One of my greatest accomplishments serving as your County Commissioner has been protecting our environment. I have protected, enhanced and preserved the environment in several ways.
When I took office developers were destroying wetlands for enhanced views for their newly created lots and not following the policies of the growth plans. Some say it was a matter of interpretation but let me say the Commission today enforces the rules to insure maximum protection of the environment.
I requested a few years ago to add a provision to insure viable wetlands are not destroyed by a new policy of avoidance. This policy eliminates destroying wetlands just to make a lot have a better view. It is a policy more stringent than State and Federal rules, protecting our environment. Since the policy went into effect the wetland destruction of the past was not an issue however today the developers want to change the rules. Our policy has preserved thousands of acres of wetlands and during development the developer also grants an easement for protection of the wetland and conservation areas to Manatee County. I will fight to insure viable wetlands are not destroyed.
I also led the way to protect sensitive lands from being destroyed by development. For example; during the development approval process for lands next to Desoto Park I helped work a compromise to sell the property to the County versus development of this important piece of property. The Citizens rallied together to raise $100,000 to help pay for the property. This along with State grants helped purchase the property with almost no County money. This preserve along with Robinson, Perico and Neal all of which I led in purchasing on behalf of the citizens will be community assets providing protection of this habitat for future generations. They also allow kayaking, biking, bird watching, and a place to just enjoy a stroll through nature for generations to come.
Other environmental accomplishments of Manatee County are:
· Tampa Bay water quality has improved to pre 1950 quality
· Sarasota Bay water quality has improved and scallops have returned.
· Manatee County has zero discharge into our bays from our wastewater plants. Palmetto, Bradenton, Sarasota, still discharge to the bays from their wastewater plants.
· Our landfill gas is being captured and used for beneficial purposes and we plan on using the excess gas to produce electricity.
· Our wastewater plants capture methane gas and convert this to produce electricity reducing greenhouse gases.
· We connected our 3 wastewater plants reuse water together to provide a beneficial use of the water versus discharging and wasting this water.
· Our Port restored a spoil island with the help of Audobon Society to create a new rookery for our birds to protect them from extinction.
· Worked with FPL to reduce pollution from their power plant by using new burners and reburn technology and approving a combined cycle gas plant that emits a fraction of pollution compared to oil power plants;reducing harmful pollutants.
· Fought off orimulsion; dirtiest fuel in world, from being used as a power plant fuel.
· Created some of the toughest rules for mining in the State of Florida.
I was proud to have the Sierra Club's endorsement during my last election.
August 8, 2008
I am pleased to inform you that the Sierra Club has endorsed your candidacy in the Manatee County Commission race in appreciation of your demonstrated commitment to protecting the environment.
The Sierra Club endorsement means a lot to our members in your district /area and to the general voting public. Our endorsement sends a message of your strong support for the environment and your proven track record in environmental issues.
Please be informed that our endorsement can be used by your campaign in many ways:
a) You may use the Sierra Club name in your campaign material
b) Mailing labels of the Sierra Club members in your district/area are made available for use in your campaign material within Club guidelines.
c) Press events announcing the Sierra Club endorsement can be conducted in close coordination with our Chapter Political Chair and staff/Chapter Compliance Officer.
d) Requests for volunteers to help in campaign activities can be coordinated through our Chapter/Group Political Committee.
The Sierra Club is behind your efforts to raise environmental issues during your campaign. The Sierra Club is proud of its role in the endorsement process and wholeheartedly extends our support for your campaign to help elect you to public office. Please let me know how we can assist you in terms of our volunteer resources and conservation/political programs. I can be reached at 284-2158.
Sierra Club Manatee-Sarasota Group