Friday, December 11, 2009

Report from PBCEC's N30 meeting with DEP and EPA

Regarding FPL powerplants in South Florida

Palm Beach Post coverage of PBCEC's Nov 30 meeting with DEP and EPA:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/protesters-opposed-to-fpl-plant-near-loxahatchee-wildlife-91783.html

Unfortunately, the Post coverage did not go reflect the actual content of the meeting, and the struggle that proceeded it. The PBCEC coordinated an uphill effort to bring together diverse concerns relevant to greenhouse gas monitoring and regulation and present them to local/state DEP and Federal EPA representatives. After having DEP Southeast Director, Jack Long, attempt to limit participation to 8 people, deny media entry and threats of parking violation against meeting participants, we succeeded in having 16 people present (including photographer and videographer) and a conference call accessible to the public, which over a dozen listened in on, including administrators from other State agencies.

When a final group was told to leave the building by West Palm Beach Police, they refused without a written explanation of why they were being forced from a building which State and Federal public dollars pay for. The police backed down, and remaining meeting participants left on their own terms (no parking tickets!)

The following day, DEP's Jack Long (who passed the buck at every opportunity) accused PBCEC's letter of threatening him. Long filed a formal complaint with the WPB Police. No legal action has been taken against anyone yet.
[View letter: http://pbcec.blogspot.com/2009/12/n30-letter-delivered-to-jack-long.html ]

Despite the DEP's efforts to intimidate us, we maintain a position that Jack Long, as well as his higher-ups in Tallahassee (Mike Halpin and Michael Sole) who have signed off on countless permits for pollution and sprawl, are not fit to direct environmental protection efforts for Florida. More specifically, we feel these individuals, along with other agencies (such as the Public Service Commission) knowingly assisted companies such as FPL in maximizing permits for carbon-intensive applications prior to the establishment carbon regulations. Our estimation is that their actions resulted in the permit approvals for 20-30 million tons of greenhouse gases (specifically related to power plants and fossil fuel infrastructure) that would not have been needed if growth projections, efficiency standards and renewable options were assessed in favor of the public rather than corporate profits.

We consider these actions to be collaboration with a massive assault (at the least, acts of criminal negligence) against millions of unsuspecting victims, impacting billions of dollars in public and private property.

Finally, we feel that the future monitoring and regulation of greenhouse gases will not be sufficient. A true pursuit of climate justice means not only removing corrupt agency heads and revoking permits that were granted in excess attempting to skirt the costs associated with future carbon reduction, but preparing to compensate people both who will face the effects of sea level rise and those who have been poisoned by air pollution as a result of fabricated dependency on fossil fuel.

There is no reason that a reasonable person should settle for less.

Signed,
Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair, PBC Environmental Coalition

1 comment:

Suki said...

Is there a way to get Jack Long thrown out? I mean, like, a legal way...