Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OPEN HOUSE Come celebrate a year of the Night Heron and 30 years of the Earth First! Journal

Activist Open House in Lake Worth
On Dec 18th, come celebrate a year of the Night Heron and 30 years of the Earth First! Journal..

Open House 4-8pm,
at the Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center, 1307 Central Terrace, Lake Worth (on the corner of 13th and G st.)

Starting at 6pm: Food, music, presentations on the 30th anniversary of the Earth First! Journal and the Night Heron; displaying of the new Beehive Design Collective's giant graphic "True Cost of Coal"; and another riveting dollar raffle (so bring your single bills and your gambling skills!)..

Also, help us fund raise AND get some holiday gift shopping done: Slingshot organizers, radical stickers, activist musician's CD, and more..

More Info:

Please help spread the word about this event on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Voice of Radical Environmentalism Heads South.. But Not For Retirement

 The Earth First! Journal celebrates its 30th year in print and in action with a move to the sub-tropics of Florida

 The image above was selected as one of "The Greatest Environmental Magazine Covers"

Lake Worth, FL-- For 30 years, the Earth First! Journal has been carrying news and opinions from the frontines of ecological resistance to readers around the world. While it has moved to several locations throughout its history, this winter will mark the first office in the South.

While the Journal will continue to cover global eco-defense movements, this relocation will also give Earth First! an opportunity to amplify its voice towards defending the Everglades, one of the largest roadless areas in the lower 48 states and protecting the imperiled coastline of the southeast.

The Earth First! (EF!) Journal focuses on ecological direct action no-compromise strategy, grassroots organizing and biocentric philosophy, including vocal support for underground eco-resistance, such as the Earth and Animal Liberation Fronts (ELF and ALF). The publication also often addresses indigenous solidarity, environmental justice and various forms of land-based struggles.

The publication is run a by an editorial collective of activists involved directly with the movement. For example, Leah Rothschild, a current Journal editor, first saw the publication while living at a tree sit overseas, against a rock mine slated to level the forest which bordered a national park and the ancient Nine Ladies stone circle in Derbyshire, England.

"I wanted to be a part of that sort of journalism, on the frontlines. Thanks to the Earth First! Journal, people around the world get involved with protests and blockades like the one at Nine Ladies." Says Rothschild. "And that's how we win."

The rock mining plan in Derbyshire was eventually canceled in 2008, due to the opposition.

The Journal is distributed in countries around the world, including the Philippines, Iceland and Australia. It is also circulated in dozens of prisons, with subscriptions to many eco-political prisoners here and abroad.

In its new Florida office, the EF! Journal Collective will be partnering with the local Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) group and the Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center, a community space which EEF! helped to open last year in the coastal city of Lake Worth.

Local EF! activists expect that the national attention brought by the Journal will aid in their various campaigns against government agencies and corporations such as:
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the people responsible for approving most every industrial project in the state;  
Florida Power & Light (FPL), trashing the state with power plants and pipelines;  
Scripps Biotech, clearing endangered species habitat for genetic engineering and animal testing labs;  
Palm Beach Aggregates, implicated in major political corruption, pursuing expansion of their rock mines into bordering cancer cluster neighborhoods; and  
Southern Waste Systems, using African-American neighborhoods as their dumping ground for construction debris, also implicated in political corruption.

The collective who produces the Journal also coordinates the EF! Speakers Bureau, a newly established project to facilitate EF!-oriented presentations for student and community groups.

More information about the EF! Journal can be found at:

(includes information on the release of the hot, new anniversary issue and the archive of selected articles from back issues)

(online daily reports from the eco-frontlines)

(find EF! speakers and trainers available for booking)

About partnering groups:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letter from PBCEC to new FAU President, Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, regarding impact to wildlife

 [Below is a letter sent by the PBCEC to FAU's new President.]

Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D.
Florida Atlantic University
Administration Bldg., Room # 339
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

Nov 16, 2010

Re: FAU’s disregard for protected wildlife and habitat

Dr. Saunders:

The Palm Beach county Environmental Coalition is disappointed with the disregard for wildlife that Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has shown on and near its campuses. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) list the Gopher Tortoise as a Threatened Species and the Burrowing Owl a Species of Special Concern which as you know have habitat designated for them on the FAU Boca Raton campus. It is your responsibility as the new president to ensure their survival by stopping further removal of their habitat.

As of right now, FAU is slated to build a road to the new stadium which will go through current Gopher Tortoise and Burrowing Owl habitat. Too much encroachment has already occurred as the animals are surrounded by concrete, parking lots and multiple story buildings. To put another road which intersects the conservation area would not just reduce their habitat area, but increase their exposure to toxins, pollutants, noise pollution, etc. It would also drastically increase the chances that these beautiful creatures would die at the hands of careless drivers.

This environmental devastation extends beyond the single campus in Boca Raton. To the north, across from Jupiter campus, FAU has remained complicit while a partner of the University, Scripps Florida, plans to further wipe out the habitat of Gopher Tortoises and endangered species, such as the Hand Fern (Ophioglossum Palmatum), by building a biotech research park and animal testing laboratory.

On this 700 acre forest, citizen surveyors (1) recorded the location of over 50 colonies of Hand Ferns. This endangered plant cannot be relocated. As a shade dependent fern, no relocation methods have been successful; it dies almost every time it is removed from its host cabbage palm. If the Florida Natural Areas Inventory is correct in its estimation of Hand Fern populations in the state, then Scripps could be decimating 2% of the species. (2)

We analyzed the DRI done on this property and they noted only two Hand Ferns. As a partner with Scripps, can you reassure us, the community, and the student population that FAU is doing all it can to preserve and protect all of Florida's endangered and threatened species on this property?

FAU should not further impact the habitat of these listed species on any of their property. And it has a moral obligation to speak out regarding the practice of its partners and neighbors. The school’s Conservation Committee is a step in the right direction, however; this has not prevented the continued shrinking of the Boca’s campuses on-site Preserve and the loss of other open lands.

We join other organizations in urging you to set aside the Preserve and other available open lands on campus through a Conservation Easement or similar program. We also recommend that funds be allocated on an annual basis to manage these habitats appropriately for tortoises and owls.

Without ongoing management, these lands will quickly become unsuitable for these species. FAU has unique habitats that are rapidly disappearing throughout south Florida, and it is your responsibility to ensure their preservation. It would be a great embarrassment for the school if they were to lose the resident population of their mascot.

These habitats and wildlife can and are being used for educational purposes. Several research studies have been conducted by students and faculty on the Preserve and open areas. We feel the educational opportunities on Jupiter campuses neighboring Briger Tract also deserve to be seriously evaluated.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience what steps the university is taking to prevent the loss of these unique species and habitat. We would like to set up a meeting to discuss this topic with you.


Panagioti Tsolkas
Rachel Kijewski
Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

(1) Please see attached document: Impacts to Listed Species and Threatened Habitat on Proposed Scripps Phase II Development / Briger Tract

(2) Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Field Guide "Hand Fern". 2000

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lisa Maxwell and Carla Blockson taking dirty money from Waste Transfer Dump

Despite ongoing efforts to keep dirty money out of election, developer candidate Lisa Maxwell accepted $2,500 from 5 different companies all operating out of the Southern Waste Systems facility on the Lantana/Lake Worth border. Last report the BACPAC took over $1000 from SWS et al, and has been using the money to support Maxwell and Blockson.

See for yourself in Lisa Maxwell's G4 financial report

Or the BACPAC's report

Monday, October 18, 2010

Come hear from former eco-prisoner Tre Arrow

Speaking and playing music at the Quaker Meeting House,
823 North A Street, Lake Worth, FL
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 from 7-10pm
Donations greatly appreciated!
Hosted by PBC Environmental Coalition and the Earth First! Speakers Bureau
 Come hear Tre Arrow share his wild adventures of life 'on the edge' (and on the run!)
 He will also perform his own heartfelt songs—one night only here in South Florida

Appearing in Rolling Stone Magazine, on the cover of book Eco-warriors (pictured above), and even America's Most Wanted. Tre Arrow first came to public attention in July 2000 when he scaled a U.S. Forest Service building to protest the sale of an old growth forest near Eagle Creek, Oregon. He sat on a nine-inch edge for 11 days in downtown Portland, bringing national attention to the issue. His protest played an important role in reversing the Forest Service’s plans to log the area. He was also involved with several tree sit campaigns in the pacific northwest and ran for Congress in 2000, receiving 15,000 votes as a Pacific Green Party candidate. Tre also spent 6 years in prison for allegations of sabotage against the timber industry. His case gained international attention during his battle to refuse extradition from Canada and he was even listed on the FBI's most wanted in 2002, despite the fact that the actions he was accused of caused no injuries.
Tre is a charismatic, passionate and sincere story-telling speaker and musician. He is an example of environmentalists being targeted by federal authorities. He was threatened with decades in prison due to his political beliefs; his case is one of many which have come to be known as the Green Scare.  He is a dedicated advocate of sustainable living, environmental preservation, and independence from fossil fuels. Tre, who grew up in Florida, has spoken at conferences, universities and community events across the country since his recent release in 2009.

The Earth First! (EF!) Speakers Bureau is a project of the EF! Journal. The Journal, which celebrates its 30th year in print this year, will be moving their office to Lake Worth this winter. Local EF! activists will be tabling at the event with the publications and merchandise.

The PBC Environmental Coalition is a regional organization focused on networking grassroots activists and environmental groups.

Contact: PBC Environmental Coalition:

Friday, August 20, 2010

PBCEC update from a far off desert

Hey All,
So, as many know, i've been out and about (as i tend to do on
occasion) from Maine to Greece and now in Arizona. I want to thank
Suki for taking great notes (which are now posted up online at
www.pbcec.org  And the rest of our group for holding down our crucial work amidst the summer heat.. (if you can believe it, i am in a place even hotter that it is at home.. with no beach to compensate!)

First off, I want to offer congratulations to the Riviera Beach
activists who got out and put the Rybovich marina development plan
onto the ballot. It's inspiring to see that the tide is continuing to
turn against business-as-usual developer driven politics.

So, here in Tucson, AZ i've been buckling down in my new work as a
member of the Earth First! Journal editorial collective

You can check out some of the stories of ecological resistance from
around the world that we've been hightighting here:

And you can look at the new newsletter, hot off the press here:

By Nov., our 30th Anniversary issue will be out, with 100 pages of
Earth First! action, analysis and history. SO keep an eye out.. if
you're not a subscriber yet, you can subscribe online here:

Or you can donate here

Clean Energy Coalition protest at Port Everglades US 1 & Hwy 84 –
Welcome Park) to protest the BP oil spills and our dependence on
fossil fuels.  There is a flotilla planned as well as an on-shore
protest.  It's at Noon, Saturday, August 21st at the corner of US 1
and Rte. 84.  If you need more information about this event, contact
is mrrratpp@aol.com.

see you all soon!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Notes from the August 9, 2010 PBC Environmental Coalition

Meeting 7-9:30 p.m. – Quaker Meeting House – Lake Worth

1.  Riviera Beach Marina:  The activists in Riv. Beach have attained the necessary 2600 signatures to get a referendum on the ballot in November to stop the waterfront from being developed into an
industrial and big boat boatyard and destroying the waterfront. They've asked for help from PBCEC to bring awareness to this issue. They have a weekly meeting on Monday (next one is 8/16) at 7 pm at the Blue Heron Church, 2600 Avenue A, Riv. Bch.

2.  Scripps/Briger Tract Development:  Dates are being set for the petitioners who won a hearing from the S. Fl Water Mngmt District and Dept of Community Affairs. Aug 23rd. as a pre-hearing stipulation meeting for SFWMD and DCA determined that the main obstacle is no representation from people living in the area (we have since refiled our petition to show the PBCEC's support from Gardens and surrounding area).  He is also proposing a demonstration at the FAU campus in PBG Friday

keep up with the administrative/legal process here:
SFWMD  http://www.doah.state.fl.us/internet/search/docket.cfm?CaseNo=10-003100

DCA  http://www.doah.state.fl.us/internet/search/docket.cfm?CaseNo=10-005608
(the newly revised petition can also be viewed here in a PDF link)

3.  Clean Energy Coalition:  This newly formed group meets in Dania every two weeks, Sat. at 11:00 a.m.  at the St. Maurice Catholic Church 2851 Sterling Road.  Suki attended last meeting and gave
report.  They are planning an action for August 21st at Port Everglades US 1 & Hwy 84 – Welcome Park) to protest the BP oil spills and our dependence on fossil fuels.  There is a flotilla planned as well as an on-shore protest.  It's at Noon, Saturday, August 21st at the corner of US 1 and Rte. 84.  If you need more information about this event, contact is mrrratpp@aol.com.

4.  Move to Amend South Florida Tour:  Nancy Parker of PDA spoke on this issue.  Green Party is also sponsoring this event.  David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party Candidate for President is coming to FL for a week to speak on the need to change the Constitution to reflect the fact that CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE.  Similar to separation of church and state.  PBCEC feels very strongly about this issue and voted to endorse the MTA Tour.  Endorsement gives us the opportunity to table at the events in North Palm and Boca Raton and gives us 5 minutes of time to talk about the negative impact corporate personhood has had on the environment in South Florida.  Cobb will be here Sept. 14, 7-9 pm at the First UU Church of the Palm Beaches - N. Palm Beach, 635 Prosperity Farms Rd and Sept. 15, 7-9 pm at St Andrews Estates South, Boca Raton, 6045 Verde Trail South.  David is a dynamic speaker, should be good.  For more info, contact is Bonnie Redding (Green Party) 561-762-8191.  Also visit www.movetoamend.org.

5.  In a related issue, 2 reps from MoveOn, (Ruthie Cassidy & Peter Becker), attended with a petition to sign against corporate personhood.  PBCEC endorsed this petition as well, although NOT
endorsing MoveOn per se.  The Petition is called, "The other 98%".

6.  Reef Rescue:  Sea turtles are suffering on Ft. Lauderdale beach because of the lights.  Ed Tichner asked for help from PBCEC to file an intent to sue letter.  Reef Rescue will help with funding for a
suit/legal action, but wanted to make sure there is someone who can do the research necessary within 60 days after the intent to sue letter is written.  Specifically, there is a need to find out why the Ft.
Lauderdale ordinances about lighting mitigation near the beaches aren’t being enforced since they are in place as a result of the Endangered Species Act.  S.T.O.P. (Sea Turtle Oversight Protection) is
working with him on this.  Ruthie Cassidy offered to help with research.  Bobette will forward her contact information for Stacie-Lee Sherwood (S.T.O.P.) and others involved in this situation.

7.  10/10/10 Global Work Party:  This is sponsored by 350.org and Bill McKibben.  Bobette spoke, said everyone try and do something on that day to show their support for getting off of fossil fuels.  PBCEC will put together an event for that morning as yet to be determined. Please put on your thinking caps and keep it at a neutral location (a park?)  Bobette personally invited everyone to the Network of Spiritual Progressives 10.10.10 Festival for the Planet which will be held from 2-5 pm at Church of our Savior, 2011 S. Federal Hwy, Boynton Beach.  PBCEC can table there – Greenpeace will be tabling there too. At that “work party” the group will install a timer and insulation on
the hot water heater at the MCC (to help them reduce electricity that is wasted heating water when the building isn’t being used) and will be doing a veggie meal cooked on a solar cooker in the parking lot.
Richard WhiteCloud’s “off the grid” airstream will be there too (runs on solar panels and wind turbines).

Christian mentioned that he might like to try to organize a bike event that day.  Send other ideas to bwolesensky@gmail.com.

8.  The Riviera Beach contingent revealed that the Riv. Bch city commissioners had renewed FPL's lease for the aging power plant there for 30 years.  They have already signed on to it.  PBCEC will be kept informed of any actions that come up to turn that plant into a solar power plant instead of another fossil fuel oil and water guzzler.

9.  NORML representative, Chris Alford will get back to us re PBCEC endorsing their movement to legalize hemp and medical marijuana (or make possession a misdemeanor).  Carol Strick pointed out that 65% of prisoners are locked up for drug charges.  The coalition feels that this is something we should support.

10.  LW Casino:  There is some controversy in Lake Worth over a casino, late hours and other activities that go along with a casino as it relates to sea turtle nesting/hatchlings.  Christian brought the
issue up and said he would get back to us with details.  He suggested we may want to have someone from the LW City Council join us for our next meeting.  He will extend that invitation.

11.  March Against Wal-Mart:  Bobette revealed the Wal-Mart's master plan is to have a Wal-Mart every 5 miles up U.S. 1 from Miami to who knows where.  Maine?  They are presently asking for a zoning change in Delray and there a protest August 16th, beginning at Old School Square in Delray Beach from 5 pm marching to city hall.  The Planning & Zoning Commission meets at 6 p.m. on August 16th, and the march will end at the meeting where people will speak out against the zoning change Wal-Mart has requested.  Info:  www.auroasvoice.org or bwolesensky@gmail.com.

12.  PBCEC has decided to endorse a few worthy candidates IF (and only IF)  they endorse Amendment 4.  Barry Silver will see if the following candidates pass this litmus test:
Just a quick note to confirm that the following candidates were “conditionally” endorsed at last night’s meeting.  Barry is going to follow up with ALL of them today to confirm the details of the
conditional endorsement and is going to do media announcements, organize a press conference, etc.
State Rep Endorsements which will be made ONLY IF the candidates go on record as supporting Amendment 4 when they are contacted by Barry Silver.  (Barry will do WRITTEN contact – email.)
•         District 86 – Carole Kaye
•         District 88 – Mark Pafford
 Congressional Rep Endorsements which will be made ONLY IF the candidates go on record as supporting Amendment 4 when they are contacted by Barry Silver.  (Barry will do WRITTEN contact – email.)
•         District 16 – Ed Tautiva
•         District 23 – Alcee Hastings
 County Commissioner Endorsement which will be made ONLY IF the candidate goes on record as supporting Amendment 4 when contacted by Barry Silver.  (Barry will do WRITTEN contact – email.)
•         District 6 – Jess Santamaria
 County Commissioner Endorsement suggested by members of the Riviera Beach Community Task Force and which will be made ONLY after research by Barry Silver AND only after the candidate goes on record as supporting Amendment 4; only after the candidate completes the Candidate questionnaire; and only after the candidate completes the Declaration of Fossil Fuel Independence.  Emma Bates from the RB Community Task Force will also contact Ms. Taylor to ask her specific questions about these issues and will report back to Barry (barryboca@aol.com)
•         District 7 – Priscilla Taylor

C. M. offered the following information:
"SHAC has received a number of leaked documents detailing the purchase of hundreds of monkeys from China by Huntingdon Life Sciences between 2006-2008. The documents reveal, once again, how HLS, Primate Products, Inc and its customers are directly responsible for the horrible suffering of monkeys trapped for the international primate slave trade.

If the FL Scripps Research Institute Phase2 is built, Donald Bradford, and all the other higher ups in his company (all listed on the S.FL. anti HLS blogspot) will make a killing adding them to their
customer lists (for all we know they already are supplying Phase1). We have to shut these monsters down!

We, the organizers against Primate Products, call on every compassionate person to show their anger and disgust at Primate Products, Inc. for their continued involvement in the primate slave

What: Protest against Primate Products, Inc.
Where: Primate Products, Inc. Live Animal Division
7780 NW 53rd Street
Miami, FL 33166
When: Wed., Aug. 11. 4:00 pm
More info: Christian Minaya 561 541 7049

That's it!  See you at the next PBCEC meeting September 13, 2010.

Suki deJong
filling-in co-chair for this meeting

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Really bad gas... from the Gulf to the 'Glades

What is relationship of FPL NextEra to BP, Gulf dead zones and "the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history"?

When FPL 'NextEra' was asked about their relationship to the Gulf disaster, they chose to speak only about their use of oil, conveniently ignoring the role of natural gas in offshore drilling...  
According to company spokesman Mark Bubriski commenting to the Palm Beach Post:
"NextEra is very concerned about the ecological impacts of the oil spill, Bubriski said. However, only about 1 percent of the oil used by the United States goes toward producing electricity. Florida Power & Light obtains oil from a variety of sources, with about 4 percent of its generation is powered by oil." http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/fpl-shareholders-approve-name-change-to-nextera-energy-701830.html 

From the get-go of the battle to stop the new 3800 MW FPL power plant in Loxahatchee, and all its natural gas infrastructure, one of our group's contentions was the over-reliance on this fossil fuel being used as an excuse for increased offshore drilling for gas. About 75% of FPL's energy generation in Florida comes from gas. According to EIA, near 1/4 of the domestic supply of this gas is currently used for electric power. 14% percent of that came from gas drilled offshore.   

“FPL’s creating a regional dependence on natural gas...” said Peter Shultz, a Hobe Sound resident and member of Everglades Earth First. Shultz said money should instead be invested in renewable energy instead of gas. http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2009/apr/27/critics-take-aim-fpl-natural-gas-pipeline-during-o/?feedback=1#comments 

Below is some information on the relationship of gas extraction to the BP disaster and dead zones in the Gulf, which FPL would like to distance itself from but cannot in any honesty.  

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 10:05 PM 
Subject: really bad gas! "the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history" 
"leak" vs "the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history"  

(2 articles from news services) 

1) Date Published: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 According to Reuters, the team took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile radius of the leaking well. Kessler characterized the leak as "the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Methane Levels From BP Oil Spill Raise Environmental Concerns Methane levels in the ocean near the site of the BP oil spill are "astonishingly high", according to some U.S. scientists. Last week, the scientists returned from 10-day research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico close to where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and eventually sunk more than 60 days ago.

The April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 men and spawned the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Since then, oil has been gushing into the Gulf at a rate of as much as 60,000 barrels a day, according to U.S. government estimates. Methane is a colorless, odorless gas that is a major component in natural gas. It is also highly flammable. A bubble of methane is believed to have ignited the Deepwater Horizon explosion. John Kessler of Texas A&M University in College Station, one of the scientists on the research expedition, said last week that methane in deep-ocean waters (below 1,000 feet) near the oil spill are 10,000 to 100,000 times higher than normal. At times, the team measured methane levels that were 1 million times above normal.  

According to Reuters, the team took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile radius of the leaking well. Kessler characterized the leak as "the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," The team of 12 scientists from Texas A&M, Texas A&M Galveston and The University of California, Santa Barbara, discovered that the methane, which makes up 40 percent of the substances coming from the well, is staying in the deep waters and not escaping into the atmosphere.

Kessler said the amount of methane seen was enough to potentially deplete oxygen and create a dead zone in the Gulf. High concentrations of methane can encourage the growth of microbes that consume oxygen needed by marine life. "At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is," Kessler said. Though oxygen depletion hasn't reached a critical level yet, Kessler said he feared what it might look like "two months down the road, six months down the road, two years down the road?" 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 9:57 am and is filed under Accident , Oil Spills 

2) BP weighs an option in case relief wells fail Piping oil and natural gas to platforms may be an option
By SHARON HONG and JEANNIE KEVER Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle June 22, 2010, 11:2010 

As researchers reported that the Macondo well blowout appears to have elevated levels of methane in the Gulf of Mexico, government responders said BP might pipe oil and natural gas from the well to production platforms if relief wells fail to stop the flow. Officials of BP, which owns the well, and other government and industry experts, have said they expect to stop the flow by drilling relief wells to intercept the Macondo near the reservoir 13,000 feet below the Gulf floor and then plugging it with cement.

One of the drilling rigs has reached 10,677 feet, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the response commander, and a backup relief well has reached 4,662 feet. Engineers have looked at a number of ways to proceed if the relief wells fail, Allen said, including piping oil and natural gas from the well to facilities nearby.  

Allen said the idea, still in early stages of evaluation, was discussed at an industry meeting hosted last week by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The group identified a couple of platforms in the area that could take some of the oil and gas through pipelines along the ocean floor. Then it could be brought to the surface for processing or pumped back into a reservoir. Since early June, BP has been capturing thousands of barrels of oil a day through systems on the seafloor. But some is being burned off because vessels on the surface can't contain it all.

Containment reached nearly 26,000 barrels on Monday, more than a million gallons and the highest since the spill began, Allen said. Much of it is coming through a containment cap installed after undersea robots cut a leaking riser pipe that once connected the wellhead on the seafloor to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig almost a mile above. Allen said Tuesday that teams are retrieving the sheared-off portion of the riser as evidence in the investigation into the disaster. When the Macondo well blew out April 20, it destroyed the Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 workers and began spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Allen said the amount of oil being collected could double by the end of June with the arrival of another vessel that is expected to catch 20,000 to 25,000 more barrels a day. But sending the oil through undersea pipelines to existing production platforms would reduce or eliminate the need for collection operations on the surface right above the well, which might have to be suspended if a hurricane threatens. And it could provide a backup plan if BP is unable to plug the blown-out well, or if the process takes longer than expected. 

BP has said it won't complete the first relief well until at least sometime in August. In a new measure of the possible scope of the disaster, a Texas A&M University researcher just back from an eight-day trip through the Gulf waters surrounding the spill site said his team found far higher-than-normal levels of methane gas in the area, as much as 1 million times higher in a few places. As a result, oceanographer John Kessler said, oxygen levels in some deep-sea regions are abnormally low, although it's not yet clear what that means for sea life. The low oxygen levels could lead to another dead zone, Kessler said during a briefing Tuesday. Most dead zones - areas where oxygen levels are too low to sustain fish and other sea life - are caused by fertilizer runoff.

"The dead zone is a very complex problem that combines chemistry, biology and physics," Kessler said. Most are found in relatively shallow water. The team found the highest concentrations of methane, a component of the natural gas that has spewed from the well along with crude oil, at deeper levels, although he said he isn't yet sure why. "In very hot spots, we saw them approach 1 million times above background concentrations," he said. High methane levels can lower oxygen levels because the microbes that feed on methane deplete oxygen. Kessler received a $160,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to assess the spill area, sailing from Gulfport, Miss., on June 12 and spending eight days within the restricted area close to the site of the blast.

Data collected will offer another way to determine the size of the spill, he said, and may yield insights into previous oceanic eruptions of methane and natural gas. Researchers worked within a five-mile radius of the destroyed rig, at times coming within one-third of a mile, Kessler said.

sharon.hong@chron.com jeannie.kever@chron.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 17, 5pm: Expose Mayor David Levy's Lies about Scripps & Hometown Democracy

Is Mayor David Levy Lying about Scripps?

Hometown Democracy advocates are joining with environmental and animal activists to expose Mayor Levy by having a demonstration at his office before the next Gardens City Hall meeting, June 17th 5pm on Military Trail (south of PGA Blvd), where the City of of Palm Beach Gardens, who has been pushing for Scripps, now has multiple new Comp Plan changes on the agenda.

As many know, the new Scripps plan, like most big development plans, required a Comprehensive Plan change invite the new animal testing labs, hazardous waste and clear-cut endangered species habitat for commercial and residential density that Jeb Bush demanded accompany Scripps over 6 years ago.

With the entire Abacoa Town Center in foreclosure and a crumbled housing market, there is no justification for clearing 682 acres of forest for this development.

Mayor David Levy uses the cover of his 'environmental consulting' business to support deforestation, loss of endangered species and the torture of animals. including cats, dogs and primates. He has repeatedly lied in regards to the Scripps Development Application as well as Florida Hometown Democracy.


No Bailout for BP's greed-driven disaster

Thursday, June 10, 2010

HAIR Invites Environmental Protestors to Join Tribe of the Rock Musical

Opening Tonight at the Caldwell Theatre
Members of Everglades Earth First!
Will Participate in the Show’s Notorious ‘Be-In’ Scene
(Palm Beach, FL – June 10, 2010)  Veteran theatrical producer Vicki Halmos, executive producer of the newly formed Entr’Acte Theatrix, has invited members of Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) to become honorary members of the Tribe of HAIR during the show's run at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, and continuing next weekend at the New Palm Beach Gardens Community High School Performing Arts Center.

EEF! Is part of a decentralized direct-action movement of radical environmentalists from around the country.  Locally, the group is involved in the defense of forest, wetlands, and coastlines, by opposing power plants, rock mines, offshore drilling and sprawling development.  The group also challenges the idea of “environmental racism” of placing industrial facilities in low-income communities.

“Obviously, the issue of offshore drilling is paramount not only to Floridians but to the rest of the world, as we try to anticipate both the short and long term effects of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Michael Lifshitz, associate producer.  “Since HAIR thematically confronts themes of racism, peace, and the environment, the opportunity to provide the theater-going public with a real life situation, to educate them, and to give them their own tools for reasonable protest was an opportunity not to be missed.”

Partnering with EEF! also give the show’s tribe members – many of who are too young to have seen the 1960’s and 70’s first hand – to understand and experience the same passion for protest that was so much a part of the turbulent time in which HAIR is set.

In addition to appearing in the show’s notorious “Be-In” scene, where the characters protest the war in Vietnam by burning their draft cards, the members of EEF! will be available in the lobby of both venues to answer questions and to promote a better understanding of their work.  For more information about the group, log onto www.evergladesearthfirst.org,www.earthfirstjournal.org, and www.thenightheron.org.
Entre’Acte Theatrix’s production of HAIR will feature a large, 30-person cast, most of who are graduates of local high schools, colleges and universities.

With Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and Music by Galt MacDonald, Entr’Acte’s production of HAIR is being directed and choreographed by KD Smith, a protégé of Michael Bennett, the genius behind numerous Broadway hits including A Chorus Line, Seesaw and more. Carol Suhr is providing vocal Direction for HAIR.

At the Caldwell Theatre / June 10-13:
HAIR will run for six performances at the Count de Hoernle Theatre (Caldwell Theatre) at 7901 North Federal Highway in Boca Raton, at 8 p.m. on June 10, 11 & 12, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on June 13.  Tickets range in price from $10 for students to $30 for premium seating, and are available by calling the Caldwell Theatre box office at 561.241.7432 or online at  

At Palm Beach Gardens Community High School / June 17-20:
An additional five performances of HAIR will be presented June 17-20 at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, 4245 Holly Drive (located southeast of North Military Trail and Lilac Street), at 8 p.m. on June 17, 17 & 19, and 2 p.m. on June 19 & 20.  Tickets range in price from $10 for students to $25 for premium seating, and are available by calling 877.710.7779 or online at 

About Entr’Acte Theatrix:
Entr’Acte Theatrix is a brand new offshoot of the Palm Beach Principal Players, which started 10 years ago and targeted high school and college students interested in musical theater but who had limited opportunities to perform.  Over the last decade, Principal Players has presented 16 different shows featuring more than 200 young people, many of whom have gone on to professional careers or top educational programs.  Because these young but “seasoned” performers still need opportunities to work with top professionals and begin their professional careers with impressive resumes and a network of industry contacts, Entr’Acte Theatrix was formed. The company’s goal is to produce shows aimed toward a young, hipper audience and present them at some of the finest professional houses in Palm Beach County, exposing the young performers to both sophisticated audiences and the staff and management of these venues. 

Entr’Acte Theatrix is a subsidiary of the Peter Halmos Family Foundation.  Neither organization is affiliated with the Caldwell Theatre Company or the Palm Beach County School Board.  For more information, please visit www.entractetheatrix.com.
Available for interview:
Vicki Halmos
Media Contact:
Gary Schweikhart
PR-BS, Inc.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


 — Walruses and Seals, Non-Existent Equipment Lists and Other Fanciful References 

News Releases

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2010
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337
Washington, DC — BP’s official response plan for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico is studded with patently inaccurate and inapplicable information but was nonetheless approved by the federal government, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Most notably, the response plan contains no information about how to cope with a deep water blowout but is littered with outright inanities, suggesting that no regulator seriously read it.
The “BP Regional Oil Spill Response Plan – Gulf of Mexico” dated June 30, 2009 covers all of the company’s operations in the Gulf, not just the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. The plan-:
  • Lists “Sea Lions, Seals, Sea Otters [and] Walruses” as “Sensitive Biological Resources” in the Gulf, suggesting that portions were cribbed from previous Arctic exploratory planning;
  • Gives a web site for a Japanese home shopping site as the link to one of its “primary equipment providers for BP in the Gulf of Mexico Region [for]rapid deployment of spill response resources on a 24 hour, 7 days a week basis”; and
  • Directs its media spokespeople to never make “promises that property, ecology, or anything else will be restored to normal,” implying that BP will only commit candor by omission.
More seriously, the plan does not contain information about tracking sub-surface oil plumes from deepwater blowouts or preventing disease (viruses, bacteria, etc.) transmission to captured animals in rehab facilities, which was found to be a very serious risk following the Exxon Valdez spill. It also lacks any oceanographic or meteorological information, despite the clear relevance of this data to spill response.
“This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on,” said PEER Board Member Rick Steiner, a noted marine professor and conservationist who tracked the Exxon Valdez spill, noting that the plan is almost 600 pages largely consisting of lists, phone numbers and blank forms. “Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deep water blowout even though BP has significant deep water operations in the Gulf.”
The chapter on “Worst Case Discharge” features wildly optimistic projections of the maximum size of any crude spill and bland assurances that within hours of any incident “personnel, equipment, and materials in sufficient quantities and recovery capacity to respond effectively to oil spills from the facilities and leases covered by this plan, including the worst case discharge scenarios” will be deployed.
“Pointing out our gaping incapacity in spill prevention and response is not just an exercise in hindsight,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that, according to the soon-to-be-defunct U.S. Minerals Management Service, there are approximately 4,000 producing platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them are “major platforms” with nearly 1,000 of these manned by personnel. “We ought to be losing sleep that there is still no sane spill response plan for the Gulf.”

PBCEC Supports Think Outside the Bomb

[PBCEC supports struggles for environmental justice around the country. Below is a message on how you can help make this campaign in the southwest U.S. a success.]
Think Outside the Bomb, the largest youth-led nuclear abolition network in the U.S., is building on the momentum from the NPT Review Conference and organizing youth for a nuclear free future. At this critical time, when the U.S. should be leading the way to a nuclear free world, President Obama is instead quadrupling our capacity to make new weapons.  In response, Think Outside the Bomb is organizing Disarmament Summer, a global convergence near Los Alamos, New Mexico to confront the nuclear industry where it all began.
We invite you to join us at the Disarmament Summer Encampment from July 30th through August 9th. Working together with indigenous communities in New Mexico, we will be building a permaculture encampment, training in organizing and non-violent direct action, and taking action to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  We will be leaving behind sustainable community infrastructure, building the skills and leadership of local youth, and strengthening the international youth movement for nuclear abolition. 
Think Outside the Bomb has been engaging youth in the nuclear abolition movement for five years and laying the groundwork for Disarmament Summer since August 2009.  We are organizing a cross-cultural alliance of youth and disarmament veterans working together to build a grassroots, consensus-based, nonviolent direct action movement. We are committed to collective liberation, a sustainable future, and an end to the cycle of nuclear violence. For too long, the US government and corporations have sacrificed the environment, health and well-being of indigenous and poor communities to secure access to resources through the threat and use of force.  To create a nuclear-free future, we must undo the legacy of racism and violence.

Endorse Disarmament Summer and join us in building a vibrant youth movement for nuclear abolition.  We ask that endorsing organizations support us in one or more of the following ways:
  • Link to our website, be our fan on facebook, and follow us on twitter
  • Send an email to your network about Disarmament Summer
  • Register people from your organization to attend Disarmament Summer
  • Make an in-kind donation of staff time to help with conventional and social media, web management, outreach, publicity, fundraising, action planning, building the encampment in New Mexico, and more.
  • Sponsor a travel-scholarship for a youth organizer to attend Disarmament Summer for $250
  • Organize a bus from your city to come to New Mexico
  • Present a workshop or training at the encampment
  • Donate to Think Outside the Bomb!  Disarmament Summer is being organized entirely by volunteers and supported by private donations, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution.
    • $60 Covers full registration fee for one student/youth for 10-day summer encampment
    • $100 Covers full registration fee for one regular priced participant for 10-day summer encampment
    • $150 Cost of phone, internet, and electricity at the organizing headquarters.
    • $250 Average cost of travel for participants to get to New Mexico
    • $500 One rental van to provide transportation within New Mexico for participants. (5 vans needed)
    • $1,000 Rent for one month at a store front in Espanola where we are having community and cultural events with local youth. This will also be our office space where we will be doing most of the logistics for the summer.
    • $3,000 Lumber to help build the encampment and repairs to existing structures.
    • $5500 Covers the full cost of the Think Outside the Bomb National Tour. The tour features: local speakers, music, presentations about nuclear issues, art and outreach within communities for the summer campaign. 
All endorsers will be thanked on our website.

Join us in New Mexico to learn, organize, and  amplify the voices of local communities struggling against the nuclear industry. 

Amendment 4, Florida Hometown Democracy: Where do you stand?

[A version of this letter has been sent out to elected officials and candidates of City and County elections around Florida.]

Dear Elected Official,

By now you've heard about Amendment 4, Florida Hometown Democracy. Your email inbox has likely been visited by corporate PR firms hired by Builders Associations telling you which way to vote and how to inform your constituents on the matter. I'm writing to find out where you stand.

Florida Hometown Democracy has now become a measuring stick by which the public can gauge the integrity and intelligence of their elected officials. Politics driven by the Chambers of Commerce have had a disproportionate influence in our State for too long. The quality of air, water and life in general cannot afford it any longer.

We already know that the developer lobby and short-sighted business interests from all across the country will be spending millions of dollars to bombard us with reasons to oppose a public vote on Comprehensive Land Use Changes. They will yet again accuse us community activists and environmentalists of threatening the fragile economy, as they always do.

Well which environmental group or neighborhood organization is behind the condition of today's economy?

Obviously, none of them. It's corporate greed and political corruption that has pushed this unprecedented financial crisis. Some of the same banks and real estate interests that scammed the public and profited off pillaging $700 billion in a corporate welfare bailout from the federal government are now telling us how we should construct our future economy.

If you are not concerned with poisoned air and water, nor the extinction of threatened and endangered species, then perhaps you will let Amendment 4 be a test of your fiscal conservatism: multiple studies around Florida show that new developments reach into the pockets of established residents to finance infrastructure. For example, Jacksonville's Cedar Swamp Study showed residential development costs taxpayers $2.45 for every $1 it generates in new taxes.

By controlling development, there will be less need for more taxes.

We've been told by the developer's planners that 'New Urbanism' will save us. While the principles behind that concept may be good, it has lost its integrity and we are now watching the green-washed version of developer-driven new urbansim fail miserably. Take the foreclosure of Abacoa Town Center is a prime example: http://southflorida.bizjournals.com/southflorida/stories/2010/05/10/daily48.html

Reckless development doesn't protect people's livelihoods or the economy--it does the exact opposite. Even decent elected officials have become too weak to stand up to developers. They need help from the public. Amendment 4 like is a remedy to politicians who can't say no.

So why should you listen to me?

While the real estate development industry may make up the majority of political campaign contributions, they are a world away from representing the people surrounding you. The people in your neighborhood, at your city hall meeting, at the gym, in your office, church, park, etc.. I am one of them.

For 10 years I have sat through public meetings, conferences, workshops, charrettes (or 'charades'), quasi-judicial hearings and court proceedings regarding development and land use--including the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the current appropriate public process for assessing Comp Plan changes, through an Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR), in the City where I live. None of it can match the power of paid-off politicians.

In the past 3 years, 3 County Commissioners have been sent to federal prison in the County where I live for voting in their own financial interests, despite public health and environmental concerns: despite cancer clusters, droughts, floods; despite multi-billion dollar ecosystem restoration plans; despite mass foreclosures and financial crises. Politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists across Florida have been penalized for their greed and corruption. And the investigations continue...

While the Chambers of Commerce tell us that Hometown Democracy denies voters our right to be represented by an elected official under a republic form of government, I send you this email as an opportunity to show that you actually intend to represent us.

So from here 'till November's election, the #1 question for politicians and candidates in the Cities and Counties of Florida will be whether they endorse Amendment 4. Do you support Hometown Democracy?

Do you side with the Builders and the Chambers, or do you stand with the rest of us?

To endorse, click here:

Please know that your silence will not protect you. By not supporting Amendment 4, we will assume your allegiance to greed and self-interest. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Panagioti Tsolkas
Co-Chair, Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

P.S. If you are with us, please forward this to your local political candidates and re-post this to all relevant lists and websites.

Vote Yes 4 Florida Hometown Democracy this November, Give yourself a vote on growth!

Amendment 4: "A Remedy for Politicians Who Can't Say No to Developers"

Rally in Defense of Florida Hometown Democracy, June 9th, in Ft. Lauderdale

We got this invite from a Broward Amendment 4 activist. Can any of y'all join us for this rally in Fort Lauderdale June 9th, 4:30pm? If so, please get in touch to carpool and let Bett know as well (email below.)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, May 30, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Supporters of Amendment 4 are going to demonstrate on June 9th  in front of the Yolo Restaurant from 4:30 to 6:00, the people who are most responsible for our overdevelopment problems are meeting for an Anti-Amendment 4 fund raiser.  See below...  We will have T-shirts and a banner but please bring home made signs against your project.  Please come and bring a friend.

Look below and see that the lobbyist for the Diplomat Debbi Orshefsky, Wayne Huizenga who wants the church addition, and the big law firms who represent the big developers will all be there... 

Please let me know who can make it.       Bett