Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thomas Saporito to Speak to the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition About FPL’s Application to the NRC to Build Two More Nuclear Power Plants...

Versus Renewable Solar and Wind Energy Systems

News for Immediate Release
Date: 12 DEC 2009: Contact: Thomas Saporito: 561-972-8363

On Monday, December 14, 2009, Thomas Saporito will speak at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition (PBEC) about FPL’s application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build two more nuclear power plants at the existing Turkey Point nuclear site in Homestead, Florida.

The PBCEC meeting will begin at 7:00 pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 823 North “A” Street, Lake Worth, Florida.

Link to PBCEC:

According to Saporito, “The State of Florida does not need any more nuclear power plants to meet the future energy needs of our state. Instead, FPL and Progress Energy should concentrate their resources to providing their residential and commercial customers with lease-to-own renewable solar voltaic and wind energy systems. These renewable energy systems are tied to the FPL or PE common electric grid through Florida’s net-metering law which requires the electric utility to pay the customer for excess electric power generated back to the grid. A properly designed system can completely offset 100% of a customers electric bill.”

“Clearly, clean, renewable electric systems are the future of Florida – not nuclear power which generates tons and tons of high-level nuclear waste which must be indefinitely stored at the utility’s nuclear plant site.” Saporito said.

Food for thought – if the majority of FPL and PE customers were to install solar and wind electric systems on their homes – FPL and PE would actually have to start shutting down existing power plants. Its time for the Florida Public Service Commission to step up to the plate and be an advocate for the Florida consumers in this regard instead of allowing FPL and PE to pre-charge their customers for the cost of building more nuclear power plants in Florida.

Please visit for more information on solar and wind electric systems.

<<< End >>>

PBCEC Update: N30 report, 12/14/09 meeting reminder, updates and events

Palm Beach Post coverage of PBCEC's Nov 30 meeting with DEP and EPA:

Unfortunately, the Post coverage did not go reflect the actual content of the meeting, and the struggle that proceeded it. The PBCEC coordinated an uphill effort to bring together diverse concerns relevant to greenhouse gas monitoring and regulation and present them to local/state DEP and Federal EPA representatives. After having DEP Southeast Director, Jack Long, attempt to limit participation to 8 people, deny media entry and threats of parking violation against meeting participants, we succeeded in having 16 people present (including photographer and videographer) and a conference call accessible to the public, which over a dozen listened in on, including administrators from other State agencies...

For our full N30 story:

For news from N30 actions around the U.S.:

Next PBCEC meeting Dec 14th, 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 823 North A Street, Lake Worth

Proposed Agenda:
-FPL and the DEP (updates from N30 meeting, 350 campaign, next steps, Dec 18 plan)
-Scripps (upcoming hearing Jan 14, 7pm at Palm Beach Gardens City Hall)
-Updates from recent County, District and Legislative meetings (offshore drilling, rock mines, landfills, etc.)
-Dec 17, Inland Port hearing (Port of Palm Beach)
-Environmental racism in Riviera Beach (FPL) and Lake Worth (Sun Recycling)
-Nuclear power and early cost recovery (joining statewide campaign)

Events Calendar and Updates:

Sat. Dec 12, Grand Opening of Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center (new office of PBCEC) Music, Food, introduction to the space, 4-8pm, 1307 Central Terrace, Lake Worth (at the corner of G Street and 13 Ave. north)

Sun. Dec 13, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Candle Vigil and Ringing of Bells regarding U.N. Climate Summit and 350 ppm CO2 as part of regular Network of Spiritual Progressives of Palm Beach County Meeting. Meeting location is 2011 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach at the Church of Our Saviour MCC.

Some background on the upcoming contract for the Waste Transfer Dump (Sun 'Recycling') perpetuating environmental racism in the Osbourne Community

Updates on the Eagle Training Center in Venus
Just a reminder to call, write, email or other contact to ask Highland County Commissioners to "recind" the two remaining issues we must get rid of regarding the changes opening more pathways to environmental degradation of our land and peaceful way of life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Report from PBCEC's N30 meeting with DEP and EPA

Regarding FPL powerplants in South Florida

Palm Beach Post coverage of PBCEC's Nov 30 meeting with DEP and EPA:

Unfortunately, the Post coverage did not go reflect the actual content of the meeting, and the struggle that proceeded it. The PBCEC coordinated an uphill effort to bring together diverse concerns relevant to greenhouse gas monitoring and regulation and present them to local/state DEP and Federal EPA representatives. After having DEP Southeast Director, Jack Long, attempt to limit participation to 8 people, deny media entry and threats of parking violation against meeting participants, we succeeded in having 16 people present (including photographer and videographer) and a conference call accessible to the public, which over a dozen listened in on, including administrators from other State agencies.

When a final group was told to leave the building by West Palm Beach Police, they refused without a written explanation of why they were being forced from a building which State and Federal public dollars pay for. The police backed down, and remaining meeting participants left on their own terms (no parking tickets!)

The following day, DEP's Jack Long (who passed the buck at every opportunity) accused PBCEC's letter of threatening him. Long filed a formal complaint with the WPB Police. No legal action has been taken against anyone yet.
[View letter: ]

Despite the DEP's efforts to intimidate us, we maintain a position that Jack Long, as well as his higher-ups in Tallahassee (Mike Halpin and Michael Sole) who have signed off on countless permits for pollution and sprawl, are not fit to direct environmental protection efforts for Florida. More specifically, we feel these individuals, along with other agencies (such as the Public Service Commission) knowingly assisted companies such as FPL in maximizing permits for carbon-intensive applications prior to the establishment carbon regulations. Our estimation is that their actions resulted in the permit approvals for 20-30 million tons of greenhouse gases (specifically related to power plants and fossil fuel infrastructure) that would not have been needed if growth projections, efficiency standards and renewable options were assessed in favor of the public rather than corporate profits.

We consider these actions to be collaboration with a massive assault (at the least, acts of criminal negligence) against millions of unsuspecting victims, impacting billions of dollars in public and private property.

Finally, we feel that the future monitoring and regulation of greenhouse gases will not be sufficient. A true pursuit of climate justice means not only removing corrupt agency heads and revoking permits that were granted in excess attempting to skirt the costs associated with future carbon reduction, but preparing to compensate people both who will face the effects of sea level rise and those who have been poisoned by air pollution as a result of fabricated dependency on fossil fuel.

There is no reason that a reasonable person should settle for less.

Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair, PBC Environmental Coalition

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

N30: Letter delivered to Jack Long, Southeast District Florida DEP Director

Nov. 30, 2009

First, thank you for meeting with us today, Jack. We have gathered that there are many pressures and potential obstacles regarding this event. We also realize that there is a new level of dialogue occurring at a Federal and global level on the subject of monitoring carbon emissions. We feel that now is the time to act, while support for cutting carbon emissions is growing.

We have come here in the spirit of openness, in the interest of finding out what the Southeast DEP District can contribute to the urgency we are facing with a looming climate crisis—a crisis which threatens to exacerbate all ecological and financial dilemmas facing the people of this state, the country and the planet.

At the surface we are talking about carbon emissions, but on a deeper level we are addressing the continued poisoning of the public for private profits. This is a systemic problem. With your pen you can cause greater impacts to the planet than the rest of us in the room will likely cause in our lifetimes.

Since our Governor called a statewide summit on climate change in the spring of 2007, there has been no concrete steps towards tracking carbon emissions through monitoring in order to reduce them. I have personally taken part in meetings held by task forces, boards and agencies across the state discussing the threats of climate change; I have read studies and resolutions from multiple public agencies.

Meetings, studies and resolutions do not lower carbon in the atmosphere. It takes real action of the sort that DEP is mandated by the State of Florida to carry out through monitoring, regulation and enforcement.

There is no justification for waiting two and a half years to begin monitoring greenhouse gases such as CO2 in the permits you are frequently approving. In order to make the serious cuts that accepted international science has illustrated the need for, monitoring is the clear and easy first step. There is no excuse for further stagnation, except that energy corporations such as FPL do not want to risk their profits in the process of emissions reduction.

This is unacceptable. Knowingly allowing the permitting of unmonitored carbon emissions is a grave and criminal negligence in violation of your mandate to protect the environment. There is no excuse for waiting. While the DEP cannot sink below EPA standards, you are able to improve upon them in the interests of the people of this State. We consider the failure to do so an act with criminal intent.

Ten years ago this day, I sat in a Seattle jail cell for taking part in the protests during the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings. After 5 days in jail, I was released without criminal charges. The reason I was there is the same reason I am here today—to ensure that the protection of public interest surpasses the permitting of rampant corporate greed which threatens the planet and its people.

Today we ask you, Jack Long, as the Director of the Southeast Florida DEP District to send the following message to Tallahassee, Washington D.C. and Copenhagen, Denmark:

"We cannot wait longer; it is in the interest of both our local region and the world around us to take effective action; this District office will an agree by December 7, the start U.N. Climate Talks, to monitor emissions."

If our fair and reasonable request cannot be met by negotiation with this public agency, we will consider you to be working in
collaboration with an unjust corporate energy empire and we will pursue a campaign of direct action and civil disobedience to confront and expose you for knowingly putting our communities and ecosystems in danger.

-Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair PBC Environmental Coalition

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chronology of recent communication between PBCEC, DEP and EPA

[What follows is a long series of communications, primarily between panagioti tsolkas of the PBCEC and Jack Long of the DEP, leading up to the scheduled Nov. 30 meeting. Extraneous portions of the emails have been cut for readability, but the email text remains wholly intact.]


From: PBC EnviroCoalition []
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 11:24 AM
Subject: To EPA region 4 and FDEP, re: scheduled climate change meeting in
EPA office last Friday

Mr. Mediema (and whom else it may concern),

As I imagine you have heard by now, the noon meeting we had scheduled on Friday morning, Oct 23, was obstructed by West Palm Beach law enforcement. Our groups was not able to pass into the building until after 1pm, and even then only 2 were given permission to pass, while all others were threatened with arrest for their interest in dialogue with Federal and State agency representatives.

I was also informed later that FDEP employees were instructed to avoid communication with our group, despite multiple cordial, formal efforts in the weeks leading up to Oct 23 to coordinate communication with them. We are disappointed yet, not deterred. We, the people involved with the '350' mobilization of October 24, 2009, are requesting a follow up joint meeting with staff of EPA and DEP next month, on November 30, at 12 noon.

I know that your offices have collaborated in the past, such as in the Project XL, and we ask that you can do so again for the purpose of beginning to communicate directly with the public regarding the monitoring and regulation of carbon emissions and, in particular, the impacts of coming climate change on the wetlands and coastlines of Florida.

The primary subject we are looking to address is WHEN the State of Florida will begin monitoring and regulating impacts from industrial carbon emission. Tools and legal opinions are in place at a State and Federal level to begin this now. Instead environmental permitting continues in a business-as-usual fashion, without even monitoring industrial levels of CO2.

We hope you will accommodate this request for a meeting by opening a conference room to address this urgent question, which is becoming a source of great frustration for many environmentally concerned residents in Florida. Please reply to notify us of your decision on this request.

If we do not receive a response to this request, we will assume that you are not interested in addressing our concerns and frustrations in a public manner.

In this case, we will choose to conduct this public meeting in your absence, in either the office of the DEP or the EPA, depending on which agency's conference room will be available to us with the least interference in the agencies' daily operations. We feel that it is within our right, under the United States and Florida Constitutions, to make a reasonable request to seek redress for grievances from the government. We feel this includes making a statement that the appropriate agencies will hear, inside their public offices.

This risk posed by climate change is imminent. According to the best science available to the public, the action we take (or fail to take) today will impact people, property and the planet for generations. Pressuring agencies with enforcement capacity is the only option available to us in order to remedy this imminent threat. If we fail to take bold action to initiate strong, quick protections which reduce carbon emissions drastically (over 80% of 1990 levels), we feel we are all liable for a criminal negligence which could devastate the health and environment of future generations.

Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair of Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition
s/panagioti tsolkas

Richard Harvey, EPA, Director of South Florida OFFICE
Jack Long, Director of FDEP southeast regional office
Dan Liftman, aid to Congressman Alcee Hastings
Barry Silver, PBCEC co-chair, attorney
Bobette Wolesensky, Greenpeace, lead organizer
Ed Tichner, Reef Rescue
Bonnie Redding, PBC Green Party
Everglades Earth First!
Paul Quinlan, Palm Beach Post


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition
cc "Aldama Harmon, Gloria" ,
"Yon, Mary Jean" ,
"Kahn, Joseph" ,,
"Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Anderson, Lennon"
date Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 9:20 AM
subject RE: To EPA region 4 and FDEP, re: scheduled climate change meeting in EPA

Mr. Tsolkas:

I would be pleased to meet with a delegation of the PBC Environmental Coalition at the end of November.

Please call Ms. Gloria Aldama-Harmon around mid-November in order to discuss the details. We are undergoing renovations at our Offices, so we may be somewhat limited in the number of Folks we can accommodate.

May I suggest that you invite an EPA representative to attend that meeting. I think that would be useful, in terms of giving your delegation the federal perspective.

Thank you.

Jack Long

The Department of Environmental

Protection values your feedback as a customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously assessing and

improving the level and quality of services provided to you. Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of

service you received. Copy the url below to a web browser to complete the DEP

survey: Thank you in advance for completing the survey.


from PBC EnviroCoalition
to "Aldama Harmon, Gloria"
cc "Long, Jack" ,
"Yon, Mary Jean" ,
"Kahn, Joseph" ,,
"Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Anderson, Lennon",

date Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 12:19 AM
subject Gloria Aldama-Harmon.. Re: To EPA region 4 and FDEP, re: scheduled climate change meeting in EPA office last Friday

Hello Ms. Aldama-Harmon,
I was encouraged by Jack Long to communicate with you for beginning to plan a public meeting regarding the monitoring and regulation of carbon emissions.

We will be planning this meeting for Monday, November 30, at 12 noon in the DEP/EPA office building. I was also encouraged by Jack to invite participation from EPA representatives. I have not yet heard back from their regional office. Perhaps you are in communication with their staff?

We would like to know what the carrying capacity is for available conference rooms (as per fire code), so that we may determine how many representatives and participants we can safely invite into the meeting.

I look forward to working with you and others in your staff towards making this important event a success. Email is my preferred means of communication. Hopefully this works for you as well.

Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair, PBCEC


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition
cc "Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Aldama Harmon, Gloria" ,
"Yon, Mary Jean" ,
"Gaskin, Carla A." ,
"Morrison, Dana" ,
"Kahn, Joseph"
date Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 3:27 PM
subject Nov. 30, 2009 Meeting With A Delegation From The PBC EnviroCoalition (Not a "Public Meeting")

Mr. Tsolkas:

1. Thank you for your October 31, 2009 e-mail to my Assistant, Ms. Gloria Aldama- Harmon.

2. In my October 27, 2009 e-mail to you, I advised you that I would be willing to meet with a “delegation” from the PBC EnviroCoalition at the end of November.

3. In the first paragraph of your aforesaid e-mail, you make reference to a “public meeting”. Please be advised that there will not be a “public meeting”.

4. Our Public Meeting Room will be under construction during portions of the months of November and December. In any event, our Public Meeting Room shall not be made available to the PBC EnviroCoalition.

5. I will use my Conference Room to meet for one (1) hour with a delegation of not more than eight (8) Members of the PBC EnviroCoalition.

6. This shall be a private meeting with an eight-person-delegation (or fewer, if you so choose) of your Members. No media representatives shall be invited. (Just so that there is no misunderstanding, if you were to arrive with any members of the media, the meeting shall be cancelled.)

7. Please send Ms. Aldama-Harmon a list of the topics you would like to discuss, and we shall establish an Agenda for the one-hour meeting.

8. Please communicate with Ms. Aldama-Harmon as to the time of the proposed meeting, obtaining Visitor Passes for your delegation, etc.

Thank you.

Jack Long

District Director
Department of Environmental Protection
Southeast District Office
West Palm Beach, Florida

Florida’s Water - Ours to Protect: Check out the latest information on Florida Water Issues at presented by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition
cc "Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Aldama Harmon, Gloria" ,
"Gaskin, Carla A." ,
"Morrison, Dana" ,
"Kahn, Joseph"
date Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM
subject RE: Nov. 30, 2009 Meeting With A Delegation From The PBC EnviroCoalition (Not a "Public Meeting")

Mr. Tsolkas,

With respect to this morning’s telephone conversation, let me reiterate that there will not be a “public meeting”. Please re-read my November 4, 2009 e-mail to you (it is set forth immediately below this e-mail).

And, I have not received an e-mail from you in response to my aforesaid e-mail. In terms of logistics, please see # 7 and 8 of my aforesaid e-mail.

Thank you.


from PBC EnviroCoalition
to "Long, Jack"
date Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 1:46 PM
subject Re: Nov. 30, 2009 Meeting With A Delegation From The PBC EnviroCoalition (Not a "Public Meeting")

Mr. Long,
Thank you for clarifying this. I'm glad we made contact, as i did not see your previous email in my inbox.

The date our group is planning for is November 30, after 12 noon (I would like to propose 1pm-2pm).

I will communicate with Ms. Aldama-Harmon to confirm time, establish an agenda and secure visitor passes for those attending our one hour 'private meeting'.

As you suggested earlier, there should also be an EPA representative present. I would like to ask you to extend a personal invitation to have an EPA representative join us, either in person or by phone.

Panagioti Tsolkas


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition
cc "Aldama Harmon, Gloria" ,
"Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Gaskin, Carla A." ,
"Morrison, Dana" ,
"Kahn, Joseph"
date Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 1:57 PM
subject RE: Nov. 30, 2009 Meeting With A Delegation From The PBC EnviroCoalition (Not a "Public Meeting")

Mr. Tsolkas,

Thank you for your message. Ms. Aldama-Harmon will wait for your call.

I will let you deal with inviting a Representative from EPA. You told me that you have the necessary numbers, and I believe that you met with EPA Representatives the last time you were here.

Thank you.

Jack Long


from PBC EnviroCoalition
date Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 5:09 PM
subject Re: Nov. 30, 2009 Meeting With A Delegation from the PBC Environmental Coalition on Carbon Emissions & Climate Justice

Gloria, I tried calling around 4pm, but you were out. Here is the list of names we will be trying to narrow down over the weekend, our preference, of course, is to have all who have expressed interest be able to attend:

I will call you on monday to confirm.

1. Panagioti Tsolkas
2. Barry Silver
3. Ana Rodriguez
4. Bobette Wolesensky
5. Bobby C. Billie, Independant Traditional Seminole Nation (he has
informed me that he is requesting two additional people from his
group, i do not have their names yet)
6. Staci-lee Sherwood
7. Alfred Lark
8. John Barlow
9. Dan Liftman

There are several other individuals, many either long time community
leaders or young students who have have expressed interest:
10. Alexandria Larson
11. Rosa Durando
12. Tess Bath
13. Evy Grachow
14. Christian Minaya
15. Kyle Krakow
16. Marty Sullivan
17.Diane Sullivan
18. Ed Tichnor
19. (PBCC student)


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition
cc "Anderson, Lennon" ,
"Aldama Harmon, Gloria" ,
"Morrison, Dana" ,
"Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Offord, Bruce" ,
"Hoefert, Lee"
date Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM
subject AGENDA & PROCEDURES // November 30, 2009 Meeting Re Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mr. Tsolkas,

Gloria sent me a copy of your November 20, 2009 e-mail.

Let me try to make this clear: Eight people, and only eight people. In other works, you and seven other people. No more than a total of eight persons will be permitted to enter our Offices.

You and your seven Colleagues should arrive at 11:40 a.m., at which time you will be met and escorted to our Reception Area for identification badges. The Meeting will take place in my Conference Room from 12 p.m. (noon) until 1:00 p.m.

The Agenda is as follows:

November 30, 2009

Meeting Between Southeast District Director Jack Long and

Eight Representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalition

12:00 p.m. Opening Remarks by Jack Long

12:10 p.m. Remarks by first Representative of PBC EnviroCoalition

12:20 p.m. Remarks by second Representative of PBC EnviroCoalition

12:30 p.m. Questions by Representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalition

1:00 p.m. Adjourn the Meeting

Thank you.
Jack Long


from Aldama Harmon, Gloria
cc "Claridge, Kevin" ,
"Morrison, Dana" ,
"Long, Jack" ,
"Buckley, Michael"
date Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 5:03 PM
subject Meeting with DEP Director Jack Long Nov. 30th

Mr. Tsolkas.

Mr. Long wants a description of what you have planned for the November 30 meeting. In our phone conversation you mentioned the word “rally” and we need to know what you mean by that.

I have been instructed by Mr. long to tell you that if this matter is not cleared up to his satisfaction by noon Wednesday (November 25), the meeting on the 30th will be cancelled.

Gloria Aldama Harmon
Administrative Assistant
FDEP Southeast District
Director's Office
561-681-6755 Fax


from PBC EnviroCoalition
to "Aldama Harmon, Gloria"
date Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:31 PM
subject Re: Meeting with DEP Director Jack Long Nov. 30th

Ms Aldama Harmon,
The group that is being excluded from the meeting will be gathered out front of the building in anticipation of hearing the update from inside. Is this cause to cancel the meeting? What is the concern you are looking to address.

Below is the list we currently have attending the meeting. I am waiting to hear back from a representative of PBCC's Community Earth student club who may switch out with one of the 8 below.

Barry Silver, former FL State Legislature, PBCEC Co-Chair
Alfred Lark, Riviera Beach Civic Assoc.
Jon Barlow, Dept. of Health, Pollution Prevention Coalition
Dan Liftman, Aide to U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings
Bobby C. Billie, Independant Traditional Seminole Nation
Staci-lee Sherwood, Loggerhead Marinlife Center
Panagioti Tsolkas, PBCEC Co-Chair
Bobette Wolesensky, Greenpeace lead organizer

We will look to gain insight from Mr. Long's presentation of his knowledge of a timeline on CO2 monitoring and greenhouse gas regulation. Following that, as Mr. Long has established in his agenda, each person present will take several minutes to express their positions and questions and we will look to Mr. Long to guide us toward an agreement on the need for immediate action.

The only explicable reason for cancelling the established meeting would be to express an utter disdain for the freedom of speech and assembly.

I have spoken with Ron Miedema of the regional EPA office; he is interested in assisting our meeting with gaining insight from the Federal regulatory perspective. We are working to coordinate a call-in from the Air Division in Atlanta during our scheduled meeting. I have CCed Ron here as well, to keep him in the loop. (please correct me if i am wrong, Ron)

Cancelling this meeting would be a great disappointment to people who are supposed to be putting our faith in you to do the right thing. There has been enough back-pedaling in Florida on the subject of climate change already. Please don't add this to the list.

-Panagioti Tsolkas
co-chair, PBCEC


date Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM
subject Re: Meeting with DEP Director Jack Long Nov. 30th

Hello Ms. Harmon and Mr. Miedema: You have asked Panagioti what he has planned for the meeting on November 30. He has gone to great lengths to explain exactly what he would like to discuss, who will be in attendance, and his goals for the meeting. I have attended thousands of meetings, and rarely have I attended a meeting where more preparation and details have been provided prior to the meeting as Panagioti has already provided to you, and yet you ask for more information. Regarding the use of the word rally, we are hoping that after the meeting, we will be able to report back to those who were not permitted to enter, that the DEP and the EPA will begin to take seriously their role and obligation to monitor and regulate greenhouse gases, and once we learn of these efforts, we intend to rally our friends and allies to support the DEP and the EPA in taking such vitally needed action in combatting the serious problem of global warming. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or Panagioti. Best Regards, Barry

Rabbi Barry Silver
Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor
1200 South Rogers Circle
Suite 8
Boca Raton, Fl. 33487
(561) 483-6900


date Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:57 AM
subject Re: Meeting with DEP Director Jack Long Nov. 30th

Carol and Carl, The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition has a meeting scheduled with the West Palm Beach office of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on November 30 to discuss C02 issues. They would like an EPA representative to call into the meeting to provide a federal perspective on the issue. I would hope you could make someone from the Air Division available to answer their questions I would do it myself but that is not a subject I am knowledgeable on to represent EPA.

Gloria, Would you please furnish Carol and Carl, at the email address above, the call in number and time of the meeting should someone from EPA be available for the meeting.

That so all, Ron Miedema EPA - SFO


to PBC EnviroCoalition
date Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 7:13 AM
subject Re: Meeting with DEP Director Jack Long Nov. 30th

I just got verification that EPA will participate in the meeting via conference call Ron Miedema EPA-SFO


from Long, Jack
PBC EnviroCoalition
date Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 3:53 PM
subject PBC EnviroCoalition Meeting / "Rally" - November 30, 2009 // REVISED AGENDA

Messrs. Tsolkas and Silver:

1. Thank you for your November 23, 2009 e-mails.

2. Ms. Carol Kemker (Deputy Division Director of EPA’s Air, Pesticide & Toxics Management Division) and I will meet with eight (8) Representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalation in my Conference Room on November 30, 2009 at 12:00 noon. The Meeting shall last for one-hour-and-fifteen-minutes. (Ms. Kemker and some of her Staff will participate by telephone.)

3. The purpose of the Meeting is to discuss Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

4. This shall be a private Meeting with the aforesaid eight-person-delegation (or fewer, if you so choose) of your Members. No media representatives shall be invited. (So that there is no misunderstanding here, if you were to arrive with any members of the media, the Meeting shall be cancelled.)

5. There shall be security both outside of, and inside our Offices.

6. Your eight-person-delegation should arrive at our Offices at 11:40 a.m., at which time you will be met and escorted to our Reception Area for identification badges. Once all of the badges have been distributed, your eight-person-delegation shall be escorted as a group to my Conference Room.

7. At the conclusion of the meeting, your eight-person-delegation shall be escorted to the front door of our Office Building.

8. In light of Ms. Kemker’s availability, I have set forth the following Revised Agenda:

Revised Agenda

November 30, 2009

Meeting Between Ms. Carol Kemker (EPA) and Mr. Jack Long (FDEP), and Eight Representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalition

Subject: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

12:00 p.m. Opening Remarks by Ms. Carol Kemker (EPA)

12:20 p.m. Opening Remarks by Mr. Jack Long (FDEP)

12:30 p.m. Remarks by first Representative of PBC EnviroCoalition

12:40 p.m. Remarks by second Representative of PBC EnviroCoalition

12:50 p.m. Questions by Representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalition

1:15 p.m. Adjourn the Meeting

Thank you for your cooperation. We look forward to our Meeting.

Jack Long

The Department of Environmental Protection values your feedback as a customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously assessing and improving the level and quality of services provided to you. Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of service you received. Simply click on this link to the DEP Customer Survey. Thank you in advance for completing the survey.


date Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 4:43 AM
subject Re: PBC EnviroCoalition Meeting / "Rally" - November 30, 2009 // REVISED AGENDA

Hello Mr. Long:

Thanks for your reply to our request for a meeting. I will discuss the ground rules you have laid out with the others, but I have a few preliminary questions that I hope you may be able to answer.

1) Why is the press not invited?

2) Why can only two people address you, other than at a limited question period at the end?

3) Why do we get the impression that you are doing us a big favor by meeting with us, and why so many ground rules and preconditions, when I would think that an organization that is established to protect the environment, such as the DEP, would welcome with open arms those volunteers who share this goal and seek to assist in this sacred mission?

I look forward to seeing you on November 30.

Barry Silver


from Long, Jack
date Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 10:22 AM
subject RE: PBC EnviroCoalition Meeting / "Rally" - November 30, 2009 // REPLY TO YOUR QUESTIONS / COMMENT

Attorney Silver,

Thank you for your e-mail. The answers to your two questions, and the response to your comment are as follows:

1. This was the original understanding with Mr. Tsolkas. This is not a public meeting. It is a private meeting in my Office, to which the press is not invited.

2. This is due to time constraints.

3. Thank you for your comment. I look forward to meeting with you.

I see no need to engage in further discussions concerning the arrangements for the private meeting. If the arrangements are not satisfactory, please advise us as soon as possible so that we can cancel the arrangements which have been made for this private meeting.

The Office is closed tomorrow and Friday.

Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we assume that we will be meeting at noon on Monday, November 30, 2009, pursuant to the arrangements (and Revised Agenda) set forth in my November 24, 2009 e-mail to you and Mr. Tsolkas.

Jack Long


from Long, Jack
to "" <''>,
date Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 11:13 AM
subject FW: PBC EnviroCoalition Meeting / "Rally" - November 30, 2009 // REPLY TO YOUR QUESTIONS / COMMENT

Attorney Silver,

I want to follow-up on my e-mail below. The meeting is not a “public meeting” in the sense that it has not been advertised as a public meeting. When I used the words “private meeting”, I intended to convey the idea that the meeting is a meeting with the eight members of the public who were identified in an earlier e-mail from the PBC EnviroCoalition.

My Conference Room cannot comfortably accommodate many more people. However, since I have decided that I will be having only two Staffers with me, we will be able to accommodate an additional four representatives of the PBC EnviroCoalition (for a total of 12 representatives). If you would like to expand the number of representatives by 4 persons, please send me the names of such additional 4 persons prior to the time of the meeting.

Also, I want to again emphasize that I will not be able to discuss any FDEP policy issues related to Greenhouse Gases and/or Climate Control. All policy issues related to those matters will have to be addressed by our Communications Office at Headquarters. You may recall that we had this discussion outside of our Office Building at one of the EnviroCoalition’s earlier rallies. As I stated then, I direct a Regulatory Office, not a policy-making office.

Thank you.
Jack Long


from Long, Jack
to PBC EnviroCoalition ,
cc "Llorens, Cristina" ,
"Aldama Harmon, Gloria"
date Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 12:41 PM
subject RE: FW: PBC EnviroCoalition Meeting / "Rally" - November 30, 2009 // REPLY TO YOUR QUESTIONS / COMMENT

Mr. Tsolkas,

If others are interested in calling in, the Conference Call Number is 888-808-6959, conference code 9981325.

With respect to the last paragraph of your e-mail, it might be a good idea for you to forward the Revised Agenda to any persons who express an interest in calling in. The Meeting will proceed as outlined in the Revised Agenda.

I am leaving the Office for the rest of the day and I will not be available until Monday.

Jack Long


Monday, November 16, 2009

Nov 18 Press Conference and Rally at Public Hearing to increase WCEC emissions.. FPL and DEP collaborating again!

Contact: Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chair, PBC Environmental Coalition

West Palm Beach, FL--
On November 18th, 6pm DEP will hold a Public Hearing on permit modification to increase WCEC emissions at the South Florida Water Management District office on the north side of Gun Club Road, just west of Congress Avenue (across from PB County Jail). The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) will hold a rally and press conference in front of the hearing location, at 5:30pm to express their demand for action from DEP to stop fossil fuel expansion, climate change and acid rain in the Everglades.

DEP issued a notice on September 10, 2009, to modify their air permit for the controversial FPL West County Energy Center fossil fuel power plant in Loxahatchee. FPL is requesting to increase the already massive emissions associated with the project for an auxiliary boiler, adding several addition tons of hazardous emissions. The permit modification does not monitor or regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The DEP project engineer for FPL’s modification, Jeff Koerner, stated to the PBCEC that he has already reviewed over 30 similar permits this year with no monitoring or regulation of CO2. All have been approved.

In addition to CO2, PBCEC is also concerned that DEP will not be fully monitoring the pH of rain and its impact to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. According to a recent correspondnce from Dr. William Louda, PHD, who studies bio-geochemistry of the Everglades, "Each pH unit is an order of magnitude change in the number of protons (acidity). Thus, a pH change from 7.3 to 6.8 is a 5 fold increase in acidity---changing from 7.3 to 7.2 is a doubling of protons." In Dr. Louda's assessment, "a little change can bring large changes in an ecosystem----ARM [the Loxahatchee Refuge] is a very very sensitive to pH (acid rain) changes."

The meeting is also the first public announcement of a meeting that PBCEC has scheduled with DEP administrator on November 30 (N30) to find out when the agency will begin to monitor CO2 emissions. This event is coinciding with a global call to action for 'climate justice', leading up to the U.N Climate Talks in Denmark. The regional EPA staff have been invited to the N30 meeting, but have yet to reply.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lake Worth Run-Off for Mayor: Support Laurence McNamara over Rene Varela


The PBCEC endorsed Javier del Sol in the first round of local elections, and we are proud to have been associated with his amazing success in running an environmental campaign (from re-using signs to recycled paper and soy-ink for handouts). He also engaged populations in Lake Worth who have had little-to-no voice in political life. Although he didn't win the votes we feel he deserved (as much of his support came from a segment of our community excluded from elections) his effort will certainly shape elections to come.

But in Lake Worth, we were extremely fortunate to have more than one great environmental candidate running for Mayor. Now that the Run-Off is upon us, we are also proud to offer our full support to Laurence McNamara, who made it into the final round with candidate Rene Varela.

Laurence was chair of the committee that wrote the Public Land/Public Vote charter amendment for the 2005 ballot, so now our public land (parks and beach in particular) cannot be sold without voter approval. This stopped 5 ten-story condos from being built in the intercoastal and an 8 story condo on Old Bridge Park. He has worked on every Lake Worth land-use campaign to prevent overdevelopment in the neighborhoods and on the beach. Laurence was vice-chair of the city's Climate Action Task Force, which made recommendations to the city on energy conservation measures. He wants to promote water conservation through cisterns for all new development and he wants to see renewable energy become a reality in Lake Worth.

Laurence McNamara is open-minded, honest, and environmentally pro-active. He also received the official endorsement of the local Sierra Club Executive Committee.

Rene Varela, on the other hand, is charismatic and talks a good talk. But he has not participated in anything substantial in the City of Lake Worth except to run for office twice. He has taken different positions on immigration depending on the audience (he has not expressed support for the Resource Center, which the local immigrant advocacy community has worked hard towards opening). He claims to be an environmentalist, but has no record of taking any position on local issues. Of special concern is Rene's professional participation in the capture of wild dolphins for profit. Varela is featured in the documentary film "Dolphin Dealer", in which he identifies pregnant wild dolphins after they are captured. The dolphin captures in the film are traumatizing and often deadly for dolphins. He works for Ocean Embassy, a company that says they help marine animals, but their work is abhorred in the US and other countries for lacking standards. Groups like Humane Society and Earth Island Institute have spoken out against Varela's business affiliations.

Rene Varela is running a campaign wholly based on image, not substance. From what we can gather, it seems Varela is being groomed for politics in Tallahassee. He is likely to be the slickest greenwasher ever. We want to make sure he does not get his start here.

To make financial donations or to help volunteer with McNamara's campaign reach Lake Worth voters, visit:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is Lake Worth Mayoral Candidate a Dolphin Trafficker?
By Deirdra Funcheon in Environment, Florida, Politics, Science
Mon., Oct. 26 2009 @ 12:52PM
Protestors at last night's forum
It's not unusual for politicians to want to hide controversial details of their lives: adulterous affairs, DUI arrests, bankruptcies. Leave to the reliably kooky city of Lake Worth to have this week's most interesting political scandal: rivals of mayoral candidate Rene Varela -- a marine mammal veterinarian -- say that he helps sell wild dolphins for profit.

On his campaign website, Varela claims that he has taught at such esteemed institutions as Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and the University of Florida. His website says nothing of his involvement with Ocean Embassy, a company that is building a $500 million Sea World-style resort in Panama. Ocean Embassy's website says Varela has been director of veterinary services since 2005. No one answered the phone at Ocean Embassy's offices today, and Varela has yet to respond to an email seeking comment.

Ocean Embassy has been no stranger to controversy. Its plans to import wild mammals and offer swim-with-dolphins programs inspired protests throughout Panama; people started petitions and protested in the streets, and the Humane Society International even wrote to the president to try to stop the project. According to Panamanian news reports, Ocean Embassy fought back by having one of its critics, head of an animal welfare group, charged with criminal defamation. In September 2008, the Earth Island Journal reported that Ocean Embassy closed in the face in opposition (according to the article, polls showed that 80 percent of Panamanians opposed wild dolphin captures), but on September 1 of this year, a Panamanian business periodical reported that Ocean Embassy had announced plans to invest $300 million on the project, and the company's website suggests that development is still under way.

Varela was also a subject in the 2008 documentary Dolphin Dealer by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (The video can be seen here.) According to the CBC, Varela, in his duties with Ocean Embassy, helped capture and inspect dolphins in the Solomon Islands, then ship them to Dubai to provide entertainment at theme parks.

Last night at a candidate forum, some Lake Worth residents protested against Varela. The Palm Beach Post noted his employment, saying he was a "partner" in Ocean Embassy but that he would not discuss the company. Some activists plan to wear dolphin-inspired clothes or carry inflatable dolphins this week in protest. Those include City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, who said Varela's work "violates one of our civic virtues about environmentalism... If someone wants to exploit dolphins, what are they going to do to our city?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Environmentalists Rally at DEP office for 350 International Day of Action on carbon emission reduction; highlight local threats and impacts

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2009
Contact: Panagioti Tsolkas,

West Palm Beach, FL— On Friday, October 23, 2009, 12 noon, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC), local Greenpeace organizers, Everglades Earth First! and other activists in the area will rally at the southeast regional offices of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), at 400 North Congress, which is also a regional U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office, to challenge the agencies on not taking concrete action to address increasing carbon emissions.

Florida back-pedaling on climate change
In September DEP announced a decision to back out of the Governor’s commitment to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), who publicized the internal document, sees this as a clear step away from the pro-active stance on climate change that the State of Florida had been promoting.

DEP also issued a notice on September 10, 2009, to modify their air permit for the controversial FPL West County Energy Center fossil fuel power plant in Loxahatchee. FPL is requesting to increase the already massive emissions associated with the project for an auxiliary boiler. The permit modification does not monitor or regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The DEP project engineer for FPL’s modification, Jeff Koerner, stated to the PBCEC that he has already reviewed over 30 similar permits this year with no monitoring or regulation of CO2. All have been approved. FPL also continues to operate one of Florida’s oldest, dirtiest power plants here in Riviera Beach with no regard for it’s carbon emissions.

350: ”the most important number in the world”
These recent examples of back peddling by State of Florida politicians and bureaucrats come as the United Nations prepare for the world’s most important global meeting on curbing runaway climate change. An effort of international environmentalists and scientists is calling on the policy-makers to recognize the urgent demand to bring carbon parts-per-million (ppm) in the atmosphere back down to 350ppm. We are currently at 385.92ppm, an increase that has most notably paralleled the industrial world’s dependency on fossil fuel.

As PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney, stated in the groups recent press release, “Of all the states, Florida arguably has the most to lose from rising sea levels, bigger, nastier storms and the other side effects associated with climate change.” Global scientific research is now also associating the danger of increasing ocean acidity with industrial carbon emissions.

According to Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chair of PBCEC, “This is a crucial moment in the history of our species. After decades of environmentalists sounding the alarm on climate change—and being ignored—the world’s politicians and corporations are being faced with the devastating results of their greed.”

“Here in south Florida, a grassroots movement is building to hold people accountable. If agencies like DEP, and politicians like Crist or Obama, continue to fail us, we need to make sure the public remembers that.”

Rabbi Barry Silver, former State Legislature, stated, "I call upon all those who consider themselves religious to join us in protecting this magnificent creation called Earth. I also call upon those who claim to be political leaders, to join the movement to combat threats to our planet. The last thing we need in our effort to reduce global warming is more hot air from these polluticians."

For further information, see links below:

Events associated with 350 International Day of Action in South Florida throughout the week:

For more info on coordinated events around the world

For the documents from PEER on DEP, RGGI and problems with cap-and-trade


PBCEC Opposes Anti-Immigrant Candidates in Lake Worth Election: Scott Maxwell, Loretta Sharpe, Rene Varela and Wes Blackman

In past environmental organizing efforts in Lake Worth, confronting bad development plans had occasionally presented the challenge of working with people who haven't shared the same values towards social justice and human rights. While the relationship between environmental protection and human dignity has been a common sense alliance for the PBCEC, some neighborhood activists have not shared this view.

But with the coming election, that murkiness is starting to clear a bit, as the most developer-friendly candidates are turning out to also be some of the least responsive to needs of low-income and immigrant families in the City. Below are some cited samplings of the four candidates of greatest concern: Scott Maxwell – candidate District 1, Wes Blackman – candidate District 3, Loretta Sharpe – candidate for Mayor and Rene Varela candidate for Mayor.

The PBC Coalition for Immigrant Rights (PBCCIR), which recently collaborated with PBCEC in our Lake Worth candidates forum, has been a primary advocate for the Lake Worth Resources Center. The PBCEC considers the Center to be a quality-of-life issue in the urban environment, we support the work of PBCCIR, and feel that many of those who have opposed the effort do not have the interests of the public at heart. Further, there is a strong element of xenophobia and racism which has surfaced and must be exposed and challenged.

The above-mentioned four candidates for Lake Worth City Commission have been vocal opponents the city's efforts to create the Lake Worth Resource Center, which brings day-laborers off the corners, providing education, employment and access to services. Following are some of the public comments these candidates have made in opposition to the City’s effort to welcome immigrants and integrate them into our city through education, employment and recognition of their cultural heritage. Many of Lake Worth's immigrants families have been residents in the City of over 20 years (and are still refused the right to vote). The Resource Center is a critical piece of Lake Worth's efforts to be a city of tolerance, working pro-actively to create stable employment for residents so they can provide for themselves and their families.

I hope all voters will give serious consideration to these candidate’s opinions.

Scott Maxwell
Maxwell has presented himself as being openly anti-immigrant. Until recently, he hosted a weekly radio program called “Connecting the Dots on Illegal Immigration”, Thursdays 8pm on WBZT 1230 Clear Channel. He ended the radio show upon his candidacy for City Commission.

He attended the City of Lake Worth public meetings when they were voting to open the Resource Center to help provide employment for residents, and to get Day Laborers off the street corners. At that meeting he spoke against the center, I have included his comment from the official City Clerk meeting minutes (source, page 14:{5E6FE119-0228-4C9B-B2DB-067168049C16}/uploads/{4C61269D-F7D7-401E-BE4E-3DFB26D56F17}.PDF).
His entire comment can be found on the official Clerk recording of the meeting. The meeting was held September 2, 2008

“Scott Maxwell said this was an important night for Lake Worth. The decision of the Commission would send an important message to its residents, businesses and developers, and America that the City sold its soul and pandered to those who tried to come to the country and improve themselves. The federal government allowed immigrants to get away with entering the country illegally. This was one of the most generous countries to allow legal immigrants to enter. With enough people, the government and the political country could be taken over. He said he was against Matricular Consular Identification and opposed the center."

Further proof of his vocal opposition to immigrants can be found in this email posted on the website of City blogger Lynn Anderson. (source:


Very well written piece on your blog regarding illegal aliens.... (except for the part where you plugged my show! You know how bashful I am & can be J ! )

This week’s guest will be Steven Camarato, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies. I really appreciate your being on top of this issue....hopefully we as Americans, will wake up and place some of our petty issues aside for the resolution of some of the more important.... Our country is in a terrible fight for survival...we are going to meet the same fate as all the other great civilizations before us...too bad that again, folks refuse to learn from history... Again, thank you for your are truly blessed with great writing skill....wish I could have a fraction of that gift....

Best, Scot"

[*note: Upon a simple search, quotes from Maxwell's guest, Steven Camarato, came up on the Storm Front, the 'white pride world wide" website out of West Palm Beach: ]
UPDATE 11/7/09: The reason that this guest came up on the search is that the guest's name, actually Camarota, was spelled wrong by both Scott and the anonymous Stormfront blogger. Since the publication of this post, information has surfaced linking Scott Maxwell to several known racist hate group. More info can be found at:

Wes Blackman (also a former employee of Kilday & Associates, one of Palm Beach County's nastiest developer/lobbyist firms)
While sitting as a CRA board member, Wes Blackman voted against a small $1,000 grant to provide wireless cards for the Resource Centers computers. Mr. Blackman’s comments at the July 4 meeting can be found at:

Mr. Blackman visited the center to try and confuse the staff and claim he was being discriminated against, and wrote about it on his blog. His petty and pointless complaints amount to nothing of substance and display his affinities with the organized anti-immigrant efforts in the City.

Loretta Sharp
Sharpe has also been a vocal opponent of the Lake Worth Resource Center. In her public comment during the City Commission vote to open the center, she compared the center to a brothel. Her comment as recorded in the official Lake Worth City Commission meeting minutes of September 2, 2008 is below. The entire comment can be found on the City's website, under the September 2, 2008 official meeting recording.

“Loretta Sharpe said she was a resident for twenty-one years complained about the prostitutes on Highway; however, no Commissioner offered to open a bordello to get the prostitutes off the streets. The Commissioners were thinking about opening a resource center, but it would not improve Lake Avenue. The Commissioners took away many events over the years, yet were considering opening a mentor center for people who did not pay taxes. Employees and programs were being cut in the proposed budget. She said she hoped everyone would record the vote tonight and remember it during the November municipal election and a year from November."


Rene Varela (involved with the capture of wild dophins for private profit)
Varela also made public comment during the September 4 City Commission vote on the Resource Center. Following are his comments as recorded in the official city minutes, although his position is murky here (as it often tends to be), he has been clear during other forums that he does not support the center. At best, his position should be clarified.

“Dr. Rene’ Varela said his parents came to the United States from Cuba forty-three years ago. They became legal citizens and integrated into the county. The decision of the City’s future was being made during the budget process. This was a town with great compassion and no one had a monopoly on providing compassion. There was a need for a competent legal opinion on the impact of the center; needed to bring in a broader faith based organizations; needed a buy-in from the federal, state, and local governments who created the problem; needed a code of ethics for those involved in the center; needed those individuals who would benefit to own up to the law; and needed a mission that required all users to be legal citizens or were seeking legal status.” Climate Change events in South Florida

-Oct 17 ‘Age of Stupid’ movie showing at Unitarian Universalist church in Boca, 7pm, 2601 St Andrews Blvd

-Oct 22 ‘Age of Stupid’ movie showing at L’dor V’dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road, 7pm

-Oct 23 Climate Change/350 presentation at the Pollution Prevention Coalition (P2) of Palm Beach County meeting, 2:00 pm Palm Beach County Health Department, 800 Clematis Street

-Oct 23 Rally at DEP about failure to address climate change, 400 North Congress, 12:00-1:30pm,

-Oct 23 Critical Mass(k) Halloween-theme bike ride for 350, downtown Ft. Lauderdale, 5pm (following Food Not Bombs picnic in park)

-Oct 23 Interfaith Service on the Climate at L'Dor V'dor, 7pm,

-Oct 24 Climate Change Wall of Hope and Shame, 3pm Rally at Atlantic Dunes Beach Park (1605 South Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach, Florida)

-Oct 24 Broward County 350 event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 24, 2009, at the Museum of Discovery and Science in downtown Fort Lauderdale (Broward Blvd. and Andrews Ave).

-Oct 24 Ocean Watch: Community Day of Action in conjunction with, from 12:00 to 4:00pm Between Bicentennial Park and American Airlines Arena, 1075 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

Check out this great coverage with local Greenpeace volunteer organizer Bobette Wolesensky:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mayoral Candidate Rene Varela profits off of wild dolphin trafficking

Since we hosted the Environmental Candidates Forum in Lake Worth, Rene has refused to communicate with the PBC Environmental Coalition. Perhaps this is why...

He is featured in a recent award-winning Canadian documentary called The Dolphin Dealer:

The documentary indicates that Rene Varela is a "key character, " involved in selling 28 wild dolphins caught off the Solomon Islands to a luxury resort in Dubai. He's worked for Ocean Embassy, a company that traffics in marine wildlife, in since 2005:

A Few Facts About Dolphins in Captivity
For every wild dolphin taken captive, at least one other is injured or killed during the capture process. Studies suggest that mortality rates increase six-fold after capture.

Even in the largest facilities, captive dolphins have access to less than 1/10,000 of 1% (0.000001) of the space available to them in their natural environment.

Dolphins in captivity are often restricted to swimming in circles. In many dolphins, this behavior is a sign that the dolphin is suffering psychologically.

In cement pools, chlorine is added to keep bacteria levels safe for humans. The levels of chlorine used, wreak havoc on a dolphin's skin and eyes, sometimes even rendering them completely blind.

For more on dolphins in captivity, check out World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

City of Lake Worth to vote on Publix deal; Will they ignore farmworkers and local grocers' concerns?

This article below was posted on news. It sounds a little too familiar.. (the article online has several helpful links to its sources, if you want the fuller version, check out: and scroll down to Sept 2.)

September 2 , 2009

Publix sweetheart deal at taxpayer expense in Ft. Myers, Florida, comes under increasing scrutiny...

A columnist for the Ft. Myers News-Press took a strong stand this past week against the questionable use of taxpayer dollars in a time of economic crisis... and the recipient of the public largesse in question is none other than Florida supermarket giant Publix ("Ft. Myers in no shape to give Publix rent break," 8/28/09).

It seems that Publix -- which is "ranked No. 10 on Forbes' 2008 list of America's Largest Private Companies and is the largest privately held company in Florida" -- has been receiving free rent at a new downtown Ft. Myers location for two years now, at the rate of $50,000 per month. Now the company is looking to keep the taxpayer money flowing its way for another two years, for a total of another $1.15 million. We'll let Columnist Mr. Cook take it from here:

"Fort Myers is broke, yet the city's Community Redevelopment Agency may forgive Publix two more years of rent, which, based on the past two years, amounts to $1.15 million.

For those keeping score, Publix on West First Street was forgiven five years of rent two years ago when it opened. A rent-free extension is preposterous - even for Fort Myers officials.

'From the beginning, the free rent was offensive,' says Councilman Warren Wright.

Why is a city $400 million in debt not charging rent to a for-profit grocery chain?..."

It seems the sweetheart deal was struck to lure Publix to open a store in the downtown area of Ft. Myers as a means to encourage the neighborhood's further economic development. But according to the News-Press story, there is no indication that the downtown Publix is struggling, especially after Publix closed a nearby store the company had apparently promised to keep open:

"... While the CRA ponders Publix rent, resident Timothy Jones gives it food for thought.

'I don't think Publix is hurting,' says Jones, who owns property next door on Clifford Street. 'They're getting the old customers from the Cleveland Avenue location plus more from downtown.'

Jones says public money should not be used to sustain a failing business.

'I find it hard to believe this store is not profitable,' he says. 'The parking lot is full. Where is the evidence? The City Council should demand proof. Would they take my word if I was asking for a million bucks?'

Wright also reminds folks Publix speaks with a forked tongue.

'They promised the Publix on Cleveland Avenue wouldn't close, but it did,' Wright says. 'If they don't make enough money, they will pull out of the new one, too. Whatever happened to capitalism?'''

Tough questions for the company known as the "neighborhood grocer".

The questions may only get tougher when the Community Redevelopment Agency takes this into consideration... [Tale of two grocers]


On Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 11:35 AM, PBC EnviroCoalition wrote:

"Honorable Commissioners,
I am addressing this to the both the City Commission and CRA. As i know, many of you are familiar with the conditions and efforts of farmworkers in south Florida. As you may or may not know, many of the residents in our immigrant communities have lived and worked in the Immokalee area prior to living in Lake Worth, and many continue to work in an agricultural sector plagued with reports of exploitation and multiple cases of modern day slavery prosecuted by federal law enforcement.

In the midst of discussing an official invitation to bring Publix downtown, potentially accompanied with a contribution of $500,000 dollars of public money through the CRA (which is intended for flighting blight in our neighborhoods NOT courting corporate interests to town) a leading farmworker-led south Florida organization has called for protests of Publix's denial to recognize the human rights and dignity of those who harvest our food.

Meanwhile, here in Lake Worth, the undeniable reality is that the Publix supermarket will primarily service residents OUTSIDE of the CRA district. There are already multiple locally-owned and operated grocers in or near the CRA district--including a Publix already within walking distance to the westside neighborhoods.

Let's put aside the question of whether or not this Publix is needed in Lake Worth (as the majority of officials elected or appointed to represent the City seem indifferent to that factor), and look at the issue of justice and social responsibility. There are three primary matters at hand:

1) CRA money to Publix
Is it just or responsible to hand half-a-million dollars of public money, a substantial portion of the CRA's annual budget, to the Publix corporation, who have not established any need for such assistance on public record? Does this disregard low-income residents the neighborhood improvements they deserve and pay for?

2) Publix's role as a neighbor in Lake Worth
Should we invite a new Publix to town without a commitment to honor the basic wage increase and commitment to human rights standards being asked of them?

3) The small locally-owned grocery businesses
How will big-box development, such as Publix, impact long-standing and new struggling local businesses? Will the City and CRA make commitments to continue assisting these businesses as well?

Below is some current background info on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) stance on Publix and schedule for protests. The response that they have received from Publix thus far does not indicate that they are committed to being a socially responsible neighbor to local residents nor to the agricultural workers who contribute to Lake Worth's local economy.

I look forward to your response, and am open to further dialogue on the matter. Our group is committed to the protection of both our natural environment and an equitable quality of life for all residents. We would like to believe that you are as well.

Panagioti Tsolkas
Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: coaimmwkr
> Date: Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 3:42 PM
> Subject: "The Autumn of Our Discontent": CIW announces Publix protests set for the fall

Fed up with Publix's empty excuses for inaction, farmworkers and allies plan a full fall calendar of action at Publix supermarkets across Florida!

Check out the CIW site, today for all the details! Here below is an excerpt of what you'll find there:

"Publix: Where shopping is still a shame"

When Compass Group and East Coast Growers announced their groundbreaking agreement to implement the CIW's Fair Food principles this coming season, Senator Bernie Sanders, a long-time observer of the Campaign for Fair Food, issued a statement that began:

"Today marks the beginning of the end of the harvest of shame that has existed for far too long in Florida's tomato fields."

Indeed, with farmworkers and growers finally working together to produce a fairer tomato -- including higher wages and better farm labor conditions made possible, in part, by the support of major retail food corporations that buy Florida tomatoes, like Compass Group and McDonald's -- it seemed inevitable that other large tomato buyers would seize the opportunity to be part of the solution to Florida's longstanding shame of farmworker exploitation.

Publix, however, refuses to be part of that solution.

Farmworkers and their allies will be joining forces this fall to press their case with Publix and demand that the largest publicly held company in Florida do its part to help improve farm labor conditions and eliminate modern-day slavery in the state.

Toward that end, a full calendar of actions at Publix stores has been set. Here below are the dates as they stand at this time (with more to come in the days ahead):

Month of Publix Protests:
> Oct 17 & 18 - Southwest Florida (Naples, Port Charlotte, Venice, Sarasota and Ft. Myers)

> Oct 24 & 25 - Gainesville

> Oct 31 & Nov 1 – Orlando

> Nov 7 & 8 - Ft. Lauderdale & Miami

> Nov 14 & 15 – Tampa & St. Petersburg

> Statewide Organizing Tour: November 18-24

> Major Action in Lakeland (early December, exact date to be announced)

If you live in or near any of the cities above, email us to find out how you can get involved at!

It's time for Publix to end the excuses and work together with farmworkers, growers, and consumers for social responsibility.

Join us this fall in pressing Publix to make shopping truly a pleasure by supporting fair wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick its tomatoes.

Thanks - Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Saturday, October 17, 2009

PBCEC October notes and updates

Our first official meeting on the second Monday of the month had a great turnout. Over 20 people gathered to discuss and strategize on regional environmental issues. Next meeting is November 9, 7pm at the Friends Quaker Meeting, 823 North C St, Lake Worth. Please bring food or drink to share. Below are notes from the October meeting, with updates and live links:

**Updates on FPL
the proposed modification for increasing the emissions of FPL’s WCEC, which can be viewed here:
The proposal adds several additional tons of air pollution through an auxiliary boiler. There will be a public hearing on the matter soon (Nov 17 or 19, location/time TBA... stay tuned!)

We also discussed the SFWMD decision to give FPL $1 million to relocate water pipelines in relation to the WCEC. They are supposed to vote on that, item #50, today Oct 15.. Yesterday the District agreed to give money to FPL for the Turkey Point water regional impacts.. You’d never know that damn company was making billions in profits, they way they extort the public.

** Days of Action organizing events:
-Oct 17 ‘Age of Stupid’ movie showing at Unitarian Universalist church in Boca, 7pm, 2601 St Andrews Blvd
-Oct 22 ‘Age of Stupid’ movie showing at L’dor V’dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road, 7pm
-Oct 23 Rally at DEP about failure to address climate change, 400 North Congress, 12:00-1:30pm,
-Oct 23 Interfaith Service on the Climate at L'Dor V'dor, 7pm,
-Oct 24 Climate Change Wall of Hope and Shame, 3pm Rally at Atlantic Dunes Beach Park (1605 South Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach, Florida)

check out this great coverage with local Greenpeace volunteer organizer Bobette:

**Town of Palm Beach is still opposing Federal Protection for endangered Staghorn Corral! Click here to take action:

**the PBC Legislative Delegation begins meeting across the County starting next month through January. One of the primary issues of environmental concern across the state is the proposal to lift the ban on drilling off-shore for gas and oil. Other issues mentioned at our meeting included: funding for Florida Forever, rock-mining, the DCA, Scripps… Anyone can speak at these events, but it is best to sign up to secure a spce. The schedule can be seen here.
You can sign up by calling 561-355-2406

**Eagle Training Center in Venus.. there was a victory for residents in Highlands County last week, but it’s not over yet. Our friends on the other side of the Lake are asking for our support again October 20.. for details:

**Scripps is back on the agenda!
And it’s already hitting road blocks from the Regional Planning Council and DCA. Check out their schedule for upcoming approvals:
Nov 12, 7pm, the Briger Tract will be on Palm Beach Gardens agenda. Contact PB Gardens for more info:

**Turkey Point rally date pushed back
The proposed Nov 7th date has been changed. The rally will be reschuled for sometime in the next several months. Keep an ear out..

**Mike Roselle’s book “Tree Spiker”
There’s a proposal to invite his book tour down here.. Here’s a little more about the book:,8599,1929701,00.html
If you want to help us bring Mike down on his book tour, contact his book publicity manager, ask them to come to South Florida:

**We posted our endorsements of Lake Worth candidates on our website:

**Several PBCEC folks attended the cancer cluster meeting with Erin Brokovich and gave a report back. Mixed reviews. Sources are still uncertain, but it seems very worth keeping up with this efforts and deciding how to support those who are coming forward in a sincere effort to stop the cancerous poisoning of our communities (and also be cautious of the County's efforts to force rural communities onto a central water system without finding the source of toxicity).

**A PBCEC participant suggested we invite Barry Sanders, retired professor and author of Green Zone, a book on military pollution

**other announcements
-PBC Beekeepers Association monthly meeting, 1st Friday every month, 7pm, at Mounts Botanical (for now)

-FrankenFoods Film Fest, Nov 5th, Delray Library

-co-chair Barry Silver is speaking on the radio 1230AM at noon-1pm

-There is a healthcare rally at Humana in WPB, Thursday (today!),

-And last, our friends in the Coaltiion of Immokalee Workers have called for protests at Publix against their refusal to negotiate better wages for farmworkers. Read more:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PBCEC endorses Lake Worth Candidates Javier del Sol and Jo-Ann Golden

After hosting an open candidates forum in Lake Worth and inviting candidates to our monthly public meeting to address follow up questions, we have decided our endorsements and positions on the election. Although we are not an organization that focuses much on political campaigns, we felt once again that the elections in Lake Worth have become an important battleground in the grassroots effort for environmental and quality of life issues across the County (and beyond).

We are glad to support Javier del Sol for Mayor. Javier has been active in social and environmental issues in the City of Lake Worth spanning three decades. His campaign reflects his commitment to simple, low-impact local living, maximizing recycling and a do-it-yourself ethic--including home painted yard signs by children and adults volunteers in the neighborhoods. Javier has attended PBCEC events for years, and participated in other regional environmental, social justice and human rights efforts (his frequent attendance at Everglades Day was noted by local Audubon Everglades eco-matriarch Rosa Durando.) His long-standing connections to under-represented communities in this town run unprecedentedly deep. For more about Javier check out:

Our second endorsement is for Commissioner District 3, Jo-Ann Golden, running for re-election. Jo-Ann has been a community activist for years, from her hometown in Vermont to solidarity work in Central America and of course, here with her local work at the local affordable housing organization. Her time in office thus far has been one of integrity and commitment to controlling over-development, real estate greed and the opposing the selling-off of public space and services. She also took the lead in standing up to the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), and is helping guiding us out of their non-renewable energy grip. Check Jo-Ann out at:

The PBCEC has also decided that it is important to mention who we felt were the greatest threats in the election:

Wes Blackman, running for District 3. Wes has been on Lake Worth's Planning and Zoning board for some of their worst votes on development, which is not surprising, being that he has worked for Kilday & Associates, a primary voice for the County's rampant development in past years.
Rene Varela, running for Mayor. Rene is a danger primarily because he is masquerading as an environmental candidate. He has no reputable support in the grassroots environmental community, in fact, his support is coming from the usual chamber of commerce and real estate types. Rene has taken no clear stances on important issues, he has only the reputation of his supporters to speak for him.
Scott Maxwell, running for District 1. It is unfortunate that Scott is now in the same category as Rene as far as his supporters speaking louder than his own positions, as Scott once stood with the environmental community in opposition to the beach development plans of ex-Mayor Rodney Romano. Today, he is not only the chamber's choice, but he has also become a voice of xenophobic anti-immigrant perspectives in the area.

Once again, Lake Worth has the chance to turn politics-as-usual in Palm Beach County on its head. The County that won the title "Corruption Capital of Florida" is also now home to one of the most dedicated and effective opponents of crooked bureaucracy. There is a turning tide in this State, and it seems to be starting at the warm Gulfstream waters of little ol' Lake Worth.

For further details on any of these candidates from the PBCEC view, please feel free to contact us at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Florida Solar Energy Industries Association sell out to the fossil fuel industry; support offshore drilling..


The link below is to the Press Release posted last week on what appears to be a corporate buyout of Florida Solar Industries Association, advocating FOR offshore oil and gas drilling.

From Press Release:
"Florida's leading advocates for solar energy today announced their support for the proposal to authorize offshore energy exploration for oil and natural gas in Florida's waters..."

The Press Release contact Ryan Banfill. The number is a corporate public relations firm, Ron Sachs Communications. 850-222-1996. The employee at the FL SEIA office responding to the press release is Bruce Kershner.

From the South Florida Business Journal:
“The proposal to drill in Florida state waters has the potential to create a cleaner and wealthier future for Florida if it provides a sustainable funding source for the development of vibrant programs that will help Florida become a leader in the solar energy industry,” Kershner said.

Please contact Bruce and FL SEIA about this awful decision:
Phone: (407) 339-2010 or (800) 426-5899, Fax: (407) 260-1582

Address for FL SEIA
231 West Bay Avenue
Longwood, FL 32750-4125

The study FlaSEIA cites on their website advocating for offshore drilling was prepared by Fishkind & Associates. A corporate financial consulting firm whose client list includes FPL and Progress Energy, among dozens of other industrial and development-oriented interests.

This is terribly sad (and totally pathetic). I hope that we are able to respond as a unified environmental community to tell these solar advocates that we refuse to let the fossil fuel industry manipulate our call for decentralized, renewable energy options.

This page has a list of all officers and board members (all of whom have email addresses and phone numbers listed):

For a truly decentralized, sustainable Florida,
panagioti tsolkas
co-chair, PBCEC

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Victory For Venus and Fisheating Creek.. Private Military Training Facility Stopped!

"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction."
---Albert Einstein

Local Residents, Environmentalists, Human Rights Activists, and Farmers Defeat the Eagle Military Training Center

October 6th--Sebring, FL--For no less than twelve hours locals, lawyers, developers, the air force, a former secret service agent, environmentalists, human rights activists, farmers, ranchers, anarchists, liberals, conservatives, land speculators, and politicians squared off at a quasi-judicial hearing at the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners. It was a marathon protest of strange bedfellows with all the hooting and hollering, jeering, sign waving and firebrand speeches calling for bird sanctuaries, armed defense, the dissolution of the government, peace and quiet, rural autonomy and eco-tourism.

Burt Harris, the silver tongued lawyer hired by the Eagle Training Center (ETC) applicant argued that the concerns voiced by the citizens of Venus, population est. 600, and other groups, had no merit. The business plan for the privately run for-profit ETC called for live firing ranges, MOUT (military operations on urban terrains)facilities, a runway, helipad, two towers, improvised explosive device (IED) training facilities, mobile firing ranges, classroom facilities, and barracks. It also stated that the company would seek to provide its services to the International Market causing many to label the proposed training center a mercenary camp. Harris argued that the ETC would be nothing more than a first responder training center for EMTs and as the night wore on, altered the site propasal piece by piece, first dropping all night flights to and from the site and banning 50 caliber bullets, then dropping the runway and one tower. The military facility he argued, would in no way impact panther, bear or swallow tailed kite habitat, nor would it pollute the Fisheating Creek watershed. Those in attendance were not buying it.

Jim Labozzo, the lawyer representing the interests of several citizens of Venus and other local environmentalists, blew holes in Harris' argument, pointing out that the facility was for special ops training, that it would adversely impact both the human and natural communities of Venus and surrounding areas. He also showed how little work the Highlands County Planning and Zoning Board had carried out. They had conducted no studies to conclude environmental impact, utility or infrastructure needs, growth projections, health concerns, and fire and medical needs.

At the end of the night, the Board voted unanimously (though a bit reluctantly) to oppose the project, which means that Venus can sleep a little easier for the next six months, at which time Eagle can reapply for the rezoning permit. But more was won that night than just the safety and integrity of one rural town. A coalition of hitherto opposing forces came together to fight the development which threatened all our ways of life, proving the power of collaboration. Together we raised our voices and drowned out a corrupt business deal in the making. Together we have the strength to turn the tide of development in rural Florida, and everywhere.

We are going to need that strength. Developers and politicians have no problem crossing political and social lines to push their fast money projects, most of them poisonous, into our communities and wildlands. Neither Venus nor the Eagle Project are off the radar. Those old orange orchards proposed for the Eagle site will go back on the chopping block for some other project of sprawl (how about a mall) and we can't rely on commissioners to stand by the people of Venus forever. Likewise, the Eagle Project will seek out another spot in another rural area to develop its mercenary center. One commissioner noted at the hearing that he had recieved word from an official in adjoining Desoto County that if Highland's didn't want Eagle, Desoto would take a shot at it.

Lets stand together and keep it wild!

-Russ McSpadden
Everglades Earth First!
[reprinted from]