Oppose Representative Keith Perry's bill, HB 1325
This petition made change with 391 supporters!
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.
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.
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