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.”


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