Saturday, February 03, 2007

Glades Group Protests FPL Coal Plant

"Save It Now, Glades" Joins Miami Protest

MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA -- "Save It Now, Glades" joined other environmental groups this week protesting at the "Coaltrans Americas" 2007 annual international coal industry convention in Miami, Florida. The Coaltrans convention, at Key Biscayne's Ritz-Carlton resort, brought business leaders and government officials from the energy, utilities, banking, transportation, and insurance sectors together to find ways to promote the coal industry.

The Glades group. alarmed over the proposed FPL Power Plant proposal for Glades County, had some difficulty with Miami officials in getting permission to stage their protest. Rhonda Roff, president of "Save It Now, Glades" said "It took us two hours and many calls to lawyers, then finally the Miami Herald before they allowed us on the street. They insisted we get an event permit, and even though we know our constitutional rights, some of the protesters decided to accept the permit from the Village of Key Biscayne. They waived the $125 fee and the 20 day waiting period. How nice of them."

Scott Perry, a Glades county resident told a Miami reporter, "The pressure needs to be on FPL [Florida Power & Light]." Perry says pollution from Lake Okeechobee turns the Caloosahatchee River into an "opaque pea soup every spring," and FPL's proposed coal power plant along the west shore of Lake Okeechobee would make the Everglades a toxic wasteland.

The purpose of the Coaltrans "International Networking Event for the North & South American Coal Markets" event was to promote coal development throughout the Western Hemisphere. "Save It Now, Glades" members walked the streets with signs to urge investors to pursue clean energy development instead of coal; demanding that coal producers immediately cease environmental destruction including "mountain-top removal" coal-mining and global warming pollution; and highlighted what they say is the urgent crisis of human rights abuses and violent exploitation committed by the coal industry on rural and indigenous communities, and mineworkers, throughout the Americas. Coal is mined in the Appalachian region of the U.S. as well as in South American countries, taking advantage of low wage workers.

The environmental coalition says major coal industry decision-makers and representatives attending the "Coaltrans Americas" convention are responsible for human rights violations against coalfield communities and mineworkers, as well as high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution leading to an epidemic of children suffering asthma, and massive expanses of irreplaceable land destroyed by mining.

Photo courtesty Rhonda Roff and Save It Now, Glades.

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