Monday, January 25, 2010

Tree Sit on Coal River Mountain! Can you help?

[Please offer your urgent support to our friends in Appalachia]

January 25, 2009

Dear Friends,

Three brave tree sitters are stopping blasting on Coal River Mountain right now. Massey is using dangerous sleep deprivation tactics to force them down and resume destruction of the mountain.

After four days 60 ft up in the air, the treesitters, David Aaron Smith, 23, Amber Nitchman, 19 and Eric Blevins, 28, are still going strong. Massey's sleep deprivation by air horn isn't making things easier, and the sleet, fog, mist, and rain aren't helping either — but every time that people have talked to them, they sound upbeat and steadfast. The sitters plan to endure the discomforts created by Massey security and the weather and hold out for as long as possible to defend Coal River Mountain.

Far from permanently ending blasting on Coal River, Massey has tried to harass the sitters into leaving through the use of the sound machine, hitting the platforms with a rope, cutting down nearby trees and constant flood lights. Some of the harassment has stopped, but the sound machine continues, potentially causing permanent hearing loss. We need to call demand they immediately stop illegally using noisemakers to harass the tree sitters. Join us in calling Massey's international headquarters Monday, Jan. 25, starting at 9 a.m to ask them to stop the blasting on Coal River Mountain and to stop the harassment of the sitters.

Can you call Massey headquarters in Richmond? 1-804-788-1800

Sample script:

"Hi, I am calling to demand that Massey Energy halt blasting on Coal River Mountain and the abuse of the three tree-sitters occupying Massey's Bee Tree property. Security personnel have been incessantly blasting noise from an air horn to keep the tree-sitters awake. This puts both the sitters and the miners at the site at risk for hearing loss, and could be considered a felony under West Virginia state law. Also at risk are the lives of the 998 people who Massey predicts will be killed should the 8.2 billion gallon Brushy Fork Impoundment fail. To dynamite in the surrounding area is to gamble with the lives of the people of the Coal River Valley. The mountains of Appalachia soak up water and act as a water filtration system for millions of Americans inside of and surrounding Appalachia. To release toxins into Appalachia's waterways puts the health of these millions in jeopardy. Please stop this abuse of our forests and our health and halt the blasting."

Once you have made the call, please tell us how it went here. []

Thank you for standing up for our tree sitters and for Coal River Mountain! Now help spread the word!

Please help make the tree sit and the campaign a success by:

* Donating to the legal fund [go to and hit the orange "legal" button]

* Forwarding this email to your friends

* Posting this story on Facebook and twitter

Thousands of new people have come to the Climate Ground Zero website to watch the progress of this action, mostly through word of mouth networks. We're not a big organization, and we rely need every one of us to help tell this story to the world. We're making constant updates to our website, so check back for the latest updates on David, Amber and Eric's brave stand.

In closing, here are a few words on the importance of this struggle from a previous speech at a rally given by Eric Blevins, calling for the protection of Coal River Mountain

"The government must step in now to stop this killing, and if they don't, we will keep getting in Massey's way until this madness ends, and we will save Coal River Mountain and the Coal River Valley and our deep connection to divine creation."

Climate Ground Zero Team

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Riviera Beach residents meet Monday to discuss environmental justice and energy options

For immediate release, 1-17-2010

Riviera Beach, FL-- Riviera Beach Civic Association (RBCA) will be joining with the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) this Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King Day, at 6 pm in Newcomb Hall, 180 East 13th Street, to discuss environmental alternatives in the City of Riviera Beach.

Residents of Riviera Beach are currently living with one of the dirtiest power plants in the entire State of Florida. The meeting will feature local community and business leaders as well as energy experts and grassroots activists discussing this FPL facility and other issues.

Following the rejection of FPL's recent rate-increase request by Florida's Public Service Commission (PSC), FPL stated that it no longer intends to 'modernize' the diesel-fired Riviera plant. This leaves a new uncertainty around the contentious plant, which is 'grandfathered' to operate beyond Clean Air Act standards.

The environmental and public health activists also intend to address the issue of 'environmental racism' as it relates to the FPL facility.

"Environmental racism means that as a black person in America, we are 5 times more likely than a white person to live within walking distance of a power plant," said RBCA member Al Lark. Lark is chairperson of the Civic Association's Environmental Committee and is also involved with the PBCEC.

According to U.S. Census data, 68% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a power plant – and those 30 miles are the distance where the maximum effects of the smokestack plume are felt. For comparison, 56% of the white population is within 30 miles of a power plant.

EPA data shows that 71% of African Americans live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards, compared to 58% of the white population.

Lark and other activists across Palm Beach County hope that this meeting will begin the urgent dialogue needed to work towards clean, safe, renewable, decentralized energy options in the City.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Protesters brave cold, rally against Scripps Research site in Palm Beach Gardens

PHOTO: Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post
Bonnie Redding of the Palm Beach County Green Party protests the use of Briger land for Scripps Institute Thursday.

By Bill Dipaolo
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Briger is bad.

That was this morning's cold and clear message from about a dozen shivering protesters, calling for city commissioners to vote no in the Jan. 14 scheduled second and final reading to develop about a 1-square mile parcel of vacant land into a bio-tech park with about 4 million square feet of research space for the Scripps Research Institute.

"Scripps is messing with the blueprint of life. That's dangerous," said Russ McSpadden, 31, a chef at a Delray Beach restaurant. Around him, members of Everglades Earth First waved signs reading "Bald Eagles, Not Bio Tech" and "Testing is Torture."

A few drivers at PGA Boulevard and Military Trail smiled behind their closed windows. Most ignored the protesters. There were a few thumbs-up signals.

But soon after the protest, local officials postponed the Jan. 14 meeting. A new meeting is scheduled for April 1.

"A delay won't hurt us. We're busy developing our faculty and staff here (at Florida Atlantic University)," said Harry Orf, vice president for scientific operations for Scripps Research Institute.

The delay was caused by incomplete documentation, said Palm Beach County Assistant County Administrator Shannon LaRocque.

"There are no glaring issues causing the delay. It's pure process," said LaRocque.

Disagreeing with the protestors is Rebel Cook, a local commercial real estate developer.

Scripps would provide a badly needed boost to north county's real estate and job market, she said.

"We need more clean industries like Scripps in north county to bring well-paying jobs," said Cook. "Developing Briger is good."

The 20-year plan for the Briger Tract also calls for the property on the south side of Donald Ross Road to include 500,000 square feet of commercial/retail, 300 hotel rooms, 1.2 million square feet of office and 2,700 residential units.

The property is east and west of I-95, between Donald Ross and Hood roads.

"The retail and housing market is already glutted. We don't need more," said McSpadden.

Everglades Earth members have been knocking on doors in the Briger neighborhood and leaving flyers on doorknobs. They said they face an uphill battle.

"All the best struggles are David and Goliaths. There's plenty of Goliaths to fight," said Ana Rodriguez, 29, a broadcaster at WXEL.

The city council initially was scheduled to vote next Thursday on final reading on the Development of Regional Impact study. State-mandated DRI studies determine how all projects of more than 300,000 square feet will affect local roads, schools and neighborhoods. The council also is scheduled to vote on zoning changes for the project, initiated five years ago by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, to move forward.

The council Dec. 17 approved both on first reading.

Site plans must be approved by city officials at later meetings before construction could begin.

At the proposed 55-foot setback, the buildings could be a maximum 75 feet tall. At 150 feet back from the road, the buildings could be 150 feet tall.

For information about the Briger tract, go to For information about Everglades Earth First, go to