Renewable Energy Advocates Hold Day of Action In State Capitol
Call for a Ban on Fracking and Investment in Renewables
Tallahassee, Florida – Hundreds of people from around the state descended on Tallahassee today to participate in the largest anti-fracking and pro-sustainable energy rally in the state’s history.
A coalition of health, environmental, and labor organizations decried the state’s continued reliance on fossil fuels and urged state legislators to support Senate Bill 166, a bill introduced by Senator Darren Soto that would ban fracking in the state.
“The news reminds us daily of the damage that fracking is causing in communities across the U.S.,” said Senator Darren Soto. “Today people from all over the state stand united to ban fracking in Florida!”
Research in other states has shown that fracking has caused water contamination and air pollution, massive amounts of fresh water usage, and led to declining property values. Two bills being heard in the legislature would green light new dirty forms of fracking in places like the Everglades and preempt local communities from passing local measures to protect their communities.
“The Sunshine State should be utilizing more solar energy, less coal, and banning risky extraction processes rather than laying out the welcome mat for fracking with industry friendly regulations,” said Kim Ross, the executive director for Rethink Energy Florida.
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a co-sponsor of the day of action, recently released a national compendium of peer-reviewed studies on fracking that document alarming health consequences for the millions of Americans living and working in close proximity to fracking.
“We now know without a doubt that fracking, like cigarettes, damages health,” said Lynn Ringenberg, MD, the president of PSR. “Let’s push for renewable energy, like solar, wind, water and keep the fossil fuels in the ground. This is the best prescription for a healthy Florida.“
Other speakers at the rally stressed the need for state legislators to implement the Clean Power Plan, a federal plan that would set limits on greenhouse emissions from the nation’s power plants. State officials are debating bills that would prevent Florida from tailoring the Clean Power Plan to fit the state’s needs.
“Florida needs to choose how it will meet the carbon reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan,” said David Cullen, the legislative lobbyist for Sierra Club. “If we don’t, EPA will impose a federal implementation plan and we’ll lose the flexibility we need to increase our reliance on renewable energy and efficiency. Florida is ground zero for sea level rise and more intense weather events – reducing CO2 will help keep it manageable.”
The Sunshine states lags behind many other states even though it ranks 3rd in the nation for rooftop solar potential. In fact, many Florida residents and businesses are unable to benefit from solar energy because of restrictive regulations.
“It’s high time that Florida legislators took a stand to promote sustainable energy that will protect the health of its residents and the environment,” said Jorge Aguilar, the southern region director for Food & Water Watch. “It starts by banning fracking and ensuring that renewables are not constrained by poor regulations that favor the oil and gas industry.”