Friday, February 13, 2009

Solidarity actions with Everglades Earth First! Political Prisoners, Feb 18-24

February 18 – 24 Call in week to FPL and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in opposition to continued permitting of the West County Energy Center

February 24 Demonstration at DEP Southeast Regional Office 3-5pm at 400 N. Congress, West Palm Beach

On February 18, 2008, over a hundred Earth First! activists gathered at the entrance to the construction site of the largest new fossil fuel power plant in the county, Florida Power & Light’s West County Energy Center (WCEC). Twenty-six activists were arrested for blockading the construction entrance to the 3800 megawatt power plant adjacent to headwaters of both the Everglades and Loxahatchee River. The WCEC is permitted by the DEP to use over 7 billion gallons of water a year, drawn from surface, aquifer and re-use sources in and near the Everglades. It has also been permitted to emit over 12 million tons of C02 annually—an amount greater than the thirty least polluting nations on Earth.

On February 2, 2009, two of the activists, Lynne Purvis and Panagioti Tsolkas, were sentenced to 30 days and 60 days, respectively, for their participation in the blockade. Judge Laura Johnson’s punitive sentencing for civil disobedience is seen as an attempt to silence and chill dissent. As environmental activists are sentenced to jail, the criminal activity of FPL and the DEP continues in the continued permitting for the West County Energy Center.

Local residents filed an administrative petition to challenge the DEP permit which would allow an increased amount of contaminated power plant water to be injected into our aquifer. Their hearing scheduled to begin February 24 was denied. DEP has given FPL a green light permit to inject up to 21 million gallons of contaminated wastewater underground every day. The water would cycle through the plant and be re-injected into our aquifer, containing poisonous elements such as Chromium. These systems have a documented history of failure.

For technical and legal background documents on the case, see Division of Administrative Hearings, docket #08-6427:

Call FPL and the DEP, tell them that we will continue to fight against their expansion of fossil fuel power plants and destruction of the Everglades:

FPL’s environmental licensing specialist:
Barbara Linkiewicz, office (561) 691-7005, cell (561) 371-5351

Call DEP representatives:
Jack Long, southeast office (561) 681-6661, Mike Sole, DEP secretary, (850) 245-2011


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