Wednesday, December 19, 2012

$600,000 approved towards Island Way Road

Jupiter Town council Makes Steps Toward Building Road through Limestone Creek and Kennedy Estates Despite Opposition
Last night after 11:30PM the last item on the Jupiter Town Council meeting was a vote on the alignment of the island way road, which is slated to pass through Limestone Creek, Baker's Park and Kennedy estates. The  road which was stalemated in the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners in mid-October in 3-3 locked decision, was unanimously passed last night by the Jupiter City Council. The decision specifically was to spend $600,000 to buy 7 parcels of property needed to install the road. This purchase will be fast tracked as a quick sale and is expected to be purchased no later than December 31st! There were only 6 people in opposition to the road present, one of which will have it right at his doorstep.

Although the county did not pass it in October, it can be revisited by them since it was a tie and the Jupiter Town Council stated that they intend to urge them to revisit it. Last night Karen Golonka invited all the opposition to contact her as she would not tolerate the misinformation and insults that the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners tolerated when they took the vote in October, so bring it to her folks!

Please call/send an e-mail to the council members of Jupiter and voice your opposition to this road!
(561) 746-5134

Contact PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche and encourage him to keep this off the PBCBC agenda!
(561) 355-2201

Key Talking Points:

-The corporate welfare for biotechnology in the state of Florida must end. $600,000 towards land acquisition for a road that may or may not be approved and does not have the required approval of Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners is a wasted investment.

-It is irresponsible that the council put this item on as the last item at the peak of holiday season after a huge town issue that went on for 3 hours. Agenda items are only released 2 days before a meeting, so it is difficult to organize quickly around issue. In order for this road to be full steam ahead it must have the approval of Palm Beach County Commission and it does not.

-The road is slated to go through Limestone Creek a community that was founded by freed slaves and has been at the hands of colonialist decision making since its inception. This is no different. The residents of Limestone creek voiced their opposition to the road, and PBC Board of Commission was split because of this. The town of Jupiter should not ignore the concerns they had:

-increased risk of safety to pedestrians/children that walk and bike to school/work
-increased pollution, noise pollution, and traffic of 5,000 vehicles per day
-unidentified bio-hazardous waste will be transported on this road.
An accident transporting it is not if, but when.
-picking a historically black community to put this road through is a strategy that bodies of power often do to win their poisonous proposals: put the most toxic substances through the communities that are least empowered to fight. This is why it is considered environmental racism.
-As the project is slated now, it will result in further habitat loss of the Florida state listed threatened Gopher tortoise.


PB Post Article about the vote before it happened. Please comment on article!

Jupiter Town Council Agenda for Dec 18th 2012- Item 100-12

Article on the PBC Board of Commission dropping the proposal in October of this year

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jim Stafford takes Lake Worth elections back to the dump

Jim Stafford joins the ranks...
Once again, a candidate for Lake Worth's City Commissionthis time it's Jim Staffordis taking dirty donations from Southern Waste Systems (SWS). This company, which also runs several other operations under different names (including "Sun Recycling"), has been a source of grief for residents in Lake Worth's Osborne Community, a historic black neighborhood, for years. SWS and Sun Recycling operate at all hours of the day and night disturbing residents on Truman Ave with noise, smells, lights and vibrations that have impacted the very foundations of their homes.

(For starters, try and imagine a couple dozen diesel dump trucks all firing up their engines in your backyard at 4am most every morning...)

The fight against the location of this waste dump and "transfer station" has been going on for decades, with the previous facility, owned by a company called Kimmins, being shutdown for creating a nuisance in the community.

The facility only exists because its zoning predates laws of equal rights and environmental justice which would very likely deem it illegal under current standards. It is a case of what can be called Jim Crow-era Zoning, and presents a blatant case of environmental racism.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 47 percent of all waste transfer stations in the U.S. are located within one mile of African-American and Latino neighborhoods. [Source]

Like candidates before him (Lisa Maxwell, Retha Lowe, Carla Blockson to name a few), Jim Stafford has decided to accept money from this company. [Have a look for yourself at his last quarterly report, titled 'G4' in this link.]

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Stafford shares many common campaigns contributors with the above list of former candidates in Lake Worth, the majority of whom are real estate investors, developers and your typical cast of Chamber of Commerce lackeys, with a smattering of right-wing Republican bigwigs. (You guessed it, Stafford is registered Democrat... His donors, not so much.)

Last year, SWS said they were scaling back their operation on the Lake Worth/Lantana border. Instead they appear to be moving forward with a plan to expand their operations (despite public outcry and city legal challenges against it.) How to most easily crush your opposition? It's a classic plan that never seems to get old: Buy their elected officials.

For a glimpse of the history of SWS and their shady dealing in Palm Beach County, check out a recent article in the Palm Beach Post, "Palm Beach County commissioners push bid change to help hauling company".

In case you're wondering, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition endorses the other guy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Is Fracking on the horizon in Florida?

FRACKING CONFRONTS FLORIDA: Profitable but controversial technique of drilling for oil and gas proposed here.

By Mary Wozniak
South Florida may be ripe for fracking.

The controversial process of drilling for oil and natural gas is pumping billions into government coffers, residents' pockets and energy company bank accounts across the country, creating thousands of jobs, reducing reliance on foreign energy - and causing environmental concerns.

Fracking, formally called hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting a well with a cocktail of water, chemicals and sand at high pressure to fracture rock and access previously untapped reserves.

A fracking frenzy has swept through North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio, Montana, Texas and elsewhere. In Williston, N.D., Mayor Ward Koeser said fracking brought the state $1.5 to $2 billion in the last year alone. 'It's been intense,' he said.

Fracking is inevitable in South Florida, maybe within a year, said Ed Pollister, owner/operator of a small company called Century Oil, with offices in Immokalee and Michigan.

Pollister said he's discussed his desire to frack with officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

'At some point if I don't do it, somebody else will,' he said.

Alico Inc. also could have a future in fracking. The company discovered as much as 94 tons of possible fracking sand in Hendry County.

Fracking fever is fueled by new technologies developed over the last 10 years that make it economically feasible and profitable to drill for previously untouchable sources of oil and gas.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Updates on Scripps, Briger and the Ongoing Biotech Menace of Palm Beach County

Two new article were posted this week at

They are essential reading for anyone looking to keep up with the latest news from the fight to protect what's left of the last remaining forests in the eastern corridor of South Floirda. 


The Battle Brewing in Limestone Creek

Environmental Racism, Endangered Species and the Biotech Nightmare

The threat of Scripps Florida reveals a new tentacle, as the Hawkeye biotech development plans unfold before us. The Palm Beach County Commission is scheduled to make a final vote on the road expansion, which is needed for the development to move forward, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9:30am, at 301 North Olive Ave (6th Floor).
[Help mobilize for this hearing, and educate yourself by reading the information at]
Land cleared on the south end of Briger, along Hood Road.

By now, many have noticed that there is land clearing and development going on at the south edge of the Briger Forest. As it stands, the southwest corner of the Briger is the future home of a Jewish Community Center (JCC).
The legality and ecological impacts of this work is yet to be determined, as research is currently under way to investigate whether appropriate permits and approvals exist for this project. 
Nonetheless, we are getting organized to defend the forest from further incursion, in what the Palm Beach Post has called “The Building Boom on Hood Road.”

This Summer, the City of Palm Beach Gardens approved building plans for Franklin Charter School on the west side of the forest (also on Hood Road, west of I-95). This side of the forest was found by local volunteer research and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to be even wilder and less impacted than east of I-95.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Florida's DEP: Injecting Waste Under Our Feet

Excerpts from a PBCEC letter to Cathleen McCarty of the DEP's Underground Injection Control program,

The UIC is a dangerous program. It is an embarrassment to science and a threat to public health. I can only hope that I'm telling you something you already know.

I receive the UIC notices, and I am utterly disgusted with the amount of permits approved through this agency. Waste water should be treated above ground, where it can be responsibly managed and returned into the aquifer through a healthy and natural process, which can also provide possible restored habitat for wildlife. If the waste is too dangerous for this sort of treatment, then its creation should not have been permitted in the first place. This is common sense. Only extreme corruption and greed can argue otherwise.

Sadly, there is far too many permits deserving challenge for our group to keep up with. It seems perhaps only a karmic justice can stop this curse.

The following is an excerpt from a report entitled: Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us, by Abrahm Lustgarten, for ProPublica, published on this Summer's Solstice (June 21, 2012)

It features Florida's failures in waste water injection, among dozens of other examples. Please share this information with others in your office:

"...When sewage flowed from 20 Class 1 wells near Miami into the Upper Floridan aquifer, it challenged some of scientists' fundamental assumptions about the injection system.

The wells — which had helped fuel the growth of South Florida by eliminating the need for expensive water treatment plants — had passed rigorous EPA and state evaluation throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Inspections showed they were structurally sound. As Class 1 wells, they were subject to some of the most frequent tests and closest scrutiny.

Yet they failed.

The wells' designers would have calculated what is typically called the "zone of influence" — the space that waste injected into the wells was expected to fill. This was based on estimates of how much fluid would be injected and under what pressure.

In drawings, the zone of influence typically looks like a Hershey's kiss, an evenly dispersed plume spreading in a predictable circular fashion away from the bottom of the well. Above the zone, most drawings depict uniform formations of rock not unlike a layer cake.

Based on modeling and analysis by some of the most sophisticated engineering consultants in the country, Florida officials, with the EPA's assent, concluded that waste injected into the Miami-area wells would be forever trapped far below the South Florida peninsula.

But as Miami poured nearly half a billion gallons of partly treated sewage into the ground each day from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, hydrogeologists learned that the earth — and the flow of fluids through it — wasn't as uniform as the models depicted. Florida's injection wells, for example, had been drilled into rock that was far more porous and fractured than scientists previously understood.

"Geology is never what you think it is," said Ronald Reese, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey in Florida who has studied the well failures there. "There are always surprises..."

Read the whole report here:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why we support the "No Build" option on FDOT's 710 Expansion plans

A view of the JW Corbett's hydric pine ecosystem
Letter of Public Comment
Re: FDOT's 710 Expansion plans

Sent to Patrick Glass, FDOT
Dated 9/20/2012

Of the alternate options presented on this road expansion plan, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition supports FDOT in pursing the "No Build" option. While we support increased public transit, and "shared-use" plans that improve bicycle and pedestrian transit, we do not see those things justifying this expansion. In fact, we suggest the FDOT spend the public money it saves in not pursuing this expansion to make those improvements where they are most needed (not where developer and industrial and political interests dictate, as this corridor plan seems to be doing.)

The following are some of our concerns:


Constructing this road expansion involves over 570 acres of wildlife habitat negatively impacted, or completely destroyed, based on FDOT's own documents:

-Freshwater marsh was the most prevalent habitat in the corridor, totaling 185.14 acres.
-There were approximately 105 acres of hydric pine flatwoods in the study limits.
-There were approximately 97 acres of wetland scrub in the study limits.
-A total of 84.84 acres of wet prairie were delineated within the SR 710 delineation corridor.
-Mosaics of wet prairie containing either sparse cypress or small stands of cypress often neighbored the areas delineated as cypress forests: 42.77 acres
-Roadside or railroad fringe areas that also contained slash pine were classified as wetland scrub with pine: approximately 33 acres of this habitat type.
-The total acreage of cypress within the study limits was 26.27 acres

All of these habitat provide food and shelter for wildlife species, many of which are currently listed as Threaten, Endangered or Species of Special Concern.

Encroachment into this habitat for road construction will also result in an increase of roadkill incidents for many species.

The PBCEC is currently in the process of collecting independent data on this matter, as we worry that any data collected through the permitting process will be insufficient, as we have found time and time again. And the recent "streamlining" of public policy and environmental permitting will certainly not help--the appropriate state agencies were already underfunded to adequately protect listed species prior to these cuts.

Moving forward with any alternative options besides "No Build" could likely subject the state to lawsuits for violating its own laws on habitat protection.


This loss of habitat results in negative impacts to recreational use, as much of the above listed acreage occurs on public land used for hunting, fishing, hiking, bird-watching, and other activities. A loss of wildlife and habitat impacts the recreation opportunities that these lands exist to provide to the public.

This information is further verified in your Habitat maps:


On top of the impacts losted above, there are another 5 "segments" to this road, which are being permitted in sections to avoid a unified review of permits and associated impacts, as illustrated here

Other parts of this project in various segments to the north and the south have already been contested for a variety of reasons including: historical significance; imminent domain takings of private property; and "environmental justice" issues (as defined in the Environmental Justice Act, regulated federally under NEPA), such as negative impacts to historically-marginalized Black communities in Riviera Beach.


According to FDOT doc:

"The revised study area includes The Port of Palm Beach to the City of Okeechobee in District 1. In addition, the expanded study adds considerations for... , the inland port, analysis of the global economy, economic competitiveness on a global, national and regional level including: Trade between North America, Europe, India, China."

This document is talking specifically about increasing cheap exports from environmentally-exploited countries (with less labor, health, and environmental regulations) coming through the Panama Canal into the Port of Palm Beach. This is an ethical issue of great concern which negatively impacts people around the world, including our own country.

For the reasons stated, as well as others to be presented later in the process, we will fight this road.
We will be joining with other residents, organizations and attorneys who share our concerns, and have their own. We will not stop until the plan is cancelled.

Panagioti Tsolkas
PBCEC, Co-Chair
(561) 249-2071

Sent on 9/20/2012 to:
SR 710 PD&E Study
Attention: Patrick R. Glass, P.E.
Florida Department of Transportation
3400 West Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309-3421