Tag Archives: florida

KPFK Earth Watch: Florida Power and Light threatens Seminole nation, panther habitat with plans for Florida’s 2nd biggest power plant

March 13, 2014.

kpfk_logoDanny Billie, of the Independent Traditional Seminole nation, discusses Florida Power and Light’s plan to build one of the nation’s largest fossil fuel power plants adjacent to the Big Cypress Seminole reservation and right in the middle of critical panther habitat.

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples

Seminole Tribe leads protest walk against gas-fired power plant

By Eileen Soler, February 25, 2014. Source: The Seminole Tribune

The West County Energy Center hard fought by Everglades Earth First! from 2006-2008. It is said that the proposed Hendry County Energy center is to be a carbon copy of this plant.  Photo: Earth First! Newswire

The West County Energy Center hard fought by Everglades Earth First! from 2006-2008. It is said that the proposed Hendry County Energy center is to be a carbon copy of this plant. Photo: Earth First! Newswire

BIG CYPRESS — Plans are in the works for Tribal members, environmental activists and all friends of nature to let their feet do the talking against a massive Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant that could be built on property a stone’s throw from the Big Cypress Reservation.

Carrying banners, more than 200 who oppose the plant will begin walking April 17 from Big Cypress Reservation to the seat of Hendry County government, the LaBelle Courthouse Complex at 25 E. Hickpoochee Ave.

Demonstrators hope to bring widespread attention and support for the Seminole Tribe v. Hendry County case set to be heard at the courthouse April 21. The case concerns land zoning changes to the FPL property that could clear a path for construction of one of the largest gas powered plants in the country.

Activists, elders, traditionals and Tribal department heads gathered Feb. 7 at the Frank Billie Office on Big Cypress to strategize for the roughly 70-mile walk. They are driven by science-based predictions that the plant will bring disastrous consequences to the environmentally sensitive land and end the delicate balance of nature, history and culture for the Seminoles. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples

Genetically modified mosquitoes set off uproar in Florida Keys

By Patricia Sagastume, November 9, 2013  Source: Al Jazeera America

KEY WEST, Fla. ­ In late October, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Agriculture tested insecticidal aerial spraying techniques over a warfare range in Jacksonville, Fla. The purpose: to evaluate how to lower populations of the blood-feeding Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever.

Farther south, on the Treasure Coast, Florida health officials had a busy summer trying to control the most recent dengue fever outbreak. Some 22 people contracted the disease, known as break-bone fever for its debilitating joint pain and severe flu-like symptoms.

“It’s very difficult to spray everywhere where this mosquito hides and breeds,” said Gene Lemire, director of Martin County Mosquito Control. “It’s very sneaky.”

Officials admit they are having mixed results with conventional methods, such as fumigations and aerial spraying. The mosquito is tough to hunt down. It thrives in tropical metropolitan areas, moves indoors and can hide in closets, even in folds of laundry.

It’s something most people agree is a problem. But a different and controversial potential solution is splitting communities in the Sunshine State.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing, Water

Can GMOs save the orange?

Note: The emerging controversy over genetically engineered orange trees adds to the already bitter fight for a total ban on all genetically engineered trees.  South Carolina-based ArborGen is moving forward with plans to commercially sell genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in the southern US — a move which would have devastating impacts on native forests and rural communities.

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered trees are taking action to stop this disaster before it starts.  Sign the petition calling for a ban on genetically engineered trees here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

-The GJEP Team

By Annalisa Palmer, 19 August, 2013. Source: One Green Planet

GMO-orangeWhat does a jumping plant louse have to do with GMO oranges? The Asian citrus psyllid is said louse, and it has led the president of Southern Gardens Citrus, and supervisor of half a million trees, Ricke Kress, to allow for Florida oranges to be genetically modified. Amidst the Washington 522 GMO labeling campaign, covert Trans-Pacific Partnership, and increased public awareness of GMOs, this recent decision has been met with a black and white schism: consumers vehemently against a GMO version of the beloved citrus, and those for it. This pesky psyllid, however, is directly linked to Kress’s decision to allow for the genetic modification of the crop since it has caused citrus greeningpreventing ripening, leaving sad, sour, green oranges behind.

As Kress is also head of a factory that produces orange juice for the Tropicana and Florida’s Natural brands, GMO oranges seemed to be the right direction to go in. Now, he worries that the “natural” label on the Florida’s Natural juice will have to be removed. Pepsi’s Naked juice brand was obliged to remove their label because of GMO ingredients, so Tropicana and Florida will probably have to do the same once the GMO juice hits shelves. Continue reading


Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Florida Keys prepare for sea level rise

By Jennifer Kay, Associated Press, July 2, 2013. Source: ABC News

Photo: Rob O'Neal/AP

Photo: Rob O’Neal/AP

Hurricane storm surge can inundate the narrow, low-lying Florida Keys, but that is far from the only water worry for officials.

A tidal gauge operating since before the Civil War has documented a sea level rise of 9 inches in the last century, and officials expect that to double over the next 50 years. So when building a new Stock Island fire station, county authorities went ahead added a foot and a half over federal flood planning directives that the ground floor be built up 9 feet.

Seasonal tidal flooding that was once a rare inconvenience is now so predictable that some businesses at the end of Key West’s famed Duval Street stock sandbags just inside their front doors, ready anytime.
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Filed under Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Oceans

Florida scientists prepare to release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes

Note: Gee, nothing could EVER go wrong this this plan…

–The GJEP Team

07 December, 2012.  Source: RT.com

Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can spread the dengue fever.(Reuters / Stringer)
Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can spread the dengue fever.(Reuters / Stringer)
Hundreds of thousands of mutated mosquitoes could soon be unleashed in Florida, but don’t worry: scientists say they have a plan.

It might sound like something out of a low-budget horror film, but the US Food and Drug Administration really is considering whether or not they should allow scientists to send thousands upon thousands of genetically altered insects into the wild.

If all goes as planned, mosquitos modified by some serious Frankenstein treatment will be introduced into the Florida Keys and ideally mate with skeeters that carry the deadly dengue fever, passing along in the process a fatal birth defect that will hopefully eradicate the offspring before birth. From there, scientists say they expect the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the dangerous disease will be decimated in only a few generations without causing any major implications for the native ecosystem.

“The science of it, I think, looks fine. It’s straight from setting up experiments and collecting data,” Michael Doyle of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District tells the Associated Press.

No vaccination against dengue fever is currently available in any part of the world, and although the mortality rate associated with it is low, it’s still a serious concern. In the Florida Keys where the economy relies on tourism, an epidemic of any sort could be catastrophic. Some fear that sending mutated mosquitos into the environment could have grave implications as well, though, and are asking for more thorough testing before the FDA makes a decision. Of course, it doesn’t help the scientists’ case that it will take several rounds of releasing genetically modified mosquitos in order for their plan to work.

“The public resistance and the need to reach some agreement between mosquito control and the public, I see that as a very significant issue, outside of the (operating) costs, since this is not just a one-time thing,” Phil Lounibos of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory tells the AP.

The plan to put lab-altered insects into the ecosystem is expected to not harm any humans since the female mosquitos that bite won’t become infected. Real estate agent Mila de Mier tells the AP that she’s still concerned, though, and clearly isn’t the only one: her petition on Change.org, “Say No to Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Release in the Florida Keys,” has garnered over 117,000 signatures.

“Even though the local community in the Florida Keys has spoken – we even passed an ordinance demanding more testing – Oxitec is trying to use a loophole by applying to the FDA for an ‘animal bug’ patent,” reads the petition. “This could mean these mutant mosquitoes could be released at any point against the wishes of locals and the scientific community. We need to make sure the FDA does not approve Oxitec’s patent.”

“Nearly all experiments with genetically-modified crops have eventually resulted in unintended consequences: superweeds more resistant to herbicides, mutated and resistant insects also collateral damage to ecosystems. A recent news story reported that the monarch butterfly population is down by half in areas where Roundup Ready GM crops are doused with ultra-high levels of herbicides that wipe out the monarch’s favorite milkweed plant.”

“There are more questions than answers and we need more testing to be done,” it continues.

Health officials believed that dengue fever was eradicated entirely years ago, but a handful of cases have been discovered in the Florida Keys in 2009 and 2010. If humans are infected, they can experience extremely high body temperatures, swollen nodes, full-on rashes, vomiting and, in some cases, death.


Filed under Commodification of Life, Genetic Engineering

Genetically engineered trees secretly planted in Florida?

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees.  Executive Director Anne Petermann was interviewed yesterday by WMNF Radio out of Tampa, Florida, about GE test plots and developer ArborGen’s desire to sell half a billion invasive and highly flammable GE eucalyptus trees annually for planting across the US Southeast.

Petermann is on at 4:10 minutes –The GJEP Team

By Rob Lorei, November 28 2012. Source: WMNF 88.5 FM News

Click here to listen.  

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy

US activists call for ministers to give biomass plan the axe

Cross-posted from the Scotsman

An international effort has been launched to block plans for a controversial biomass plant in Leith after American environmentalists said the proposals would have a “serious impact” on forests in Florida.

In an open letter to the Scottish Government, a number of organisations including the US arm of Friends of the Earth called on ministers to throw out the plans.

Forth Energy plans to bring wood from North America to fuel plants in Leith, Dundee, Grangemouth and Rosyth.

However, American environmentalists said that along with other plants, the facilities would create “massive demand” for wood from the southeastern US.

The organisations, which include Save America’s Forests and the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, also raised doubts about claims that all the wood would be from sustainable sources.

The letter states: “We recently reviewed Forth Energy’s proposals for these biomass power stations, which would burn 5.3 million tonnes of biomass per year.

“Forth Energy states that nearly 90 per cent of this biomass would be imported. They expect that 75 percent of the imported biomass would be sourced from (or via) Florida. This implies that around 3.6m tonnes of biomass would be exported from Florida to Forth Energy facilities. Such massive demand will have serious impact on forests in the southeastern US, and on existing forest products industries.”

The letter concludes: “Given the massive quantities of wood – most of which will be imported from our forests – that Forth Energy facilities would burn, the inefficiency of biomass electricity generation, the emerging science indicating that bioelectricity is not necessarily ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘clean’, the human health impacts of emissions, and the unreliability of forest certification schemes – we call on the Scottish Government to reject Forth Energy’s proposed biomass electricity facilities.”

The letter is one of the most high-profile objections to the plans, which are also being opposed by local politicians and residents.

Calum Wilson, managing director of Forth Energy, said: “Forth Energy proposes to use only sustainably sourced fuel from purpose grown and managed forestry that has been certified as sustainable by an internationally recognised third party.

“Studies conducted by SIStech at Heriott-Watt University have confirmed that the Forth Energy plants would represent less than 0.5 per cent of the global demand for biomass for electricity production.”


Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels

Biomass Incinerator Opponents Face off Against Industry and State in Florida Trial

A trial being held this week in Gainesville, Florida, pits anti-biomass opponents against the state and an out-of-state company.  Citizens are challenging a state agency approval of Gainesville Renewable Energy Center incinerator, being proposed by the Massachusetts based international joint venture, American Renewables, LLC.  The citizen leading the coalition, Dr. Thomas Bussing, former mayor of Gainesville, intervened to enter testimony in the trial in order to prevent harm to human health and the environment from the incinerator.  The GREC incinerator will burn trees to make electricity.

Opponents of the incinerator assert that local residents, particularly children, will suffer harm from the toxic emissions generated by burning wood at the Gainseville site.

Dr. Ron Saff, a medical doctor from Tallahassee, Florida who specializes in asthma, provided deposition testimony in the case.  According to Dr. Saff, “the pollution from biomass plants causes asthma and heart attacks, cancer, shortens lives and poses a health risk to Gainesville residents.”

According to the GREC permit application and the citizen petition, air pollutants from the incinerator will include particulate matter, including PM 2.5, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), acid gases, sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, PCBs and dioxin-like compounds.  The opponents’ expert testimony will show that these toxins are a danger to children and will become airborne and deposited on local residents and agricultural crops.  Testimony will also show that the incinerator will violate state laws prohibiting objectionable odors, poses a risk of fires in the wood chip piles, and will emit dangerous greenhouse gases.   The American Lung Association opposes wood burning biomass plants because of their public health impacts.  http://www.saveamericasforests.org/Forests%20-%20Incinerators%20-%20Biomass/Documents/Human%20Health/ALA%20national%20letter.pdf

Citizens around the U.S. and the globe oppose biomass incinerators because they harm the public health and make global warming worse.  This week, activists in Scotland protested four environmentally destructive wood burning biomass incinerators by Forth Energy in Scotland.  https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/0; www.biomess.uk

According to Campaign spokesperson, Meg Sheehan, “citizens everywhere are outraged that their taxpayer and ratepayer money is being used to subsidize the biomass boondoggle.  These plants are promoted as “clean and green” energy but they are neither.  Instead, they emit toxic chemicals, burn forests, dry up rivers, and make climate change worse.  The GREC facility will emit more carbon dioxide per mega watt than burning coal.  The science and expert testimony shows the threats to the public health and environment and regulators need to act consistently with this science,” she said.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels

Paper Industry Tests Genetically Altered Trees

This Nov. 11, 2008 photo released by ArborGen shows a field of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Sebring, Fla. South Carolina-based ArborGen has received federal approval to plant about 250,000 more trees in locations around the South for use by International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Rubicon LTD. (AP Photo/ArborGen)

By MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writer

June 7, 2010
TAMPA, Fla. – The commercial paper industry’s plans to plant forests of genetically altered eucalyptus trees in seven Southern states have generated more cries from critics worried that such a large introduction of a bioengineered nonnative plant could throw natural ecosystems out of whack.

ArborGen, a biotechnology venture affiliated with three large paper companies, got U.S. Department of Agriculture approval last month for field trials involving as many as 250,000 trees planted at 29 sites during the next few years. Much smaller lots of the genetically altered trees have been growing in some of the states for years.

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