Search results for 'scripps briger'

Proponents of Scripps Biotech cast a wider net against Everglades Earth First!

9 Jun

Endangered Hand Fern in Briger Forest

By Everglades Earth First!

A third summons was issued this week for another Everglades Earth First! organizer and Earth First! Journal editor, Panagioti Tsolkas. A charge of trespassing has been filed against Tsolkas, alleging that Palm Beach Gardens Police Commander Christopher Barca did on March 2, 2011, “identify a subject known to him as Peter Evan Tsolkas… The subject was in the tree with Russell McSpadden.” 

McSpadden, also a current editor with the Earth First! Journal, is listed as a co-defendant. McSpadden was issued a summons last month, along with Rachel Kijewski, a climb trainer with Everglades Earth First!. The 3 are preparing for trial. According to affidavits from McSpadden’s summons, a Joint Terrorism Task Force agent is involved in the case.

Despite these legal obstacles, the campaign to stop Scripps Biotech from expanding continues on several fronts. And these activists continue to be on the front lines. For example, on May 1, 2011, Kijewski authored a response to the Biological Opinion by US Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the protection of federally protected species in the forest. The group is now asking their supporters to send a message to the Army Corps of Engineers, who are poised to approve one of the final permits for the Scripps Biotech development any day now. The petition can be found here.

Tree sitters occupying Briger forest

The group is inviting support in the form of donations for their legal battles ahead.

To read more background stories from the fight to stop Scripps and save Briger forest, click here

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[If you value these stories from the front lines of ecological resistance, help keep us around by subscribing or donating to the Earth First! Journal.]

Charges dropped on two treesitters fighting Scripps Biotech

18 May

Two others prepare for trial

By Everglades Earth First!

Treesit against Scripps Biotech in Briger forest as seen from a Ch 12 news helicopters

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida— Four activists with Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) attended a court hearing today, related to the treesits in an ongoing campaign to stop the expansion of Scripps Biotech facilities into the Briger forest.

Two of the four, Brandon Block and Courtney Claar, have had their charges dropped.

The others, Russell McSpadden, a current editor with the Earth First! Journal, and Rachel Kijewski, a climb trainer with Everglades Earth First!, were offered a plea deal barring them from the property and requiring psychiatric evaluations. They are preparing for trial. According to the affidavits from their arrest, a Joint Terrorism Task Force agent is involved in the case.

Despite these legal obstacles, the campaign to stop Scripps Biotech from expanding continues on several fronts. And these activists continue to be on the front lines. For example, on May 1, 2011, Kijewski authored a response to the Biological Opinion by US Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the protection of federally protected species in the forest.

The group is inviting support in the form of donations for their legal battles ahead.

To read more background stories from the fight to stop Scripps and save Briger forest, click here

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[If you value these stories from the front lines of ecological resistance, help keep us around by subscribing or donating to the Earth First! Journal.]

Assault on Florida tree sit in Briger Forest

21 Mar

[Click here for more images from Briger forest]

The images of cut trees are from the initial tree sit location. Ring counts estimate the trees at 50-70 years old. At the time of being cut, a banner was still being displayed. Rather than cut the banner down, multiple trees were felled, seemingly in retaliation for the attention brought to the development plan. These were some of the largest trees on the property, and were in an area listed as a “preserve” in the approved development plan. The site was still in use by those occupying the Briger forest. Around the same time (3/15/2011), a tree sitter at the Donald Ross site was threatened by a person claiming to be ‘the owner’ of the property, saying that he could cut trees wherever and whenever he wanted. Luckily no one was hurt by the trees being cut.
“The disregard shown by this act leaves us concerned about the fate of tree sitters and endangered species in the forest, but our commitment to defend this forest has only grown stronger.” —an anonymous tree sitter of Briger Forest

[UPDATE 3/21: Following this post, on the Spring Equinox, two tree sitters were arrested, gear was stolen and three more occupied trees were cut by the Palm Beach Gardens Police along Donald Ross Road—which is public land, owned by the people of Palm Beach County. The tree sitters were released later the same evening on their own recognizance. For more info, read the Palm Beach Post story here.]

Call out from the Canopy Occupation (Briger Forest, FL)

18 Feb

On Monday, February 14th, a tree sit and canopy occupation kicked off in a 650 acre pine and saw palmetto forest, known as the Briger tract, in South Florida. The goal of the occupation is to block the fast approaching destruction of the forest and the construction of what state officials and developers have called a biotech city.
The Scripps biotech corporation is connected to Novartis, Monsanto, Primate Products, Phillip Morris, Kraft Foods and the Scripps Media conglomeration. Another Scripps campus in La Jolla, California has been cited several times for abusive experiments on a variety of animals. Scripps Florida is currently engaged in research which involves horrendous experiments on living macaque monkeys.
Linking forest defense with direct action against vivisection, urban sprawl, and the corporate ownership of life, the Briger occupation is under way and in need of physical, financial, and spiritual support. We are requesting care packages and letters addressed to the tree sitters as well as phone calls to the mayor of the city of Palm Beach Gardens and solidarity actions at the California campus.
The Briger forest is home and a staging ground to endangered and threatened species and habitat including gopher tortoise, bald eagles, giant wild pine bromeliads, hand ferns, royal ferns, ground lichens, and upland scrub pines. It is a medicinal forest of saw palmetto, pennyroyal, and cabbage palm. Armadillos and racoons scurry through the thick and razorous underbrush in abundance.
The Briger forest is completely surrounded by sub/urban development, a university campus, and the current Scripps Florida facilities. It is one of the last remaining forests of its kind in the metropolitan corridor of South Florida. This fact has caused many environmentalists to write the forest off as dead. Such miserabalist surrender is not an option. We occupy the forest in defense of all life.

Sincerely and with Love,
Everglades Earth First!

Please make checks payable to Everglades Earth First!
All mail may be sent to:
PO Box 964
Lake Worth, FL 33460

Burrowing Owls Get Revenge as FAU President Resigns in Disgrace

15 May

Or, A Lesson For University Bureaucrats Who Build A Stadium On Their Own Mascot’s Habitat, Then Try to Name The Stadium After Private Prison Profiteers, Then Try to Run Down Earth First! Activists With Their Fancy Subsidized Cars…

by Panagioti, EF! Newswire

FAU owl sanctuaryIn 2010, activists from Everglades Earth First! collaborated with the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition to send a message to the then-new president of FAU, Mary Jane Saunders. One letter they sent spelled out the state of affairs in an ongoing controversy of campus expansion onto rare scrub habitat:

“The Burrowing Owl [is] a Species of Special Concern which, as you know, has habitat designated for them on the FAU Boca Raton campus. It is your responsibility as the new president to ensure their survival by stopping further removal of their habitat…. FAU is slated to build a road to the new stadium which will go through current Gopher Tortoise and Burrowing Owl habitat. Too much encroachment has already occurred as the animals are surrounded by concrete, parking lots and multiple story buildings. To put another road which intersects the conservation area would not just reduce their habitat area, but increase their exposure to toxins, pollutants, noise pollution, etc. It would also drastically increase the chances that these beautiful creatures would die at the hands of careless drivers.”

Saunders response? Unsurprisingly, nothing. The Boca Chamber of Commerce doesn’t named your school “Business of the Year” nor does the South Florida Business Journal included you on its list of the Most Influential Business Women for your commitment to justice and biodiversity. As the original letter indicates, the environmentalists lamented the losses and re-focused energy on FAU’s next assault, collaboration in the Scripps Biotech city slated to destroy Briger forest

Continue reading

Everglades Earth First! cranks up the pressure on Kolter

22 Mar
    EEF! celebrates the Spring Equinox in the streets!

EEF! celebrates the Spring Equinox in the streets!

by Panagioti, EF! Journal

Last month, Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) announced that it would be putting land developer Kolter in the cross-hairs of its campaign against Scripps Biotech and the destruction of Briger forest in northern Palm Beach County. Yesterday, they followed up with a bold office demo and theatrical hell-raising. [Check out the local TV news coverage here.]

Even the devil came out to shame Kolter

Even the devil came out to shame Kolter

EEF! was joined by members of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition and Smash HLS, a South Florida-based anti-vivisection group. The demonstration, which included a menacing presence at the windows of Kolter employees, also entered the offices of Kolter and Kast (Kolter’s associated construction company) as well as their neighboring business, to let them know what is at stake if the Briger forest is lost.  Continue reading

Everglades Earth First! Brings Anti-Biotech Fight to Kolter Group

26 Feb

Land deal could signify move forward for Scripps’ biotech city on Briger forest

Today in West Palm Beach, Florida, Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) announced their official opposition to the Kolter Group’s purchase of the Briger Forest. The EEF! collective, which maintained a 6-week treesit on the site in 2011, visited the corporate office of the venture capitalist vultures at Kolter with this message: “If you buy Briger you’re buying the community resistance to the Scripps Florida Phase II project.” The project has been contested for years, with multiple legal challenges citing impacts to protected species, including hand fern and gopher tortoise.

While his underlings call him Bobby. After watching this video, you may want to call him Blinky instead. Has Scripps gone into genetically engineering robot CEO's?!

While his underlings call him Bobby, after watching this video, you may want to call him Blinky. …Has Scripps gone into genetically engineering robot CEO’s?!

In case you want to pay a visit (or send a letter) to Kolter Group Co yourself, their address is 701 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. And you can call them at (561) 682-9500, or fax (561) 682-1050. The CEO’s name is Robert Julien, but his underlings seem to call him Bobby. His extension is 221.

Although the Kolter Group claims to be committed to “creating better communities” they seem to have little issue with building homes and businesses within close proximity of the proposed biotech facility. Continue reading

Earth First! Climbers Guild 2012 Direct Action Climb Camp – March 10-16, South Florida

2 Feb

EF!ers defending South Florida forests from development

Never has there been a more dire time for defense of the planet. Increase your abilities to defend the Earth through learning the skills of climbing. We will offer a variety of trainings for forest defense and urban actions suitable for all skill levels from beginner to advanced.

Workshops include: Basic Climbing and Anchoring, Traverses, Tree to Tree Transfers, Basic Structure Rigging and Haul Systems, Tripods, Bipods, and Monopods, Advanced Structure Rigging, Large Scale Banner Hanging, and Basic Rescue and Training Set Ups.

To attend the camp contact:

efclimbers@gmail.com

www.efclimbers.net Continue reading

Radio Update: Earth First! fights to save Florida forest from biotech development

9 Apr

Listen to the WMNF 88.5 Community Radio special on the battle between Earth First! and Scripps biotech over an endangered pine forest.  Click here.

The story was put together by Kelly Benjamin.

Read the transcript of the radio piece here.

April Fool’s Tree Sit against Deforestation and Biotechnology

1 Apr

Earth First! editor Aguamala takes to a tree at the Palm Beach Gardens city hall to protest the development of a biotech city on an endangered forest.

Dressed in sad clown make-up Ana Rodriguez (Everglades Earth First!er and member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal) scampered up a pine tree at Palm Beach Gardens city hall this morning. She is part of the coalition that is fighting a Scripps biotech development, which will be built on an endangered forest, in Palm Beach County, Florida.

April 1st, Fool’s Day, marks the one year anniversary of the Palm Beach Gardens city council deciscion to rezone the Briger Forest for development.

The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, Executive Committee of the Loxahatchee SierraClub and the Conservation Chair of Audubon Society of the Everglades have all taken a position against the plan to clear Briger forest. The groups join Everglades Earth First! in opposing the current Briger plan and call for an alternate plan which preserves and enhances the endangered species habitat, recreational value and educational opportunities that the forest provides.

Treesitter Ana Rodriguez commented “The public needs to know that Mayor Levy and the County Commissioner have given Scripps $579 million in tax dollars to clear the Briger Forest and create one hundred jobs. That is one million per job. In this time of drastic budget cuts we call on the Mayor and County Commissioners to redirect public money into the budget, not the deep pockets of the Scripps Corporation.”

The new tree-top protest comes a week after Palm Beach Gardens Police arrested two tree sitters. The Police were also responsible for cutting multiple large native pine trees down in two areas of Briger forest—one of these being an area listed as a “preserve” in the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) permit, the other being in land owned by Palm Beach County taxpayers. Several members of the group have filed public records requests for details on the reason for tree-cutting. No official response has been made by the city to these requests, and their requests for a meeting with staff have gone ignored.

The activists have found that, according to Treasure Coast Regional Planning Committee staff, cutting trees in the designated preserve area constitutes a violation of the conditions of the DRI approval, which requires a “Preserve Management Plan” that will “enhance and restore” habitat. Activist have 10 foot branches and large stumps from the felled trees with them at City Hall and plan to rally later today from noon – two.

The group asserts that the fight to protect Briger is gaining momentum, similar to the 2006 effort that resulted in Scripps being forced off Mecca Farms due to environmental impacts. A group member Panagioti Tsolkas commented that “More and more people are realizing the importance of protecting the endangered species on the Briger Forest. We get calls daily from people who want to participate in our efforts to protect the Briger Forest.”

In 1990, Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resource Management (ERM) selected the Briger forest as a candidate for preservation through a bond to purchase land for protection. At that time, it was called Indian Creek Flatwoods eco-site #23. While it was not selected in the final purchases, it was recognized to be valued as endangered species habitat by ERM, over 20 years ago.

For more photos and background, visit www.ScrapScripps.info