Tuesday, December 1, 2009

N30: Letter delivered to Jack Long, Southeast District Florida DEP Director

Nov. 30, 2009

First, thank you for meeting with us today, Jack. We have gathered that there are many pressures and potential obstacles regarding this event. We also realize that there is a new level of dialogue occurring at a Federal and global level on the subject of monitoring carbon emissions. We feel that now is the time to act, while support for cutting carbon emissions is growing.

We have come here in the spirit of openness, in the interest of finding out what the Southeast DEP District can contribute to the urgency we are facing with a looming climate crisis—a crisis which threatens to exacerbate all ecological and financial dilemmas facing the people of this state, the country and the planet.

At the surface we are talking about carbon emissions, but on a deeper level we are addressing the continued poisoning of the public for private profits. This is a systemic problem. With your pen you can cause greater impacts to the planet than the rest of us in the room will likely cause in our lifetimes.

Since our Governor called a statewide summit on climate change in the spring of 2007, there has been no concrete steps towards tracking carbon emissions through monitoring in order to reduce them. I have personally taken part in meetings held by task forces, boards and agencies across the state discussing the threats of climate change; I have read studies and resolutions from multiple public agencies.

Meetings, studies and resolutions do not lower carbon in the atmosphere. It takes real action of the sort that DEP is mandated by the State of Florida to carry out through monitoring, regulation and enforcement.

There is no justification for waiting two and a half years to begin monitoring greenhouse gases such as CO2 in the permits you are frequently approving. In order to make the serious cuts that accepted international science has illustrated the need for, monitoring is the clear and easy first step. There is no excuse for further stagnation, except that energy corporations such as FPL do not want to risk their profits in the process of emissions reduction.

This is unacceptable. Knowingly allowing the permitting of unmonitored carbon emissions is a grave and criminal negligence in violation of your mandate to protect the environment. There is no excuse for waiting. While the DEP cannot sink below EPA standards, you are able to improve upon them in the interests of the people of this State. We consider the failure to do so an act with criminal intent.

Ten years ago this day, I sat in a Seattle jail cell for taking part in the protests during the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings. After 5 days in jail, I was released without criminal charges. The reason I was there is the same reason I am here today—to ensure that the protection of public interest surpasses the permitting of rampant corporate greed which threatens the planet and its people.

Today we ask you, Jack Long, as the Director of the Southeast Florida DEP District to send the following message to Tallahassee, Washington D.C. and Copenhagen, Denmark:

"We cannot wait longer; it is in the interest of both our local region and the world around us to take effective action; this District office will an agree by December 7, the start U.N. Climate Talks, to monitor emissions."

If our fair and reasonable request cannot be met by negotiation with this public agency, we will consider you to be working in
collaboration with an unjust corporate energy empire and we will pursue a campaign of direct action and civil disobedience to confront and expose you for knowingly putting our communities and ecosystems in danger.

-Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair PBC Environmental Coalition

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