In light of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s recent criticism of fellow candidate Gwen Graham’s vote in support of the Keystone Pipeline, the Tampa Bay Times published a story addressing Gillum’s support for the construction of a coal plant in 2005.
What the TBT article did no talk about was Gillum’s more recent support of a controversial biomass plant near a poor Tallahassee neighborhood in 2009. Gillum, with three other city commissioners and Mayor John Marks, voted to move forward with the project in October, 2006.
The biomass plant was proposed to be built near a minority neighborhood next to Florida State University.
The project was halted after a bruising public relations battle which included charges of environmental racism by the NAACP and concerns by other activists.
Despite these issues, Gillum offered support for the project.
He also proposed mitigation efforts for “noise and possible stormwater and aesthetic impacts of this development.”
Gillum was silent in the article on the environmental impacts of the project.
There was also an ethical cloud over the project.
Chuck Hobbs, a legal adviser for the NAACP said, “We still have some concerns about the criminal and ethical violations that we believe may have happened that led to BG&E coming here in the first place.”
Gillum continued to voice support for the project even after investors decided not to move forward.
As the Mayor Pro-Tempore, Gillum said “I am deeply disappointed to hear that BG&E is now considering a move out of Leon County. Bio-mass energy should be a reliable component to meet our future energy needs and would be a good job creation tool during these tough economic times.”
He added, “I deeply regret this decision and would welcome the opportunity to vote on this issue as a City Commissioner, acting in the best interest of the entire community.”