Gainesville Loves Mountains

2,298 supporters

In an effort to take responsibility for the adverse impacts of our community’s coal consumption, Gainesville Loves Mountains works in partnership with Appalachian communities to end mountaintop removal coal mining and create a prosperous economy and sustainable future for the region and its people. In addition to monitoring the companies that supply our coal and advocating for alternatives, we are currently pursuing local policies that will help our community achieve significant energy savings while also strengthening our economy.

Started 3 petitions

Petitioning Keith Perry, Charles Clemons, Bryan Avila, Kimberly Daniels, Eric Eisnaugle, Barbara Watson, Joseph Abruzzo, Ben Albritton, Colleen Burton, Neil Combee, Brad Drake, Jay Fant, Patrick Henry, Kristin...

Keep local control of our utility!

We call on our state legislature to oppose Representative Chuck Clemons' and Senator Keith Perry's bills (HB 759 & SB 1568), which seek to remove authority over Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) from the City of Gainesville and place it in the hands of unaccountable political appointees.  We assert that GRU is owned by the City of Gainesville, Florida.  When we do not agree with the policies and programs of our utility, we will seek change through GRU's Board of Directors, our elected City Commission and the Utility Advisory Board.  Where changes are needed, those changes should be decided upon by our community.  We support ongoing local conversations regarding GRU governance.  We do not, however, need or want the intrusion of Tallahassee politicians in governing our local utility.   Background: For the fourth year in a row, Senator Keith Perry (and now Representative Chuck Clemons) have chosen to represent the demands of the Chamber of Commerce over their own constituents. Despite ongoing and repeated public outcry, they are attempting to force a ballot initiative that would replace our locally-controlled governance of GRU with political appointees who have no accountability to the public, GRU customers, nor any regulatory authority. These appointees would be empowered to exercise the power of eminent domain, issue revenue bonds, dispose of utility system assets, and even write their own rules and code of business conduct. Further, they would have the authority to substantially reduce the amount of GRU's annual transfer to the City's General Fund, thereby holding our City hostage to an unelected, unaccountable Authority. Yet members of the Authority could not be recalled by the customers of the utility nor by the citizens of our community. This bill opens the door to the privatization of our publicly-owned utility and has been opposed by the Gainesville City Commission, the Alachua County Commission, Representative Clovis Watson, and the Florida Municipal Electric Association. It also runs counter to the recommendations made to our City by the Navigant Report. We recognize that GRU is not a perfect utility.  But it is our utility, owned by the City of Gainesville and directed by our elected City Commissioners and the Utility Advisory Board.  We vehemently oppose these intrusions by the Chamber of Commerce, Senator Keith Perry, Representative Chuck Clemons, and other Tallahassee politicians into the local decisions of our community.  One look at the ineffectual oversight they are providing the state's privately-owned utilities confirms this assertion.  Where changes are needed in our utility, we will take responsibility for those changes locally, through citizen engagement and election of City Commissioners who best reflect our values.

Gainesville Loves Mountains
313 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Gainesville City Commission, Alachua County Commission, Rep. Keith Perry, Debbie Mayfield, George Moraitis, Daphne Campbell, Matt Caldwell, Clovis Watson, Kevin Rader, Lake Ray, Jimmie Smith, Charl...

Oppose Representative Keith Perry's bill, HB 1325

We call on our elected officials to oppose Representative Keith Perry's bill (HB 1325), which seeks to remove authority over Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) from the City of Gainesville.   We assert that GRU is owned by the City of Gainesville, Florida.  When we do not agree with the policies and programs of our utility, we will seek change through GRU's Board of Directors, our elected City Commission.  Where changes are needed, those changes should be decided upon by our community.   We support ongoing local conversations regarding GRU governance.  We do not, however, need or want the intrusion of Tallahassee politicians in governing our local utility.   Background: In 2002, Gainesville Regional Utilities (of Gainesville, FL) proposed construction of a new 220 Megawatt coal power plant.  That proposal was defeated by citizen opposition, and since then, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) has evolved from a primarily coal-dependent utility to one with a diversified fuel supply and a significant investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. GRU has been nationally-recognized for these accomplishments, and Gainesville is one of only a handful of cities that has actually fulfilled its 2005 commitment to meet the Kyoto Protocol mandate for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  We also have among the highest percentage of renewable energy generation and the lowest per capita electricity consumption in Florida. The implementation of these policies has not been perfect, and various people and organizations in our community have raised issues regarding GRU, from concerns about increases in electric rates, to those who opposed the biomass plant, to climate change deniers and those whose sole concern is the cheapest possible power regardless of the environmental or social impacts.  Now a state legislator, Rep.Keith Perry (R), has filed a bill (HB 1325) to strip governance of GRU from our elected City Commission and reverse many of GRU’s energy policies of the last ten years. We recognize that GRU is not a perfect utility.  But it is our utility, owned by the City of Gainesville and directed by our elected City Commissioners.  We vehemently oppose efforts such as Rep. Keith Perry’s and other intervention by Tallahassee politicians into the local decisions of our community.  One look at the ineffectual oversight they are providing the state's privately-owned utilities confirms this assertion.  Where changes are needed in our utility, we will take responsibility for those changes locally, through citizen engagement and election of City Commissioners who best reflect our values.

Gainesville Loves Mountains
395 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Gainesville City Commission

Gainesville, FL City Commission: End Gainesville Regional Utility's purchases of mountaintop removal coal

Mountaintop removal (MTR) is arguably the most devastating form of energy extraction our nation has yet encountered--and Gainesville, FL can help bring it to an end!   To-date, MTR has permanently erased more than 500 peaks from the Appalachian mountains, buried or polluted more than 2,000 miles of pristine headwaters streams, and swept away more then 800 square miles of one of America’s most diverse and valuable ecosystems. The social, health, and economic toll on the region has been equally dire. Our City Commission can end Gainesville's connection to MTR by asking GRU to avoid any future purchases of coal mined using this method.  Let's help make Gainesville an example of how communities can embrace a clean energy future!    As a few of our friends in Appalachia have said: “As a native West Virginian and 11th generation Appalachian, I have witnessed first hand the impacts of mountaintop removal on the health and heritage of the Appalachian people. Too many people are sick and dying because of MTR.  Please act! We are running out of time here and remember we all live downstream.” -Dustin White.  Charleston, WV   “Coal companies have major influence over politicians in Kentucky. We need help from other states to stop this practice.” -Jeanne Marie Hibberd.  Berea, KY   “We are sickened by the ever constant devastation of our homeland and we don't believe that we should have to suffer this kind of destruction to have a job...it is important to remember that with the decline of a finite resource and an eye toward a future economy, every time we blow up another mountain, we destroy yet another future economic development opportunity.” -Kathy Selvage.  Wise, VA

Gainesville Loves Mountains
1,590 supporters