West Palm Beach activists from Project Awareness and Everglades Earth First! hung banners and locked themselves to a downtown rooftop billboard to call for a sustainable future for western Palm Beach County. They oppose FPL’s proposed West County Energy Center, citing its contribution to global warming, Everglades pollution, and overdevelopment; and the Callery-Judge “Town Development,” which would jumpstart urban sprawl in the Loxahatchee area.
Their messages highlight the enormous water consumption cllowances already approved for each project, and promote public participation in two forums ñ tomorrow’s 2pm county commission meeting and the FPL’s Shareholders meeting to take place at FPL’s Juno Beach headquarters on May 25.Their colorful banners showed an alligator chomping a power plant and read: “Got Water? They would: FPL’s West County Plant ->18 million gallons a Day” and “Callery-Judge Town -> 5 million gallons a day. Keep it Rural, Keep it Wild. No new FPL Plant”
For over a year environmental groups have been fighting the West County Energy Center (WCEC), a natural gas plant that FPL hopes to construct 1000 feet away from the Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge in Loxahatchee. As the alternative to fossil fuel plans, activists are promoting energy efficiency & renewable energy, which FPL claims is impractical, despite the American Council for Energy Efficiency’s recent report on the potential for efficiency and renewable sources to meet Florida’s energy demands.
“When it comes to renewable energy, the science has been there for years,” says local activist & physicist Lynne Purvis. “Why does FPL continue to use old, dirty technologies? The answer can only be greed.”
The current drought and water shortages spawn further concerns about FPL’s proposed WCEC water requirements of 18 million gallons a day and the unknown water consumption of the hundreds of thousands of units of development enabled by the project, including Callery-Judge’s 5 million gallons a day.
“These projects are direct threats to Everglades Restoration,” declared Everglades Earth First! member Peter Shultz. “What we need is conservation, not more construction.”