Notes from the Sierra Club meeting in St Petersburg on 10-3-15.
We voted on electing the 3 candidates (Kent Bailey – Tampa Bay Chair, Bud Long, from Turtle Coast group -Political Compliance Officer for the Chapter, and Kristine Cunningham, from Nevada – Nevada Chapter Treasurer).
BEYOND COAL Campaign update by Kelly Martin, Staff in Asheville, NC.
Largest single campaign ever for SC. Coal is dirty. Largest air polluter causing severe illnesses.
Three phase strategy:
1) Stop the rush to build new coal plants (2002-13)
2) Replace half the coal fleet (2010-2017). Goal through 2015 105,423 MW retirement goal.
– Replace 166,000MW with clean energy/block coal exports/support international partners
3) Lock in Carbon Free Grid (now -2020)
Retired plants: Duke Energy Crystal river 1&2 and Gulf Power Lansing.
The Natural Gas Gamble (60% of energy is based on Natural Gas in Florida)
Wind energy is supplying 10 to 20% of energy in certain states.
Solar price has plummeted and we need to increase its use.
Promote the “Solar Choice Ballot” initiative in Fla.
Beyond Coal priorities in Florida:
- City of Lakeland: Shut down CD McIntosh Unit 3, 364 MW. Rally covered by the press.
- Cleaner air for All Americans.
Reach out to National Staff to get help on organizing or promoting Beyond Coal.
More jobs were created in renewable energy.
Federal tax credit still available until 2016. Take advantage of it.
CLEAN ENERGY WORKS campaign by Lisa Hinton (Suncoast group)
Campaign funded by a SC Foundation grant. 100% clean energy by 2050, in 35 years, for 5 cities – that could be successful in this campaign.
St Petersburg. Why? First “Green” city in Fla with 2 SC members on City Council.
Mayor signed an executive order to be a sustainable city. Also to be a 5-STAR community (5 areas assessing sustainability) like Austin and Seattle. This could be a blueprint for Orlando, Miami, WPB. If it works, SC National will put more money in this project.
SIERRA CLUB DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION (DEI) by Mark Walters.
The more people we can engage in our club is the best way to increase involvement to protect the environment.
In 2013, the SC Board came up with concrete plans and benchmarks to increase club diversity.
Change our behaviors to include and welcome new members (young, and various ethnic groups). Go to the Clubhouse website and click DEI Resources to be more informed on SC goals to recruit people who are more diverse.
Engage groups where you are. Recruit empty nesters, students, black and hispanic groups. Be welcoming at general meetings. Go and participate in other community groups activities.
Suncoast group partners with Surfrider group: they help clean the ocean, and they get educated in conservation issues. Each SC group will have to decide what actions they want to take.
BIG SUGAR SUMMIT – last June in West Palm Beach, by Cris Costello
Go on website Floridasierra.org to have full workshop and speakers.
Wide variety of presenters to discuss how Big Sugar industry influences Florida. Heritage Foundation and Miccosukee Indian tribe rep. as well as a Brazilian scientist.
Industry is subsidized by the federal government (50% more than other countries).
There are 600.000 food items in the US and 74% have added sugar.
Big Sugar campaign goals:
1)Educate the public and have Big sugar Summit #2.
2)Educate decision makers
3)Implement a corporate accountability campaign.
*If we want Cris to do her 45 minute presentation to our SSJ group, she can come and do it.
SIERRA CLUB BEYOND OIL: Focusing on key strategies by Phil Compton
Electric vehicles are an answer to this.
We need to educate public and elected officials.
Consumer incentives. Workplace charging/promotion. Utility programs. Policies for multi unit dwellings.
The St Pete Drive EV event had car dealers and individuals who own EV.
Chevy Volt dealer is selling the most Volts in the country.
Senator Brandis is chair of Florida Transportation committee and is supporting EV infrastructure in our state. Tallahassee has a zero emission bus fleet.
BYD Electric bus. They have zero emissions, have low cost of maintenance. They do not break down as other buses do.
POTERRA company. Clean buses with no emission.
** Gainesville is looking at buying 60 buses –
STAFF REPORT by Frank Jackalone
4 staff in St Pete. (Frank, Phil, Tim Heberlein and Linda Bremer)
Sarasota: Cris Costello
Miami: Jon Ullman
Palm Beach: Julia Hathaway
Plus 2 new organizers one with Julia in WPB.
*** One on Everglades, Red Tide, and Spring Protection …possibly in Gainesville.
Governor Scott plans for 2060 is to increase development with 5 growth corridors into the areas that were supposed to be natural wild areas. List of all members of FWC are all developers. Frank will put this list on SC blog. Check SIERRA CLUB FLORIDA NEWS. We need to come up with a Big campaign with a major fundraising drive to organize and educate the public. Sierra Club filed for an injunction to restore Amendment 1 funding with allies (8-28-15).
Three events: Florida Conservation Coalition with Governor Bob Graham (one in Jacksonville on 9-19),one October 10 in Tampa 10 to 1pm. One in Orlando too.
Black Bear Hunt report by Darryl Rutz, date of the hunt is 24 October.
Two legal challenges are possible and one political campaign, longer and costlier.
Amendment 1 is to buy land and to protect water.
SC belongs to Florida Conservation Coalition, but not belong to the Florida Conservation Voters.
Go to City and County commission meetings and raise issue that Parks bring tourism money, and that we cannot accept the changes of “use” of the parks.
PROTECTED BIKE LANES FOR FLORIDA issue
FDOT has changed its guidelines to narrow traffic lanes width to allow more room for protected lanes. The US DOT encourages adoption of “protected” bike lanes (with a physical barrier: cement barrier or rows of plastic poles) are safer and more effective.
***Ask some bikers organization in Gainesville if they want “protected” bike lanes.
Get back to Phil Compton or Tom Larson.
FLORIDIANS FOR SOLAR CHOICE is the “right” petition to sign.
Encourage people to educate themselves on the 2 petitions and the difference, sign this one and get involved (200.000 were collected). Goal is 1 million signatures. Deadline is December 20th, 2015.Get signatures at outdoors festivals, and solicit signatures at 5K Run events.
Climate Reality Project with Al Gore, this past week. Tom Larson attended.
Gore presented 430 slides. Tom selected 20 to show us.
In July 2015 the Orlando Utilities Commission signed a deal to purchase solar power for less than the cost of electricity from coal or natural gas. “We are at a tipping point where solar is the least-cost option” said Tom Hunton CEO of American Capital Energy Builder and operator of Orlando solar plant.
***We need to vote in officials who support solar energy. Florida Conservation Coalition is going to have a workshop on solar. Go online to Climate Reality.org.
Leader Recruitment and Training: One on 0ctober 24 in Tampa, one in November in Miami, one centrally sometime in Jan. 2016. Outings are posted on OARS.
Do outings related to conservation issues.
***Invite the press or elected official on an outing.
POLITICAL COMMITTEE: We need a plan with solutions in a PAC to get money from big donors. Be out there on a regular basis with the press, the County and City commission, be vocal, and attend as many mtgs as possible. Go with other members and delegates.
Political training is needed to endorse candidates.
POLITICAL UPDATE by David Cullen, our lobbyist in Tallahassee.
Issues re: bills Special session Oct. 19 to Nov. 5th to decide on Senate districts.
2016 Legislative session from January 17 to March 12. Shorter session because it is an election year.
Next speaker is Corcoran. Senate is up in the air, Latvalla or Negron.
Some issues: Energy: 5 Fracking bills. Resurrection about water bill, another priority.
2 statutory bills to ban fracking 19 and 133 by Soto. Probably won’t pass.
Lots of work to do to modify other bills.
***Lobbying Committee needs more members.
***Let Dave Cullen, Stephanie Kunkel, or Tom Larson know if you or someone in the group is interested in being on that committee.
Develop a relationship with the Senators and representatives in their office so that you can call them, and they know who you are when you call. If you are in their district, they care about your vote.
Question: What moves you? Is it an issue important to them? Is it important to their voters?
Make friends with their aides, they run the office.