Tag Archives: Everglades

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! Journal Volunteer Work Week set for this Summer

7 Jun

And you might even get to meet some locals from the Everglades EF! crew who pulled of this anti-biotech canopy occupation, last year…

Hey you campaign hoppers and summer travelers! If you have a way to get down to South Florida following this summer’s Round River Rendezvous, consider joining forces with the Earth First! Journal.

The Earth First! Journal Collective is hosting a Volunteer Work Week for July 16-20th. The kickoff is Saturday and Sunday (14th & 15th) with a camp out in the Everglades watershed (location TBA), including a possible canoe trip on the Loxahatchee river.
Continue reading

Tired of these motherf#@in’ snakes in the ‘Glades?!

2 Feb

A recent article from the journal of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports that observations of some mammal species have declined by more than 99% in parts of the Everglades, due primarily to giant non-native invasive pythons. Yeah, it’s scary, but to be honest, here at the Earth First! Newswire, we’re a bit tired of hearing about it. Why hasn’t the NAS issued a report on the impacts of having the largest fossil fuel power plants in the entire country in this watershed? Y’all know we already have the top two, and now the motherf#@kers at FPL are proposing the third largest fossil plant over in Hendry County, in primary Florida panther habitat no less. Continue reading

2012 Presidential hopeful says she’d drill for oil and gas in the Everglades

29 Aug

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who has argued for the dissolution of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said this weekend that she is open to oil and  gas drilling in the Everglades.

Bachmann commented that all options, and ecosystems, should be made available to insure the United States can meet its energy needs.

According to a quote in a recent AP article Bachmann said “The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness. Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that’s in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is…”

A Bad Wind Blowing: resisting industrial wind turbines from the Everglades to the Boundary Mountains

16 Jun

By Panagioti Tsolkas, Earth First! Journal editorial collective

In a Palm Beach Post article from earlier this year: A St. Louis company, Wind Capital Group, says they hopes to build Florida’s first wind farm, on thousands of acres of sugar land east of Belle Glade. The region is known as the Everglades Agricultural Area, and thought to be a crucial component to restoring the greater Everglades watershed. But has been increasingly  encroached upon by industrial development proposals, including rock mines, an ‘inland port’ and FPL’s controversial 38oo megawatt West County Energy Center.

The company has been meeting with Palm Beach County planners to change to the county’s development rules that would be needed before its turbines could be built. Now they are courting environmental groups to accept the proposed changes.

The Chamber of Commerce loves the idea of the $250 million project. “That is tremendous,” Brenda Bunting, Executive Director of the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce, said of the project. “We would be excited to see something like that come. We are always looking for things that benefit this community.”

The company wants to build between 84 and 100 wind turbines, on land near the intersection of State Road 880 and Browns Farm Road. The150-megawatt turbines would stretch across 11,000 to 15,000 acres, said Robin Saiz, Wind Capital’s director of project development. Each turbine would stand between 262 feet and 328 feet tall, roughly the height of a 30-story building.

Environmentalists say they are concerned spinning turbines could harm birds and bats. “There are a lot of questions that remain to be answered, before we jump on the wind energy bus,” said Joanne Davis, a community planner with 1000 Friends of Florida.

Migratory birds flying through the region could be struck by the fast-moving blades. The endangered snail kite, for one, could be devastated if even a few were killed, environmentalists say. “When you talk about birds like the snail kite, we can’t afford to have any mortality,” said Drew Martin, conservation chairman for the Sierra Club’s Loxahatchee Group.

In June 2007, Florida Power & Light Co. announced plans to build the first wind farm in Florida, on Hutchinson Island, 8 miles south of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County. The plan met resistance from nearby residents and wildlife biologists and has been put on hold.

Wind Capital says it hopes to have its turbines running by the end of next year.

In other news on industrial wind: A Campaign by the American Bird Conservancy pushes for mandatory standards on turbines


 In a June 14, 2011 press release, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) stated the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) says it received nearly 30,000 comments on the draft Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance. About 21,000 comments coming through the efforts of ABC calling for mandatory wind energy standards and mitigation for impacts to wildlife and habitat. The comment letter sent by ABC and other groups is available at http://www.abcbirds.org/Wind_Guidelines_Comment_Letter.pdf.

Nearly 30,000 was an unusually large number of comments for the Division of Habitat and Resource Conservation, which took the comments down from the FWS wind energy website after running into technical trouble posting them.

Meanwhile in Maine…

Last July, four demonstrators were arrested while blocking a turbine blade from reaching the development site of the Kibby Mountain Wind Project. The four protesters are expected to face a jury trial in Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington beginning Monday, June 20th.

Courtney Butcher was charged with criminal trespassing. Erik Gillard, Ana Rodriguez, and Willow Cordes-Eklund were all charged with failure to disperse. Cordes-Eklund was arrested after U-Locking her neck beneath a tractor-trailer carrying a 15-ton turbine blade on Rt. 27.

Over 60 protesters gathered on the morning of July 6, 2010 at the development site to oppose the construction of 22 industrial wind turbines on the ridge of Kibby Mountain. The protestors claim that industrial wind development destroys the delicate Alpine ecosystems of Maine’s western boundary mountains. Protestors also object to Kibby Mountain wind developer TransCanada’s involvement in the practice of tar-sands oil extraction in Alberta, Canada.  The activists claim this shows that TransCanada is not interested in green energy, one of the supposed justifications for the Kibby project and other wind developments in Maine.

“We recognize the value of developing alternative energy systems,” said protester Meg Gilmartin of Maine Earth First! at the time of the blockade. “But these projects are an example of how corporations take advantage of the climate and energy crises to make profits while avoiding accountability. This is pristine, sensitive ecosystem being destroyed for a project that will not displace any fossil fuel energies from the grid.”

The protest preceded a Land Use Regulation Commission meeting on July 7th, where a plan for additional 15 turbines on neighboring Sisk Mountain was voted down. A later version of the proposal was approved in January. Friends of the Boundary Mountains has since filed an appeal to the Maine Supreme Court to overturn the approval, citing violation of due process, as there was no public hearing for the second Sisk Mountain proposal.

Noted for it’s extreme ecosystem sensitivity, development on Sisk Mountain was opposed by such groups as Maine Audubon Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Earth First!, The Native Forest Network, Friends of the Boundary Mountains, and the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power.

For more on impacts of industrial wind on wildlife, check out other recent press releases from ABC:

Conservation Groups, Thousands of Citizens Call on Feds to Protect Birds from Wind Turbines, May 19, 2011. View Release

Dramatic Video Shows Bird Strike at Wind Turbine: One Bird Currently Killed Every Minute by Wind Power in the US, April 5, 2011. View Release

Bird Group Says Cancellation of North Dakota Wind Farm Reflects Seriousness of Bird Issues April 4, 2011. View Release

Call for Public Debate on Wind Power after Misleading Industry Release on Bird Deaths March 3, 2011. View Release

New Federal Guidelines on Wind Farm Will Not Stop Bird Deaths. February 8, 2011. View Release

Wind Power Could Kill Millions of Birds Per Year by 2030. February 2, 2011. View Release

Wind Development Threatens Iconic American Birds. December 29, 2011. View Release

FPL Power Plant Proposal Aims for the Heart of Panther Habitat

13 May

Map of "Panther Focus Area" surrounding Hendry County power plant proposal.

By Panagioti Tsolkas, Earth First! Journal

According to a letter sent on May 2, 2011 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a new power plant proposal has begun the permitting process for a site located in Hendry County—primary habitat of Florida panther, considered to be one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

This proposal exemplifies, once again, the need to protect the critical habitat of remaining panthers, which has been listed as endangered for over 40 years. In February 2010, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the same agency reviewing the Hendry County power plant proposal, denied a petition seeking to designate critical habitat for the cats. A judge upheld the denial on April 6, 2011. On April 20, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation group filed an Appeal to the 11th Circuit Court to overturn a judge’s denial of critical habitat status. In the meantime, if projects like this power plant move forward, the point will be moot.

The details for the Hendry County plant are still trickling out, but the facility is rumored to be a massive fossil fuel power plant which would emit millions of tons in emissions and suck billions of gallons of water from the aquifer and regional wetlands. Yet, in this age of greenwash, it is of course masquerading as a solar project (as FPL has also done recently at their Barley Barber facility across Lake Okeechobee, near Indiantown, Florida).

To quote the Hendry County Planning & Zoning Department, who approved the zoning change for the development on May 11 of this week, “The applicant intends to develop the site in association with Florida Power & Light Company [FPL].” The rezone is approved for “utility uses, specifically a ‘Clean Energy Center’ which would include, but is not limited to natural gas and solar energy.” FPL already operates the two largest fossil fuel power plants in the US, all in the Everglades watershed, both within 70 miles of this site.

But the specific details of this industrial project are irrelevant, as nothing of an industrial scale is appropriate in this area. Along with panther habitat, the immediate area surrounding the site is also home to Audubon’s crested caracara, Eastern indigo snake, and Wood Stork, all federally protected endangered species. The area also provides resting, feeding, and nesting sites for a variety of migratory bird species which FWS notes “must be taken into consideration during project planning and design.”

The proposed power plant site sits on the border of the Big Cypress Reservation of the Seminole Tribe. The tribe has not yet entered comments on the project.

Click here for FWS report, including the map above.