Energy Citizens Rally and Protest

08/27/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
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An Energy Citizens Rally, organized by the American Petroleum Institute, was held today at the Ritz Theatre in Ybor City. The rally, which is in response to the Waxman-Markey Bill that was passed in the House of Representatives, was also met by protestors.

The rally included speakers that were involved with different industries, such as trucking and farming who expressed their opinions on the new bill on climate change. Before the rally, protesters gathered across the street from the Ritz theatre to express their opinions on the rally. Andrea Kacaro from environmental group, 1Sky, was very displeased by the event.

Her accusations are similar to what was released in a memo obtained by Greenpeace. Kacaro said that they assembled today in support of many different solutions to help the environment and the economy.

In response to the release of the memo by Greenpeace, David Mica, executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council, said it’s not only the petroleum industry who’s concerned the Waxman Markey bill.

John Hoblick of the Florida Farm Bureau was the first to speak at the rally. He is also a farmer from Volusia County. He said that Congress made some efforts, but ultimately took a “horrible bill and made it into a bad bill.” He said that we need to have a plan in place for the future.

Matt Ubin, the vice president of the Florida Trucking Association, said that they want to help make the industry greener but he does not support the bill. The trucking industry relies on diesel to stay in business.

Alan Douglas is the Florida Legislative Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. He expressed his problems with the bill and said that it was leading the U.S. towards socialism.

Mike Freeze of St. Petersburg was one of the attendees at the rally. He agreed with Douglas’s opinion about global warming.

There was an incident near the end of the rally when a man stood up to ask what the solution should be to our energy concerns. The audience responded with their opinion and the man was forced to leave the building.

After the rally, one attendee, Christine Whirly of Lutz, said that she supports this solution as well.

Phil Compton, the regional representative of the Florida Sierra Club, was demonstrating before the rally and does not share the opinion of the audience. He feels that the solution is not in drilling but in creating jobs through green industry.

For information about these rallies, go to

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