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.