Wednesday, September 26, 2007

*[press release] Nuke Whistleblower Speaks in South Florida


Climate Change is a Real Threat; Is Nuclear Power a Safe Alternative?
A Journey into FPL's Proposed Energy Future

Stuart, Sept. 29th- From 11-1pm, at the

At Vince Bocchino Community Center (2369 NE Dixie Hwy., Stuart), will be a free forum concerning the future of energy consumption in South Florida, hosted by Everglades Earth First! and Project Awareness. Points of focus will be over-development in the Everglades and FPL's proposals to expand fossil fuel and nuclear power in South Florida.

Guest speakers include:

Ann Pickel Harris from Tennessee, a nationally-renowned nuclear safety advocate and whistle blower who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority for 15 years. Ann is also the national executive director of We The People, a nuclear employee safety advocacy group, and will present on the dangers that nuclear power plants pose to local communities and
their water supplies.

(Ann will also be coming to speak in Lake Worth, the same evening, 7pm at the Soma Center, 609 Lake Ave, as part of the weekly 'Saturday Solidarity' the event is open to the public and the media, but will have a more casual tone.)

Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chair of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, will be speaking about the West County Energy Center, a natural gas plant that FPL has proposed building in the Everglades, less than 1,000 feet from the Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge and the existing Barley Barber power plant in western Martin County.

"In light of Governor Crist's commitment to fight climate change, we are requesting that he revisit the previous administration's decision to certify the West County Energy Center," Panagioti says. "This plant is a potential environmental catastrophe that will emit 12
million tons of CO2 each year, during a time of global climate crisis."

Following the presentations will be a group discussion concerning energy conservation, renewable resources, and the proper direction to take if we want to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment for the future.

"The direction we're taking in response to global warming needs to be sustainable and safe," according to a statement by the recently-formed Everglades Earth First! group, "Too much of the focus has been on nuclear as a way out. People need to realize that we can't go on living the way we have been."

Contact: Hope Freid (Everglades Earth First!), (772) 342-8564;
Rachel Kijewski (Project Awareness), (772) 201-7848;


Sunday, September 23, 2007

*Looking for PBCEC Archives?

We have almost 2 years worth of our online announcements, rants, meeting notes, etc. available in computer file format upon request. We also keep pretty extensive paper archives of news clips, fliers, and posters. If you are interested in any of these things, please get in touch.

*PBCEC Sept. '07 digest

We had a smaller but lively Labor Day meeting followed by several days of lively activities. Below is an account of the meeting, the following days of events, upcoming events and calls-to-action.

-FPL notes
-Mining in the EAA
-Lake Worth issues
-Urgent Action for Manatees
-Upcoming Events
-Turnpike Expansion
-PBCEC Business
-This month's 'Best Letter to the Editor'

We discussed our ongoing challenges to FPL and the Gulfstream pipeline. Our federal lawsuit and administrative challenge (respectively) are in the long, arduous process of the legal system. In the meantime, construction continues at the plant despite the lawsuits and lacking permits. Barry Silver wrote up a new petition which has been circulated at several events, gathering signatures of public officials and prominent people and public officials. Others have been presented with the information and petition, but refused thus far to commit their name in opposition to this monster. Others in the meeting had committed to using this petition to mobilize their families, friends and neighborhoods. So please bring completed petitions to the next meeting, October 1st, we will add interested people to our organizing list and send copies on to Tallahassee. Please contact Barry Silver to get an up-to-date list of these people
so you can follow up with them, or a copy of the petition

Mining in the Everglades Ag Area: Despite successfully pushing for a more complete study that SFWMD's Ken Todd had to offer, the fight is NOT fully delayed. According the: "Rinker Materials won approval from the county's zoning advisory board last week to mine 3,000 acres… County commissioners will consider Rinker's proposal and the advisory board's decision on Sept. 27." –PB Post

Lake Worth Beach development- The city voted in favor of continuing it's lawsuits in defense of a bad beach development deal with Greater Bay developers, to add insult to injury, they have retained the law firm of former-attorney William Boose III (Masilotti's buddy). For details:

RO Wastewater Outfall- Victory! The Reverse Osmosis wastewater is being sent back the drawing board. Check for updates at:

New LW Powerplant- This was also, thankfully, pulled from the agenda for further review. Please keep posted for upcoming public workshop on this one.

Urgent action needed for Manatees ASAP
It appears there may have been a victory today in delaying the de-listing. But please stay vigilant.. check with Save the Manatee Club for updates.

Alternative Energy Festival, Stuart, Martin County, September 15th 11-5pm at Knowledge Tree Bookstore… with a focus on grassroots efforts.

National Park(ing) Day.. [link] join PBCEC participants in celebrating National Park(ing) Day - Friday, September 21, 2007 – This is a series of public art projects nationwide to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America's cities.
One will be on Clematis in downtown West Palm, in front of Starbucks (for details, contact: The other will be on the FAU Boca Campus, for these details contact:

STOP Turnpike Expansion, Sept. 20th 5:30 pm Open House, at PGA National Resort and Spa, 400 Avenue of Champions, 6:30pm Public Hearing for the DOT to gather input on this ridiculous idea of using transportation money for expanding roadways to accommodate more
traffic, emit more greenhouse gas and road-kill more wildlife at the expense of expanding public transit and improving existing infrastructure… You can direct disappointment, anger and frustration at: or call him at 954-975-4855 ext 3433

September 29th Forum on Energy Issues in South Florida, Jensen Beach, Martin County. This event will pose the question: "Is nuclear power a safe alternative to climate-changing fossil fuels?" with presentations on local nuke and fossil fuel proposals and the viable alternatives to both. At the Jensen Beach Community Center. Contact: for details

PBCEC business:
Meeting Location: we're stayin' at Pegasus for the now.. we discussed pros and cons of the location. the pros of centrality and decent dinner options won out over the cons of having to order something (which we were requested to do, understandably.. at least a drink, appetizer or desert) and the fact that they served veal (which arose some concerns about inhumane farming practices.) We agreed to keep ourselves responsible to supporting the business during our meetings and also addressing the ethical concerns that were expressed about veal to the owner and manager.
Finanaces & Fundraising: the PBCEC continues to scrape by, mostly with the support of participants' generous donations. We could certainly use a little more financial security--which could come with a combination of more vigorous fundraising and some successful grant writing—but will require some skill and dedication in that arena. For the time being, we have two new small fundraising efforts that we are promting: (1) our new stickers finally came in, which display the classic slogan: "LEAVING FLORIDA? TAKE A DEVELOPER" suggested donation of $1 a piece and (2) An '08 Full Size activist calendar from the Syracuse Cultural Workers with art and photos of environmental and social issues around the world, $15 each (great holiday season gift!) Some fundraising goals for the future: a bi-annual
newsletter/donations-request mailing; a website or blog page with paypal account; and grant-friendly youth-oriented education/outreach projects.

Best recent letter to the editor
"Remember: Nuclear power isn't really so clean and safe"
Monday, September 10, 2007
This letter is concerning recent articles about the expansion of FPL's Hutchinson Island plant and the subsequent protest that took place last week in Jensen Beach. With all the anxiety about global warming, people seem most worried about how battling the problem will affect
their ability to maintain their "current lifestyle."
Ever since Gov. Charlie Crist announced his environmental goals for Florida — and even well before that — nuclear power has been seen as a viable option. Nuclear doesn't emit CO2, after all. Nuclear power does, however, emit ionized radiation, Strontium-90, and liquid tritium — all of which have been directly linked to cancer (particularly cancer in children). Few people seem to remember a few years back when health investigators found 28 cases of brain and central nervous system cancer in children in the St. Lucie County area. The area was referred to as a "cancer cluster" and FPL faced litigation from two families who claimed their children were affected by emissions.
Just last month, the Hutchinson plant had to shut down one of its reactors to replace a coolant-pump seal, which was leaking radioactive water inside a containment unit. And last year, the St. Lucie plant experienced both a tritium leak (tritium is linked to childhood
leukemia) and "exceeded its maximum power level," which means it may have overheated.
Three accidents in the course of one year; just because none of them led to the next Chernobyl doesn't mean that they're not an indication of just how dangerous things could get.
Moreover, we shouldn't need a nuclear holocaust before we say "no" to nuclear. We already have a silent holocaust called cancer. Embracing nuclear power just to appear eco-friendly in the face of global warming is like teaming up with Jack the Ripper to stop Ted Bundy —
either way, you're going to get killed.

Hope Freid
Port St. Lucie"

*October Meeting announcemnt & updates...

So, our meeting isn't until October 1st (still Pegasus Restaurant, still 7pm, for now), but there is quite a bit going on between now and then. So, get out a pen and calendar…

Monday 9/24
6pm Support the West Palm Food not Bombs group's right to share free food downtown! Food Not Bombs (FNB) is an international grassroots network that gathers food which would otherwise be wasted and prepares it into healthy meals free to all. The West Palm City Commission has proposed an ordinance to push homeless and low-income people out of downtown by restricting groups' rights to offer food at the park in front of the WPB library. FNB will be challenging this ordinance and could use your support.

8pm 'The Martin Show' hosted by Drew Martin will have Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chair of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition live on internet radio. The show is also archived for those who miss it (but it would be great to have some call-ins, for any that will be
listening live!)

Tuesday 9/25
7pm the Acreage Landowners Association will host FPL at their meeting at Seminole Ridge High School, just 5.5 miles away from proposed WCEC power plant site. We invite all concerned residents to join us in speaking out…

Wednesday 9/26
1:30pm PBC Environmental Resource Management 'constituency meeting', open to the public. This is an important meeting on the protecting and maintaining the counties natural areas. Held at the government center at 2300 N. Jog Rd.

Lake Worth City Commission workshop on both the Reverse Osmosis plant (and its controversial wastewater) and the new FMPA gas power plant proposal. For some good perspective on these issues, check out Bill Coakley's article "Millions wasted pursuing growth":

Saturday 9/29
Nuclear Energy: A Safe Alternative? A Journey into FPL's Apparent Alternative Energies, From 11-1pm, at the Vince Bocchino Community Center (2369 NE Dixie Hwy., Stuart, Martin County. Renowned Nuclear industry whistle-blower, Ann Harris, former Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) employee and national executive director of 'We The People', a nuclear employee safety advocacy group, will be speaking. PBCEC will also be presenting our case against the WCEC, juxtaposed with the nuke expansion proposals in Port St. Lucie and Turkey Point, asking the question: "are nukes the solution to climate change disaster?"

7pm Ann Harris will be speaking again in Lake Worth at the Soma Center's Saturday Solidarity event, 609 Lake Ave. She is coming all the way down from Tennessee to talk with us down here, so don't miss her! If you can't make it up to Stuart, come on out to LW and see her in the evening!

Sunday 9/30
6pm Celebrating Women's Work Around the World: Proyecto Tejido Support Mayan women's weaving cooperatives, enjoy authentic Guatemalan music and food, at Les Beans (fair trade) Coffee Shop, 410 2nd Avenue, N, Lake Worth, suggested donation $5

Lake Worth issues
This city, which is the long standing home-base of the PBCEC, has been a very contentious place lately. This week, 3 commissioners (the developers puppets), voted in favor of getting rid of runoff elections in order to limit grassroots participation—the issue will be on the next ballot and must be defeated. And then there is the outfall on the reef; new fossil fuel power plant; landfill scandals; bad beach development plan… most of this can be followed through a great,
recently established website the site includes excellent photos, videos and interviews with local people, as well as well researched articles covering: growth, ecology, environmental justice, corruption, etc.

Turnpike Expansion comments
People have until sept 30th to get comments in writing on this project—which calls itself road 'improvement', but consists of little more than expanding the toll road between the LW and the PGA ramp from 4 to 8 lanes. Both funding and ambition seems to be shaky on this project, so let's give it a push off the cliff. The 'technical compendium' (collection of impact studies) made no reference to greenhouse gases, flying in the face of the Governor's Executive Order on Climate Change. It even tried to claim that accommodating increased traffic would REDUCE Carbon Monoxide (CO) emission by speeding up traffic and spreading it around father (like the argument about smushing-up trash equaling less pollution, this approach is clearly irrelevant to climate change and isn't really so comforting regarding asthma either.) It offered no suggestion of improving public transit access on the road, nor any substantial improvements for wildlife transportation (such as animal underpasses between bordered open space). This is the same ol' story of mistaking bigger for better. Expansion DOES NOT always mean improvement. There has also been no mention of the secondary impact of road expansion: the destructive rock mines needed for paving… hopefully this rant got your brain flowing for a letter written to or sent to Mr. Van Der Heyden, P.E., Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, PO Box 613069, Ocoee, FL 34761-3069 (postmarked by 9/30)… remember to
always ask for a response to your comments/questions.

And while you have your stamps out…
You can address an envelope to the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, 822 North C Street, Lake Worth, FL, 33460, with a check made out to the above named organization. Your loyal ass-kicking voice for the eco-rebellion in Palm Beach County (and beyond) is deeper in debt than usual (yet no less ambitious). What ever you can spare will be greatly appreciated. Especially you who can't make it to meetings, but wonder what you could possibly do to help the PBCEC... cough it up!
Seriously, we are in dire need of a real financial plan and diligent grassroots fundraiser, but in the meantime, we just need to keep bills paid. Please make a contribution. We can offer tax deduction through our non-profit fiscal sponsor. Feel free to get in touch about this, or any other aspect of our pitiful money situation.

panagioti tsolkas, PBCEC Co-Chair
call me at 561-588-9666

*Sun-Sentinel article on FPL Nuke proposals, 9/18

From 9/18 Sun-Sentinel article on the FPL power plant proposals:
"...Environmentalists have protested the new Palm Beach County plant. Several members of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition were arrested in May during a protest at FPL's Juno Beach headquarters."