Monday, November 23, 2015

PBCEC's Invitation to Residents Neighboring the Briger Forest for Dec 5th Rally Against Corporate Cancer Clusters

The following letter was sent by a local homeowner with support from PBCEC on 11/24/2015 to thousands of residents in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and unincorporated Palm Beach County who live in communities surrounding the Briger property. [Details on Dec 5th Rally can be found here.]

Greetings Neighbor,

I am a homeowner in Palm Beach Country Estates. I’m sending this letter to ask for your help in protecting our community from over-development and hazardous pollution.

Surely you’ve noticed that construction has begun in the Briger Tract forest on Donald Ross Road, across from the FAU campus.

The current development plan entails clearing almost the entire 683 acres of forest on both sides of I-95, for homes, corporate offices, animal testing labs and biotech research.

What you have not likely heard is what these corporations will actually be doing.

  •          What hazardous materials will they be researching with?
  •          What kind of waste will they create?
  •          How will they dispose of it? 
  •         How could this effect property values?

As you also may have seen in the news over the years, Phase II of The Scripps Research Institute intends to deal with high-level pathogens and toxic substances such as anthrax, Mad Cow disease, radioactive materials and genetically engineered organisms.

In the past several months, USA Today has done a series exposing high-level “biolabs” and the frequency that they experience unreported accidents or operate without transparency nationwide. Their report listed Scripps’ facility on the Jupiter FAU campus as a problem facility with regard to failures in disclosing information needed to safeguard the public.

On top of this is the addition of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) into the development plan for Briger. UTC is at the top of the suspect list for bringing a cancer cluster to the Acreage with their repeated toxic spills causing water contamination in Western Palm Beach County. While they have attempted to dodge responsibility for this, they cannot deny their record of repeated environmental violations.

I am including links below for more info on Scripps and UTC so that you can follow up with your own research.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Welcome to Palm Beach Gardens:

Beware of Cancer Clusters and Killer Cops

by Panagioti Tsolkas

PBCEC is hosting a demonstration on December 5th 2015 to "Defend Briger Biodiversity from Corporate Cancer Clusters"

The group has been protesting plans to destroy the Briger forest to build a biotech city since 2009. One year ago, in November 2014, developers broke ground and have cleared over 100 acres despite all efforts to protect this unique forest which is home to many threatened and endangered species.

Now the site is slated to become the home of a shady biotech research development which will generate high-level toxic waste without public transparency, including facilities operated by United Technologies the most likely suspect in bringing a cancer cluster to the Acreage.

This development could not have happened without the City of Palm Beach Gardens’ approval, and specifically the actions of the Gardens police, who arrested protesters to literally clear the path for the bulldozers last year.

In October 2015, this same police department was responsible for the senseless and brutal killing of Corey Jones, a young black musician from Boynton Beach whose car broke down in Gardens.

The same system that is paving over rare forest habitat for corporate profits is putting cops on paid vacations for committing racist murders. This is not a local phenomenon—it’s happening all over the country.

It is critical that environmental activists nationwide to make these connections, to view police brutality as an environmental justice issue and to stand in solidarity with movements against state violence.

PBCEC has a strong history of challenging issues of environmental racism, some of which can be found in the links here. In relation to Scripps and biotech plans, PBCEC worked with residents of the Limestone Creek, a historic black community, to defeat plans for a Scripps spin-off biotech waste site in their Jupiter neighborhood.

Please educate yourself on the realities of racist, violent police, and how this impacts the communities who are often also most impacted by environmental injustice and pollution. The success of an environmental movement to fundamentally change the society we live in must recognize these connections to grow stronger.

For more info on the connections between police accountability and the earth defense come to this event:

The Ecology of a Police State
December 5th 8pm in Lake Worth
Stonzek Theater (Click here for details)
Participate in an evening of short films and discussion about the intersections of environmentalism, mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.

$5 - $10 donation at the door (no one turned away)

TOMORROW MORNING: Support Everglades Earth First! activists on trial blockading road used for construction in Briger Forest.

Message from Everglades Earth First!

Come out and support three Everglades Earth First! activists who are facing trial this week for blockading a road used for construction in Palm Beach Garden's Briger Forest.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Call to Resist the 450th Celebration of Genocide and Ecocide in St. Augustine, FL on Sept 8th 2015

Visit for details and launch location
The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition has joined the Resist 450 Coalition, consisting of statewide and national organizations. 

The following statement comes from Resist 450:

We are planning to demonstrate our opposition to the City of St Augustine’s commemoration, which is honoring and re-enacting the landing of Pedro Menendez on September 8th. This re-enactment of Spanish conquistadors landing on present-day Florida is comparable to celebrating Adolf Hitler’s return for Jewish people. This ill-conceived landing will be at the Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Ave, St Augustine, FL 32084 at 9:00am.

We are welcoming everyone to join us at sunrise that morning as a group of conscious canoeists and kayaktivists paddle out to meet the re-enactment as we show our support for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to uphold our responsibility to bring awareness that Mother Earth is the source of life not a resource for exploitation. Others will gather at the shore with signs and banners during the re-enactment.

The Pedro Menendez impersonator represents the European colonial mentality of domination and privilege. This misguided and illegal belief is empowered by the Catholic Church’s papal bulls, which directed Christians to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” As Pope Francis is traveling the world apologizing to Indigenous Peoples for the Church’s actions, the City of St Augustine is still celebrating these acts of terror and theft. We, the Resist 450 Coalition, intend to show that we do not share the same values as those that are attempting to glorify the colonial mentality.

The City of St Augustine essentially became a prison town for Indigenous Peoples who were held at the Castillo de San Marcos. The origin of the City of St Augustine became the foundation for the abrogation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the blueprint for ecocide throughout the world.
This moment in history marks the beginning of what has become the United States Empire, built on genocide, ecocide, theft, slavery, war and exploitation of the Earth for profit. The "Doctrine of Discovery" is the root of the system that has brought the entire planet to the point of irreversible climate change, unprecedented period of mass extinction and the moral deterioration of society. 

This and other activities will take place as part of a week long camp from Sept 5 - 9, where Indigenous Peoples, activists and individuals wanting to be on the right side of history are invited to come together to promote peaceful solutions to assure the survival of the future generations of all life by addressing environmental, cultural and social justice issues.

If you cannot attend the event in St. Augustine, the Resist 450 Coalition asks that you participate in planning solidarity demonstration in your own community. The list of cities with Spanish Consulates offers an appropriate opportunity to deliver the message to "Renounce the 450th celebration of Spain's genocidal war criminals and the doctrines that promote the destruction of Nature for profit." 

The Resist 450 Coalition also invites donations to assist in the planning of the camp and demonstrations. Donations can be made by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PBC Environmental Coalition Supports the Prison Ecology Project... You should too!

Earlier this month a Lake Worth-based organization, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides input on the agency’s EJ 2020 Action Agenda Framework, highlighting the lack of consideration for environmental justice among the millions of prisoners in the United States. The comment was co-signed by the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, along with 92 other social justice, environmental and prisoners’ rights organizations from across the country.

HRDC has also announced the beginning of its Prison Ecology Project, an effort to organize at the intersection of mass incarceration and environmental pollution, and has launched a fundraising campaign to build off the recent EJ 2020 comment and fight against a new federal prison on endangered species habitat in southern Appalachia.

Please share this video with your local activists and social media networks

“It’s encouraging to see the EPA attempting to increase the effectiveness of protecting vulnerable communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution, but a significant component is missing when impacts on millions of prisoners and their families are ignored,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, coordinator of HRDC’s Prison Ecology Project.

HRDC’s comment elaborates on examples nationwide which illustrate a clear need to protect prisoners as a population that faces extreme environmental justice impacts. For example, prisons and jails built on or near landfills, toxic waste dumps, Superfund cleanup sites and coal mining sites, or that are vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding and environmental hazards like contaminated water. The comment filed with the EPA can be found online here.

According to the comment submitted by HRDC, there is overwhelming evidence that the population of people in prison represents one of the most vulnerable and uniquely-overburdened demographics in our nation.