Advocates call for Hillsborough County public meeting on fossil-fueled energy rate hikes

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Advocates gather outside the Frederick B. Karl County Center // Credit: Chris Young 6/22/23

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Advocates rallied outside the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners meeting Thursday to demand county action on energy use and fossil fuels.

Last week, the City of Tampa released a climate action plan. Now, some advocates are calling on the county to follow suit.

“As we enter the heat of the summer, it’s time that the heat comes up in Hillsborough County Commission to act on fossil-fueled rate hikes by planning on a climate action plan now.”

Food & Water Watch Senior Florida Organizer Brooke Ward joined activists in downtown Tampa to demand a discussion with the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. This comes a day after neighboring Pinellas County released a new plan addressing energy use.

After the rally, many demonstrators, such as Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri, spoke during public comment at the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners Meeting.

“I’m from West Tampa, and West Tampa is a predominantly a Latino and Black community, and that community, our community, is disproportionately affected by energy burden.”

The county commission did take action in April. They sent a letter to the Florida Public Service Commission, requesting hearings and workshops for Tampa Electric customers. However, Ward says there is more to do.

“There are many things that the county could do from phasing out fossil fuels in buildings and vehicles to helping with weatherization and energy efficiency in the community and also investing in resiliency projects.”

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