A Call for Grassroots Resistance to FPL In Defense of the Everglades!
jollyjack at jollyjack.org
Mon May 21 04:18:28 UTC 2007
jeagaearthfirst at riseup.net wrote:
A Call for Grassroots Resistance to FPL
In Defense of the Everglades!
by Everglades Uprising
[This is an updated version of this essay. Get in touch for a printed
South Florida couldn't face a more worthy opponent than the team of
fossil fuel barons and real estate developers that are plotting
encroachment into the Everglades. Between the pollution, water
consumption, sprawl and catastrophic climate change*, our generation may
well be the last to know the Everglades ecosystem. Both hydrologists and
climate scientists have spelled this out repeatedly and with a terrifying
claritypeople are finally beginning to listen. Unfortunately, Florida
Power & Light (FPL) is still raising high the torch and carrying on the
South Florida tradition of acting without regard for consequence or
reason. But no longer will we grant them easy passage
The Swamps Final Days?
FPL has proposed two huge fossil fuel power plants in the Everglades
regioncoal burning in Glades County and gas/oil in Palm Beach County.
They are both being presented as the cleanest, most efficient, best
available technology; but the facts and statistics show quite the
In the past several months, FPL has had radioactive leakage from their
St. Lucie Nuke plant; created the largest oil spill of the decade into
Manatee Bay; and caused an explosion at their Port Everglades plant. The
only existing FPL plant in Palm Beach County, the Riviera Beach plant,
has been identified as one of the dirtiest plants in Florida.
The reality is, no industry has ever presented itself as the toxic,
destructive, expensive, irresponsible entity that will poison and
overextend the water supply; spew harmful substances into the air causing
cancer and emphysema; leak, spill or explode; facilitate unwanted urban
growth; heat up the planets temperature, killing the last living reefs,
increasing the ferocity of hurricanes and spread of tropical disease.
No profit-driven corporation proposes a project with the preface that it
will compromise the worlds largest and most expensive restoration
project [CERP], which is being crafted for the Everglades using
billions of public dollars.
Companies simply dont present themselves with these images. They only
speak of the jobs and tax base increases they bring. In FPLs case, the
often-fabricated economic benefits are followed up with a heavy green
washing campaign, where small environmental efforts are touted to hide
their detrimental projects from public scrutiny. While FPL boasts openly
of a half-acre 250 kilowatt solar power project on the Gulf Coast (which
has not actually been completed), it also hires a high-power public
relations firm, Wragg & Casas, to force atrocious fossil fuel plants,
totaling over 5000 Megawatts (MW), past the publicright here in the
Some who follow Everglades history may recall Wragg & Casas, the
corporate public relations firm that spun Big Sugars plea to defeat the
penny per pound clean-up tax amendment and later made Collier Resources
Corp look good for giving up drilling rights in the Big Cypress National
Preserve for a mere $120 Million out of Interior Departments meager
coffers (AKA, our pockets); they have come now to represent FPL in the
Between the 1960 MW coal plant in Glades and the 3300 MW gas plant in
Palm Beach CO2, a leading global warming culprit, totals near 28 million
tons a year; other hazardous emissions total over 25,000 tons annually
(approx. 21,200 and 4,800 tons, respectively; including NOx, SO2, CO,
Particulate Matter/PM10, Volatile Organic Compounds and Sulfuric Acid
Mist); around 200 pounds of highly-toxic mercury (mainly from the coal);
Tens of billions of gallons of water every year from surface and aquifer
sources; facilitation of near a million new units of development, much of
which will be aimed at re-zoning land in South Florida for commercial,
residential and industrial construction, both along the coasts and within
our last remaining rural and wild areas.
A Safe Level of Emissions?
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) is emitted when burning fossil fuels. When combined
with Volatile Organic Compounds and sunlight ground level ozone is
created. According to the EPA, the impacts of NOx include: The formation
of ground-level ozone, or smog, can trigger serious respiratory problems
like asthma. NOx contributes to atmospheric particles that cause
visibility impairment which is illegal in national parks but not as
tightly regulated where people live!
Particulate matter (PM), or soot, is cancer causing agent and contributes
to regional haze. It is also a local health issue. Many particles of soot
are so small that they bypass the bodys defenses lodging directly in the
lungs. Stacks of studies have linked it to lung cancer and heart
problems. (American Lung Association at:
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants in Everglades marshes
would feed the bacteria which are responsible for converting mercury to
its dangerous, methylated form. It is also a precursor to acid rain
that deposits into water bodies transforming our waterways into a more
acidic, inhospitable environment for local plant life, animals and fish.
Linking Energy, Sprawl & Drought
These power plants are the dirty engines of an urban sprawl bulldozer. As
one Everglades Coalition participant put it at the 07 annual conference:
It used to be that the Park Service saw Big Ag as the enemy, but now
with urban sprawl, agriculture looks good! Urban demands are sucking our
primary fresh water aquifers dry, causing further salt-water intrusion in
coastal areas; now South Florida Water Management District wants to
increase extraction from the Floridan Aquifer, as if this were a solution
to drought conditions. It is not. We are losing open, water-permeable
space to concrete at unprecedented rates. Between concrete and canals, we
are altering the essential evapo-transpiration cyclethe combination of
evaporating water and transpiring plantsthat keeps wet ecosystems like
the Everglades alive and healthy and keeps our water supplying aquifers
recharged with fresh water.
Everything on the planet (including us) will survive, and potentially
thrive, without fossil fuel generated electricity; but without clean,
fresh water, there is nothing left of wetland ecosystems such as the
A Call to the Frontlines of Restoration
What the Everglades needs is grassroots momentum against FPL from legal,
legislative and extralegal efforts (think: Boston Tea Party). To most of
us who know South Florida as home, or who follow national environmental
issues, this urgency is not new news. The Glades region has been on the
life support system of pumps and canals for several decades, but the
threat is now of a new caliber. These two new power plants, proposed on
either side of Lake Okeechobee, represent the ultimate assault on this
ecosystem and on those of us who make it our home, from the Chain of
Lakes to the Keys.
In the entire world there is no other place like the Everglades. It is a
relatively young land, geologically speaking, having formed a brief
10,000 to 12,000 years ago from the most recent rising and falling of sea
level. The land is very low, barely above sea level and is underlain by a
layer of rock, the Miami Oolite. The Everglades is a giant watershed,
originally starting at Lake Kissimmee, down through the Kissimmee River
to Lake Okeechobee. Historically, water would overflow from Lake
Okeechobee in giant sheets over the southern third of Florida until it
reached Florida Bay, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to
thousands of animal and plant species.
Now the Everglades is one of the Earth's most threatened ecosystems. In
the last 100 years the Everglades have declined to less than one half, a
mere remnant of their original area, and of that, large portions of the
remaining areas are severely degraded.
While many work diligently and sincerely at getting the River of Grass,
with its historic family of rivers, sloughs, ridges, creeks, estuaries,
lagoons, and reefs, off of a failing life support system, others are
insistent on continuing to inflict developments deep wounds. Restoring
the Everglades and healing those wounds depends on first fending off the
attackers. In this light, stopping this massive new fossil fuel
infrastructure and its fire-breathing dragons (as an FPL opponent in
Glades County calls them) from being built in our Everglades is the real
frontline of restoration efforts.
FPL is the Achilles Heel of stopping further destruction in South
Florida. At the recent pace of commercial, industrial and residential
development, there appears to be no hopeful light at the end of progress
dark, destructive tunnel. But without new, giant power plants the machine
is forced to slow itself. Conversely, with small-scale, renewable, clean,
safe energy sources replacing fossil fuel and nuclear infrastructure, a
restored Everglades and a sustainable economy become something we can
What South Florida could really use right now is an uprising of hearts
and minds, a Fellowship of the Swamp, to stop FPLs plans utilizing all
the tools in the activist toolboxfrom letters and lawsuits to blockades
and monkey wrenching. We need to initiate a new vision of growth, energy
and development here in the Glades, while we still have a chance.
Get Involved, Get Organized, Rise Up!
Everglades Uprising! (EU!) is a newly forming movement of radical
environmental activists in South Floridaaffiliated loosely with the
international Earth First! networkadvocating no-compromise positions
around environmental issues and utilizing cutting-edge direct action in
the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades bioregion.
We are pushing for a holistic critique of FPL that encompasses an
opposition to their new fossil fuel plants in the Everglades as well as a
shutdown of their dirty and dangerous old plants along the coasts and in
low-income urban areas. In their place, we propose the realistic
alternative of massive conservation efforts and sustainable
We truly cannot afford the arrogance of the energy industry any longer.
Their fear-mongering about potential blackouts resulting from the
environmental communitys challenges is completely absurd in the face of
melting ice caps, increased storms, poisoned fish, massive droughts,
world wars for oil (and, soon, clean water) and all of the other
well-documented, catastrophic impacts attached to FPL and other energy
giants profit margins.
We will not stand by as human greed and indifference causes our wetlands
to dry and our oceans rise around us
All Out Against FPL, May 25, 2007!
Join activists in confronting and exposing FPL at their upcoming annual
shareholders meeting in Juno Beach.
All interested in participating, please get in touch:
JeagaEarthFirst at riseup.net
P.O. Box 961
Lake Worth, FL
*The subject of global warming and its potential impact to South Florida
is clearly worthy of a whole page on its own
More info can be found in
the Florida Wildlife Federations 2006 document An Unfavorable Tide or
**the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) released a
recent study entitled Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy to Meet Floridas Growing Energy Demands (Feb. 2007), which offers
a glimpse of insight into what is possible.
check these links for a photos and stories of a recent action
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