Tag Archives: Palm Beach Post

Seminole Tribe of Florida fights FPL proposal; Sierra Club beats rock mine in the Everglades

4 Aug

A night time view from the recently-built power plant in Loxahatchee, which the Hendry proposal has been compared to by FPL, explaining how "low profile" it will be

By Earth First! Journal

In a recent legal challenge to Hendry County’s approval of re-zoning land for a newly proposed FPL power plant in primary panther habitat, attorneys with the Seminole Tribe of Florida demanded a Writ of Certiorari quashing the County Ordinance which gave preliminary approval for the plan. The following are excerpts from the legal challenge, filed earlier this summer: 

The approved use is not compatible with the longstanding and continuing uses of the Big Cypress Reservation, which is adjacent to the rezoned property… Given the flow characteristics of the area, such an analysis is critical in determining the compatibility of the rezoning with adjacent land uses on the Big Cypress Reservation. The extreme groundwater withdrawals necessary to support the project will diminish the hydrological functions of the floodplain and will impair important biological and ecological functions of the floodplain, thereby endangering the residents and use of the Big Cypress Reservation…

While the Seminole Tribe brought these issues to the attention of the County prior to the adoption of the rezoning, no analysis of the compatibility of the approved project with the Big Cypress Reservation was ever conducted and no finding of compatibility was ever made that was supported by competent and substantial evidence. In fact, the County’s Planning and Zoning Department’s Staff Report failed to even mention the Seminole Tribe or the Big Cypress Reservation in its discussion of the Power Plant’s compatibility with the surrounding areas…

As acknowledged by the County, the proposed Power Plant has “significant” water demands… The impacts of this significant water demand have also not been analyzed with respect to the Seminole Tribe’s own water rights pursuant to the Water Rights Compact Among the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District…

The Seminole Tribe of Florida also has federally recognized usual and customary use rights within the Big Cypress National Preserve and Addition Lands that will be negatively impacted by drawdown associated with the proposed project…

The record evidences that the proposed Power Plant cannot be accommodated on the 3,127 acre rezoned property and will depend upon consuming the water resources from numerous wells on surrounding property outside of the rezoned site…

On July 20th, the court accepted the Tribe’s petition and ordered the County to explain its approval. Let’s hope that the Seminole Tribe’s legal challenge can end this nightmare, for the Tribe and the Florida panther, before it gets any further.

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In other victorious paper-wrenching news from the Everglades

A Palm Beach Post article yesterday reported the defeat of a rock mine approved by Palm Beach County, in a favorable ruling from the Fourth Disctrct Court of Appeals. From the Post:

In a decision that environmentalists say could affect the future of rock mining in the county’s rural western area, the court ruled the 470-acre expansion planned by Bergeron Sand and Rock Mine Aggregates did not meet criteria spelled out in the county’s comprehensive plan—a long-term blueprint for growth and development.

“Mining in the EAA has been a major Everglades issue for several years now,” said Richard Grosso, a pro bono attorney for the Everglades Law Center. “We are obviously happy to win the case, but frustrated that, at every turn in the last several years, the county commission goes and decides against Everglades restoration and for industry. At some point, we are hoping that the county will change its approach in order to start giving the benefit of the doubt to the Everglades.”

In all, the environmental groups 1000 Friends of Florida and the Sierra Club have filed legal challenges against three county mining approvals, including the Bergeron expansion. Two cases are still pending.

The attorneys who filed the successful appeal against the rock mine cited that it was affidavits of the activists who were at the public hearings that were able to secure standing and result in this victory. So for all you out there that have sat through long, boring, infuriating public hearings (or Sierra Club meetings for that matter), sometimes its worth a damn…

But usually not. So get back out in the streets, and swamps, already! Geez!! a few small victories and you people start getting lazy. Lest we forget, we have an entire civilizations to dismantle, and it seems unlikely that the appeal will be in our favor on that one.

Everglades Earth First! shuttin' down business as usual at an FPL power plant AND rock mine in the Everglades Agricultural Area, Feb, 2008.

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