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." 

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. 

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.

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,, and
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
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:

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