tallahassee City Commission unanimously approved a resolution establishing a goal of powering municipal operations entirely with renewable sources (like wind and solar) by 2035, and community-wide by 2050. Tallahassee becomes the seventh city in Florida, and the 108th city in the nation, to commit to powering itself with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

In addition to committing to transform its energy system, the City Commission's resolution also includes commitments for:
  1. Shifting City light duty vehicles to 100% electric no later than 2035.
  2. Shifting StarMetro fixed route buses to 100% electric no later than 2035.
  3. The remainder of the City’s vehicle fleet will move to all electric as the technology becomes available for reliable service delivery.   
The City Commission recently placed an order with electric bus manufacturer Proterra for 22 new zero emission electric buses, which upon delivery will create a transit fleet that's fully 1/3 electric.  Thanks for this groundbreaking commitment go to many, not the least of which being the administration of Florida State University's Seminole Express Bus Service, which asked for all electric bus service for FSU students as a condition for continuing to provide half of the city transit agency's support. Thanks also go to our local Sierra Club Big Bend Group Chair Grant Gelhardt, who advocated for these goals for 100% electric fleet and transit vehicles.

1 of StarMetro's original 4 electric buses,
soon to be joined by 22 more 
Tallahassee, Florida's leader in electric transit since acquiring its first 4 electric buses 7 years ago, can now easily attain this new 100% goal through routine vehicle replacement.

As the owner of its own municipal utility -- and as Florida’s capital -- Tallahassee can serve as an example for the state with its vision for 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Under then Mayor Andrew Gillum's leadership, the City broke ground in May 2017 on its first 20 mw farm. 

“We commend the City for taking this step. The goals set forth in this resolution will take Tallahassee into the solar age, making Tallahassee truly the Capital of the Sunshine State. This goal would not only put the City as a leader in Florida, but put Tallahassee among the leaders in the nation in sustainability and conversion to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Grant Gelhardt, Chair of the local Sierra Club Big Bend Group.
2017 solar farm groundbreaking

“We’re excited to see this resolution passed! It has been a process of building consensus amongst several organizations and individuals who have come together out of concern for our community and our Earth. We are glad to have reached agreement on the resolution language with the city staff and commissioners. Climate change is here, and the actions we take today as a community will help mitigate the severe consequences that are predicted in the future. We look forward to continuing to build coalition and educate and engage all sectors of the community as the plan develops,” said Kim Ross, Executive Director of ReThink Florida and convener of the Tally35 coalition.

Clean Energy for All supporters from the Tally35 coalition
join Big Bend Sierra Club and Tallahassee City Commissioners
in celebrating this milestone achievement. 
“Florida communities are ready to move away from dirty fuels toward a solar-powered future. We know firsthand that climate change won’t wait -- it’s time to take bold action now. Tallahassee’s 100 percent renewable energy commitment signals our entire state’s value for building an energy economy that works for everyone. The Sierra Club looks forward to working with the City Commission, power providers, and the entire community to ensure implementation of our goal lifts up all residents -- especially the most vulnerable members of our city,” said Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative with the Florida Sierra Club.

The six other cities across Florida now working towards their own 100 percent clean energy goals are Dunedin, Gainesville, Largo, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. Here's a list, including Tallahassee, of all 108 U.S. Ready for 100 cities to date. 

Numerous organizations worked to achieve this milestone commitment by Florida’s capital city including the Sierra Club Big Bend Group, as well as members of the Tally35 coalition: ReThink Energy Florida, ReThink Energy Action Fund, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Leon County, Citizens for a Sustainable Future, St. Paul’s Creation Care, First Presbyterian Church, For Our Future Fund, and the Tallahassee Food Network. Our thanks go to them all for creating this most important model of leadership for our state. 

Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative
Sierra Club's FL Healthy Air & Ready for 100 Campaigns:
Clean Energy & Clean Transportation for All 
1990 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(o) 727-824-8813, ext. 303      (c) 813-841-3601 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Call this week for an appointment with YOUR legislators!

This is the last week of interim committee meetings and the actual session will start Tuesday, March 5.  That means your State Representatives and Senators will be in the district next week (Monday, February 25 - Friday, March 1).  After next week a face-to-face meeting will mean driving all the way to Tallahassee, so act now!

Call now to make an appointment with your State Representative and State Senator to tell them what you want them to accomplish by the time the 9 week session ends on May 3rd.  You have more leverage as a constituent than anyone from out-of-district because you vote in their district and you talk to voters in their district.  If your legislator is unavailable, make the appointment to speak with their aide. 

·          Tell them we want a REAL fracking ban.  Anything less is a betrayal of what Floridians have been asking for since 2013.  Sen. Montford's SB 314 is a REAL ban that prohibits all three kinds of fracking and HB 7029 is a fake.    Vote for the REAL ban and against the fake one.  Don't 'settle' for less!

Ban Fracking - Gov. DeSantis, House Speaker Oliva, and Senate President Galvano all said they want a fracking ban.  Good ban bills were filed in both chambers, but the House is stopping the good bill  (HB 239 by Rep. Fitzenhagen, R-Lee County) and has brought out a fake ban that doesn't do the job (HB 7029 Fracking by Rep. Holly Raschein).   HB 7029 doesn't ban matrix acidizing, the technique most likely to be used in Florida because our limestone geology is susceptible to being dissolved by acid.  The bill also has loopholes to allow well operators to use both hydraulic fracturing and acid fracturing.  All they'll have to do is to adjust the amount of fracking fluid and the rate at which they pump it into the ground.  All three methods of fracking for oil and gas mean pumping toxic chemicals through our drinking water aquifer.  

·         Use Amendment 1 funds to Acquire Conservation and Recreation Lands. 

Allocate ADDITIONAL MONEY FROM A SEPARATE SOURCE for septic tank upgrades/conversion to sewer and other environmentally valuable infrastructure projects.  Floridians voted overwhelmingly for Amendment 1 to buy lands identified on the Acquisition and Restoration Council list (the ARC list).

·         Either ban disposable plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene (styrofoam) and the like, or let local governments ban or regulate them. There are straws, bags, and packing materials made from biodegradable products that work just fine. 

Single-use straws are made for a single use.  Why do they have to last a thousand years?!

Go to this link to find your State Representative and Senator:
Then make an appointment for next week when they’ll be in the district.  Making the effort to meet with them will have an impact!  Be polite and businesslike.  Tell them why these issues are important to you and to people you know.
Thank you!
David Cullen 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: 72 organizations send letter to Governor DeSantis opposing oil drilling in Everglades

For Immediate Release
February 19, 2019
Contact: Diana Umpierre,, 954- 829-7632
Cris Costello,, 941-914-0421

Governor Desantis, Legislature:  We need your help

Tallahassee – Today 72 environmental, civic, religious, and local government organizations, from the Panhandle to the Keys, sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis to voice their support for Broward County and its municipalities, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in the fight to stop the Kanter Real Estate LLC exploratory oil drilling proposal in its tracks; they want the Governor and the Legislature to get involved too.
Many of these same groups, and concerned citizens, will gather today at 11:00 a.m. in Everglades Holiday Park in Ft. Lauderdale, next to Water Conservation Area 3 where Kanter wants to drill, for a press conference with local elected officials from Broward and Palm Beach counties and cities in Broward County.  They will send a strong message together:  Not here, not now, not ever. No oil rigs in the Everglades.

February 19, 2019

The Honorable Ron DeSantis
The Florida Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

RE:  Opposition to Kanter Real Estate exploratory oil drilling in the Everglades Protection Area

Dear Governor DeSantis:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, businesses, and officials, we write to express our fierce opposition to the Kanter Real Estate proposal for exploratory oil drilling in the Everglades Protection Area. We hereby add our voices to those of the Broward Legislative Delegation, the Broward Board of County Commissioners, the Miramar City Commission, the Broward League of Cities, and the other numerous elected and community leaders who have already made their opposition public.

We appreciate the denial of the Kanter Real Estate, LLC Oil & Gas (O&G) Permit Application by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in November 2017 and are deeply concerned by the recent court decision to reverse that denial. We are in full support of FDEP efforts to respond to this threat to Water Conservation Area 3 and all FDEP efforts to resist and deny the expansion of oil and gas exploration within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.

Opposition to exploratory oil drilling in, adjacent to, and/or under any of the Everglades Water Conservation Areas is longstanding.  In 1993 the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board adopted Resolution No. 93-18 (attached), still relevant today, which warned of “potential interruption of sheetflow to the Everglades National Park if contamination occurs” and that such drilling “will be in conflict with the Everglades restoration efforts and the significant public and private investments toward Everglades Restoration.”

We are in strong support of the local governments fighting the Kanter Real Estate proposal and we are relying on your administration to offer the same. We appreciate that you have made Everglades restoration, opposition to offshore drilling, and the banning of fracking early priorities of your administration. As such, we believe that you are poised to tackle this alongside the people who are directly threatened by the Kanter proposal.

Further, we request that you work with the FDEP and the state legislature to identify and adopt measures that will prevent further exploration and drilling within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. South Florida’s natural resources, drinking water, surrounding communities, and economy must be protected, and we look forward to working with you to do so.


350 South Florida
Salome Garcia, Executive Committee Chair

1000 Friends of Florida
Paul Owens, President

Alianza for Progress
Marcos Vilar, President & Executive Director

Ancient Islands Group of the Sierra Club
Tom Palmer, Chair

Aquatics for Life
Susan Steinhauser, President

Audubon Everglades
Scott Zucker, Vice President & Conservation Co-Chair

Broward County National Organization for Women
Joanne Sterner, President

Broward Group of the Sierra Club
Stanley Pannaman, Conservation and Programs Chair

Bullsugar Alliance
Alex Gillen, Policy Director

Calusa Group of the Sierra Club
Ruth A. Scott, Chair

Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife
Lori J. Haus-Bulcock, Corresponding Secretary

Center for Biological Diversity
Jaclyn Lopez, Florida Director

Christian Cultural Development Foundation
Robin Haines Merrill, Executive Director

City of Coconut Creek
Mary C. Blasi, City Manager

City of Seminole Community Garden
Mary Ann Kirk, Community Garden Coordinator

Concerned Citizens of Bayshore Community, Inc.
Steve Brodkin, Vice President

Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor
Rabbi Barry Silver

Conradina Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
Carol Hebert, President

Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida
Adrienne Kaltman, J.D., Broward Chapter Chair and State Executive Committee

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society
Michael Baldwin, President

Jef Shelby, Executive Director

Environment Florida
Jennifer Rubiello, State Director

Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida
Becky Ayech, President

Florida Bay Forever
Elizabeth Jolin, Director

Florida Conservation Voters
Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director

Florida Keys Environmental Fund, Inc.
Charles Causey

Florida Water Conservation Trust
Terry Brant, Legislative Chairman

Food & Water Watch
Michelle Allen, Senior Florida Organizer

For Our Future Florida
Blake Williams, Director of Communications

Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Elinor Williams, President

Friends of Hollywood Florida
Karen Caputo, President

Friends of St. Sebastian River, Inc.
Tim Glover, President, and Bruce M. Sabol, Board Member

Friends of the Everglades
Alan Farago, Conservation Chair

Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, Inc.
Juliette Jones, Director

Indian Riverkeeper
Marty Baum, Riverkeeper

Interfaith Council of Central Florida
James Coffin, Executive Director

Interfaith Justice League
Rabbi Barry Silver, Founder

International Dark-Sky Association Florida
Diana Umpierre, Chair

Lake Worth Waterkeeper
Reinaldo Diaz, J.D., Waterkeeper, President

League of Women Voters of Florida
Patricia Brigham, President

League of Women Voters of Broward County
Bradette Jepsen, President

Lobby For Animals
Thomas Ponce, President/Founder

Loxahatchee Group of the Sierra Club
Drew Martin, Conservation Chair

Marine Resources Council
Leesa Souto, Ph.D., Executive Director

Martin County Conservation Alliance
Tom Bausch, Board of Directors

Miami Group of the Sierra Club
Stephen Mahoney, Conservation Chair

Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition
Al Sunshine, President

New Florida Majority
Andrea Cristina Mercado, Executive Director

Palm Beach County Chapter of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida
Ryan A. Rossi and Sandi Schwartz, Founding Members

Palm Beach County Environmental Alliance
Mark Offerman, Chairman

Pelican Island Audubon Society
Richard H. Baker, Ph.D., President

Pro Choice Coalition of Broward
Rosa Valderrama, Vice Chair

Progress Florida
Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director

Rainbow River Conservation, Inc.
Dr. Burt Eno, President

ReThink Energy Florida
Kim Ross, Executive Director

Rebah Farm
Carol Ahearn, Owner

Save the Manatee Club
Anne Harvey Holbrook, Staff Attorney

Sierra Club Florida
Frank Jackalone, Chapter Director

Silver Springs Alliance, Inc.
Chris Spontak, President

Seminole United Methodist Church Garden
Bob Huttick, SUMC Garden Coordinator

South Florida Audubon Society
Grant Campbell. Director of Wildlife Policy

South Florida Wildlands Association
Matthew Schwartz, Executive Director

Speak Up Wekiva, Inc.
Chuck O’Neal, President

START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide)
Sandy Gilbert, Chairman/CEO

Stone Crab Alliance
Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., Co-founder

Struggle for Miami's Affordable and Sustainable Housing (SMASH)
Adrian Alberto Madriz, Executive Director

Suncoast Group of the Sierra Club
Timothy Martin, Conservation Committee Chair

Surfrider Foundation
Holly Parker Curry, FL Regional Manager

Suwannee/St. John's Sierra Club Group
Whitey Markle, Chair

The CLEO Institute
Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director

Urban Paradise Guild
Sam Van Leer, President & Founder

Estus Whitfield, Charter Member, Florida Conservation Coalition

cc:       Bill Galvano, Florida Senate President
Jose Oliva, Florida House Speaker
Noah Valenstein, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Mark D, Bogen, Mayor, Broward County
Wayne M. Messam, Mayor, City of Miramar
Ernie Marks, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management District
Terrie Bates, Water Resources, South Florida Water Management District