Posted by: Site Administrator | November 14, 2011

Letter to Governor Crist regarding Gadsden Correctional Facility

Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

February 24, 2010

Dear Governor Crist:

We have recently been informed about the planned construction of a biomass incinerator by ADAGE, right across the street from the Gadsden Correctional Facility in Gretna, FL. As you know full well, incinerators of this type will produce extraordinary amounts of air pollution to include dioxin, one of the most toxic and carcinogenic organic chemicals released into the environment by industry. This incinerator will also significantly contribute to the total particulate matter volume which already plagues much of North Florida. We are compelled to point out that particulate matter concentration directly correlates with a whole host of upper respiratory conditions and diseases to include lung cancer, emphysema, CREST, COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis, numerous inhalant allergies, acute/chronic sinusitis, etc. Hence, these are the primary reasons for respectfully sending you this urgent plea and request.

There are well over 1500 prison inmates currently being housed at Gadsden Correctional. They are women – all of them – in addition to being wards of the State. Most of them are also childbearing age and, therefore, likely to carry children in the future who will also be profoundly affected by this ill-conceived financial scheme. Please, Governor Crist, make no mistake about it, these women and their future children will be quite adversely affected by this air-fouling incinerator. Unfortunately, they have very little to say about where they are housed within the Florida Department of Corrections. It therefore becomes incumbent upon FL DOCS to ensure that wherever they are imprisoned is environmentally safe and free of threats to their health. For those with serious medical conditions, especially upper respiratory in nature, it becomes critical that they are kept out of harm’s way so as not to advance their disease process.

In your capacity as governor, you are directly responsible for the health and welfare of these very vulnerable Florida citizens. They have not chosen to live in Gretna; the State put them there. They are therefore under your care, as they are under the care of the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Florida’s Department of Management Services. We trust that the State of Florida will act in the best interests of these individuals who are powerless to determine where they are incarcerated.

Furthermore, the State is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining an environment that is safe and healthy for all of its citizens, so we are also concerned about the schools and homes and businesses that are located in close proximity to this planned incinerator. We would hope that the Department of Environmental Protection will start complying with your recent directives concerning air quality and carbon impacts. To date, they have clearly violated this mandate and shirked their responsibility to the residents of this State, as has the FL Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture. We request that rulemaking proceedings be initiated to regulate carbon dioxide from these incinerators consistent with your Executive Orders 07-126, 07-127 and 07-128, and that state subsidies be withheld from all biomass incinerators, both future and already constructed.

If the State will not uphold the sacred trust that exists with its citizenry, then how can you possibly expect industry to honor it? We re-submit to you for your serious consideration the social contract which you signed when you came into office. We, likewise, submit it to the respective secretaries who are listed below, and who are empowered to quickly bring about an immediate resolution of this matter.

Very sincerely,

Dr. Tom Termotto, President
Healthcare Professionals for Clean Environment

Cc: Jeff Kottkamp, Lieutenant Governor
Walter A. McNeil, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections
Linda H. South, Secretary, Florida Department of Management Services
Michael W. Sole, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Ana M. Viamonte Ross, State Surgeon General, Florida Department of Health
Charles H. Bronson, Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture
Senator Al Lawson
Representative Alan B. Williams
Representative Marti Coley
Lisa Conti, Director, Division of Environmental Health
Kendra Goff, Chief Toxicologist, Division of Environmental Health
Joyce Arnold, Warden, Gadsden Correctional Facility
Mayor Anthony J. Baker, City of Gretna, FL
Mayor Pro-Tem Willie Fagg, City of Gretna, FL
John Smith, Commissioner, City of Gretna, FL
Helen Franks, Commissioner, City of Gretna, FL
Nadine Smith, Commissioner, City of Gretna, FL
Antonio Jefferson, Gretna City Manager
Harold Knowles, Gretna City Attorney
Dr. Matthew M. Carter II
Johnny Williams, Gadsden County Administrator
Eugene Lamb Jr., Chairman, Gadsden County Commission
Peggy E. Kassees, Aide to the Governor
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Of Counsel, Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, P.A.
Editor, Tallahassee Democrat
Editor, Miami Herald
Editor, St. Petersburg Times
Editor, Orlando Sentinel
Editor, Palm Beach Post
Editor, Florida Times Union

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