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Jason Fults, Gainesville Loves Mountains



Jason Fults

Gainesville Loves Mountains


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Commissioner Lauren Poe

Gainesville City Commission


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Gainesville City Commissioner Lauren Poe Partners with Local Group to Sever GRU's Connection to Mountaintop Removal Coal

Gainesville, FL—April 8, 2014—Gainesville Loves Mountains' multi-year campaign to permanently end Gainesville Regional Utilities' (GRU) use of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal is finally coming to a head.

During the April 17th evening meeting of the Gainesville City Commission, Commissioner Lauren Poe plans to give a presentation on the topic of MTR and formally move that the City Attorney draft a resolution in opposition to this practice. His motion will also include instructions pertaining to GRU's sourcing of coal from the Appalachian region.

After more than 2.5 years of organizing on this issue, GLM introduced its own draft ordinance—written in part by local environmental attorney Byron Flagg—to the Regional Utilities Committee (RUC) in September of last year. During that meeting, GRU representatives expressed concerns that this ordinance would complicate fuel sourcing and create upward pressure on rates. Despite a strong showing of public support, GLM's ordinance did not receive enough votes to move out of the RUC at that time. However, Commissioner Poe, an RUC member and long-time advocate on this issue, pledged to work with GLM and GRU to arrive at a compromise that would formally transition GRU away from MTR coal through a simplified process that would not cause electricity rates to rise.

We're excited to finally be coming before the full City Commission on this issue, and appreciate Commissioner Poe's leadership,” said Jason Fults, co-founder of GLM. “We've been hearing from our friends in Appalachia on this issue for years now. We're not the kind of community that wants to be associated with the catastrophic impacts of MTR; we can do better than that.”

In order for Poe's motion to be successful, he'll need the support of at least three other Commissioners. GLM, which has collected nearly 1,500 petition signatures on this topic and generated dozens of phone calls, letters, and emails to the Commission, is optimistic that the public will turn out in support. According to Commissioner Poe, “GRU's overall coal consumption has been falling significantly in recent months, and we've already begun the transition away from Appalachian surface-mined coal. I think we can arrive at a solution to this issue that addresses everyone's concerns, from the social and environmental implications of our fuel choices to the impact of those choices on our customers' utility rates.”

Gainesville Loves Mountains is committed to minimizing the impacts of coal consumption and extraction on Appalachia. In addition to our work to end mountaintop removal, GLM is currently pursuing local policies that will help our community achieve significant energy savings while also strengthening our economy.

Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a highly destructive form of coal mining that removes hundreds of vertical feet of a mountain using heavy explosives in order to access the thin seams of coal underneath. MTR has a devastating impact on the economy, ecology, and communities of Appalachia. To date, more than 500 mountains have been leveled, and nearly 2,000 miles of precious Appalachian headwater streams have been buried and polluted by MTR. To learn more about MTR, visit:


jason fults
230 NW 14th Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601


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-Howard Zinn