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.
According to PBCEC’s Amended Petition for the Administrative Hearing Regarding Permits for Scripps Phase II Unit 2C—Pasteur Blvd:
The Permit Modification No. 50-00610-S-24 for Unit 2C – Pasteur Boulevard is the first permit to be directly tied with Scripps Phase II for the biotechnology parcel of the development on the Briger Forest. Thus, our concerns regarding the lack of a Hazardous Waste Management Plan are relevant to this permit and must be addressed before the construction proceeds. Upon receiving confirmation of an Administrative Hearing, we will present evidence that biotechnology facilities, especially those rated biosafety level 3 and 4 (as is the Scripps Jupiter facility), regularly pose threats to public safety, and as such a rigorous Hazardous Waste Management Plan is necessary before construction of any aspect of Unit 2C (“Scripps Phase II”) begins.
Along with submitting samples of Scripps’ redacted documents from the USA Today biolab report, the group has also presented maps indicating that the drainage off the property flows into the Intracoastal Waterway.