Sierra Club Releases Report Cards for Governor and Agriculture Commissioner
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Sierra Club Florida today released its 2020 report cards for the governor and the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services via video press conference. The report cards are designed to give a snapshot of the performances of the governor and the commissioner on issues of significant importance to the Sierra Club.
According to Acting Chapter Director Deborah Foote, "Governor DeSantis continues to avoid the important issues of addressing climate change by ending our dependence on dirty fuels and transitioning Florida to 100% clean energy. There isn't enough money in all of Florida to raise our roads, elevate buildings or create higher seawalls to avoid the impact of sea level rise."
Last year, the governor received a "D" for his efforts, slipping this year to a D-. He received a failing grade in 16 of 25 categories, including continued support for three new toll roads in rural Florida, signing legislation that further weakens growth management, raiding the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for purposes other than land acquisition, signing legislation that makes it harder for citizens to put initiatives on the ballot and promoting anti-mob legislation designed to intimidate people protesting government actions.
This is the first report card for Commissioner Nikki Fried and she earned a "C-" for her efforts. She received a failing grade in three of eight categories, including her failure to address the problem of pre-harvest sugar field burning that is impacting the health and property of communities in western Palm Beach County, allowing the use of antibiotics pesticides to combat citrus greening despite known environmental and health concerns, and no effort to reduce single-use plastics and polystyrene in the entities FDACS licenses.
"Commissioner Fried continues to ignore the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens by supporting agricultural practices that impact public health. Her calls for racial equity ring hollow when citrus trees are more important than farmworker health and the primarily Black communities in western Palm Beach County are not afforded the same protections from sugar burning as the wealthier communities in eastern Palm Beach County," said organizing representative Diana Umpierre.
Political Chair David Harbeitner noted that the report card outlines what the Sierra Club believes Florida needs to move forward. "We don't simply criticize — we lay out solutions that will lead to a better future for all of Florida's citizens."
The report cards may be viewed at sierraclub.org/florida/scorecards.