Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Florida Politics
  4. /
  5. The Buzz

Rick Kriseman tapped to lead peer environmental committee

U.S. Conference of Mayors officials appointed Kriseman for his “strong voice on environmental matters.” They said they didn’t know about the sewage crisis.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was named chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors environmental committee. [SHADD, DIRK | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 10

ST. PETERSBURG — The U.S. Conference of Mayors named St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman the chair of the organization’s environmental committee, bolstering the mayor’s claim to environmental stewardship even as the city continues to deal with fallout from the sewage crisis.

“I’ve always found Rick to be thoughtful,” said Rochester Hills, Mich., Mayor Bryan Barnett, president of the Conference of Mayors. “The coastal mayors are always talking about the impacts of the environment to their particular communities.”

Kriseman’s responsibilities as chair include attending meetings and leading the committee that sets the conference’s environmental policy. He may also speak on behalf of the conference on environmental issues.

City officials announced Kriseman’s selection to the post late Friday, releasing the news via social media:

“Under Mayor Kriseman, St. Pete has become a national leader in the fight against climate change and sea level rise, as illustrated by our commitment to clean energy, our Integrated Sustainability Action Plan, and our unprecedented investment in our infrastructure, among other initiatives,” officials wrote on St. Petersburg’s Facebook page.

The post garnered notes of congratulation and praise for Kriseman in the comments, and also wails from folks who felt the title was undeserved given the performance of the city’s sewage system during the 2015-16 sewage crisis. City pipes pumped, dumped and leaked up to a billion gallons, some 200 million of which made it to Tampa Bay.

The state issued a consent order following the crisis, and the city committed to spending $326 million to fix the aging system. Yet issues compound, and as recently as last month, the city pumped more than 6 million gallons of partially-treated sewage into the Floridan aquifer through an injection well. City officials say the system performed better during August’s rain than it had in years past.

RELATED STORY: Down the hatch: St. Petersburg has sent more than 21 million gallons of improperly treated sewage into the aquifer since 2018

Barnett and U.S. Conference of Mayors officials both said they didn’t know about the crisis before the appointment, and Kriseman’s sewage record did not come into play. Conference officials said many cities face infrastructure issues.

Barnett called it a “privilege” to appoint Kriseman, whom he has known for about five years.

“I think he’s been a strong voice on environmental matters," Barnett said.

A 2017 report published by state officials after the sewage crisis criticized Kriseman’s decisions leading up to and during the crisis.

Yet Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirby said the mayor’s “leadership during and after the crisis" stands as an example to his peers.

“His leadership in tackling a problem that was based on neglect, years and years of neglect, serves as a great example to his fellow mayors,” Kirby said, citing the $326 million investment.

RELATED STORY: Latest sewage crisis fallout: Higher utility bills in St. Pete (July 27, 2017)

RELATED STORY: No criminal charges in St. Pete’s 1 billion gallon sewage crisis (Oct. 27, 2017)

RELATED STORY: Utility bills will rise for St. Pete residents — and keep rising (Nov. 9, 2017)

RELATED STORY: Game of Rates: Will St. Pete raise reclaimed water bills? (Dec. 4, 2017)

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after meeting with President Donald Trump about about responses to school shootings. Bondi is preparing to defend Trump against accusations that he pressured a foreign government to aid his re-election campaign. And she’s stepping down from a lobbying where she represented foreign interests (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    The special advisor to President Trump incorrectly stated Sondland’s role while appearing on national TV ahead of the EU ambassador’s testimony.
  2. On the left, NASA graphic of space junk in low Earth orbit. On the right, the view from further out. (NASA ODPO) NASA ODPO
    The U.S. Defense Department is tracking over 22,000 objects about the size of a softball or larger.
  3. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with digital subscriptions for library cardholders fails 3-2.
  4. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  5. FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night before he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records. That’s according to two people familiar with the matter. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death.. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File) AP
    “The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” said the nation’s top prisons administrator to Senators on Tuesday.
  6. The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts illuminated its new sign for the first time on Dec. 6, 2010. Times (2010)
    The historic donation that renamed the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is still impacting Tampa Bay’s arts community.
  7. In this Thursday, Aug. 1, file photo, Amanda Kondrat'yev, the woman accused of throwing a sports drink at U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in June outside a town hall meeting, arrives at Winston Arnow Federal Court House in Pensacola, Fla. Kondrat'yev has been sentenced to 15 days in federal custody for throwing the sports drink at Gaetz. TONY GIBERSON  |  AP
    Amanda Kondrat’yev pleaded guilty to assault in August and had faced up to a year in jail.
  8. On the issue of whether to retroactively apply changes in Florida’s sentencing laws to inmates currently in prison, Gov. Ron DeSantis says he prefers to deal with cases using the clemency process. STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    Hundreds of Florida inmates are serving sentences no longer in state law, according to new research.
  9. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  10. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement