Sierra Club and Occupy Tampa Join Forces to Defend Clean Water Regs
The Florida Sierra Club notched another clean water victory the first week of November in its fight to enact strict urban fertilizer pollution controls across Florida.
"In a joint effort between the Sierra Club and Occupy Tampa, 64 activists wearing our locally-famous neon pink stickers filled the Tampa City Council chambers," says Florida Sierra Club organizer Cris Costello, above.
That's longtime Tampa Bay Sierra Club activist Tom Krumreich at the November 3 meeting, below. Representing the Florida Consumer Action Network, Krumreich urged the Tampa City Council not to grant exemptions to the city's pollution ordinance sought by chemical fertilizer manufacturers.
When the City of Tampa adopted a strong urban fertilizer ordinance last June, Sierra Club activists and their coalition partners thought that Tampa Bay was protected from the excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer—especially during the torrential rainy season, June through September.
But no sooner was the ordinance was adopted than opponents of strict fertilizer management, Tru Green Chemlawn and Scotts Miracle-Gro, began a heavy lobbying campaign to get exemptions that would give them the right to ignore the most protective provisions of the city code.
Sierra Club activists mobilized to bring supporters of strong pollution controls to a follow-up meeting with the Tampa City Council on November 3. "And we found great allies in Occupy Tampa," says Costello.
Fellow Sierra Organizer Phil Compton, below, addressed the Occupy Tampa General Assembly two days before the Council meeting and briefed them on the Sierra Club's fight against the corporate polluters.
"Occupy Tampa was to be on the Council agenda the same day," says Compton, "and many Occupy activists said they'd be happy to wear our neon-colored stickers to identify themselves as supporters of our clean water cause. I shared information with Occupy about Council protocol and the most effective ways to be heard at the meeting, which they greatly appreciated."
Occupy activists marched to City Hall the day of the meeting, where they joined the Sierra Club and coalition partners Tomorrow Matters! and Florida Consumer Action Network. "During public comment, Occupy folks mentioned support for the fertilizer ordinance and fertilizer activists spoke in support of Occupy," Costello says.
That's Occupy Tampa activist Joe Jay, below, speaking at the meeting.
The upshot? The Tampa City Council rejected the requested exemptions. "The Council stood firm on their fertilizer ordinance—the strongest in the state and strongest in the nation," Costello says. "The Sierra Club/Occupy collaboration was successful and we in Tampa Bay look forward to building that relationship even further."
Learn more about what the Sierra Club is doing to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.