State Democratic Party Leaders call on Democratic State Legislators to oppose SB 1238 and HB 1043

Mon, May 1, 2017

Monday, May 1 2017

Party Officials Ask House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz and Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon to Uphold Democratic Party Principles

As elected Democratic Party Leaders, we call on our elected state Representatives and Senators to uphold Democratic principles to both protect consumers, public health and our natural environment.

Senate Bill 1238 and House Bill 1043 do none of those things and rather, the legislation jeopardizes the very core values of the Democratic Party.

Democrats should not side with power companies over people. Allowing monopoly power companies to profit off fuel costs will end in higher electric bills. Floridians who can least afford it will suffer the financial burden.

Florida Power and Light (FPL) – the state’s biggest utility - promised regulators savings but lost $5.6 million in the first year when gas prices dropped. We have 20-20 hindsight. Consumers shouldn’t fit the bill for bad business decisions. If fracking in Oklahoma is such a great deal, let FPL shareholders pay for it. It is expected that other utilities like Duke Energy and Gulf Power will follow suit.

Equally troubling are the harmful pollution impacts from the toxic chemicals involved in the process. Fracking is inherently dangerous and it simply cannot be done safely. Production releases radioactive materials like radium, uranium, thorium and radon contaminating groundwater.

Not only does fracking endanger our drinking water, itincreases infant mortality, causes earthquakes  and alsoreleases methane, potent greenhouse gas 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, a significant contributor to global warming.

Bottom line: SB 1238 and HB 1043 forces consumers to pay for a risky and speculative fracking operation so the state's four monopoly utilities can make more money on the backs of Florida ratepayers.

These investments – which put more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere - reduce the incentive to transition to clean energy. Voters spoke loud and clear both in August when 73% of voters said to reduce barriers to solar power and again in November when they said no to the deceptive utility-funded Amendment 1 campaign of the monopoly power companies to make it harder to get solar.

In what should be disturbing to all are the reports of excessive influence coming from the utilities’ political contributions and the scores of lobbyists they hire. The Miami Herald on multiple occasions and Miami New Times have reported extensively. The Tampa Bay Times voiced their opposition as did Times columnist John Romano.

Democratic lawmakers must rise above this pay for play politics. Our values simply do not support Floridians subsidizing monopoly power companies, endangering American lives and exacerbating climate change.

Shawn Kinsey, Chair, Polk County DEC
Karen Welzel, State Committeewoman, Polk County
David Jones, State Committeeman, Polk County

Susan McGrath, Chair,
Pinellas County Democratic PartyIone Townsend, Chair, Hillsborough County Democratic PartyStacey Patel, Chair, Brevard County Democratic Party 

Alvin Peters, Board Member, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida

Bill Bucolo, President, Tampa Bay Democratic Environmental Caucus

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