The Florida Democratic Party needs a true progressive at the helm of our Party. And while there are many issues that are important to the Florida Progressive Community, we at Progressive Dems United pay particularly close attention to environmental issues that affect the quality of life for every Floridian -- and we're especially concerned about protecting and preserving the Everglades -- one of the true treasures of our beautiful Florida.
That's why we were very troubled to learn that one of the candidates for Chair of the Florida Democratic Party has a history of disturbingly close ties to the number one killer of the Florida Everglades and an enemy of environmental causes across our state: Big Sugar.
In 2010, Alan Clendenin's political committee, the "Committee for a Better Tampa," accepted $10,000 from a political committee controlled by Big Sugar, "Floridians for Effective Leadership, Inc."
In the same year that "Floridians for Effective Leadership, inc." funneled this corporate money to Alan Clendenin's PAC, they received $25,000 from Big Sugar.
Big Sugar is the number one threat to Florida's environment, and poses a particular danger to the Florida Everglades. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the sugar industry is responsible for:
"fouling Florida waters with phosphorous-laden fertilizers."
Larry Graham, chairman of the Coalition for Sugar Reform, told Congress that:
"The 400,000 acres of sugar production at the top of the Everglades has disrupted normal water flow, causing problems all of the way to Florida Bay."
The World Widlife Fund has come to a similar conclusion, stating:
"Large areas of the Everglades wetland habitat have been reclaimed for the expansion of agriculture. Nearly 200,000ha is under cane cultivation, resulting in dramatic declines in biodiversity. In addition to habitat loss, ecosystem impacts include major redistribution of water flows and subsidence due to shrinkage, compaction and accelerated microbial decomposition of drained soils."
Clendenin's association with Big Sugar is disgusting. How can a candidate for Democratic Party Chair who claims to represent the grassroots of the party work so closely with one of the greatest enemy's to environment and the values that TRUE progressive Democrats believe in? We didn't see anything in his 18 page plan about the environment either, which is also troubling in light of this discovery.
Seems like Clendenin is going to have some 'splainin to do.