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For Immediate Release, June 6, 2013

Contact: Jacki Lopez, (727) 490-9190,  

St. Petersburg, Fla., Joins National Call for Climate Action

Facing Rising Seas and Killer Storms, Coastal City Urges Obama, EPA to Use Clean Air Act to
Cut Greenhouse Pollution

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.St. Petersburg, Fla., has joined more than 60 other U.S. communities in calling on President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to cut greenhouse gas pollution that is drastically changing the climate, driving up sea levels and raising the risk of killer storms.

By passing a resolution Thursday afternoon, the St. Petersburg City Council has teamed up with Miami and seven other Florida cities (as well as one county) as part of the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign. Nationwide, other cities include Los Angeles, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

“St. Pete is frighteningly vulnerable to rising seas, stronger storms and other symptoms of climate chaos,” said Andy Bell, executive director of the nonprofit Suncoast Interfaith Power and Light. “The good news is that our city council has now sent a strong message urging President Obama to cut greenhouse gas pollution. We need strong federal action under the Clean Air Act to reduce the risk to our city and other communities across America.”

“St. Petersburg’s leaders understand the threats of climate change and support the use of the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “St. Pete has now joined Miami and eight other Florida communities in calling on our national leaders to fight this enormous threat. The president has to make full use of the Clean Air Act in order to avert a climate crisis that will wreak havoc on our coastal cities.”
South Florida, with its low elevations and Hurricane Alley location, is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Rising seas and storm surges could flood homes, businesses and key infrastructure in coastal areas; they will damage beaches, coral reefs and other environmental treasures that sustain the state’s tourism industry. Florida has 1,200 miles of coastline, and more than 75 percent of the state’s population lives in coastal counties. 

Tampa Bay’s sea level has been rising steadily for more than 50 years, according to tidal gauge information. Rising sea levels and shorelines closing in will leave the Tampa Bay area more vulnerable to hurricanes, and salt-water intrusion from sea-level rise could endanger aquifers used for water supplies, according to a 2008 report from the Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. Driven by climate change, sea-level rise of 3 feet to 6 feet in Florida is highly likely within this century.

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working around the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and using the Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say we must reach in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Similar resolutions have been approved in 62 other U.S. communities: Albany, Yonkers and Ithaca, N.Y.; Bloomfield, Conn.; Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Fairfax, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, Culver City, San Francisco, San Leandro, West Hollywood and Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Nashville, Tenn; Kauai, Hawaii; New Hope Borough, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boone, N.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Newton, Cambridge and Northampton, Mass.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Keene, N.H.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, South Miami, Key West, West Palm Beach, Pinecrest, Tampa, Hallandale Beach, Gulfport and Broward County, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Teton County, Wyo.; Eugene, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; Wilmington, Del.; Providence, R.I.; Gary, Ind.; Woodbridge, N.J.; Portland, Maine; Baltimore, Md.; Buffalo, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Washington, D.C. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Clean Air Act and the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign and Climate Law Institute.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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