Tag Archives: miami

Celebrate a global justice holiday today at the EF! Film Fest! in Lake Worth

30 Nov

WTO welcomingThirteen years ago today, a grassroots movement took to the streets of Seattle and shut the city down, effectively ruining the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) summit and turning the global tide against corporate rule. Four years later, we faced off with the one of the most well-funded police forces in the world in the streets of Miami to expose the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) summit.

This evening we will be celebrating these amazing events of Novembers past at the first annual Earth First! Film Fest, hosted by the EF! Journal Collective, with independent films from about the mobilizations in Miami and Seattle, along with other films on industrial globalization and its discontents.

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Take Back the Land: Direct action for the Earth should start at home…

14 May

Preferably a liberated home.

By Panagioti Tsolkas, Earth First! Journal

While Earth First! is most commonly associated with the direct action to defend of the wild from corporations and governments, the fight to liberate urban land (often from those same corporations and governments) is not to be dismissed. In fact, there is a case to be made that changing the way we view the immediate land we live on is a first and necessary step towards redefining our relationship to the living world around us. And if we are aiming to turn this whole ecocidal system on its head—as we must—then we would do well to pay close attention to the foreclosure crisis that is poised to implode industrial capitalism here in the US.

In this light, the group Take Back the Land is biocentric and deeply ecological at its core.

This case was made at this years Earth First! Winter Rendezvous at a workshop lead by co-founder of that group, Max Rameau. As powerful as his words were, action always speaks louder:

May 9, 2011: Take Back the Land- Rochester liberates home, moves Lennon back into house
By: Max Rameau (originally posted here.)

Catherine Lennon and Ryan AcuffCatherine Lennon, the Rochester, NY grandmother who was evicted from her home by a SWAT team , has been moved back into her home on Monday May 9, 2011 by Take Back the Land- Rochester.

After her husband died of cancer in 2008, the Lennon family fell behind on her mortgage.  Attempts to renegotiate the mortgage were stonewalled by Fannie Mae, Catherine Lennon made local and national news by defending her home from eviction for two weeks with help from neighbors and Take Back the Land- Rochester. While Fannie Mae refused to help Catherine Lennon, they gladly accepted over $90 billion in taxpayer bailout money through the TARP program.

On March 28, 2011, Rochester police executed the eviction with 2 dozen or so police and by arresting seven people, including a 70 year old neighbor still in her pajamas. Charges against those arrested are being dropped in exchange for 8 hours of community service. The Lennon-Griffin family of 11 has been dispersed with grandchildren living with friends and family and Catherine living in a local Motel.

After the eviction, Lennon was called the ‘Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis‘ for her heroic stand against the bank. Offers of assistance came from US Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Senator Kirsten Gillabrand and Senator Chuck Schumer. Negotiations with Fannie Mae broke down after they made bad faith demands.

“We believe it is immoral for Fannie Mae to leave another home vacant in our community,” argued Ryan Acuff of Take Back the Land- Rochester, “while Catherine Lennon depletes her life savings staying in a motel. We must show at least as much mercy towards Catherine Lennon as we have towards Bank of America, Citibank and Fannie Mae.”

Police have not intervened thus far. Here is local media coverage: Democrat and Chronicle Article    Channel 8 News Rochester The New York Daily Record

For previous coverage of Take Back the Land in the Earth First! Journal, check out the following article:

Taking It Back in Miami By Max Rameau, and Miami’s Take Back the Land: Superbowl Week of Action By jhon luna, both published in 2007.

Activists with the Everglades Earth First! group even made a cameo in this video clip below (see if you can spot them!)

Groups successful in raising concerns with proposed FPL new nuclear reactors in Florida: Federal licensing board admits arguments

16 Mar

Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point Nuke Plant near Everglades

Miami, Fla. – The future of new nuclear reactors in Florida hit another stumbling block as concerned citizens and public interest organizations in Florida had a significant, initial victory in their legal effort to prevent two more costly new nuclear reactors from being built at Florida Power & Light’s existing Turkey Point plant adjacent to Biscayne Bay, Biscayne National Park and the Everglades, about 25 miles from Miami. There is a state-managed aquatic preserve, an expansive wetlands habitat preserve, two national parks and one national wildlife refuge within six miles of the proposed site. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s three-judge panel recently admitted some of the groups’ arguments but rejected many other serious environmental and public health issues the expansion poses.

“One would be hard pressed to find a less compatible and more ecologically sensitive location in which to expand a nuclear power plant than at Turkey Point,” said Jason Totoiu, the Everglades Law Center’s General Counsel. “We are pleased the Board agreed with some of our arguments but their decision unfortunately overlooks the very real potential that a number of significant environmental impacts could result from this project.”

The Everglades Law Center and Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic filed the petition in August 2010 on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and private citizens from Miami. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) held a hearing in November in Homestead, Florida to hear the groups’ arguments.

At the November hearing, attorneys raised concerns about the impact the construction and operation of the proposed reactors could have on these imperiled places and communities located near the Turkey Point plant. The proposed use of millions of gallons of reclaimed water per day, that would otherwise be used for Everglades restoration, would come from the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department serving as the primary source of cooling water for the proposed new reactors. After use, FPL plans to discharge some of the reclaimed wastewater into the groundwater via underground injection wells. The ASLB admitted the organizations’ argument that Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Environmental Report failed to adequately address the impacts that underground injection of various chemical contaminants would have on groundwater supplies.

“We are very concerned about the injected wastewater laced with chemical and radioactive contaminants getting into our precious and limited drinking water supplies,” said Mark Oncavage, a resident of Miami and intervenor. “FPL’s proposal could be disastrous for the area.”

“The Boards ruling clearly recognizes that expanding Turkey Point would threaten the health of our citizens and national treasure Biscayne National Park,” said Kahlil Kettering, Biscayne Restoration Program Analyst for the National Parks Conservation Association and intervenor. “Biscayne already suffers from reduced freshwater flows and adjacent land development, adding an expanded nuclear power plant to the mix could send the park over the tipping point.”

The Board rejected other arguments, including FPL’s cursory treatment of the potential cumulative impacts of the project and FPL’s proposed plans to use radial collector wells underneath Biscayne Bay that could withdraw much needed fresh water from the system. Also rejected were concerns over the loss of several hundreds of acres of wetlands to accommodate miles of new transmission lines. FPL’s failure to fully evaluate other viable energy alternatives including energy efficiency and conservation along with renewable energy options and lack of planning for future potential sea level rise that would adversely impact the operations of the facility were also rejected.

“The Board really got it wrong regarding climate change and sea level rise,” said Captain Dan Kipnis, resident of Miami Beach and intervenor. “With scientists predicting up to three feet of water rise during the plant’s operating life, the whole premise of FPL’s site location appears shaky at best. This is an unbelievably bad idea and bad location to build more nuclear reactors that have a $20 billion price tag.”

Given the recent devastating impacts caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the damage to several nuclear reactors, this proposal reinforces concerns expressed by the organizations about the health risks and potential hazards that would be associated with expanding Turkey Point.

“The reality is that clean, safe energy options are available that won’t pose these serious risks to the community and the pocketbooks of hard-working Floridians,” said Sara Barczak, high risk energy choices program director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “FPL has a long, long way to go, especially now in light of the disaster unfolding in Japan, and would serve their customers well by moving away from such a flawed proposal.”

Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Inc. (CASE, Inc.) and the Village of Pinecrest filed separate petitions. The Board granted legal standing for both parties and accepted part of two contentions submitted by CASE, Inc. that deal with the storage and management on-site of so-called low level radioactive waste.

For more information on the intervening organizations and legal counsel, visit:

Everglades Law Center, http://www.evergladeslaw.org * National Parks Conservation Association- Sun Coast Regional Office, http://www.npca.org/southflorida * Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, http://www.cleanenergy.org * Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic, http://www.law.emory.edu/academics/academic-programs/environmental-law/turner-clinic.html

Download the August 17, 2010 petition at http://www.cleanenergy.org/index.php?/Testimony.html and the recent ASLB decision at http://www.cleanenergy.org/images/testimony/2011-02-28_TP_ASLBOrderContentionAdmissibility.pdf.