Activists will rally for clean energy at Duke in St. Pete

02/26/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: clean energy, environment, nuclear, coal, solar, Duke Energy, Progress Energy

Activists from around the Tampa Bay area will rally at the Duke Energy headquarters in downtown St. Pete this weekend to demand clean energy. ItÂ’s being organized by Greenpeace community coordinator Christine Wall. During an interview this week, Wall said the group hopes to draw attention to the dangers associated with coal and nuclear plants.

Activists will have petitions to sign as well as a booth for making Clean Energy t-shirts.

"Duke Energy probably has seven nuclear plants around the country. One we're familiar with, Crystal River. It's no longer operating but the spent fuel rods are still a concern. We've been holding rallies on Greenpeace Tampa Bay and Greenpeace Lakeland since the first year anniversary of Fukushima in front of the headquarters there. Fukushima is still an ongoing disaster. 400 tons of radioactive wastewater is still pumping into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis and they have no way to stop it currently. So we are demanding that the nuclear cost recovery tax that they had that they were using to build a plant in Levy county that they decided against not be used for more nuclear power plants or more coal plants, but used for clean, renewable () energy like solar energy."

Have you gotten any sort of response from the company throughout the course of holding these events?

"We had a security guard come out last year and ask what we were doing. I explained that we were holding the rally to honor the victims of Fukushima and also to protest against the proposed plant in Levy county. He was very pleasant and offered us some bottled water and I said 'no thank you, it wasn't very good for the environment and we brought our own'. But that's the only response that I've ever gotten from anybody at the headquarters there in St. Petersburg."

What do you say to people who argue that energy sources like coal and nuclear are required to meet the needs of a Western society, if you will?

"I say that it's just not true and that it's just not worth the risk. Solar energy is a viable alternative. You can see what's been happening in Germany and other industrialized nations in the European Union that are turning more to solar and it can be done especially in the Sunshine State. It's not rocket science to go solar. The reason that companies don't want to go solar, utility companies, is that then they lose the monopoly and they lose profit because energy becomes less expensive. That is why we aren't going with solar. Duke is planning on taking that cost recovery and going with new coal fired power plants which accelerate climate change by increasing CO2 emissions and have very toxic waste effects. Recently there was, actually this month, February, there was a coal ash spill in North Carolina in the Dan river. 27 million gallons of toxic water spilled into the Dan river. Actually there was two spills, we didn't really hear much about the second one. The second pipe. There was one on February 2nd and then February 14th. They have no way to clean that up. Technology is just not there."

Christine if people want to get involved in this on Saturday, tell us where they can find information.

"We have a Facebook event on the 'Clean Energy Rally'. You can also find postings on Greenpeace in Tampa Bay and Greenpeace Lakeland."

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Thank you for this report. Add to this, fracking is on its way to FL, no matter how insane that may be regarding our karst geology.