Governor Charlie Crist
RE: WILL YOU HELP CURB GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS?
Dear Governor Crist:
The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) is thrilled to finally have a Governor who speaks out for the environment. Your state-wide initiative to curb greenhouse gases is a breath of fresh air which our coalition strongly supports.
While we applaud your efforts to confront this unprecedented threat to our planet, our concerns about the West County Energy Center (WCEC) have been ignored by your office, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and other State agencies. The emission of an estimated 8.5 to 13.5 million tons of greenhouse gases per year, millions of tons of other noxious gases released just a stone’s throw away from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and the consumption of over 6.5 billion gallons of water each year by this power plant flies in the face of your stated initiatives, and cannot be ignored. Your initiatives to require state agencies to become more energy efficient, while ignoring this massive assault upon the atmosphere, is equivalent to serving a cool drink to the passengers of the Titanic before it hits the iceberg. Moreover, this power plant is unnecessary because it was designed in large part to serve the needs of a predicted population growth in
Under the previous administration such comments by the DEP and acquiescence from the Governor’s office were typical. However, we expect much more from your enlightened leadership. Moreover, under the recent decision of the Commonwealth of Massachusettes vs. the EPA, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the emission of greenhouse gases can no longer be ignored by agencies which are entrusted to protect our air, land and water, such as the Florida DEP. Thus Mr. Sole’s comments are not only irresponsible, they are also a flagrant violation of the law. As our coalition successfully spearheaded the legal and political challenge against the State’s effort to place Scripps on Mecca Farms, our coalition is now mobilizing our community to oppose this unnecessary power plant. Once the people have been informed about this issue, they have rallied to our side. We have also filed several legal challenges to the WCEC. As with Scripps, we expect a victory in this effort as well. While we succeeded in our struggle to move Scripps off of Mecca Farms, this came only after the State and County squandered over $100 million of taxpayer’s dollars in their futile defense and plans to move forward with this ill-fated decision, and is a large part of the reason why the State must now hold a special session to try to recoup this expenditure form the taxpayers. If you want to lower taxes in this special session, pull the plug on the power plant, encourage conservation and the use of alternative energy, and then you won’t have to cut vital services such as law enforcement, wildlife management, education and critically needed services to the poor.
We appreciate your stated desire to combat climate change, and have publicly stated so. However, should you not advise us within 10 days of this letter of your agreement to work with us to pull the plug on the WCEC, we shall inform the public of the discrepancy between your words and deeds on this vital issue. We would much prefer to be able to inform the public that they have a Governor who is making great strides in environmental protection and lowering taxes, and whose deeds are consistent with his lofty statements. Thus we eagerly anticipate your cooperation, and stand ready to commit all of our resources to working with you to accomplish your worthy goals.
Barry Silver and Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chairs of the PBCEC
cc: Sierra Club, Audubon Society, 1000 Friends of Florida, WWF et al.