Monday, November 23, 2015

PBCEC's Invitation to Residents Neighboring the Briger Forest for Dec 5th Rally Against Corporate Cancer Clusters

The following letter was sent by a local homeowner with support from PBCEC on 11/24/2015 to thousands of residents in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and unincorporated Palm Beach County who live in communities surrounding the Briger property. [Details on Dec 5th Rally can be found here.]

Greetings Neighbor,

I am a homeowner in Palm Beach Country Estates. I’m sending this letter to ask for your help in protecting our community from over-development and hazardous pollution.

Surely you’ve noticed that construction has begun in the Briger Tract forest on Donald Ross Road, across from the FAU campus.

The current development plan entails clearing almost the entire 683 acres of forest on both sides of I-95, for homes, corporate offices, animal testing labs and biotech research.

What you have not likely heard is what these corporations will actually be doing.

  •          What hazardous materials will they be researching with?
  •          What kind of waste will they create?
  •          How will they dispose of it? 
  •         How could this effect property values?

As you also may have seen in the news over the years, Phase II of The Scripps Research Institute intends to deal with high-level pathogens and toxic substances such as anthrax, Mad Cow disease, radioactive materials and genetically engineered organisms.

In the past several months, USA Today has done a series exposing high-level “biolabs” and the frequency that they experience unreported accidents or operate without transparency nationwide. Their report listed Scripps’ facility on the Jupiter FAU campus as a problem facility with regard to failures in disclosing information needed to safeguard the public.

On top of this is the addition of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) into the development plan for Briger. UTC is at the top of the suspect list for bringing a cancer cluster to the Acreage with their repeated toxic spills causing water contamination in Western Palm Beach County. While they have attempted to dodge responsibility for this, they cannot deny their record of repeated environmental violations.

I am including links below for more info on Scripps and UTC so that you can follow up with your own research.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Welcome to Palm Beach Gardens:

Beware of Cancer Clusters and Killer Cops

by Panagioti Tsolkas

PBCEC is hosting a demonstration on December 5th 2015 to "Defend Briger Biodiversity from Corporate Cancer Clusters"

The group has been protesting plans to destroy the Briger forest to build a biotech city since 2009. One year ago, in November 2014, developers broke ground and have cleared over 100 acres despite all efforts to protect this unique forest which is home to many threatened and endangered species.

Now the site is slated to become the home of a shady biotech research development which will generate high-level toxic waste without public transparency, including facilities operated by United Technologies the most likely suspect in bringing a cancer cluster to the Acreage.

This development could not have happened without the City of Palm Beach Gardens’ approval, and specifically the actions of the Gardens police, who arrested protesters to literally clear the path for the bulldozers last year.

In October 2015, this same police department was responsible for the senseless and brutal killing of Corey Jones, a young black musician from Boynton Beach whose car broke down in Gardens.

The same system that is paving over rare forest habitat for corporate profits is putting cops on paid vacations for committing racist murders. This is not a local phenomenon—it’s happening all over the country.

It is critical that environmental activists nationwide to make these connections, to view police brutality as an environmental justice issue and to stand in solidarity with movements against state violence.

PBCEC has a strong history of challenging issues of environmental racism, some of which can be found in the links here. In relation to Scripps and biotech plans, PBCEC worked with residents of the Limestone Creek, a historic black community, to defeat plans for a Scripps spin-off biotech waste site in their Jupiter neighborhood.

Please educate yourself on the realities of racist, violent police, and how this impacts the communities who are often also most impacted by environmental injustice and pollution. The success of an environmental movement to fundamentally change the society we live in must recognize these connections to grow stronger.

For more info on the connections between police accountability and the earth defense come to this event:

The Ecology of a Police State
December 5th 8pm in Lake Worth
Stonzek Theater (Click here for details)
Participate in an evening of short films and discussion about the intersections of environmentalism, mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.

$5 - $10 donation at the door (no one turned away)

TOMORROW MORNING: Support Everglades Earth First! activists on trial blockading road used for construction in Briger Forest.

Message from Everglades Earth First!

Come out and support three Everglades Earth First! activists who are facing trial this week for blockading a road used for construction in Palm Beach Garden's Briger Forest.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Call to Resist the 450th Celebration of Genocide and Ecocide in St. Augustine, FL on Sept 8th 2015

Visit for details and launch location
The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition has joined the Resist 450 Coalition, consisting of statewide and national organizations. 

The following statement comes from Resist 450:

We are planning to demonstrate our opposition to the City of St Augustine’s commemoration, which is honoring and re-enacting the landing of Pedro Menendez on September 8th. This re-enactment of Spanish conquistadors landing on present-day Florida is comparable to celebrating Adolf Hitler’s return for Jewish people. This ill-conceived landing will be at the Mission Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Ave, St Augustine, FL 32084 at 9:00am.

We are welcoming everyone to join us at sunrise that morning as a group of conscious canoeists and kayaktivists paddle out to meet the re-enactment as we show our support for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to uphold our responsibility to bring awareness that Mother Earth is the source of life not a resource for exploitation. Others will gather at the shore with signs and banners during the re-enactment.

The Pedro Menendez impersonator represents the European colonial mentality of domination and privilege. This misguided and illegal belief is empowered by the Catholic Church’s papal bulls, which directed Christians to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” As Pope Francis is traveling the world apologizing to Indigenous Peoples for the Church’s actions, the City of St Augustine is still celebrating these acts of terror and theft. We, the Resist 450 Coalition, intend to show that we do not share the same values as those that are attempting to glorify the colonial mentality.

The City of St Augustine essentially became a prison town for Indigenous Peoples who were held at the Castillo de San Marcos. The origin of the City of St Augustine became the foundation for the abrogation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the blueprint for ecocide throughout the world.
This moment in history marks the beginning of what has become the United States Empire, built on genocide, ecocide, theft, slavery, war and exploitation of the Earth for profit. The "Doctrine of Discovery" is the root of the system that has brought the entire planet to the point of irreversible climate change, unprecedented period of mass extinction and the moral deterioration of society. 

This and other activities will take place as part of a week long camp from Sept 5 - 9, where Indigenous Peoples, activists and individuals wanting to be on the right side of history are invited to come together to promote peaceful solutions to assure the survival of the future generations of all life by addressing environmental, cultural and social justice issues.

If you cannot attend the event in St. Augustine, the Resist 450 Coalition asks that you participate in planning solidarity demonstration in your own community. The list of cities with Spanish Consulates offers an appropriate opportunity to deliver the message to "Renounce the 450th celebration of Spain's genocidal war criminals and the doctrines that promote the destruction of Nature for profit." 

The Resist 450 Coalition also invites donations to assist in the planning of the camp and demonstrations. Donations can be made by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PBC Environmental Coalition Supports the Prison Ecology Project... You should too!

Earlier this month a Lake Worth-based organization, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that provides input on the agency’s EJ 2020 Action Agenda Framework, highlighting the lack of consideration for environmental justice among the millions of prisoners in the United States. The comment was co-signed by the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, along with 92 other social justice, environmental and prisoners’ rights organizations from across the country.

HRDC has also announced the beginning of its Prison Ecology Project, an effort to organize at the intersection of mass incarceration and environmental pollution, and has launched a fundraising campaign to build off the recent EJ 2020 comment and fight against a new federal prison on endangered species habitat in southern Appalachia.

Please share this video with your local activists and social media networks

“It’s encouraging to see the EPA attempting to increase the effectiveness of protecting vulnerable communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution, but a significant component is missing when impacts on millions of prisoners and their families are ignored,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, coordinator of HRDC’s Prison Ecology Project.

HRDC’s comment elaborates on examples nationwide which illustrate a clear need to protect prisoners as a population that faces extreme environmental justice impacts. For example, prisons and jails built on or near landfills, toxic waste dumps, Superfund cleanup sites and coal mining sites, or that are vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding and environmental hazards like contaminated water. The comment filed with the EPA can be found online here.

According to the comment submitted by HRDC, there is overwhelming evidence that the population of people in prison represents one of the most vulnerable and uniquely-overburdened demographics in our nation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Fight for Briger Forest Continues, Opponents Site Biolab Hazardous Waste as the Next Battleground

Heavily-Redacted Documents from Scripps Biotech Give Local Residents Cause for Alarm in New Construction Plan

Palm Beach Gardens, FL – Yesterday, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) filed an amended challenge to the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) first proposed construction permit intended specifically for the biotech facility on the Briger forest.

While a portion of the Briger has been under construction since November of last year, the development was limited to roads and clearing for the Alton residential area. This permit modification challenged by PBCEC is explicitly aimed at constructing in an 8-acre area for a road called Pasteur Boulevard which would be the access way for Scripps Phase II, a biotech laboratory facility handling high-level hazardous materials.

A recent series of reports by USA Today exposed heavily redacted documents regarding the materials used by Scripps Biotech’s existing Florida facility. PBCEC activists say they found this very troubling.

“They don’t want us to know what they’ll be handling, disposing, and transporting in our community. It’s a big red flag for those of us who live in the area, and anyone who uses the Intracoastal for recreation,” said Sandra Quirk, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens who joined PBCEC in asking for an Administrative Hearing on the issue. Over 200 other residents across the county also signed the initial PBCEC petition to SFWMD on the Pasteur Blvd permit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bird Walk and Next PBCEC Meeting

Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition invites you to our...

Bird & Nature Walk at Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area

All Welcome - Especially Children and Families
Saturday June 6th at 8 a.m.

Make sure to bring:
• water
• walking shoes
• a hat
• binoculars if you have them!
We will bring natural bug spray and snacks

Meet at Frenchman’s Forest 12201 Prosperity Farms Road, Palm Beach Gardens
Questions? Call 561-503-5743

Join the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) in the fight to save the Briger Forest

The next PBCEC meeting is June 3rd, 2015

Its not too late to save the remaining 500 acres of the Briger Forest’s endangered species habitat from destruction.

When: 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month
Where: the Gardens Branch Library,
11303 Campus Drive PBG, FL.

Text “BRIGER” TO 84576 to get notice of important upcoming meetings and public hearings at City Hall and the South Florida Water Management District.

You Can Take Action Today!

Call the Mayor and tell him to preserve the Briger Tract (located off Donald Ross and 95) as an educational resource for our children.

Mayor Eric Jablin (561) 799-4102

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Protest Against Private Prisons Tomorrow: GEO Group’s Gulags Grasping for Green Approval

Come out to the GEO Group Shareholders meeting protest in Boca Raton and bring an environmental message about the private prison industry's greenwashing. See below for some ideas.

From the EF! Newswire
Greenwashing the Gulags meme UPDATE

All the LEED certifications in the world can’t cover up the constant flow of atrocities associated with prisons-for-profit, but that’s not going to stop them from trying.

Last month GEO Group garnered attention from the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) #GreenwashingTheGulags campaign for announcing that they had taken advantage of a publically-funded grant program to promote water conservation by installing a native landscape plan at the Desert View Modified Community Correctional which they run in drought-stricken Adelanto, California. Of course, the labor for the project was completed by prisoners, and now, where there was once just some dirt, there are well-arranged rocks. The landscape even includes rocks that were painted blue to spell out “GEO.”

Despite the new rocks, GEO still draws over 140,000 gallons every day to operate that 700-person facility alone. Never mind the nearby 1,300-bed Adelanto Detention Facility they also operate to house immigrant prisoners.

You can do the water math yourself, it’s not too complicated. The average prisoner requires about 200 gallons of water per day (well, a recent Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed federal prison actually put it at 214 gallons, but I’m trying to keep the calculations simple here.)
That’s more than double the average that someone uses outside of a prison, according to the scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey who says that a person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day in their home.

Sunday, April 5, 2015



8:00AM Saturday, April 11th 12201 Prosperity Farms Rd., Palm Beach Gardens 33410

On the morning of April 11th, Everglades Earth First! Will be leading a bird walk to highlight the biodiversity or Souther Florida and the destruction of the Briger Forest, which shares much of its ecology with Frenchman's Park.

Bring walking shoes, a hat, and binoculars, if you have them! There are 114 documented species of birds in the park. Questions: comtact Ruddy at (707) 902-3262(707) 902-3262 or
You can visit our website at for more info on the campaign.

Suggested donation $5-10. Wheelchair accessible