Thursday, May 29, 2008

PBCEC June Meeting Invite and Digest

Next PBCEC meeting: June 2nd, 7pm at the Friends' Quaker Meeting, 823 North A Street, Lake Worth (We are still using this space on a temporary basis; PBCEC is not directly affiliated with the Quakers or any religious groups)

For those who have not heard, i was arrested at our press conference about our Federal lawsuit on a warrant for Martin County. The arrest appeared retaliatory, in relation to our lawsuits and monitoring efforts. I was released onSunday, with a $5000 bond and am still awaiting details on the charges. Thanks to all who sent good thoughts my way.

Our legal expenses are building up. If anyone feels like donating a days work, or a portion of their 'stimulus' check, or tapping into your secret inheritance.. now might be a good time. We now have a prepared document for donors to receive tax deduction, thanks to our fiscal sponsor. These will be available at the June 2nd meeting (if you cannot make the meeting, but are interested, please get in touch for details).

panagioti tsolkas
PBCEC, co-chair

check out the news stories... pretty crazy stuff.,0,841973.story

Proposed Agenda:
-WCEC fight, updates, organizing, lawsuits, etc.
-Rock mines
-Governors Climate Summit

Upcoming events:

Join us this Saturday for the Kick-Off to Greenpeace's Global Warming Campaign!

Who: Greenpeace, local community members, Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, Palm Beach Community College Ecology Club, Florida Atlantic University Environmental Club, Palm Beach Gardens Green Group

What: Greenpeace is working alongside community members to demanding strong leadership from our representatives to end global warming. The event is free and there will be fun family activities, speakers, music and free food. Bring your friends and family and learn how we can all work together to save our shores and our way of life here in Florida from global warming.
Where: Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, 2500 Jupiter Park Drive, Jupiter, FL 33458.
When: 12:00 to 2:00 Saturday, May 31st
Contact: RSVP to Lauren Thorpe, 845-729-5750,

Message from local Project Hot Seat organize, Lauren:
"The Climate Security bill that all the green groups are talking about recently is also known as the Warner-Lieberman bill and it is not a good global warming bill... Warner-Lieberman falls short of what science says we need to do to stop global warming and gives very generous subsides to Nuclear and other non-renewable sources of energy.

The Safe Climate Act or the Boxer-Sanders bill is the strongest piece of climate legislation out there as of now and this is what were have been focusing on our targeted Reps to sign onto as a step in the ladder of becoming a champion on climate change. here is a link to the bill.
It calls for 80% CO2 reductions by 2050, investment in renewable energy and no hand outs to nuclear or coal. Greenpeace has played an important role in helping to get the 151 co-sponsors of the bill to date. Soon to be 152 by time we mobilize a mass movement down in south Florida like never before!"

RESIST the Greenscare! Eco-Prisoners Solidarity Night
Saturday, June 7, 2008 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
at Les Beans Coffee Shop, 410 2nd Ave N Lake Worth, FL

Contact: Everglades Earth First!, 561 588 9666

Join Everglades Earth First! for a multi-city, webcast discussion with radical environmental author, Derrick Jensen and recently arrested environmental activist Marie Mason. The Q&A will be an interactive experience where people from all over will be able to email questions to Derrick and Marie and a webcast discussion around those questions with Derrik will ensue.

Derrick Jensen is a ground-breaking and critically-acclaimed author speaking on civilization, violence, and resistance to ecological collapse.

Check out for more info. Marie Mason is a loving mother of two and environmental and social justice activist. On March 10 she along with four others were arrested by FBI and homeland security agents and charged with two ELF related actions dating back almost a decade.

Marie's case is the latest development in what has been dubbed the Green Scare, a recent wave of government repression aimed at disrupting and discrediting grassroots environmental activism and criminalizing dissent. See, and more info on the Green Scare, Marie and her case.

Stephanie McMillan will present a slide show of her latest comics and sections of her graphic novel, plus a humorous and inspirational discussion about politics, ecocide, the Evil System, and resistance. Her new graphic novel, co-created with writer Derrick Jensen, is called "As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay In Denial" (Seven Stories Press). In the book, space aliens compete with corporations to eat the planet, bunnies are imprisoned in detention camps, and energy-efficient light bulbs fail to stop global warming. Her website is at

$5 donation/sliding scale, all proceeds go towards Marie Mason defense fund. No one turned away for lack of funds.


Join the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition in our

A PBCEC EcoSocial Event JUNE 16, 7 PM

at Congregation L'dor V'dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road (near Jog Rd.)

There will be entertainment, music, information, socializing, networking & refreshments; Donations towards our legal challenges will be accepted, please inquire about tax deductable options.

Help Us STOP FPL's West County Energy Center!

For almost 2 years, local residents and environmentalists have been fighting to stop construction of Florida Power & Light's proposed 3800 Megawatt power plant in Loxahatchee, 1000 feet from the National Wildlife Refuge. It has been a difficult battle, where FPL has paid off elected officials and environmental groups across the state to stay silent. PBCEC is taking the case to Federal Court and Everglades Earth First! is preparing to put FPL on trial-by-jury in criminal court, with the first case starting on June 17. We need your support!

Event sponsored by Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, PBC Green Party & Everglades Earth First!

For more info contact: Online at:

March on the Mayors:

Right to the City hosts

40th of convening the United States Conference of Mayors in Miami, Florida

June 20-24th. Under the call "Who's City? Our City!," we will mobilize to assert our rights to live, work, play, pray, and govern over the city.

Over the last twenty years, the federal government is cutting programs and services, placing a greater burden on state and city governments. Unable to handle the pressure, cities are using neo-liberal policies and privatization to sell land, programs, and resources to make ends meet. As a result, instead of working with community, labor, cultural, academic and faith-based communities, mayors are cutting deals with luxury developers and multi-national corporations.

Affordable housing, public space, transportation, schools, are all being sold to the highest bidder. Costing us our services, programs, access, resources and, in general, our right to the city.

The movement against gentrification is grow/ing across the United States. We are moving beyond the barrios, beyond the streets, to combat the root causes of displacement, privatization, and poor governance of our cities. Join us as we TAKE BACK THE CITY!

Right to the City is a national alliance of organizations taking back our cities from the throws of gentrification. Led by community-based grassroots organizations, the alliance spans 7 cities and includes legal, media, and academic advocates from across the nation.

Governors Climate Summit, Miami June 25-26
Lets be there outside, with signs, banners and information about our fight, and our disappointment with Crist..

Friday, May 23, 2008

Legal challenge to be filed against FPL's West County Energy Center in Federal court today; 4pm Press Conference

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2008
Contacts: Barry Silver, P.A. (561) 302-1818, David Reiner, P.A. (305) 670-8282,

West Palm Beach, FL- Today, at 4pm, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition will be filing a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief regarding their concerns with FPL's proposed West County Energy Center (WCEC ). A press conference will take place at the Paul F. Rogers Federal Building and US Courthouse, 701 Clematis Street Room 402. The Coalition believes that the power plant and its adjacent pipeline have been illegally under construction since they broke ground last year. The group has pending Administrative Challenges involving three permits at the state level, against the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Today they file in Federal court to address, primarily, the failure of the project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement to assess cumulative and secondary impacts related to the pipeline and power plant. The complaint also addresses violations of RICO and Florida Sunshine Law.

According to plaintiff with the PBCEC, Alexandria Larson: "This project will contribute 12.3 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere; consume 6.5 billion gallons of water; and store 18.9 million gallons of diesel fuel oil on-site, across from the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge." Larson continues, "The plant will need 34 miles of high pressure 36-inch gas pipeline, pumping 345,000dekatherms a day, coming within a mile of Lake Okeechobee, and 290 feet from rock-blasting operations. It's a Molotov cocktail... And it is enough power for over a million new homes spilling across the Everglades Agricultural Area. Where are the cumulative impact reviews!?"

PBCEC Plaintiff, and Co-Chair of the group, Panagioti Tsolkas, added "FPL could be installing solar panels on urban building, as they were told to do last week by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Instead we get more fossil fuel infrastructure sprawling out into our Everglades. This plant will cost ratepayers and taxpayers a fortune to construct and maintain. Gas and oil are the absolute wrong directions for a sustainable energy future. This project never should have broken ground."

The full complaint, along with comments from plaintiffs and attorneys, will be available at the 4pm press conference, in front of the Federal Building on Clematis Street, downtown West Palm Beach.

The other three legal challenges are pending decisions in the Fourth District Court of Appeals and are related to:
-Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) issued by DEP for the Gulfstream phase III gas pipeline
-Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit for a deep-well injection system on the WCEC site
-Gopher Tortoise Relocation permit issued by FWC for impacting tortoises and protected comensal species in the pipeline route

On June 16, 2008 PBCEC will host an informative public social event, 7pm at Congregation L'dor V'dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth. This event will raise awareness about our environmental lawsuits as well the legal cases of FPL protestors going to trial the following Tuesday for their civil disobedience action on the February 18 at the WCEC construction site. All are invited.


Friday, May 16, 2008

PBCEC meeting summary and updates

I want to begin by offering condolences to PBCEC co-chair, Barry Silver, who's father passed last weekend. There is a guest book for posting thoughts and memories available at

On June 8 there will be a Tribute to Rabbi Sam Silver, hosted by the Silver family. The event will include entertainment and rabble-rousing and will be held at Santa Luces High School, from 3pm-6pm. All are invited.

The May 5 PBCEC meeting took place at the Friends' Quaker Meetinghouse in Lake Worth. We discussed: WCEC/pipeline/gas strorage updates, databasing PBCEC participants and contacts, fundraising, Logan Kensing updates, new road updates, sewage outfalls, new rock mines and development in western Palm Beach County, the newly formed Justice League, supporting local community farmers, and other announcements...

Now, for my seemingly-annual Lord of the Rings inspired rant to you all:

...Today is not the time to be sitting the sidelines, South Florida. We are in middle of our real-life equivalent to the battle for Tolkien's Middle-Earth here in the northeast Everglades. Forces of greed and destruction have been amassing in Palm Beach County and the greater Treasure Coast region . Concrete and corruption have been creeping up from Broward and Miami-Dade. The peaceful and rural countryside of western Palm Beach & Martin County is not safe. The gentle shire-folk of the Loxahatchee, the Acreage, Jupiter Farms, Indiantown, Lake Worth, Hobbit Sound (and other communities) are now on the front-lines of an unprovoked war... The PBCEC represents a fellowship of determined underdogs attempting to hold back the developers bulldozers and turn the tide of corruption in order to truly improve our communities by moving towards sustainability and justice... Where do YOU stand?!

Our next meeting will be June 2, again at the Quaker Meeting on 823 North A Street, Lake Worth, (although that is not yet a permanent meeting place for us.) While we are not required to purchase anything (as with the restaurants where we previously met), there is a donations requested for using the space, so please bring some cash to throw in the pot.

panagioti tsolkas,

PBCEC co-chair

(p.s. if anyone on the list is interested in turning these monthly emails into a newsletter of some sort, please get in touch with me)


FPL/WCEC/Pipeline/Gas Storage
Florida Power and Light has become akin to Sauron; their Palm Beach Aggregates' construction site: Mordor. FPL have long been in cahoots with the asphalt-and-concrete mongers, pulling the strings of politicians and bureaucrats (and environmentalists), and the plot continues to thicken, as it nears two years of full-blown opposition to the West County Energy Center and its needed infrastructure (including the Gulfstream phase III pipeline and the Floridian Natural Gas Storage facilities), and its associated greenwashing. Despite FPL Group boasting a 66% profit increase this year (PB Post, 5/1/08), FPL Co. President has begun speaking out AGAINST conservation , claiming it as a threat to the funding of 'clean' nuclear power plants! This company is the primary threat to our ecosystem in terms of air pollution, water consumption, sprawl and political corruption, we are obligated to fight every bad proposal they put before us...

We all know that the solution to the simultaneous energy and climate crisis will never come from the profiteering crooks who created it (and continue to profit off of it AND the false solutions to it). Which is why we are continuing our fight, and expanding it. We are now challenging the Floridian Natural Gas Storage (FGS) proposal in Indiantown. The PBCEC represented strong at the Martin County Commission meeting May 6, and was in the company of the NAACP of Martin County who was there intervening to question the location of the project, which is in close proximity of the historic Black neighborhood, Booker Park. Check out our Motion to Intervene on the FGS project at

The Everglades Earth First! group has taken on a monitoring campaign on the pipeline, in collaboration with the legal challenegs of the PBCEC. We have succeeded at indentifying and protecting unmarked gopher tortoise habitats and other issues. Check out photos

Mark your calendars:
-May 20 will be a PBC County Commission meeting with two WCEC items on the agenda: (1) giving wastewater to FPL for the WCEC (this precious resource should go to a REAL environmental use.. not a fossil fuel power plant) (2) truck transport of fuel oil for the WCEC through the western communities
-June 23-24 Public Service Commission meeting on WCEC unit 3 (submit comments to PSC, tell 'em we want the meeting here locally, as of now it is scheduled to be held in Tallahassee:

Last, we need people speaking up to the local papers. They often times appear to be on the FPL leash with the rest of the lackeys . Send 'em your letters , tell 'em we want real debate on energy options. Check out the latest PB Post disgrace "More Power to FPL"

Oh, the other last thing.. We are also supporting our friends to the south and north who are fighting FPL's nuclear expansion at Turkey Point and Hutchinson Island. Check out a great new anti-nuke article from Miami, "Beachfront Reactors in an Age of Rising Sea Levels"

If you are interested in assisting with this project, please get in touch or if you get these emails and want to help us establish our database, please contact David Simms, ASAP



We are sorely lacking in this area. The PBCEC is well enough established that it could succeed in aquiring grants and large doners, we have not given much energy in this direction. We have a fiscal sponsor who we have not made much use of. If anyone feels inclined to work on this, please get in touch. Ana and Barry offered to work on this, but need help developing fundraising plans. We need some money to keep up this work. Seriously.

FL Marlins/Logan Kensing update

After a series of hateful and violent emails from Logan Kensing supporters, we have increased our efforts to bring attention to the FL Marlins pitcher's cruelty, indifference and wanton disrespect to wildlife. Under the guise of managing wild hogs, Kensing is promoting the eradication of native predator species such as bobcat and coyote. It turns out Kensing may have been violating the federal Airborne Hunting Act makes shooting an animal from a helicopter illegal. He could face a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to 1 year, and forfeiture of
any guns and aircraft involved. The text of the Act is available at,
Congressman Wexlar's office has agreed to pursue the issue. To read a most recent letter from PBCEC participant Marie Zwicker , check out

New Road proposals
We are working on some new literature to explain our position in opposition to all new roads, road extensions and road expansions. DOT money should be used for improving public transit and basic roadway maintenance for safety. New roads will never keep up with traffic congestion until there are real alternatives to the 'single-occupant vehicle' (SOV) phenomenon. The PBCEC is opposing the Seminole Pratt extension, Roebuck Road, SR 7 extension/Acreage Reliever road, Lyons Road, Jog extension, Okeechobee extension, Turnpike expansion and I-95 expansion (I-95 has been declared a 'Corridor of the Future' for the expansion of Free Trade, making it also a global target for activists.)

Sewage Outfall

From : "WE WON! Reef Rescue’s six year crusade to stop the discharge of inadequately treated sewage onto our coral reefs became a realization when the Florida House and Senate unanimously approved legislation to end ocean sewage dumping. Thank you to all who worked to achieve this significant milestone in the preservation of South Florida’s coral reefs and coastal environment." Check out their website for NBC and CBS news coverage.

New Rock Mine and Development approvals
New rock mine proposals are popping up like herpes.. We support our friends with the Everglades Law Center, Sierra and other groups who are standing up to these proposals. Keep an eye on the County Commission for coming hearings..

Massive new development projects are still rolling into the County, despite over half-a-decade of housing on the market. Callery Judge is moving ahead, under a manipulation of the Ag Enclave. They still need approvals from DCA, SFWMD and ACOE. As Rosa Durando asked: "Where is the outfall for all these homes!?" Yes folks-the C-51-more crap into the Lake Worth Lagoon!

June 3, The County will be discussing future development in the Ag Reserve. Let's be there to kick their crooked asses... It's time to put Burt Aaronson in a luxury suite next to Masilotti and Newell.


Join the Justice League

This is a new group of activists, which PBCEC is a part of, seeking to bridge the issues of social justice and environmental justice, human rights and animals rights, etc. They will be meeting the 1st thursday of every month and are planning a counter-Olympics protest on the 3rd Sunday of June to address the human rights violations of the hosting country, China. For more info, contact Barry Silver, 561-483-6900 or

Support Local small farmers and Gardeners
Sun-Sentinel reporter, Ralph De La Cruz, wrote an excellent story 'Therapy grows in Tony's Garden' on our local community farmer. "A lot of people say they are green or support the environment, but they don't get out and sweat and get their hands dirty," Tony Dagher says. Tony is trying to keep those pesky bulldozers off his vegetable gardens in Depray beach. Support him by asking the City of Delray to protect and nurture community gardening. (561) 243-7010 You can also support Tony by buying his delicious vegetable and herb baskets. Place orders at:

-June 7, Friends of Corbett meeting, 10am-2pm, please attend and support/encourage the group in taking a stand on Seminole Pratt extension

-May 17, a new 'Palm Beach County Green Group' will be meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, 7-9pm, Abbey Road Grill/Bar, 10800 N. Military Trail.

-May 30, 'Cancer Project', 8-10pm, On behalf of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Cancer Project will promote nutrition, cancer prevention and planetary awareness/health through everyday dietary choices. At the Quaker Meeting, 823 North A Street. For more info, contact

-Greenpeace and their Project Hotseat is back in town, organizing around climate change in the coming congressional race. for more info, contact:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

MOTION TO INTERVENE on the Floridian Natural Gas Storage LLC in Martin County

By Panagioti Tsolkas and The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

Re: Docket No. CP08-13-000
Pre-File No. PF07-03-000

Pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission´s Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.214(b)(3) the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (¨PBCEC¨), represented by Peter ´Panagioti´ Tsolkas, also representing himself, pro se, moves that he and the group he represents be granted a timely intervention as a party in the above-mentioned proceeding.

PBCEC and Mr. Tsolkas reserve the right to retain counsel if needed.

PBCEC is a group of active participants located in south Florida, spanning across Palm Beach, Martin Counties, and surrounding areas. The group is made of individuals who are ratepaying utility consumers; they meet regularly to address issues of public interest and the environment. The groups sees the long term and cumulative impacts of further dependence on fossil fuel-based energy source as dangerous, both economically and environmentally.

The PBCEC visits, recreates and enjoys public and private land areas that will be impacted, directly and indirectly, through the permitting of the proposed infrastructure project, including but not limited to the DuPuis Wildlife Environmental Area, the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, Hungryland Wildlife Management Area, Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area, the St. Lucie Canal, the L-8 canal, the L-65 canal, Lake Okeechobee, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge; also, the Everglades National Park, the Biscayne National Park, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and every other Federally-protected natural and wild area in the United States which will be effected by fossil fuel infrastructure, its direct impacts and the secondary impacts of anthropogenic climate change contributed to substantially from greenhouse gases, such as CO2, now recognized as a pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For these reason, and others, PBCEC, and Panagioti Tsolkas are entitled to participate through intervention.

The PBCEC has been opposing the Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company, LLC (¨FGS¨ or ¨Applicant¨) liquid natural gas (LNG) proposal in Indiantown since the initiation of NEPA pre-filing process. The PBCEC also challenged a previous LNG proposal, the Seafarer, in Palm Beach County off the coast of Palm Beach island, which was defeated by public interest concerns—economic, safety, and ecological—of U.S. and Bahamian residents (the main terminal was slated for the Bahamas).

PBCEC feels the global gas supply is on a parallel course with the peak oil crisis, and this storage facility is only a short term solution, with many risks associated. Of urgent concern is also the reality that gas-fired power emissions are a primary source of global greenhouse gases, smog-creating ozone, and acid rain.

Gas-fired power plants also contain other harmful emissions that will damage our imperiled Everglades bioregion when burned in Palm Beach County, at the Everglades headwaters of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, as they are doing through the proposed West County Energy Center (¨WCEC¨).

There is also potential risks of disaster to the adjacent Booker Park neighborhood; the local agricultural economy; and the regional ecosystem.

The gas industry proponents have spent a lot of money to buy public favor for this project. But no company comes to town bragging of their pollution. Did the pre-existing facility where FGS is now proposed (formerly operated by Florida Steel, owned by Gerdau Ameristeel) inform the public that it would leave a poisoned Superfund site behind a decade later?

Our group intends to fight this proposal, in favor of clean energy options which are available and must be pursued immediately in order to avert the potentially catastrophic results of climate change; the pollution to our environment; the increased potential for industrial disasters; and the pursuit of unsustainable economics.

For these reasons, and others, the PBCEC finds the FGS in violations of The National Environmental Policy Act (¨NEPA¨), which requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values and public interest into their decision making processes by considering the cumulative impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. To meet this requirement, federal agencies prepare a detailed statement known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). EPA reviews and comments on EISs prepared by other federal agencies, maintains a national filing system for all EISs, and assures that its own actions comply with NEPA. PBCEC has reviewed the FGS Draft EIS and finds that its concerns have not been addressed sufficiently to avert impact to the public and the environment.

The ´Public Outreach and Comments´ section of the Executive Summary (ES-2 and ES-3), neglected to acknowledge PBCEC´s input, as an independent entity present at meetings, was not acknowledged, nor was the input we provided regarding climate change and other issues.

The PBCEC participated in the FGS open house, site visit and public hearing.

Table 2.3-1 of Draft EIS shows that 60.95 acres of land will be directly affected by pipeline construction and 25.30 acres will be affected by operations, this reflects 100-foot-wide construction corridors in uplands, 65-foot-wide construction, leaving 50-foot permanent easment along pipeline. Additional affected acreage is listed under the ´Extra Work Areas´ facility, but these details have not been provided, indicating a failure of a complete EIS.

In Section on Spill Containment, EIS admits that a spill would be ¨temporarily retained within on-site retention areas, with eventual discharge through existing outfalls.¨ No scenarios of potential impact to regional waters are presented for this risk, in order to assess needed mitigation efforts.

Section 3.1 which assesses ´No Action Alternatives´ presumes that ¨potential customers could select other available energy alternatives, such as oil...¨ which would ¨result in higher emission rates of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide¨, but does not address availability of clean, renewable, sustainable energy options, such as various solar technologies that have been proven comperable to fossil fuel, and far superior when considered in full spectrum cost, including coming massive carbon mitigation costs. The section also briefly refers to conservation, but does not explore the full potential for this option, as, we feel, it may limit their investment opportunities. Investment interests are not permitted to take higher priority over public interest. This EIS does not give a sufficient assessment of alternatives.

In 4.1.4 on Geological Hazards, states that ¨plans for surcharging are under development...Detailed plans will be required prior to construction¨. When will these undergo public review? The EIS is incomplete until this is done.

According to 4.3.2, Surface Water Resources, ¨FDEP and Martin County must approve the stormwater management plans for the site through its Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) and Major Development Master Site Plan.¨ This section also reiterates that ¨FGS has not yet provided construction details for [MP 0.60] bore¨, indicating a failure to provide a complete EIS, where complete and cumulative impacts can be reviewed by the necessary agencies and members the public.

Section 4.4.1 on Wetlands indicates that the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) is responsible for approving wetland delineation on site, which includes hydrological connection to ¨waters of the United States¨, subject to COE jurisdiction (Reusch, 2008) Formal determination by COE awaits reviews by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and EPA, again indicating that the EIS does not yet provide a complete assessment of impacts.

4.4.2 Upland Habitat section notes a the Tampa Farms property has a possible temporary storage area of 10.50 acres and Post Family Trust property also has 5 acres of property ¨currently used for cattle grazing...dominated by pine flatwoods.¨ It is suggested that ¨if either or both sites were used, existing vegetation would be cleared¨. This again displays an incomplete EIS. This 15.50 acres requires full review, including Biological Assessments for listed species of plants and animals. offers a Conclusion Regarding Federally Listed Threatened and Endangered Species which states that Applicant has ¨been informally consulting with the FWS, which is the cooperating agency in the preparation of this EIS, regarding Project effects on these listed species...requesting that the FWS consider this draft EIS as our Biological Assesment.¨ This entirely inadequate. As the PBCEC has experienced in other projects connected to this gas infrastructure (including the Gulfstream pipeline and the WCEC), both FWC and FWS have failed to locate listed species and failed to assess cumulative impacts on these imperiled species. PBCEC requests increasing oversight regarding wildlife, not minimizing it, and suggests independent review of site, due to the recent unreliability of State and Federal Biological Assessments in the region.

This section utterly fails to address the cumulative and secondary impacts of the emissions gas-fired power resulting from this storage operation on, which is in violation of NEPA, Florida´s Endangered Species Protection Act and the Native Flora of Florida Act.

Table 4.7-2 shows Land Cover Potentially Affected by LNG Storage Facility Development. which covers Permanent Operations impacts of 144 acres, including 11.33 acres of forest and 14.08 acres of wetlands. Table 4.7-3 shows Land Cover Potentially Affected by Pipeline and Aboveground Facilities, which covers Permanent Operations impacts of 25.30 acres: 7.64 acres of prarie, 8.27 acres forest and shrub land, 1.95 wetland acres.

As indicated by tables above 169.93 acres, some of which is currently in a Superfund site, will be taken away from any future restoration and integration into the rural character of the region, by the FGS proposal, which is another industrial operation with reasonable potential for further contamination. As Figure 4.7-1 of FGS Project Planned Future Project Area Land Use Map illustrates, the current state of the surrounding land is low-density, rural, wild, or agricultural. The map indicates a near-square mile of open land proposed for industrial zoning. The FGS proposal would likely encourage growth in the direction of industrial expansion in this area.

FGS is promoting this facility as an economic opportunity for lower-income Indiantown residents, but is a very short-term economic contributor. Very few permanent jobs—32 according to section 4.8.1—are created outside of the short construction period, and with the end of the fossil fuel era upon on us, the facilities will be an outdated liability before they are likely to offer any significant contribution to the Martin County or Indiantown tax base. Where as employment in agriculture and/or land management offers longer term economic and environmental stability and sustainability.

Martin County is unique in all of southeastern Florida for its rural/wild open space. FGS would be a step in the oppostite direction of protecting, preserving and even restoring that identity.

On page 4-43, Applicant threatens landowners with eminent domain: ¨if an easement cannot be negotiated with a landowner and the Project has been certificated by the FERC, FGS could use the right of eminent domain granted to it¨. Not a very neighborly attitude.

Section 4.10.2 and 4.10.3 On the Native American Consultation Compliance with NHPA. PBCEC acknowledges that it does represent any indigenous community in what is now called Florida, but it seeks to note for the record that it does not see any indication of site visits by the mentioned Tribal representatives, and it does notice any efforts at consultation with the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation of Florida. We also observe that Applicant has not consulted with the SHPO or conducted cultural surveys of the Tampa Farms property or the Post Family Trust property, reflecting an incomplete EIS.

4.11.1 Air Quality. The absence of sufficient air quality monitoring stations renders this EIS section insufficient for accuracy of assessing cumulative impacts to air quality and ongoing monitoring for compliance with permit. The Prevetion of Significant Deterioration (PSD), should be triggered on NOx, CO and respirable particulate matter/´fugitive dust´ (PM/TSP), which exceed PSD levels, for at least the first 2 years of construction, so that a PSD review can take place for that time period. Project Operation may likely exceeds standards on NOx and CO if equipment engine emissions for maintenance work, onsite traffic, etc. were documented.

The PBCEC contends that the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Okeechobee, the J.W. Corbett WMA, the DuPuis WEA should be considered within the Class I area of the Everglades National Park (ENP) due to the hydro-connectivity of regional water bodies and the threat of air pollution travelling south as acid rain or concentrating in regional waters destined for ENP through the evapotranspiration of the rain-driven Everglades watershed.

The Title V program, as described in 40 CFR 70, should be required under the cumulative review of the the FGS project in relation to the surrounding power plants (Barley Barber, Cogentrix) and agricultural operations which would exceed major source levels when combined (see EIS section 4.13.4, Resource-Specific Cumulative Effect Analysis).

While Greenhouse Gas (GHG) is not yet subject to regulation on a national or regional level, it may be done in the time period before this EIS is completed, so it should be taken into full consideration. The statement ¨project operation is likely to cause an overall net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to the increased availability of natural gas as a substitiute for alternative fuels such as oil and coal that emit more CO2 per unity of energy¨ is irrelevant, as it is not based on any timeline for reduction to achieve the level set by the Governor´s Executive Order on Climate Change or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is simply empty rhetoric to win favor for the project.

Simple math of cumulative and secondary impacts tell an entirely different story. The FGS facility itself emits approximately 2 million tons per year for operations. The gas will in turn be burned in power plants, adding tens-of-millions of tons to the CO2 and CO2e. For example, the three FPL proposed or existing gas power plants plant most likely to use the FGS gas—Barley Barber, WCEC, and Riviera Re-Power project—will total over 30 million more tons of GHGs a year. There are no competeing coal or oil facilities to compare with. What we have in front of us is the the mandate from Governor Crist to reduce CO2 emissions 80% below 1990 levels. While current international climate science has been tightening down the reduction schedule, Florida and the U.S. has continued going the wrong direction at a rapid pace. FGS is the wrong way for GHG reduction. Any other position is greenwashing and if you follow the money to the source of the message, it will generally be apparent.

4.12.2 Front-End Engineering Design Review recommendations need to be followed and allowed for public review, especially, but not limited to those which are suggested, ¨Prior to the end of the draft EIS comment period¨. As is stated.

4.12.5 Emergency Response and Evacuation Planning, suggests emergency procedures manuals be prepared prior to commencing operations. They should be available for review prior to commencement.

In accordance with 6 CFR 27.215 ´covered facilities´, which FGS would qualify for under the DHS, must complete a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) which identifies, among other criteria, ¨strategies that reduce the probability of a successful attack or reduce the probable degree of success.¨

4.12.6 Terrorism and Security Issues, EIS states that the likelihood of future acts of sabotage is unpredictable given the disparate motives and abilities, and then goes on to assert that ´The need to construct facilities to support the future natural gas pipeline infrastructure is not diminished from the threat of any such unpredictable acts.¨

The PBCEC feels that this position of the EIS is contrary to public interest, and reflects only the monetary interests of the industry it speaks of. Centralized power infrastructure makes communities vulnerable to sabotage unnecessarily, considering that safe, distributed generation options exist and are available now.

More over, the energy sector, with its legacy of monopoly and political influence, has made itself a target by flaunting its greed and arrogance in the face of those it exploits and disregards to extract the desired high-profit resources. The political, economic and environmental climate has created the context where sabotaging energy infrastructure is regarded as a heroic act of rebellion.

This may apply even more so in FGS´s circumstances in south FLorida, where 4 years ago, the wealthy, white community of Palm Beach Shores (on Palm Beach Island) successfully deflected an LNG proposal in their community (Seafarer Pipeline) and now a new similar proposal has re-surfaced neighboring one of the lowest-income working-class rural communities of color in the region. The PBCEC has been inquiring about environmental racism at public hearings, of which nothing was included in the EIS.

The report ¨Environmental Racism and Biased Methods of Risk Assessment¨ by Daniel C. Wigley & Kristin S. Shrader-Frechette, notes that: ¨Because there is growing national concern that disparities in environmental and health risks are related to race and socioeconomic status, preventing environmental racism and promoting environmental justice is now a top priority on the public health agenda of the U.S. Environmental justice is the attempt to accord all people -- regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, age or gender -- equal protection and equal opportunity in matters of environmental degradation and resource consumption... On February 11, 1994, [President Clinton] signed Executive Order 12898 that directs each federal agency to develop an environmental justice strategy for "identifying and addressing... disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations...environmental injustice and racism occur not only when policymakers violate minorities' rights to free informed consent or equal treatment in siting decisions but also when risk assessors use biased scientific methods whose policy consequences de facto result in unjustified discrimination against people of color and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups...[R]isk assessors are neither innocent nor ignorant of the fact that the f[l]awed EIS encourages imposing inequitable risk on socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. As a result, using the methodologically biased EIS appears to encourage unjustified discrimination against people of color.¨

PBCEC feels the FGS EIS fails to recognize this Executive Order, and while we do not claim to represent the Booker Park neighborhood in Indiantown, we have observed that the EIS is failing to accurately assess the safety risks and the cumulative impacts to health, safety and quality of life to that neighborhood, in violation of NEPA.

4.13 Cumulative Impacts, this section represents the most important assessments of an EIS from the environmental perspective. CEQ defines cumulative impacts in the EIS as the ¨impacts on the environment which result from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions.¨

Water Resources:
It is stated that the Project would have a long term affect on water resources, but from earleir in the EIS it is clear that this impact is not known. neither for quality nor quantity issues. No reference to SFWMD Consumptive use permit was found in the EIS. The total amount of water consumed is unclear. No reference to contaminants in the wastewater were found, let alone the cumulative impacts of contributing industrial effluent into existing pollution levels. For example, will this facility use a chromium of some sort for washing equipment, as most gas facilities do? How much? How will it be disposed of?

Vegetation and Wildlife:
The Project would permanently affect 78.40 acres of vegetation that provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. The EIS comments on ¨the proliferation of invasive and exotic species¨ as ¨a major issue in Florida.¨ The EIS suggests a removal of australian pine and brazillian pepper, but does not ensure comittment of native re-vegetation. The EIS notes three significant development plans, one of which is larger than Indiantown's entire populated land mass. No acreage is listed for these combined developments. It appears to be in the thousand of acres of land taken from the current pool of open space, which is dominated by large areas of open prarie and pine flatwoods. The EIS contends that ¨these habitat types are common throughout the region and likely would not provide significant wildlife habitat. Ther majority of wildlife species displaced by these projections would likely be able to relocate and would not suffer long-term, population-level impacts to biodiversity within the region. Therefore, there would be no significant cumulative impact to wildlife resources.¨

WHO WROTE THIS GARBAGE?! This is an embarassment to the tax-paying public who expects professional oversight to protect the quality of life, natural resources and wildlife habitat that is left on this planet.

The EIS has already admitted, noted above, that no FWS input has been received, so who is it that is expressing this utter idiocy regarding ´vegetation and wildlife´?

Where to begin.. The PBCEC feels that pine flatwoods and open prarie are far from worthless habitat. This contradicts the EIS, which in fact states that ¨These habitats provide cover and forage for avian and wildlife species including loggerhead shrike, ground dove, common nighthawk, American robin, feral hog, raccoon, armadillo, coyote, white-tailed deer, and black racer... The transmission line right-of-way...provides quality habitat for typical pine flatwoods such as the gopher tortoise.¨

¨Unlike most other grasslands in the southeastern United States, Florida dry prarie harbors numerous endemic vertebrates (FWS, 1991), Several rare avian taxa are near endemic to the dry prarie region of south-central Florida.Both breeding and seasonal migrants use dry praries extensively.¨

Along with habitat loss, the development excused by the EIS in section 4.13.4 completely ignores wildlife loss from roadkill and even the value of agricultural land to many species. If the EIS favoring public interest and the environment, it could have touted the coming restoration of the Everglades (which is a multi billion tax dollar endeavor) and an improving land ethic that could one day, perhaps, invite back the Florida Panther to the east side of the lake. The FGS proposal, the future traffic and industrialization coming behind it, and the cumulative air and water pollution that comes with it, robs the public of expected and deserved protections.

PBCEC also feels that the reality of climate change is a violation of the Endangered Species Act seriously threatening several federally-listed species in Florida, including, but not limited to: Florida Panther and the Staghorn Coral.

PBCEC disagrees with the statement that ¨The current and potential future actions in the Project area would similarly provide economic benefits through increased employment opportunities and payment of taxes.¨ We found no back-up information to qualitfy this statement from an expert source. Again, it appears to be another position intended to promote the Project under EIS review, rather than provide an objective analysis. The PBCEC would like to see where this position on the economic benefits orginated, and review any assessment to ensure that it takes the financial costs of coming carbon constraints into consideration.

PBCEC final summary:
-The project is not needed.
-The EIS is lacking important information for adequate oversight
-EIS Approval is enabling risks, rather than abating them
-Clean, renewable, low-risk, low-impact energy alternatives exist and have not been explored.
-Full impact to waters of the U.S. have not been addressed.
-Thorough review of threatened/endangered species, and their habitats, has not occurred.

For these reasons, and more, we request to be intervenors in order to stop the EIS from being issued. Many communities across the U.S. have fought LNG proposals and won. Please look closely at this project. Future generations depend on your decisions today.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me: 561-588-9666

Panagioti Tsolkas,
co-chair, PBC Environmental Coalition

Lies from FPL elite fuel the rise of grassroots energy activists

submitted to Palm Beach Post, 5/2/08

This weeks wisdom from multi-millionaire FPL president Armando Olivera (April 29, letter to the editor): "Over-reliance on conservation...will leave cutomers vulnerable to higher rates and decreased reliability". The letter's title, which read "Conservation a top priority for industry leader FPL", was misleading at best and utter deception otherwise. It is no secret that FPL's top priority is profit, and it is becoming unveiled that a focus on conservation and efficiency is not the direction that their investors expect them to go.

FPL is the single-most politically influential corporate interest in the State. It not surprising that they intend to maintain ultimate control over energy options. This is the same reality that landed the entire country in the Oil Regime of the Bush/Cheney empire.

Olivera makes it clear in his letter that conservation will never surpass their new Governor-backed nuclear priority. And reading other FPL headlines this week in the Post, it is apparent that gas-fired power will also continue to increase, despite a declining demand for power. Regardless of FPL's expensive public relations spin, the messages are loud and clear: conservation will never meet the corporate bottom line; if you continue to use less, we will charge you more for it.

The centralized power monopoly is already a dinosaur of the past. But the larger we let it expand with its last dying gasps, the harder and more brutal it will fall on top of us. Its time to usher in a new grassroots movement for energy justice and distributed, localized power generation. For Florida activists, FPL and their new pet-Governor are target number one.

For perspectives from the frontlines of battle with the energy empire, check out the newly released working document from the Florida Green Party and the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition:

Panagioti Tsolkas
co-chair, Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

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Florida Marlins and Logan Kensing

Kensing stands over juvenile native bobcat shot from helicopter, contradicting the baseball players claim of managing exotic feral hogs

On February 21, 2008 a 60-Second Interview with Marlin's pitcher Logan Kensing was printed in the Palm Beach Post (PBP) newspaper. When asked what was the most interesting thing he did during off-season, Kensing replied "shot pigs out of a helicopter" on his ranch in Texas. He also stated "you can shoot bobcats, wild dogs, coyotes, pigs. Anything that's native". He also stated "The pilot's pretty good. He gets right next to them. We spot them, he flies in sideways, glides and we shoot them". His tone appeared to take sadistic pleasure in telling of how he killed animals from the helicopter. When asked how the helicopter experience would make him a better pitcher, he responded "It makes me know I want one, so I need to make more money".

Upon reading this, a local environmental group, Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) considered that this was very troubling and did not present a good role model for children and youth who traditionally look up to sports figures as it appeared to sanction thrill-killing of animals in an unsportsmanlike manner. It did not portray an attitude and sensitivity toward animals that was healthy. One does not have to look far to see voluminous research that shows a direct relationship between animal cruelty/abuse with other forms of violent crime and abuse.

A letter was sent to the Florida Marlins General Manager Michael Hill and Owner Jeffrey Loria by a co-chair of PBCEC, expressing these concerns and requesting them not to sanction animal cruelty and to reprimand him. The Marlins officials did not respond in any way that indicated they disagreed with what Kensing was doing. Kensing himself was unapologetic for his actions and stated "It doesn't bother me. They can come at me if they want to".

In subsequent statements Kensing appeared to backpedal and to attempt some whitewashing of his helicopter killing adventures. His statements focused on how he was protecting his land from marauding non-native wild pigs. But a picture of him in a subsequent article in dated March 31, 2008 showed him holding the ear of a bobcat killed from the helicopter. This article and a follow-up article in the PBP dated April 17, 2008 resulted in an onslaught of hatemail against PBCEC and the "animal rights wackos" (one of the milder terms used) who dared to criticize Kensing's behavior. One writer went so far as to state that he was thusly "inspired" by PBCEC's criticism of Kensing to go out and kill a yearling coyote pup. The writer even sent a picture of the killed pup , whose "eyes literally popped out of his sockets" in the words of the killer, to PBCEC. His 7-year-old son was also in the picture, holding the ear of the dead coyote yearling pup.

Unfortunately this attitude of disrespect for and wanton killing of animals and the horrible message it sends to children is all too prevalent in our society, perpetuating the tragedy and travesty. We ask for your support and urge you to contact the General Manager and Owner of the Florida Marlins to express your horror and outrage at the behavior and publicized attitude of their pitcher Logan Kensing and their apparent sanctioning of and acquiescense to that behavior. Kensing can also be reached through the address below to let him know what you think of him and his actions. Thank you for your help.

Marie Zwicker, member PBCEC

Please send comments to:

Jeffrey Loria, Owner and
Michael Hill, General Manager
The Florida Marlins
Dolphins Stadium
2267 N.W. 199th Avenue
Miami, FL 33056