Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#TelltheTruthTECO Campaign Surges in Tampa

Over 100 turn out to People's Forum to oppose Big Bend expansion of fracked gas, continued burning of coal 

The Sierra Club organized a rally preceding the public comment portion of the site certification hearing for Tampa Electric Co.'s Big Bend Power Station modernization project. Pictured is the crowd at the rally. | [Malena Carollo | Times, 2019] 
On Monday, March 11th, the Tampa Bay community mobilized in an incredibly powerful way to oppose Tampa Electric Company's (TECO) plans for the largest fracked gas expansion and continued burning of coal at its Big Bend plant.  Video of the event is HERE  

As part of our #TelltheTruthTECO campaign over 150 members, activists, allies, and elected officials came together to hold a People's Forum just before the official public hearing to say NO to Fracked Gas and Coal in Tampa Bay.  

The forum kicked off with Hillsborough County Commissioners Pat Kemp and Mariella Smith demanding that TECO withdraw its proposal for more fossil fuel and invest in clean, renewable energy instead.  St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice drove an hour to speak about how St. Pete will be impacted by sea level rise, flooding, and storm surge.  

The public hearing that took place after the people's forum couldn't fit the huge number of people and resulted in standing room only with overflow out into the hallway.  An enormous turn out especially given the fact that the hearing took place during rush hour, 45 minutes south of Tampa, and on a weeknight. 

Sierra Club's animated video describing the impact of the plant on climate change and the resulting sea level rise has now reached over 400,000 views and it's still going!  WATCH the video here!

Our online and social media campaign that has exceeded 7,500 online petitions in opposition to TECO's proposal and the number just keeps growing. 

Finally, the drumbeat of opposition to TECO's proposal and the call for clean energy has become so loud that every candidate in the Tampa Mayor's race, including the front runner, has signed a 100% Clean Energy pledge and has made additional commitments such as the hiring of a sustainability director -- noteworthy because the previous Tampa Mayor had remained silent on these issues. 

Tampa is abuzz with opposition to TECO's proposal and there are renewed discussions of clean energy replacing fossil fuels.  With the national leadership of our hometown Congresswoman Kathy Castor as Chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, it is the dawning of a new day that promises to fully embrace the sunshine in the Sunshine State!

Sign the petition HERE or get in touch with the Tampa Bay local group to find out how you can help the #TelltheTruthTECO campaign!