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, pbcenvirocoalition@gmail.com

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: http://pbcec.blogspot.com/2009/10/350org-climate-change-events-in-south.html

For more info on coordinated events around the world

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


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