Little Outreach Done to Inform Public About Latest Twist Around Proposed Fracked Gas Plant Proposal
Officials ignore calls for a community meeting & add items at the last minute with very little public outreach
March 12 – With barely a whisper and without much public outreach, Dania Beach City officials have decided to add three Florida Power & Light-related items to this week’s city commission agenda. (Tuesday, March 13th, 7 p.m., City Hall Commission Chambers (100 W Dania Beach Blvd, Dania Beach, FL 33004)
The items were added late Friday with very little communication with community residents who have been trying for weeks to get elected leaders and FPL officials to sit down and discuss outstanding questions surrounding a proposal to expand a fracked gas plant in Dania Beach.
While community advocates are scrambling to tell neighbors about the 7 p.m. meeting at Commission Chamber at City Hall, residents and members of New Florida Majority are asking city commissioners to delay any discussion of the items until FPL members meets with members of the community to directly address health and environmental concerns surrounding the proposed plan and design.
“Whether it’s been at meetings or in their homes, people are talking about how they have been shut out of the process,” said Dania Beach resident Steven Jones. “Now, 3 FPL-related items that have to be voted on get quietly added to the city commission’s agenda without any public outreach? That just doesn’t seem right.”
New Florida Majority Climate Justice organizer Nancy Metayer emphasized that community residents still have questions FPL should have to answer about its project in Dania Beach.
“Community residents have said from Day One that they are not against rebuilding and expanding the current facility in Dania Beach,” said Metayer. “However, there are real questions about whether the gas that is being handled will come from fracked gas facilities out of state, why they are not folding in more solar energy when those jobs are growing 12 times faster than the U.S. economy and how community residents will be able to compete for the jobs that look to be created.”
Another concern on the meeting’s agenda: the elimination of two alternate positions on the city’s Green Advisory Board.
“Community input is an important part of maintaining a just democracy,” added Metayer. “People don’t only want lower energy costs, they want a say in how those energy decisions get made. And they don’t want to move forward with this project unless there are assurances that this won’t add to the climate crisis that is already hitting people of color and lower income communities the hardest.”
NewFM has been working with Dania Beach residents as part of a larger effort to to train and empower community residents to take a more active role in ensuring that local energy decisions are in the best interest of ratepayers. PowerforAllFL events have included delivering testimony to the Public Service Commission in Tallahassee, private meetings with local elected officials and a neighborhood canvassing.
The New Florida Majority is an independent organization working to increase the voting and political power of marginalized and excluded constituencies toward an inclusive, equitable, and just Florida. We believe that a strong democracy for all makes a better Florida for everyone. For more information, visit http://www.newfloridamajority.org