ORLANDO, Florida, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Today, Latino political, community, and business leaders announced their efforts to mobilize voters in opposition to Amendment 1, a ballot initiative open to voters at Tuesday’s polls. The deceptively-marketed Amendment is backed by large utility companies in Florida in an effort to make solar energy more expensive and less competitive to consumers. Amendment 1 would keep Floridians captive power consumers, without the health and financial benefits of solar power.
Savings from solar energy would alleviate the financial strain the 24,000 low-income families in Miami, and the 500,000+ families in Florida overall that spend 15 to 20% of their income on energy bills. And for Latinos that often live in close proximity to power plants and thus are more likely to be negatively impacted by pollution, solar technology can result in cleaner air and healthier communities. Some medical experts have stated that Latino families face an “environmental health crisis,” as 1 in 10 Latino children suffer from and are 40% more likely to die from asthma due to health care disparities. Solar technology would also create opportunity for these communities through accessible, new jobs in the clean energy sector—jobs that pay $18 to $32 per hour in Florida, which would mean significant gains for the Latinos who currently constitute one-fifth of Florida’s solar workforce. Amendment 1 an immediate and real impact on these families: when they can save money on buying energy, they are better able to provide for housing, food and other basic necessities.
But none of this information was made clear to voters by power companies during their campaign for the ballot initiative. Utility companies gained support for Amendment 1 by falsely claiming the ballot initiative would make it easier for people to switch to solar power in Florida. Amendment 1 misleads Florida voters by promising rights and protections Florida citizens already have, including the right to purchase or lease solar equipment.
Opposition to Amendment 1 consists of a diverse and bipartisan group of 70 businesses, industry associations, conservative groups, faith communities, clean energy advocates and environmental organizations. Floridian icons, bipartisan elected officials, candidates for office, and 24 newspaper editorial boards have also urged Florida voters to vote “no” on Amendment 1.
“The fight against amendment one and the fight to protect rooftop solar in Florida is an environmental issue and a justice issue,” said Jennifer Allen, Vice President and National Director, Chispa, at the League of Conservation Voters. “Latino neighborhoods and families are the most impacted by pollution and the first impacted by climate change, but yet we’re often excluded from the processes where decisions are made about the health of our communities. On November 8th, we have a chance to speak up and protect the clean energy future that our communities need.”
“Communities of color on the ground in Florida are waking up to the deceptive tactics of the utility lobby to kill solar in Florida,” said Yulissa Arce, Central Florida Director for Organize NOW. “We are seeing them speak up and mobilize against the harmful impact of fossil fuels on the environment and on Latino and African American neighborhoods.”
Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters, said, “Amendment 1 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing designed to trick voters into keeping the utilities’ monopoly on our energy. Latinos, African-Americans, everyone – we must unite as one Florida for a clean energy future and vote no on 1.”
“I stand in solidarity with Floridians during this tough and dirty fight,” said former Nevada Assemblywoman, Senior Political Strategist at MiTú, Lucy Flores. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects of letting the utility lobby write your state’s solar policy. Nevada has seen a near 100% drop off in solar installations and lost thousands of much needed jobs. I hope this serves as an example and a warning to Florida’s voters to vote no on 1.”
For a recording of today’s press call announcing the campaign, contact Daniel Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org