The Agenda

Sierra Club and Victory Fund release joint statement criticizing Florida Rep. Kathleen Peters

Today Sierra Club and Victory Fund released a joint statement criticizing Florida state Representative Kathleen Peters for her hypocritical response to an environmental disaster in Florida, which has spilled hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into the Floridan aquifer. Peters, who is running against Victory Fund and Sierra Club endorsed candidate Jennifer Webb, is calling for “transparency” after the disaster, in the form of legislation to require the public be notified of an environmental disaster within 24 hours. While notifying the public is important, the statement is critical of her call for transparency given her voting record favoring big fracking companies, and making it more difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals they use. A notification period also does nothing to prevent future disasters like Mosaic.
Read the entire joint statement:
 
  
STATEMENT FROM SIERRA CLUB AND GAY & LESBIAN VICTORY FUND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 29, 2016
Hypocrisy Alert:
Kathleen Peters Calls for Band-Aid Environmental Transparency, But Shields Polluters from Accountability
Mosaic, Oil and Gas Fracking Companies Among Kathleen’s Biggest Contributors
Earlier this week, State Rep Kathleen Peters said she’ll sponsor legislation to require public notification of contamination to our environment within 24 hours.  Her announcement was triggered by the discovery that Mosaic’s phosphate pit was spewing hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the Floridan aquifer, a water source for 10 million people, including Pinellas county and the city of St. Pete. The company waited three weeks before telling anyone.
Now, Kathleen Peters is calling for transparency after an environmental disaster – but she’s voted repeatedly to allow unfettered fracking in Florida – an oil and gas extraction process that can cause sinkholes like the Mosaic disaster and earthquakes. Florida’s fragile, shallow limestone subsurface is uniquely vulnerable to sinkhole disasters like mosaic. 
Earlier this year, Peters voted for HB 191, allowing fracking in Florida, and making it illegal for local communities to ban fracking. She also voted for a measure that would have effectively shielded fracking companies by making it difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals used in the fracking process.  She joined with other fracking industry legislators when she voted against several efforts that would have required additional environmental and public health protections that would have forced the fracking industry to study and disclose the impact of fracking chemicals on prenatal health and that would have prevented fracking companies from using carcinogenic chemicals.
Pinellas county is one of the many Florida counties that have banned fracking. Yet Peters voted to allow it anyway, and to ignore the will of the voters by passing a state law that pre-empts their ability to ban fracking.
“Let’s be clear: Kathleen Peters is calling for band-aid transparency, but not accountability,” said David Harbeitner, Political Chair of Sierra Club Suncoast Group. “Her position is essentially that she’s ok with fracking and the inevitably catastrophic environmental damage it can cause as long as the offending companies tell consumers within 24 hours about it afterwards.”
Peters has a cozy relationship with the polluters at the center of the Mosaic disaster and the oil and gas fracking industry. She has directly taken at least $500 from Mosaic’s political committee, the Florida Phosphate Committee. However, her Political Committee, Florida Speaks has taken $25,000 from other political committees directly supported by large contributions from Mosaic and thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry.
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Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.  To learn more about the Suncoast group of the Sierra Club, visit suncoastsierra.org.
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government. To learn more about Victory Fund, visit victoryfund.org.

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