Tag Archives: Florida

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

Florida Department of Environmental Protection turn blind eye to destruction of reefs… again.

29 Mar

Collusion, corruption, incompetence, complicity, ineptitude or just a party to outright fraud? Why will the Florida Department of Environmental Protection not enforce the permits they issue?

Another beach “renourishment” project and more bogus data as the contractors circumvent project mandated environmental permit monitoring and the FDEP turns a blind eye; afraid or unable to catch the perpetrators as they lay waste to miles of coastal habitat.

This years poster child for ecosystem destruction is the Hillsboro beach renourishment project. The project permit requires the contractor to limit the amount of coral-killing silt generated by monitoring turbidity levels. The standard which they must not exceed is 29 turbidity units (NTU) above background beyond a point 150 meters from the beach sand placement area, or about 492 feet.

For weeks Reef Rescue, other groups and individuals have been supplying FDEP with evidence of noncompliance. In fact, since 2005 Reef Rescue has documented contractor fraud on five separate beach renourishment projects. But the Sunday, March 27, display of a total disregard for permit compliance and habitat destruction goes to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company for creating one of the worst silt plumes we have witnessed. So expansive, it engulfed two South Florida coastal counties and stretched from Hillsboro Beach to north of Boca Raton.

Click on this link to view the Sunday turbidity slide show.

Related post from Juno Beach

Silt plumes over the reefs were reported by scuba diving charter boats almost as soon as work on the project began. On December 22, dive operators found underwater visibility of less than five feet at the popular dive spot “Shark Canyon”, located offshore of the Juno Beach construction site.

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.]

States Consider Bans on Farm Photos with penalty of Felony

18 Mar

Will this photo get us a felony?

In the past decade, modern industrial agriculture has experienced a stream of negative media attention, a significant departure from the typical pastoral image of American farming. The livestock industry in particular has come under fire with the release of undercover videos exposing animal cruelty.

 

In 2004, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) secretly filmed a video revealing horrific images of workers at a West Virginia slaughterhouse kicking, stomping, and slamming live chickens against walls and floors. The video brought about a massive investigation of the slaughterhouse, as well as several firings of workers who had engaged in the abuse.

A few years later, in 2008, The Humane Society published a similar undercover, investigative video documenting the abuse of “downer” cattle, or cattle that are too sick or injured to stand or walk, upon arriving at a California slaughterhouse. In what Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and an expert in slaughter practices, called “one of the worst animal-abuse videos I have ever viewed,” the video showed workers kicking the downed cattle, dragging them by chains, pushing them with forklifts, and delivering repeated electric shocks in an attempt to get them to stand up for inspection.

In addition to those videos, many others have surfaced in recent years as a result of hidden filming by animal rights advocates posing as employees on farms and in processing plants. In some circumstances, these images have provided the evidence necessary to close a plant, recall certain products, and to pursue criminal sanctions.

In what some say is a response to the bad publicity created by these videos, two states have introduced bills that make it a felony to photograph or record a farm without first obtaining written permission from the owner.

Senator Jim Norman (R) of Florida proposed the legislation, SB 1246, on Feb. 21, 2011. The bill provides that:

“[a] person who photographs, video records, or otherwise produces images or pictorial records, digital or otherwise, at or of a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner, or an authorized representative of the owner, commits a felony of the first degree.”

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/03/in-the-past-decade-modern/

Video of One Month Anniversary of Florida Tree Sit

16 Mar

A group of protesters gathered outside of FAU in Jupiter Monday to help save one of the last forests in eastern Palm Beach County. The protesters have positioned multiple tree sit-sites with hopes it will stop Scripps Research Institute from clearing the area for a building site.

Follow the link for the video: Save the forest: Protesters positioned multiple tree sit-sites.

News Roundup 5/23

23 May

Six activists locked down inside the border patrol’s lobby here in Tucson, and they all were cited and released. Just walked away, and felt damn good about it. They won the local news cycle, sending racist cops a strong message. But they didn’t expect to get away, and our sources say they were prepared to sit in jail at least through the weekend. Anybody planning similar actions should be similarly prepared.

The new EF! UK Action Update is out. Here’s the print version. Both are in PDF.

Support GI Resistance by attending the UXO Tour!

We got the mountain defenders’ bail reduced to $2500!

Martin and Bryant were offered a deal of 5 days time-served and 55 days community service, along with the conditions that they remain on house arrest for the 55 days, leaving only for community service hours, and plead guilty to trespass and conspiracy.

Bryant took the deal and will be getting out of jail Monday. EmmaKate did not immediately take the deal.

Like in Tucson, the theme here in WV is be prepared. These CGZ folks made the decision to intentionally go to jail for their beliefs, and that’s what happened. They were mentally and physically ready for it (hopefully). At least one is also under house arrest for awhile. They apparently believe that blocking Massey’s Road for a minute, and the media coverage that comes with, is worth the next 60 days of their lives. We’ve heard that more people with such strong convictions are needed out in the mountains, because MTR SUCKS.

The first EF! Journal Release Party will take place in Florida!

The Everglades EF! Journal release party is 5/24 Monday, 7pm at the Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center, 1307 Central Terrace.

We will be commemorating Judi Bari’s life and work, as well as celebrating to EEF! folks whose legal matters (panagioti and stevie) have been resolved, without going back to jail. Both got out of jail on appellate bonds from actions against FPL (who are now calling themselves ‘NextEra Enrgy’), for the WCEC and Barley Barber.

And finally, we will be discussing the ‘Skunk Ape Proxy’ featured in the new EF!J.

Farmers in Haiti have committed to burning 475 tons of genetically modified, pesticide-treated FrankenCorn Seed donated by Monsanto.

Maybe we should just eat industrially farmed bugs.

The Big Oil Spill sludges onward.

The Richardson Grove EIR has been released by CALTRANS. It of course finds “no significant impact on the human environment.” Well, some environmentalist humans in Humboldt think otherwise and are still set for an action camp on 28 May.

Some EF!ers are having a Regional Rendezvous in the Globe Forest in NC. Seems like a pretty good operation they’ve got out there, with a great website full of great information. It’s at least an even bet that they’ll save that forest out there. Forest defense has a lot of potential in the South, which is being deforested faster than any other US region, especially when it’s fresh like in WV, with tactics the locals haven’t necessarily seen before. And on that note, we found this on their blog and thought it worth re-posting:

Top Ten Endangered Areas in the South for 2009:

  1. Clinch and Powell Rivers (Virginia) Issue: Construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County will accelerate mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, and further increase mercury levels in the Clinch and Powell rivers.
  2. Interstate 81 Corridor (Virginia) Issue: Virginia officials are reexamining a plan to widen all 325 miles of I-81 to perhaps eight lanes to support long-haul truck traffic – a plan that would cost billions of dollars and cause tremendous harm to communities and historic, scenic, and environmental resources.
  3. Marine Waters (Virginia) Issue: Virginia is the first state in our region to begin the process of opening up its marine waters to offshore drilling for oil and gas. The benefit of this short-term supply of energy is dramatically outweighed by the harm to the environment and communities.
  4. Globe Forest (North Carolina) Issue: Destruction of rare, old-growth forest in the Southern Appalachians.
  5. Pamlico River (North Carolina) Issue: The single largest destruction of wetlands in North Carolina’s history will occur if a phosphate mining company gets permission to expand its operations on the river’s banks.
  6. Great Pee Dee River (South Carolina) Issue: Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, is proposing to build more coal-fired power plants with outdated technology that would dump an additional 300 pounds of mercury into an already mercury-overloaded river.
  7. Johns Island (South Carolina) Issue: A $420 million highway proposal threatens to bring large-scale development to this historic community, transforming the island into a sea of condos, mega-stores, and traffic.
  8. Salt Marshes (Georgia) Issue: Large-scale development on biologically rich islands and tidal waters.
  9. Weeks Bay (Alabama) Issue: Unchecked development and weak regulation threatens an area so unique it is one of only three in Alabama to receive the designation of Outstanding Natural Resource Water.
  10. Cherokee National Forest (Northeast Tennessee) Issue: The U.S. Forest Service is moving forward with its plans to log several areas of this remarkable landscape, endangering trout, unbroken wildlife habitat and rare species.”