SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - They were getting their message out loud and clear. A rally on the Sarasota Bayfront on Thursday focusing on many different environmental issues including Piney Point, the site of the recent contaminated water leak.
Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried talked to the crowd about the different issues but mainly about Piney Point. She says state leaders sat idle on this problem the last 20 years and now are asking for taxpayers to pay to fix the problem.
“Piney Point continues to be a disappointment,” said Fried. “This is a man-made disaster that is 20 years in the works of a catastrophe, this is a ticking time bomb.”
This group says they usually do typical Earth Day things like plant trees, but this year because of Piney Point the Environmental Caucus of Sarasota Democrats felt a need to come together in this way.
“We have 22 of these stacks within a 70-mile radius of Tampa Bay, so we’re very vulnerable,” said Jessika Arman, President of the Environmental Caucus of Sarasota Democrats. “This was one where we kind of dodged a bullet, we’re not really sure because we haven’t seen what the total impacts will be.”
Issues relating to our waterways were also hot topics of conversation on this day where the environment is front and center.
“It’s a good day to try and celebrate, but also to remind ourselves the importance of that struggle to fight to protect the environment,” said Justin Bloom with Suncoast Waterkeeper.
“Our economy and the environment are so interrelated,” said Krista Lohr with the Environmental Caucus of Sarasota Democrats. “And it’s so important to highlight that on Earth Day.”