Investigative Report Takes Aim at Big Sugar's Smokescreen

Palm Beach Post/ProPublica Investigation Takes Aim at Big Sugar's Smokescreen

By Patrick Ferguson, Stop the Burn organizing representative

On July 8, The Palm Beach Post, in partnership with ProPublica, published a powerful data-driven investigative report highlighting the environmental injustice of pre-harvest sugar field burning. This coverage is the latest addition to a growing mountain of research and reporting on the threats from sugarcane field burning. The truth uncovered in the report is nothing new to Glades residents who have had to endure the toxic impacts from sugarcane burning on their health, quality of life and pocketbooks for decades, but this reporting by The Palm Beach Post/ProPublica spells it out for the rest of us:

Since the community leaders of the Stop the Burn – Go Green Harvest Campaign first began speaking truth to power about the toxic, outdated and racist practice in 2015, the Big Sugar propaganda machine has been churning out lies and misinformation in response, some of which would be comical but for the damage, it does to community unity and understanding

When science lines up against the sugar industry's air quality claims, U.S. Sugar has always fallen back on claiming the information is biased or wrong because the science is linked to the "big bad Sierra Club" and the many imagined conspiracy theories they have concocted against us. This time, The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica beat U.S. Sugar to the punchline.

The investigative report underscores the Stop the Burn – Go Green Harvest Campaign demand for a burn-free buffer zone within a 27-mile radius of surrounding communities. Considering the many benefits of green harvesting and the win-win-win situation it is for all parties involved, including the sugar industry itself, how long will the sugar industry persist in its malevolent defense of the known toxic practice of sugarcane burning? How long will Commissioner Nikki Fried remain complicit in the environmental racism of this practice by refusing to provide real protection for the impacted communities within and around the Glades?

Tell commissioner Fried to act now.

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