Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Help Defend the North Woods from Plum Creek! Maine Forest Advocates Expose Pending Destruction of Land and Culture..

[please circulate and post this email and take a minute to make the requested call]

Hey folks,
This week i joined Native Forest Network and activists from Maine Earth First! on a snowshoe hike in the infamous North Woods. While i am no stranger to strolling through thigh-high swamp muck of the Everglades, this snow stuff is a new world to me. From moose tracks to clearcuts, these were some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking sights that i have seen... Below is a recent press release written about the fight stirring up here in the cold northern lands to defend some of the last, best wilderness in the U.S. There is also a photo link to see some of it for yourself.

For those who want to show solidarity, please call Plum Creek and tell them that you heard the news about Indian Steam and you demand that they STOP TRASHING MAINE'S FORESTS and CULTURE: Plum Creek forestry rep Rocco Pizzo, 207-695-2241

For those who might not see the connection between Maine, Florida and Plum Creek, check out the below links. This corporate monster is not our friend down in the south either:

"[S]econd largest private landowner in FL"

Proposed development of 1800 homes near Gainesville in "environmentally sensitive areas that include wetlands and the
headwaters of ecologically significant creeks"

Gopher tortoise 'concentration camps' masquerading as species conservation to facilitate sprawl in north/central FL

For the wild,
panagioti tsolkas,
co-chair of Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

**For Immediate Release**
Contact: Native Forest Network

Forest Advocates Expose Plum Creek's Destruction of Winter Deer Yards

Photos available:

January 27, 2009

Indian Stream TWP, ME- Activists with the Native Forest Network (NFN) have reported an imminent threat to historic deer yards and late succession forests within an active Plum Creek timber harvest. The group has requested an immediate evaluation of Plum Creek logging operations in the Indian Stream area by the Maine Forest Service. The deer yards fall within the boundary of the proposed conservation easements for Plum Creek's controversial development plan, and adjacent to the Big Moose State Reserve.

Concerns regarding the timber harvest were brought to the attention of NFN by local landowners and hunters. Together they are concerned about the imminent loss of ecologically and culturally significant deer yards in the region, which is seen as a primary factor in this years' low deer harvest. NFN recently visited the site and documented deer beds, tracks and browse in parcels currently being logged and others intended for harvest. These areas are also home to intact diverse late-succession forests that are unique to Maine's North Woods.

Shirley resident, Charlie Baker expressed concern about the active cut and its planned expansion saying "Hunters in this area know that these have historically been the biggest deer yards of Somerset County. Destroying these deer yards in the middle of winter is like burning down one of our houses. Where are we expecting the deer to go?" Baker's family has lived, logged and hunted in the region for several generations. Baker continued, "I have hunted this land for over fifty years, the Indian Stream area has significant winter deer yards. We must protect this land."

Meg Gilmartin, of NFN agrees, "We believe that much of the planned cut is important winter deer habitat. This forest also has beautiful views of Eagle Rock through a canopy of giant Cedar, Spruce, Hemlock, and Birch trees. Its adjacent location to State lands makes it a prime corridor for wildlife and recreational hiking. If the tract is cut this season, an important opportunity will be lost."

The group is continuing to work with local residents, biologists, and elected officials. They are hopeful that responsible State agencies will take immediate action to stop the destruction of these forests, and are committed to defending Maine's landmark forests through every possible channel, including civil disobedience if needed.

"We have reported our observations to the Forest Service and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and we will continue exposing Plums Creek's threats to the ecological integrity and historic uses of the area," said Ryan Clarke of Sangerville. "The old forests and wildlife of Maine are public resources, we will not sit by and allow them to be destroyed."


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Restraining Order for Dennis Mele

This matter having come before the Earth First! Judicial Consensus Court Application for Restraining Order and/or Injunction, the court having considered the pleadings, and otherwise being fully advised in the premises finds:

1. Immediate and irreparable injury will result if a restraining order is not issued immediately as requested
2. The order shall be effective indefinitely unless the respondent Dennis Mele, actively particiaptes in Everglades Restoration.

Respondent Dennis Mele, directly or through any agents, together with any persons and/or entities operating on behalf of and/or in concert with Dennis Mele are hereby restrained and enjoined from:
The greater Everglades bioregion, including but not limited to the parcel of land between Lyons and Banks Road in Coconut Creek and Margate.

s/Earth First! Consensus Judge Beardo
Dated: January 16, 2009

Petition for Injunction Against Dennis Mele for Repeat Violence Against the Everglades

Earth First! Jucicial Consensus Court
County of Broward
State of Florida
This motion filed January 16, 2004 by Personal Injunction





Before me, the undersigned authorities, personally appeared petitioner, the Everglades, who has sworn and say that the following statements are true:
1. Peitioner, the Everglades, resides in Florida and throughout Florida.
2. Respondent, Dennis Mele, reside in Broward County of Florida
3. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to Florida Statute @
4. Petitioners have suffered repeated violence as demonstrated by the fact that the Respondent has:
a. Made possible the clearcutting of wild lands
b. Made possible the polluting of wild lands
c. Ignored the pleas of the petitioner
d. Planned on further development of wild lands
e. Contributed to the slaughter of endangered species, threatened species, and otherwise wild
f. Contributed to the contamination of drinking water and Florida's aquifer
g. Threatened the stability of the Everglades bioregion
h. Contributed to global warming CO2 emissions

Monday, January 12, 2009

[Coconut Creek] Everglades Earth First! Rally Friday January 16th to Defend Wildlands in Broward County

Everglades Earth First! contact: 561-542-1469

On November 11, 2008, the City Commission of Coconut Creek voted unanimously to rezone the 42 acre plot of wild wetlands and rockland hammocks on Atlantic Blvd. between Lyons Road and Banks Road. The decision was made despite the opposition of local concerned citizens, who repeatedly voiced at City and County Commission meetings their unanimous disapproval of the decision. This motion was pushed through the city and county commission by a lawyer named Dennis Mele of the Ruden-McClosky law firm, who works exclusively for “developers, landowners and government officials” according to the Ruden-McClosky website. Mele was hired to pursue and was granted permits for a Lowes and Kohl’s shopping center. Recently, Mele and the Ruden-McClosky law firm have been working to defend Everglades Corporate Park in Sunrise, which would be the first development west of the Sawgrass Expressway on the immediate edge of the Everglades.

Everglades Earth First! will be holding a rally in front of the downtown Fort Lauderdale offices of Ruden-McClosky, where Dennis Mele works, at 200 East Broward Blvd., 3pm on Friday, January 16th 2009.

The environmental group Everglades Earth First! has teamed up with the local community group Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek, Inc. to preserve the 42 acres of wetlands. The group Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek, Inc. produce and distribute a newsletter “The Paddle” and along with Everglades Earth First! have been holding regular rallies and public events around this issue. Recently, the weekly South Florida publication New Times published an article on the efforts of both groups to preserve the local wetlands.

Earth Firster! Sara Henry says, “Our demand is that this unique and precious ecosystem, containing numerous old trees and native flora and fauna, and one of the only remaining green oases in the endless suburban sprawl of Broward County, be immediately preserved and rezoned as a public space to be enjoyed by the whole community.”

According to the Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek website, the wetlands contains “Woodstork (Endangered List) and Eastern Indigo Snake (Threatened List)”. The group wants to preserve their “community peace and lifestyle, personal safety of our homes and children, the environmental regional impact in our area, and property value.” Local archaeologists have also stated that there are Native American burial remains in the wetlands; native remains have already been found in the nearby Fern Forest County Park.

Earth First!er Marc Silverstein states, “This Friday, we are inviting local media and calling public attention to the rampant and unnecessary destruction of green space in Broward County. At the rally, and throughout this campaign, we will be putting pressure on the controversial Ruden-McClosky law firm to stop defending any further development into the 42 acres or any other wild space. The community neither wants nor needs another chain shopping mall, and there are already several Lowes and Kohl’s only miles away.”


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Support requested for 17 Earth First! activists arrested in Barley Barber standoff with FPL

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 1:01 AM, Everglades EF! !!! wrote:

On Saturday, January 10 of this year, seventeen Earth First! activists were arrested for entering the Barley Barber Swamp to demand the protection of Florida old growth ecosystems. The Barley Barber Swamp is one of the few remaining old growth cypress swamps in the Southeast. Several of the bald cypress trees in Barley Barber are over a thousand years old. They are the oldest in Florida and the entire Southeast region.

(click here to see a short video clip of Barley Barber and the 1,100 year old bald cypress: )

Barley Barber Swamp is being killed by the massive 3750 megaWatt Martin County power plant that hovers over it and the seventeen mile cooling pond that surrounds it.

Following a five day standoff, six activists entered the swamp through a public waterway and chained themselves to trees. Eleven other activists were swept up by the police in a frivolous attempt to quell the protest. Currently, Everglades Earth First! is confronted with the immediate need to raise $18,000 to bail these courageous activists out of Martin County jail.

Direct action is a community effort that goes well beyond the risk of arrest. It requires broad support from those who wish to see grassroots efforts succeed. We hope to go to the jail on Monday with the funds to bail all seventeen activists out. We know times are tough but if everyone pitches in we can ensure that these folks don't sit in jail for the next thirty days. Can you contribute to this effort? Just go to our website at and click on the "Donate" paypal link on the left hand side of the page or make out a check to Everglades Earth First and send it to 822 N C Street, Lake Worth, FL 33460

Another form of support that we would like to ask for is that those concerned call FPL and demand that they drop all charges against the Barley Barber 17 and that they reopen the Barley Barber Swamp to scientific and public scrutiny. One number to call for FPL is 305-552-3888. If you have a local FPL office, please call them as well...

Any funding raised beyond bail will go towards the legal battle that we will carry out to fundamentally change the status of Barley Barber and to ensure its protection and public access much like the battles over Fisheating Creek in the 1990's ( )

(Click here to a video on the standoff on the mainstream news: )

For Love and Wild Liberty,

Everglades Earth First!

Below is a copy of our most recent press release concerning the standoff and the Barley Barber 17

Media Contact: Russell McSpadden 561-308-9452

[Photos and video available upon request]

Seventeen Arrested at Barley Barber Swamp Stand-Off

Saturday January 10, 2009 – Indiantown Florida

Seventeen Earth First! activists were arrested this afternoon in an effort to re-open Barley Barber swamp for public use and immediate scientific monitoring. Expressing great concern for the impact Florida Power and Light has had on this landmark property, activists engaged in civil disobedience to assert the need for immediate independent scientific monitoring of the oldest bald cypress trees in Florida. The group has made multiple requests of FPL to re-open the swamp and address the deteriorating condition of the area they promised to preserve.

Six of the activists entered the area of the Barley Barber swamp where the old boardwalk still stands awaiting visitors. They refused to leave their positions in the swamp without an official commitment from FPL to end their contamination and draining of area wetlands. Others were arrested during a support rally on adjacent property.

"I do not want to be arrested, but I will take the risk in order to raise awareness about the slow death that is occurring in the Barley Barber Swamp," said Stevie Lowe a Palm Beach County resident who is now in custody for trespassing into the closed swamp. "When FPL took ownership of this landmark they promised to preserve the old growth. They have not. They have expanded their power plant facility which has drained the swamp of its water and is causing it to die."

Noting the expansion of FPL power plants in the region, another arrested activist Ben Korn stated; "FPL has placed the two largest fossil fuel power plants in the entire country between Lake Okeechobee and the Loxahatchee River. They have not provided full environmental impact statements for either facility which drain water from the aquifer and release mercury contaminants. In seeing the harm done to Barley Barber, we reiterate our concern for the impact the West County Energy Center will have on the Loxahatchee River Basin and the greater Everglades."

Activist Russ McSpadden further added that "FPL must be held accountable. If the elected officials and state agencies assigned to protect our wetlands will not do their job, then we must do everything in our power to help save these precious areas. Our actions are already bearing fruit. FPL has now promised to reopen the swamp in 2010. We intend to hold them to their word and push for an early opening for scientific monitoring and will continue our fight against the West County Energy Center."

Members of the group will be outside Martin County Jail this evening for press comments.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Activists Stand-Off with Law Enforcement at Barley Barber Swamp

-----Original Message-----
From: Everglades EF! !!! []
Sent: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 10:32 AM
Subject: Breaking News: Activists Stand-Off with Law Enforcement at Barley Barber Swamp

For Immediate Release

Media Alert: Activists Stand-Off with Law Enforcement at Barley Barber Swamp

January 6, 2009—Indiantown, Florida.

A group of local Everglades Earth First! activists are currently engaged in a standoff with FPL, Martin County Sheriff, Homeland Security and the FBI near Barley Barber Swamp, an old growth cypress swamp near the Florida Power and Light Martin County Plant. The on-going vigil outside the Barley Barber Swamp began the morning of January 5th after multiple requests by the group to be permitted access to view the swamp. FPL is responsible to preserve the area and has closed the swamp from public access since 2001.

After a thirty-person rally in front of the Martin County Power Plant, the group attempted to hike into the swamp, but were stopped by law enforcement who threatened arrests if activists entered the Barley Barber Swamp. The standoff went through the night as activists maintain the public should be able to see the impact FPL is having on some of the last remaining old growth in the state. One of the trees, estimated at 1100 years old, is likely the oldest tree in the southeast United States.

Earth First!er Taylor Sanderson stated that the group's demands include "that FPL make a New Year's resolution to take accountability for damage done to this beautiful swamp by the adjacent Martin County Power Plant, currently the largest fossil-fuel plant in the United States. The groundwater is literally being sucked from under the swamp, and the trees are dying as a result." The group has worked with scientists monitoring the hydrology of the affected area, and has concluded that the plant was closed in 2001 not just for security reasons as FPL claims, but because the power plant is obviously destroying an area that the company promised to preserve. "We want this old growth forest that is home to the oldest bald cypress tree in Florida to be preserved. FPL is killing the oldest cypress trees in the state. Their actions must be monitored" Sanderson continued.

The group of activists anticipate several arrests in the coming days. According to group member Russell McSpadden, "we are willing to accept arrest if that is what it takes to preserve the Barley Barber swamp." Mr. McSpadden added "we intend to fight FPL's destruction of South Florida's wetlands through legal means and when necessary with our bodies, through protest, civil disobedience, and the judicial system."

"We have a right to take matters into our own hands," McSpadden continued, "We won't tolerate FPL's blatant destruction of Florida's natural resources, including the desecration of Barley Barber swamp and the construction of the West County Energy Center which will have an enormous environmental impact on the Loxahatchee region of the Everglades. Elected officials and environmental organizations throughout the state take contributions from FPL and are turning a blind eye to the communities and wild lands they are entrusted to protect. We won't tolerate apathy on the part of those who are letting this go on."

Photos and video from the swamp are available upon request.
On-the-field interviews are available by phone or on site. Call for directions and assistance to reach the vigil site.

We would like to extend an invitation for anyone to come out to the camp for the most up-to-date reports, as the situation could change at any moment. Unfortunately, the encampment is not accessible by car at this moment, however, we can arrange bicycles for a crew to make the approx. four mile trek. Please call 561.308.9452 and we can help make arrangements.


Linked here is some good video footage recently posted anonymously from Barley Barber. FPL and the Martin County Sheriff are trying diligently to keep people out (rumors are out that the SWAT team is waiting for trespassers in the swamp, by the looks of the video they have not been entirely successful.)

The video shows that the boardwalk is not in disrepair (as FPL has claimed), and that this is a incredible, unique old growth ecosystem that needs immediate protection from FPL. this is the only footage available from the swamp that i have found, other than FPL's promo video from almost 20 years back. We also have high quality DVDs available, and i will take them to the protest to pass off the camera people, so they can have on the ground footage to use.