You are here
Home > Community > Valholly Frank lends support for renewable energy goals

Valholly Frank lends support for renewable energy goals

Valholly Frank, center, from the Big Cypress Reservation, speaks April 21 at a news conference in Miami with Delaney Reynolds, left, and FDACS commissioner Nikki Fried. (Screenshot via Facebook)

The Seminole Tribe’s Valholly Frank might be a bit soft spoken in person, but she’s been a fierce and outspoken leader in the fight against climate change in Florida for years.

At a news conference in Miami on April 21, she lent her support to proposed renewable energy goals for the state that were set forth by the commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Nikki Fried.

Frank, from the Big Cypress Reservation, was joined at the event by her colleague Delaney Reynolds, and Fried, at the Frost Museum of Science at in Miami. She spoke about the importance of a healthy Florida Everglades ecosystem.

“My culture, my tribe, my people depend on it,” Frank said. “Our culture depends on this land and our community depends on being together. If we’re displaced, we’d lose our togetherness, we’d lose our culture, our spirituality – we’d lose each other – and my tribe can’t afford to go through that.”

Fried said she was motivated to push for the proposed rules in response to a youth-led petition that Frank and Reynolds were part of that was filed on behalf of young Floridians earlier this year by the nonprofit public interest law firm Our Children’s Trust. The petition called on FDACS to get 100% of Florida’s electricity from renewable energy by 2050 in order to help reverse the effect of fossil fuel emissions on climate change and the environment.

Our Children’s Trust said more than 200 young people under 25 signed the petition.

Florida statute authorizes FDACS, which oversees the state’s Office of Energy, to establish goals and strategies to increase the use of renewable energy in the state. However, Fried’s proposed rules would have to be approved by state lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Rick DeSantis.

Our Children’s Trust previously represented Valholly and seven other young people in a 2018 lawsuit against the state, then-Gov. Rick Scott and several state agencies. The lawsuit, which was dismissed in 2020, asserted that in causing climate change the state violated “the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness – and has caused harm to Florida’s essential public trust resources, such as beaches, coral reefs and marine life … by creating an energy system based on fossil fuels.”

Frank comes from a family of environmentalists and activists, which include mother Rhonda Roff and father Joe Frank. At the news conference she said the use of renewable energy was essential to help reverse the effects of sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, worsening weather and more frequent and powerful hurricanes in the state.

“Nothing good can come of the climate crises and nothing good is coming of it. The only thing that we can do right now is fight,” Frank said. “Remember where your home is and remember how important it is to be on this land and cherish it. I hope you all find it as important as I do.”

More information about the proposed FDACS rules can be found here, or by visiting fdacs.gov.

Read Offline:
Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
Top