LeRoy Collins Commentary 194

Commentary #194
6 July 2008

Climate change Summit 2008

During 25-26 June, I represented FDVA at this 2nd annual Summit in Miami. I was not sure why the Governor's Office wanted me there, but it became apparent during the first hour when we were welcomed by Governor Crist, i.e. he recognized FDVA (and me personally) for our plans to build the State's first LEED-certified nursing home.... in St. John's County with the groundbreaking set for 28 June (....which we did just a few days later).

Since I was there for the duration, I got actively involved in the proceedings which included an array of panelists and keynote speakers from industry, the clergy, academia, government, foreign sources from UK, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Israel, .....even Prince Charles and Governor Arnold Swartzennegger! We had some FDVA materials touting SJC SVNH for handouts at the Enterprise Florida booth. I attended all the events and came away with the following highlights:

  1. The State just bought 300 sq mi of U.S. Sugar property for $1.7 billion to help protect the Everglades.
  2. The Book of Genesis says we humans are the apex of creation, yet the most dependent upon environment.
  3. Florida Power & Light Co. has the Nation's largest solar power generator installed (110 MW in 3 counties).
  4. St. Petersburg saves $500/mo just by installing LED traffic lights.
  5. Japan is leading the world in saving energy with innovative transportation systems.
  6. There are many new jobs in these GREEN technologies coming to center stage.
  7. FDVA is leading the State in environment-friendly nursing home design.
  8. Government leadership/investment is vital, but we do not need more regulations.
  9. The German panelist says this is the opportunity to replace pollution on a large-scale basis.
  10. Every house in Israel has a solar hot water heater BY LAW. Future wars will be over water supplies, not oil.
  11. Don't wait for international treaties or Federal initiatives; the economies of FL and/or CA are robust enough.
  12. These new Green technologies require new venturers not incumbered by so much sunk cost in the past.

It was an enlightening experience, and I was honored to be a part of it. During a break, I approached the Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation; I suggested FLDOT install Ethanol (E-85) pumps at Service Plazas along the Florida Turnpike,..... and widely advertize that fact. She replied she already has three such pumps on order, and the first will be installed in the Turkey Lakes Service PLaza. That should cause some excitement, especially with the anticipated retail price of E-85 being approx $2/gallon! That is what we mean by government leadership by the State without the need for Federal intervention.

/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr., ExDir
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs


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