Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sierra Club Statement Regarding Berman Law Group Class Action Lawsuit

For Immediate Release
June 5, 2019
Contact:  Patrick Ferguson, patrick.ferguson@sierraclub.org, 954-288-4234

**PRESS RELEASE**
Sierra Club Statement Regarding Berman Law Group Class Action Lawsuit

The Sierra Club Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign, launched in 2015, is not a party to the Berman Law Group class action lawsuit.  The fight to move Big Sugar to stop pre-harvest field burning is a huge one.  Many generations, hundreds of thousands of residents, in and around the Glades have been subjected to the smoke and ash that the industry has callously dumped upon them.  We are pleased that the work of local Stop the Burn-Go Green activists over the last four years has elevated the issue to a such a high profile; this lawsuit is one of many new angles from which impacted residents will come to pressure the sugar industry to “stop the burn.”

Pre-harvest sugar field burning is an outdated, toxic, and unjust practice that the sugar industry can and must stop.  The alternative, the green harvesting of sugarcane, is already practiced in other countries, in parts of Louisiana, and even in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) when convenient for the Florida sugar industry.  It has long been time for the industry to move to modern, sustainable green harvesting as the ultimate solution to the environmental injustice of pre-harvest sugar field burning. Green harvesting not only ends the burn, but also provides growers a new source of income.  The trash that is now going up in smoke can be turned into biochar, biofuels, electricity, tree-free paper products, and mulch, the production of which can provide new jobs so badly needed in the Glades. 

We challenge anyone who calls for further study or monitoring of air quality or health impacts.  The health and quality of life impacts from sugar field burning are already firmly established. It is unconscionable to suggest kicking the can further down the road when (1) the solution is clear, and (2) right now the more affluent citizens to the east are already protected because burn permits are not granted when the wind blows their way.  Everyone in and around the EAA deserves the same protection no matter where they live, and they deserve that protection now.

Sierra Club Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign Information:

  1. Stop the Burn Campaign Primer:  http://bit.ly/2HoaaYj
  2. Sugarcane burn zones map and wind restriction definitions:  http://bit.ly/2yJzIba
  3. Stop the Burn Fact Sheet:  http://bit.ly/2IFPWMb
  4. Health impact study summaries:  http://bit.ly/2T38TsZ
  5. “Counterattack on Stop The Burn: Big Sugar loses its cool”:   http://www.sierraclubfloridanews.org/2019/04/counterattack-on-stop-burn-big-sugar.html
  6. “Fake Billboard for a Fake Claim”: 

Find press release here.

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